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

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 ūüôā

xx

Clare

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

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 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.

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.

A salad to suit the season?

Reading over and editing this post I realised how many times I used the word Spring. It starts to sound funny if you say it too many times, but unfortunately Oxford dictionary doesn’t have any good alternatives.

***

We’re getting to the end of Spring over here in Australia, and although I’m excited about the beachy, holidaying climate that summer is bringing, it’s sad to see those cool, breezy Spring days go.

Because Spring is the season before Summer, here in the Southern Hemisphere, its the time every gym membership goes on sale, Halloween stashes quickly get thrown out, and green smoothies and salads are glorified.

The idea of munching on a bowl of bitter green leaves drizzled with vinaigrette sounds highly unappetizing to me, but I am reminding myself not to be too cynical about salads – with the right ingredients they can taste great, and they do have numerous health benefits.

So this Spring I worked with some of my favourite ingredients to create the perfect Spring salad.

You will need:

  • 1 medium common tomato
  • 135g tinned salmon
  • Mixed green lettuce leaves
  • Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • Heaped tsp of dried chia seeds
  • 100g chopped canned beetroot
  • 50g avocado

Cost: approximately AUD $10   Calories: 380

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Perfect! xx

A café that only sells salads??? My verdict.

When mum said she wanted to take me out to a salad restaurant I immediately started devising ways I could politely decline.

The salads on restaurant menus are usually comprised of three basic ingredients (some dressing if you’re lucky), and its always the choice that makes everyone else at the table feel uncomfortable.

Greenhouse Asian Salads has just opened in Sydney and offers a range of exotic salads, which experiment with multiple ingredients such as green tea noodles, chicken wontons, green papaya, white sesame and more. For some reason, reading the menu, every single option seemed to have a mix of flavours that sounded absolutely mouth-watering.

I felt like being vegetarian for the day (since I’ve been on a bit of a meat-craze lately), and opted for the Green House #1, a vegan salad with tofu, green tea noodle,¬†avocado, cucumber, carrot, red radish, cashews and sesame seeds. However, what really made it wonderful was the coconut soy dressing. This tied the whole dish together with a sweet tang that left me wanting more.

Mum went for the Naughty Tuna, which I tried (okay, maybe I wasn’t 100% vegetarian), and it was delicious – a mix of tuna, green tea noodles, edamame soybeans and cashews with wasabi dressing.

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Unexpectedly (I will admit) this caf√© trumped a lot of dining places I’ve been to this year, many of which have menus that offer a range of wonderfully diverse dishes.

So, I’ll take back all my salad prejudices and highly recommend this very green, very healthy and VERY yummy lunch destination.

Let me know if you try it out!

xx

My Delicious Detox Smoothie

Mmm some mornings all I feel like is a smoothie when I wake up.

Below is my recipe for a quick, healthy and FILLING smoothie for breakfast. This thing literally keeps me full until lunch, and I’ve made sure I packed it full of ingredients with wonderful health benefits.

You will need:

  • 1 cup spinach – high in protein, fiber, vitamins.
  • 1 tsp turmeric – contains curcumin which increases your immune.
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (or water) – rich in protein and calcium.
  • 1/2 cup blueberries – antioxidants combat ageing and boost cognition.
  • 1/2 cup strawberries – source of manganese and potassium.
  • Ice
  • 1/2 banana – great for your daily intake of vitamin B6 and B12, as well as magnesium and potassium.
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds – loaded with nutrients for hardly any calories.
  • 1 tbsp greek yogurt – makes you feel full and has great probiotics.

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Blend them all together…

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Enjoy!

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xx

If you have any good smoothie recipes please share them with me! I’d love to try them.

Banana and Almond Muffins? Yes pleaaassee | Recipe

You know when you have that sudden craving to bake? Well I experienced this at about 11pm last night and I just had to go with it.

I usually head straight for the cacao and medjool dates to make something super chocolatey-infused, gooey and sweet, but for some reason today my eye caught the two overripe bananas that were sitting on the kitchen ledge.

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So, I preheated the oven to 180ňöC and gathered together what I could find in the pantry for my filling banana and almond muffins. These can be made vegan and are gluten free.

I found:

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Sprinkle of salt

Wet Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs (use an egg replacer for the vegan option)
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tbsp almond milk (or any milk of your choosing)

I just popped the dry ingredients into a blender, whisked them together (make sure the oats are ground into a fine powder) and poured them into a bowl. Then I blended the wet ingredients together to form a runny mixture, which I combined in the bowl with the dry ingredients.

Next I mixed all the ingredients together in the bowl, and placed about 2 heaped spoonfuls of mixture into 8 lined cupcake tins. All they needed was around 30 minutes in the oven (check with a skewer – no mixture residue should be on it when you poke it through the middle of a muffin), and they were done. Voila!

xx

Nutritional Breakdown (per serve):

  • 137 calories/572 kilojoules
  • 5.0g Protein
  • 8.5g Fat (0.8g Saturated)
  • 9.0g Carbs
  • 43mg Sodium

I found Vegan Yum Cha and it didn’t disappoint¬†

Vegan Yum Cha. When you first hear it something doesn’t sound quite right. Doesn’t Yum Cha involve selections of pork buns, prawn/pork dumplings, beef entrails, spiced meat balls, chicken wrapped in lotus leaf (the meat-involved list goes on)?

