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.

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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

A salad to suit the season?

Reading over and editing this post I realised how many times I used the word Spring. I’m sorry but unfortunately Oxford dictionary doesn’t have any good alternatives.

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

Because Spring is the season before Summer, it’s 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 with the right ingredients they can taste great and they ensure you are packing your daily greens in.

So, I created the perfect Spring salad, with protein, healthy fats and a range of different flavours.

You will need:

  • 1 medium tomato – reduce risk of heart disease and cancer
  • 135g tinned salmon – rich in omega 3 fatty acids and a great source of protein.
  • Mixed green lettuce leaves
  • Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • Heaped tsp of dried chia seeds – high in omega 3s, fibre, and provide a delicious crunch to the dish.
  • 100g chopped canned beetroot
  • 50g avocado – source of filling, healthy fats.

Cost: AUD 10   Calories: 380

Perfect! xx

A café that only sells salads? My verdict.

An all salad restaurant sounds like the type of thing I would politely decline. Although I love eating healthy and exploring nutritious food options, I don’t advocate eating solely lettuce as a way to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

I sound like a salad hater, and that’s only because the salads on restaurant menus are usually comprised of whole cherry tomatoes, 3 salad leaves and a weak amount of dressing if you’re lucky.

If a salad can be done deliciously.. I’m all in.

Greenhouse Asian Salads has just opened in Sydney and offers a range of exotic salads, which experiment with green tea noodles, chicken wontons, green papaya, white sesame and more.

I decided to head over because reading the menu, every single option had a mix of flavours that sounded mouth-watering.

I 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 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 was delicious – a mix of tuna, green tea noodles, edamame soybeans and cashews with wasabi dressing.

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Unexpectedly this café trumped a lot of dining places I’ve been to this year, many of which have menus that offer a range of wonderfully diverse cuisines and dishes.

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

Let me know if you try it out!

xx

Trying the Best Korean BBQ in Sydney

Madang. The Korean BBQ restaurant that’s revered in Sydney. I had to try it.

In Korean BBQ you get given deliciously marinated raw meats (of your choosing) and cook them at the dinner table.

Yep, your table turns into a frying pan, where you whip up your meal and garnish it with lots of tasty condiments such as spicy kimchi and seaweed, potato mash, soy paste, fish cake, miso paste and more.

You could be very adventurous and get sliced ox tongue, but since my dining partner screwed her nose up at that, we opted to share Dweji Bul Go Gi (marinated pork) and Bul Go Gi (beef in traditional Korean sauce), with the Jang Uh Gui Jungsik (grilled & marinated eel). The table service was very attentive, and I would recommend the tender Bul Go Gi and Jang Uh Gui Jungsik. The pork wasn’t my thing, I had a couple of bites and didn’t’ LOVE it.

This was a lot of meat (and therefore a lot of protein) to have in one meal, so if you’re planning on heading to Korean BBQ for dinner prepare your stomach by making your other meals that day a little smaller (I forgot to do this and afterwards felt like I was going to pop from all the food inside).

Madang is located in the middle of a little Korea-town. Left, right and centre there were Korean restaurants dotted about that I’m now dying to try out. Seoul-Ria, Basax Korean Chicken and Dining and Arisun are on my ‘to go to’ list.

I finished off the night with and an epic froyo. Imagine this: chocolate and strawberry frozen yoghurt, loaded with cookie dough, chocolate chips, tim tams, oreos, chocolate wafers, and strawberries. Mouthwatering? I thought so.

Note: Madang was said to be the best by The Urban List, one of my go-to sources for dining information around the city (you have to check it out if you are in Sydney).

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I also had a random craving for chocolate cake this week.

Usually, I try to make a natural ingredients cake with cacao, banana, and maple syrup (a delicious recipe I will share soon). However, this day nostalgia was calling me and I whipped up my childhood favourite: Betty Crocker Devil’s Food Cake mix.

It was so much fun to just splurge and spontaneously treat myself by baking a simple cake for no occasion. I finished decorating it around 1:00am and it was so satisfying to sit on the couch afterwards savouring a big piece with a cup of tea.

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Comment below if you did anything spontaneous this week!

xx

My Delicious Detox Smoothie

Mmm a smoothie is the perfect breakfast when you wake up on a hot day.

A lot can go into a smoothie (and sometimes I do go a bit overboard), so it’s important to fill them with beneficial ingredients. Sometimes I can go a bit overboard on the cacao powder and peanut butter that the smoothie isn’t as nutritious as I had hoped (still healthy relative to a thick shake).

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

It’s the perfect smoothie if you’ve had an indulgent week (or perhaps a big night) and you want to boost your system with beneficial vitamins and minerals.

You will need:

  • 1 cup spinach – high in protein, fibre, vitamins.
  • 1 tsp turmeric – contains curcumin which increases your immune.
  • 1/4 cup almond milk – 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 yoghurt – makes you feel full and has great probiotics (The Wise Bunny has great Dairy alternatives)
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Blend them…

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Enjoy!

