My Irresistible Homemade Hummus

Lately I’ve been back on the Hummus wagon.

I fell off for a while whilst I was struggling with IBS. To manage it, I had to stick to a strict low FODMAP diet where legumes are unfortunately not allowed.

Now that I’m able to eat them again I’ve been using beans and lentils wherever I can. If you love chickpeas too you have to try Pamela Reif’s inventive cookie dough recipe – chickpeas are involved…

If you’re not adventurous enough to try chickpea based desserts, try a homemade hummus.

I find homemade hummus much more flavourful and fresh than the store bought kind, and it’s a brilliant way to get plant-based protein, anti-inflammatory nutrients, and healthy fats in.

I’m also weirdly addicted to green olives, so I’ve perfected a recipe that incorporates them too.

Blend the following until smooth, and try it yourself:

  1. 400g canned, washed & drained chickpeas
  2. Healthy dose of lemon, herb and garlic seasoning (I find the Masterfood’s blend the perfect amount of zest and flavour, but you can always use an actual squeeze of lemon, mixed herbs, and a clove of garlic).
  3. Lots of Paprika
  4. 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  5. 3 tbsp water
  6. 10 green olives, pitted and stuffed with pimento

How to Perfect Winter Roasted Vegetables

Roasted vegetables are the perfect healthy accompaniment to any lunch/dinner meal.

Whether I’m focusing on leaning down a little bit or just trying to incorporate enough veggie servings into my day, I will regularly prepare a meal of roasted veg + protein side.

Having said that, the only way I can maintain focus on a healthy diet is to make the food I’m eating actually taste good.

So, I’ve developed the perfect recipe for whipping up delicious roasted vegetables quickly.

This blend of spices has the aroma and flavours of a hearty, warming winter meal.

You will need:

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Olive Oil
  • Rosemary
  • Oregano

This combo of oils and spices can be used with any combination of your favourite vegetables, but here are my Vegetable Suggestions:

  • Turnip
  • Beetroot
  • Leek
  • White Onion
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts

To prepare, just chop the vegetables into desired sizes, cover in olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, rosemary and oregano.

Cook for 35 minutes at 200˚C and enjoy!

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

Delicious Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipe

Christmas is coming… which means lots of delectable choccy recipes are also coming to this blog. Check out my favourite hot chocolate recipe (for a late night treat) below – only around 100-150 calories depending on what you use

Christmas is the time to indulge in all your favourites, but there are healthy substitutes for every dessert, that still taste just as good. 

You will need: 

  •  2 tbsp cacao 
  • 1.5 cups plain almond milk 
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence 
  • Pinch of cinnamon 
  • 1/2 – 1 tbsp maple syrup *depending how sweet you like it aka don’t hold back*
  • Mint leaves 
  • Chopped up Double d Sugar Free Marshmallows 

Method:

  1. Add cacao, milks, vanilla essence cinnamons and maple syrup to a pot and bring to a simmer 
  2. Pinch the mint leaves until limp and throw in top of pot 
  3. Stir all ingredients until smooth and 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: 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

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 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 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 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 New Acai Bowl Recipe

Acai Bowls have been a craze in Sydney for the past year or so, with so many acai-focused places popping up that I now have a mental list of spots for the best bowls in the city (check out Bare Naked Bowls and The Fruitologist).

But, every now and again (usually when the bank balance is looking sheepish) I make a cheap, easy, TASTY, homemade acai bowl for breakfast or lunch.

Most of the ingredients are inexpensive and can be picked up at your local Supermarket, but the problem comes down to sourcing the actual acai powder. For some reason every brand wants to charge exorbitant prices for a tiny bag of acai (probably because the acai berry can only be found in Brazil).

My hack is the Creative Gourmet Organic Acai Puree (only $8!!).

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It contains little individual packets of acai puree that you can add to your acai bowl.

For my recipe you will need:

  1. 1 x Creative Gourmet Organic Acai Puree pack
  2. 20g Smooth Peanut Butter (Mayver’s is my hands down favourite)
  3. 50g frozen strawberries
  4. 50g frozen blueberries
  5. 1/2 cup water
  6. 1 medium banana
  7. Dried Chia seeds & Shredded Coconut to garnish

Approximately 340 calories. Time: 10 minutes

Method:

  1. Blend the acai packet, water and frozen berries together until a thick smoothie consistency is formed.

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2. Pour blended mixture into a bowl.

3. Chop up the banana and place on top, then weigh out 20g of peanut butter.

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4. Sprinkle the chia seeds and shredded coconut on top (tasty added health benefits).

Mmmm!