Making Healthy Brownies (80 Cal Each)

We’ve just come out of Easter and I’m sure everyone has spent the weekend enjoying lots of chocolate and other yummy, indulgent dishes. Whenever I’m trying to get back on track, I always bake some healthy desserts or I risk going to healthy and then just binging on all the leftover Easter chocolate…

Healthy dessert recipes mean that you can enjoy sweet treats whilst avoiding the sugar high that usually accompanies them. Whilst a sugar high (i.e. insulin spike caused by an overload of glucose) might sound fairly harmless in the short run, excessive sugar intake can have negative impacts in the long term. See here for information about how excess sugar affects your teeth, joints, skin etc.

To avoid these complications, I try to reduce my sugar intake whilst still enjoying great desserts. It all about everything in moderation!

This recipe has substitutes from the usual brownie recipe that we all know and love, that not only make it lower in calories, but also provide some wonderful health benefits with the same delicious taste.

Sweeteners

Bananas – These delicious fruits provide a wonderful texture to the brownies whilst also giving a subtle fruity undertone. Banana’s are rich in vitamin B6 which helps your body metabolise carbohydrates and fats and remove unwanted chemicals from your body. Banana’s also provide a healthy source of Manganese which helps your body produce collagen to boost your skin.

Sugar Free Maple Syrup and Chocolate – Sugar free alternatives are great ways to enjoy sweet, sugar-like flavour whilst avoiding cane sugar. It is important to note that some no-calorie sweeteners may upset your stomach. If this is the case opt for a natural sweetener like Stevia.

Healthy Fats

Coconut Milk – Coconut milk is rich in healthy fats and antioxidants, which help to protect you from harmful radicals that are produced when your body breaks down food.

Flours

Oat Flour – Oat flour is a naturally gluten free, whole grain flour, which provides an excellent source of fibre to help your digestion whilst keeping you satiated. If you enjoy the taste and texture, oats are a powerful substitute in creating a healthy recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup canned LITE coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats or Oat Flour
  • 1/3 cup cacao powder
  • 3 tbsp sugar free maple syrup (or real maple syrup if you prefer that).
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 90g Chocolate – I like to use Well Naturally Sugar Free Chocolate
  • Optional: 5 drops of MyProtein Chocolate FlavDrops

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 C
  2. Put rolled oats into blender and blend. Then, add bananas, coconut milk, cacao powder, syrup, vanilla extract, and baking powder into blender and BLEND.
  3. Pour mixture into a bowl and stir in salt and chopped up chocolate. Add FlavDrops if you desire a richer chocolatey taste (the sweetness of this batter will subdue when it bakes, so aim for a mixture that is slightly sweeter than you desire).
  4. Bake for 15 minutes or until fudgy brownie comes out on skewer inserted.
  5. Allow to cool a little bit and then cut into 16 slices!

ENJOY! Let me know how the recipe goes! X

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!


4 ingredient Vegan Choc-Peanut Cookies… that actually taste good

Hello and happy hump day!

Today I thought I’d share with you my favourite 4-ingredient cookie recipe. It’s perfect for whipping up on a Sunday night, so you have healthy treats to enjoy throughout the week.

Now that we’re getting cooler weather in Sydney (and by cold I mean the weather has changed to 22C/71F, but that’s freezing for Sydney Siders), it’s lovely to have some healthy comfort food. Comfort food is so important for balance, but I love options that make me feel good after as well.

This recipe uses substitutes sugar for bananas, to get a sweet tang and also a fudgy texture. The peanut butter gives that nutty, salty crunch which makes them so delectable.

It’s important to use natural peanut butter (just peanuts with a little bit of salt) to reap all the fantastic benefits that peanut butter brings – high protein, fibre, healthy fats and magnesium for bone and muscle fortification.

The Four Ingredients: 2 ripe bananas, 1/4 cup creamy organic crunchy peanut butter, 1 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup roughly chopped organic dark chocolate.

Method:

Mix bananas, peanut butter, and oats in a bowl. Once a dough forms, stir through chocolate chunks (feel free to eat the mixture here… it’s almost better than the cookies themselves).

Roll mixture into small balls on a lined baking tray to bake. Bake for 10 minutes at 200C/390F.

Nutrition per serving:

Serves 8
200 Calories
6g Protein
21g Carbs
5g Sugar
12g Fat

ENJOY!

What are you favourite, simple treat recipes? Comment below! I’d love to know.

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?

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

Chocolate ‘Nice-cream’ For Breakfast (Vegan)

My latest obsession is “nice-cream.” It’s as creamy and delicious as regular ice cream, but it has all the health benefits as well.

If you don’t know what nice cream is, let me help you. It’s a rich, creamy concoction that tastes like ice cream but is made from all the good stuff. It has 32g of protein, and 1g of sugar.

After many mornings whizzing up different blends, I’ve finally mastered my chocolate mousse nice cream. It’s ultimately an ultra filling dessert, but you can also eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

You will need: 

  • 1 chopped, frozen banana (I like to buy about 5 bananas at the start of the week, and then chop and freeze them all at once to save time). 
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder 
  • 30g Amazonia Raw Protein (chocolate or vanilla flavour works well)
  • 0.5 tbsp cinnamon (did you know cinnamon curbs sugar cravings?)
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp cacao nibs 
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

And that’s it! Just blend until you get a thick, creamy consistency. You might have blend a little, stir it, and then blend some more to make it all come together.