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

You know when you have that sudden craving to bake? Well, I experienced this at about 11pm last night and stayed up until midnight baking & feasting away.

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

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

I used almond meal instead of ordinary flour, as it is high in protein and vitamin E – providing essential nutrients whilst filling you up (read more here). The bananas are the perfect natural sweetener, and they provide a sweet note as well as potassium and fibre.

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 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 to form a runny mixture, which I combined in the bowl with the dry ingredients.

I placed about 2 heaped spoonfuls of mixture into 8 lined cupcake tins. All they needed was 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

Cheesy Eggplant Lasagne for Fathers Day

When I realised Father’s Day was approaching, I had the annual freak out… What am I going to buy Dad? Is there anything he’s mentioned he wants?

The reality is that Dad never says what he wants and says he’d be happy with a card. Since I’m not going to just wake up, toss him a card and consider my job done, I decided this year I’d cook a big lunch.

I kept it super simple. Dad’s favourites are the plainer dishes; lasagne, sausages, chops, lamb shanks, vanilla ice cream, milk chocolate…

So, I decided to do lasagne, with a twist.

Cheesy Eggplant Lasagne. Think gooey cheese, creamy chickpeas and aromatic tomato arranged together to create a healthier twist on Italian comfort food.

The eggplant soaks up all the delicious creamy tomato sauces and becomes a soft mess that tastes incredible with the chickpea/almond meal base and cheese oozing throughout.

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For dessert, we enjoyed my favourite Healthy Apple Crumble recipe with Connoisseur white chocolate/raspberry ice cream (you could go for Halo Top for a lower calorie alternative, Connoisseur is Dad’s favourite).

I also sourced a block of Lindt’s creme brulee milk chocolate – a Lindt flavour I haven’t seen before. I hope they keep stocking the shelves with it because it was the perfect mix of crispy caramel and creamy milk chocolate.

Even though we kept it simple, it was nice to enjoy a home cooked meal. What did you do for Father’s Day?

xx

You Must Dine at the Rocks in Sydney

The reason The Rocks is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Sydney is because of how many diverse restaurants, bars and cafés it has to offer. What makes it better is that each restaurant has a different cuisine, atmosphere, quirks, and is just a 2 minute walk from the iconic harbour.

If you only had one night in the city, I would tell you to first head for drinks at Grain, a dimly lit cocktail bar next to the Four Seasons. What they do best is a range of exotic cocktails; I recommend Alexander’s Fizz or Sunburn, if you want to give some strangely delicious drink combinations a go.

If you are feeling Tex-Mex, head to El Camino Cantina. They serve up oversized margaritas and tapas share platters (think crispy tacos, sizzling quesadillas, nachos dripping in cheese and churros), AND they have unlimited corn chips and salsa which is always a win.

The walls are adorned with Mexican themed collectables and animation-style art, giving the place a groovy, retro vibe. We went for the Cadillac Platter which served up a selection of chilli chicken wings, jalapeño poppers, tuna ceviche tacos, guacamole, chicken and cheese quesadilla, and chilli con carne – which tasted as good as it sounds.

If Mexican isn’t your thing, head over to Zia Pina Pizzeria, owned by the same family for the past 3 decades (there’s a reason why their food is so good). I would recommend the Zucca pizza with cheese, tomato base, grilled pumpkin, olives, parmesan cheese and rocket, or the Veal Gnocchi.

There’s also the Munich Brauhaus which does Bavarian food traditionally and festively. The wait staff are dressed in dirndls and lederhosen, serving up house-made sausages, freshly baked pretzels, schnitzels, crispy pork belly, and of course, lots of beer.

For dessert, you have to head to the iconic Guylian Belgian Chocolate Café, for desserts which both taste and look amazing. I recommend the dark chocolate raspberry cheesecake or a milk chocolate mousse with macadamia cream.

Or, if you’re feeling like a real treat night, head over to Pancakes on The Rocks, a well-known dessert chain which does pancakes every way you can think. My favourite is the decadent Black Forest Cherry, which involves chocolate pancakes with cherries, brandy sauce, creamy chocolate ice cream and chocolate chips, all doused in chocolate sauce.

Leave comments below if you know any other great places at The Rocks! I’d love to check them out xxx

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

I seem to go through phases of being a coffee addict, and then cutting down to one a day.

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

Unfortunately, the $4.50 I was dishing out left right and centre for a small almond Capp just wasn’t agreeing with my bank account.

After realising I was spending $60 per week on coffee I knew I had 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 headaches and irritability were terrible.

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 mentally stimulating 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 of grass), however, The English Tea Shop has a wonderful range of organic & free trade, herbal teas that are delicately delicious. Although Green Tea does have a bit of caffeine, it’s much cheaper than coffee and doesn’t give me the jitters that coffee gives.

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. As well as that, it’s a powerful source of antioxidants which fight harmful radicals in the body.

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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.

I’m also interested in trying latte 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.

Having said all that, 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