The Green Gourmet offers a totally plant-based Yum Cha menu. From fake-Beijing-duck wraps and chia seed ‘prawn’ dumplings to BBQ-not pork buns and taro meat balls, they have it all.

From the outside, the restaurant doesn’t look like much. A (very green) hole in the wall, sitting on the Pacific Highway amongst the barking traffic, it’s a gem only locals know about. Inside soft music plays, customers sit at quaint wooden tables and the delightfully tasty food is served by accommodating¬†staff.

My cuisine craving this week was Chinese. After visiting 45 Broughton Chinese Takeaway on Wednesday night for delicious stir fried black fungi & greens in oyster sauce, sweet & sour chicken, (real) pork buns and San Choy Bow, by Saturday I wanted more.

My friend and I decided to order a Green Gourmet feast whilst doing a Harry Potter movie marathon (the perfect combination if you ask me).

We ordered the Deluxe Gourmet Entr√©e which, for $32 together, gave us a selection of BBQ-not-pork satay skewers, ‘oyster’ (mushroom) fritters, steamed dumplings and burdock salad. To compliment the entr√©e range we ordered stir fried veggies in soy sauce, shangtung-not-chicken and finished the meal off with peppermint tea and dark chocolate.

Do note that The Green Gourmet also does a fantastic selection of homemade vegan desserts; ‘monkey choccy’ sponge cake, lemon and berry ‘cheesecake’, Oreo chocolate cake (to name a few). But we didn’t have much of a sweet tooth that night so decided to give them a miss.

Safe to say it was delicious and I would recommend to anyone in the area!

xx

I finally gave up coffee… How do I stay awake?

About a month ago, I was a coffee addict. I lived on four cups a day, and swore by the stuff for better mental acuity, increased cheeriness, and the ability to stay wired all day and complete everything I had packed into my schedule without being dreary and tired.

Unfortunately, the $4.50 I dished out for a small¬†soy Capp (around 2 times a day) just wasn’t agreeing with my bank account.

After realising I was spending $60 per week on coffee I decided I was going to quit. I waited until university exams were over (or else I would¬†jeopardise any chance of late night study) and went cold turkey on quitting coffee…

I won’t dress it up. The migraines were terrible. For about three days I regretted every life choice that had ever led me to taking a sip of the stuff. I began my coffee cleanse as I went on holiday to South Africa, and spent the¬†14 hour¬†flight over unable to watch movies, eat food or chat to anyone as I was trying to escape the withdrawal headache with Panadol.

Luckily for me (and everyone around me), after about 24 hours the pain had eased off, and after 3 days I was free of irritability, headaches and intense coffee cravings.

Even a month on, I do miss the rich, smooth, bitter-sweet taste of a freshly brewed Cappuccino, but more than that I miss the awakening, buzzing effect it gave me. Here is¬†a list of the alternatives I’ve gone for that do the job.

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Green Tea

I have recently become a green tea enthusiast. I can never stomach the taste of the original green tea from tea bags (tastes like I’m munching on field grass), however,¬†The English Tea Shop has a wonderful range of organic & free trade, herbal teas that are delicately delicious.

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Kombucha

You may not be familiar with Kombucha. It’s a fermented drink made from black tea, that’s known for boosting immunity, and has a very low-calorie content. It also gives me the kick I need before my 9am¬†lectures…

Dark Chocolate 

Aside from its glorious taste, Dark Chocolate also has a fair bit of caffeine which usually does the trick. I’ll snack on a piece of dark choccy in the afternoon if I’m feeling lethargic.

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Coconut Water

A very refreshing alternative to water, coconut water is taken from the fresh green coconuts (before it turns to milk) and serves as a boost in the form of sugar and electrolytes.

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I’m also interested in trying coffee alternatives like turmeric/dark chocolate/beetroot/matcha lattes when I’m out for brekkies and brunches. I know The Porch has a range of these options, so I’m planning on going there soon.

Now, Australia is known to have some of the best coffee in the world – and whilst I’ve given myself a break from the drink for a while – if you are around Sydney you must grab your fix from my favourite places (some of these are run by coffee connoisseurs¬†who have spent their lives perfecting their signature blends):

Do you have any good coffee alternatives?

xx

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Rich, Coffee Brown

 

I tried being Vegan for a week

Yes I decided to go vegan for a week, and no I didn’t die of malnourishment.

I’ve always been interested in trying out different diets I hear about (Banting, Paleo, Vegetarian, Mediterranean you name it). Except I’ve always had a hard time with veganism.

For some reason the stereotype of the vegan diet being bland, boring and difficult to cater for has always put me off. This past week, I decided I was only allowed to judge it once I’d given it a go, and try being the all-scary, waiter-frustrating, plant-based eating, VEGAN.

