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!


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?

Delicious Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipe

Christmas is coming… and although its the time to indulge in all your favourite treats, I love to have some healthy dessert alternatives that I can enjoy without experiencing the mood swings and skin breakouts that excess sugar gives me. See the science behind this here.

When curating the ingredients for my healthy hot chocolate, my goal was to get that rich chocolate flavour whilst avoiding added sugar. The drink is around 50 calories per serving.

The recipe requires pure cacao powder, which is rich in polyphenols providing some key health benefits: reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure, and lowering blood sugar levels.

You will need: 

Method:

  1. Add cacao, milk, vanilla essence, cinnamon, nutmeg and maple syrup to a pot and bring to a simmer 
  2. Pinch the mint leaves until limp and throw into the pot
  3. Stir all ingredients until mixture is warm and powders are well combined (2-3 minutes) 
  4. Take mint leaves out of the top of the drink and discard (or leave in for something extra on top
  5. Garnish with chopped healthy marshmallows

Let me know if you try it out! Enjoy! 

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

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

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.

If you want to make eye-catching 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.

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

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

Then 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). You can also use coconut oil as a non-dairy alternative.

Voila! Garnish with berries.

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Rainbow Pizza (makes 8 pieces)

I like it simple so I decided to go with store bought pizza bases. If you can get them I recommend Bazaar Gourmet Pizza bases. You could also use a Cauliflower Crust, if you are looking for a lower calorie alternative.

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)

After heating the oven to 220˚C, smear the base with tomato paste and sprinkle the cheese on top. Note: 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.

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

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 🙂

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xx

New & Improved Acai Bowl Recipe

Acai Bowls have been a craze in Sydney for a while now, with so many acai-focused places popping up that I have compiled a mental list of spots for the best bowls in the city; check out Bare Naked Bowls, The Fruitologist and Coco Bliss.

Every now and again (usually when my bank balance is looking sheepish) I make a cheap, easy, TASTY, acai bowl at home. Below is my updated recipe, but check out different acai bowls in my previous posts.

The ingredients are inexpensive and can be picked up at your local Supermarket, except for the actual acai powder. Every brand seems to want to charge exorbitant prices for a tiny bag of acai.

My hack is the Creative Gourmet Organic Acai Puree (AUD $8), or the Tropeaka Acai Powder (AUD $34)

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For my recipe you will need:

  1. 1 x Creative Gourmet Organic Acai Puree pack OR 1 tbsp Tropeaka acai powder.
  2. 20g Smooth Peanut Butter (Mayvers is my favourite)
  3. 50g frozen strawberries
  4. 50g frozen blueberries
  5. 1/2 cup water or more as needed
  6. 1 medium banana
  7. Dried Chia seeds
  8. Shredded Coconut

Approximately 340 calories. Time: 10 minutes

Method:

  1. Blend the acai, water and frozen berries until thick smoothie consistency is formed.
  2. Pour blended mixture into a bowl.
  3. Chop up the banana and place on top, and drizzle with peanut butter. Sprinkle the chia seeds and shredded coconut on top (tasty added health benefits).

Mmmm! xx Have you made acai bowls before?

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