I top with different things every day. My favourites lately have been lower glycemic fruits like chopped apple, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and then sunflower seeds or cacao nibs for some crunch!

Nutrition Facts

Here’s the macronutrient breakdown compared to 2 scoops of regular chocolate gelato:

Bowl of Chocolate
Nice-Cream
Chocolate Gelato
Calories320444
Protein32g8g
Fat16g28g
Carbs37g42g
Sugar 1g40g
Fibre8g0g

Food Places you MUST try in Byron Bay, Australia

Last week I travelled with my best friend to Byron Bay – a beachside town in New South Wales, Australia, known for it’s laid back beach & hippie culture. We purposely booked this trip over Valentines Day, as a cheeky ‘romantic’ getaway for the two of us.

I’ve traveled with friends and family to Byron many times, but this was the first time I noticed HOW DELICIOUS and diverse all the food options were.

They have everything – vegan cafes, vegetarian restaurants, chocolaterie’s, wholefood cafes, Egyptian cuisine, fancy bars, Contemporary Australian cuisine, Indian takeaway, Asian fusion, Japanese dining, pizza and pasta… the list goes on.

What I was especially amazed by was how easy it was to eat healthy. With green juices, fresh coconuts, protein balls, fresh fruit, and superfood slices, on offer all over the place, I was spoiled for choice.

Breakfast

Safya Cafe

Safya Cafe serves Egyptian inspired dishes, in a beautiful spot where the ocean breeze flows right in. We went here three times for breakfast (because I could not get enough of their avo/dukkah toast & dandelion latte), but they also do a delicious lunch and dinner menu.

Bayleaf Cafe

If you want to enjoy the contemporary Australian brunch scene, head to Bayleaf. They offer all-day brekkie options in a beach-shack setting. Think house-made bircher, corn fritter stacks, and dill/salmon eggs. The place was packed for a reason.

Lunch/Dinner

Balcony Bar & Oyster Co

$1.50 oyster specials, daily sunset happy hour, live music, and $12 Espresso Martini’s – you can’t say no. Obviously we went for the oyster deal and then finished the night with an abundance of cocktails, a King Crab Salad and Lamb/Beef Pappardelle.

The Mez Club

We booked this for the night of Valentine’s day and readied ourselves for a Mediterranean feast. O went all out and ordered the Share Mezze Platter (for herself..), which hosted kofte balls, hummus, pita bread, oven-roasted tomatoes, falafels and more. I went for two dishes; stuffed bell peppers (with basmati rice/whipped fetta/dukkah) and the lamb kofte balls. Safe to say both were delightful.

Dessert

Byron is known for organic/wholefood food spots that do mouth-watering raw treats like vegan strawberry cream and caramel donuts. Check out Combi and Fundies Wholefood Cafe if that’s your thing.

However, if I’m having dessert I’m always going to have chocolate or ice cream. Safe to say we had more than our fair share of In The Pink gelato that week.

They are constantly introducing eclectic flavours like strawberry chocolate fudge, Nutella caramel, Gingerbread, and Orange Sorbet. On the last night I treated myself to a double scoop of chocolate fudge and Nutella caramel.

xx

P.s. if chocolate is your thing – be sure to check out Love Byron Bay – Crêperie & Chocolate Boutique.

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?

High Protein, High Fibre, Summer Smoothie Bowl

I’m constantly devising new smoothie recipes, so its no wonder that my blog is full of smoothie variations (see my detox smoothie, my green tea smoothie, and my acai bowls). There are just endless combinations.

This summer smoothie bowl I have created with a focus on vitality, protein and fibre. The key ingredient here is the Cacao Macadamia Raw Slim &  Tone Protein by Amazoniathis stuff has 7.5mg of iron and is 76% protein, which is fantastic for reducing fatigue and boosting energy.

This powder gives the smoothie bowl 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 – a great source of vitamin C for immune health
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries – for fibre, to help your body digest the protein
  • 1/2 cup almond milk 
  • 1 tbsp psyllium husks – brilliant for digestion as high in fibre
  • 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 like to garnish with Carman’s fruit free muesli, seasonal fruits, healthy nut butter’s from Mayvers.

Breakdown
Calories: 219 (335 with 1 tbsp peanut butter topping) 
Protein: 26g
Fat: 5g | Fiber: 14g | Carbs: 23g
Prep time: 5 mins

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 in some sort of marinade.

For most, raw fish probably doesn’t seem appetising, but when whipped up in a salad-style bowl with an assortment of other flavours it’s to die for. Raw fish is also beneficial for heart health, weight loss, and contains vitamin A and D (see more 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 Poke because a friend bought me a poke recipe book (probably to stop me from dragging her all over the place to try different poke bowls).

To make them yourself, you need a protein, base, salad, marinade, and some toppings for extra flavour and crunch. 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. If you live in Sydney and want to have Poke in a restaurant, try Poke, Nude Fish, Fishbowl (Japanese twist) or Pokéd.

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.

Snapseed 3

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