Sunday DAY ONE

I’ll start here by admitting that the vegan diet was meant to start yesterday (Saturday). However come Saturday lunch time, with the all-good intentions of being vegan, I bought Dal and Naan¬†from an Indian shop I wasn’t familiar with. When my food arrived I found the Dal was made with creamy ghee butter and the Naan was smothered in cheese. With my steaming Dal and gooey, cheesy naan staring up at me, I decided veganism would have to wait until Sunday.

Hint 1: When ordering out at new places, always ask what ingredients are in dishes.

Sunday, my first day of being vegan. My boyfriend and I went out for brunch at a local cafe that does the generic big brekkies, bircher muesli’s, porridges, pastries etc. for breakfast. Perusing the menu (naively expecting to find multiple vegan-friendly options) I was shocked to find that not one of the twenty-or-so dishes were vegan. ¬†I had to Build My Own Brekkie and ordered half an avo, roasted cherry tomatoes, and a slice of toasted sourdough (no butter please) for AU$12.50.

For dinner,¬†I went out with a friend to Coco Cubano, a restaurant that serves flavour-packed Cuban food, including Fajitas, Nachos, Pressed Sandwiches, Burgers, Burritos, Churros and exotic cocktails (reminds me of an up-market Guzman Y Gomez). I went with their quinoa salad – and opted not to have a topping of chicken/steak/haloumi – with a side of guacamole and plain corn chips. My problem: The meal was delicious, but I was still peckish afterwards. I had to have a handful of roasted cashews and almond milk tea to save me rolling about with hunger pains all night…

Monday DAY TWO

I didn’t have any big plans today (eating-wise) but I did have my weekly Game of Thrones night with my friend, where she always cooks dinner for me. I have to admit, I did feel a little¬†uncomfortable mentioning that I was Day Two of my vegan streak, and when I sheepishly mentioned my¬†diet restrictions I realised I had to bring¬†a dish along so as to not inconvenience her.

Hint 2:¬†Perhaps offer to cook/bring your own dishes to others houses, if you’d like to be invited¬†back.

Tuesday DAY THREE 

I had work all morning and decided to treat myself by going out for a late lunch afterward (a habit that’s become a little too regular lately). Usually I would head for Guzman Y Gomez, Sushi Train, or Grill’d, but I spotted a restaurant that’s recently opened up, called¬†Nudefish Pok√©.¬†I chose to go with the¬†Down to Earth¬†pok√© bowl which hosted tofu, mushrooms, beetroot, pickled carrot, ginger, snowpeas, radishes and tamari almonds, brown rice and avo in a salty-sweet soy sauce. I definitely wouldn’t have usually chosen this option, but it turned out to be a delicious choice I’ll definitely go for again.

Wednesday DAY FOUR 

I was off to uni today, which meant I needed a big, filling breakfast if I was going to last the day without breaking the budget and splurging on another bought lunch. I put together a homemade brunch, taking inspiration from Niomi Smart’s Butternut Cashew Wholemeal Pasta (she calls it vegan Mac n’ Cheese), which filled me up all the way to 4pm.

I realised here that I was half way through the diet. Had I noticed any changes in my mood/appearance/health? To be fair, I was only four days in, but I had noticed my skin had mysteriously cleared up – it was looking a lot fresher and livelier… could cutting out dairy and animal products be working?

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Brunch ~ Homemade Butternut Cashew Pasta, kale salad, roast tomato, 1/4 avocado

Thursday DAY FIVE 

Thursday was a full on day of work and uni, but I managed to squeeze in a quick dinner at Sushi Train with a couple of close friends. Straying away from my usual sashimi, soft shell crab and tuna/avocado rolls, I went for the avocado seaweed salad (with soy sauce dressing), a large bowl of miso soup packed with creamy tofu, and edamame beans. The meal combo was so good, that I’ve decided I’m going to go for it the next time I’m there, regardless of being vegan or not.

Friday DAY SIX

I’m coming to the end of my seven days, and I’m in shock that I’ve almost made it… I thought I’d definitely slip up with the temptations of baked goods, Gelato, creamy sauces and chocolates that had been staring at me from shop windows all week.

On the way home from work I stopped by at McDonalds, to check out if the menu had any vegan options – I was expecting to be told that I would only be able to have a glass of water. To my surprise, that was not the case.

Hint 3:¬†The sodas, apple pie, bread, hash brown’s and juices are all vegan approved.

Saturday DAY SEVEN

I’ve come to the end of my vegan week, and went out with a bang with dinner at my favourite Indian restaurant,¬†Cumin. I went with the Dal Tadka (a staple favourite of mine), knowing that it was 100% vegan and 100% delicious. A perfect end to the week.

The Verdict:¬†I have to say, as much as I would have liked to come out of this week as a hardcore vegan promoter, I just don’t think I could keep it up. I had a wonderful week exploring new food options and meals, and¬†I genuinely respect the lengths vegan’s go to, to protect animals, their health and the environment (read more here). However, the limitations with ordering out, and the guilt I felt inconveniencing others when I ate at their houses were major drawbacks for me.¬†

However, noticeable changes in my mood, skin and weight (after just one week) has motivated me to look for more animal product alternatives (nut butters, nut milks, soy milks and egg replacers) and to cut down on my meat intake. 

Do you have any diets you swear by? Let me know xx