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 ūüôā

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

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 180ňöC 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

Cauliflower Pizza & Movie Night

On the weekends, I try to whip up something a little fancier than protein and veggies for a bit of a change РThai green curry, lamb roast, or laksa for example.

Tonight I decided to keep it simple and throw together a pizza. It turned out to have quite an eclectic mix of toppings because I had bits and bobs of leftover food I wanted to use.

I used butternut pumpkin, asparagus, basil, low-fat mozzarella, a tomato, roasted peri peri chicken slices, shallots and a tin of champignon mushrooms (the mushrooms were a bit random.. don’t know if I’d do it again).

For the base, I used Picasso Kitchen Cauliflower Base! It was delicious! Only 282 calories in the entire base. You can also make your own Cauliflower base if you are feeling creative.

The best part was that it was only 15 minutes from when I started cooking to serving the meal. This was perfect because I was having a hungry day and I just wanted to eat!

I winged the tomato sauce by blending 3 tbsp greek yoghurt, basil and 1 whole tomato. All the pizza needed was 10 minutes at 200ňöC in the oven before it was ready to eat.

We ate our pizza’s while watching The Intouchables – if you haven’t seen this movie, I highly recommend it.

xx

5 Go-to Healthy Snacks

As mentioned in my previous posts, I am a huge snacker.

To stop me from standing in the pantry and eating everything in sight, I have five healthy snacks that I go for when hunger strikes.

These are:

  • Carrot sticks & Hummous – carrots are my favourite veggie because of their sweetness. I buy Pilpel Hummus to go with them, as it has so much flavour and is basically just chickpeas.
  • Dried fruit/nut mix – I go for a mix of pecans, pepitas, dried apricots, sultanas and walnuts. The fruits satisfy any sweet cravings and the nuts fill you up.
  • Carman’s Nut Bar – Carman’s does such a great range of healthy and filling muesli bars. If your local supermarket stocks them I would recommend checking them out. They are the perfect snack, and funnily enough, I got up at 2am the other night because my stomach was rumbling, and the Carmen’s nut bar was the perfect fix to send me back to sleep.
  • Popcorn – try to avoid popcorns that are doused in butter, just plain corn kernels will do the trick.
  • Sugarless banana & oatmeal cookies (see recipe below)

Sugarless Banana/Oatmeal Cookies Recipe

I have been making batches of these for longer than I can remember because they are the perfect moreish snack, especially when I’m on the go.

You will need:

  1. 1 cup rolled oats
  2. 3/4 cup self-raising flour
  3. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  4. Sprinkle of salt
  5. 1/4 cup olive oil (be ready to add more in case your mixture is too dry)
  6. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  7. 1/2 cup sultanas
  8. 2 soft bananas
  9. 1/3 cup pepitas
  10. 2 tbsp maple syrup
  11. Handful of pecans (to decorate)
  12. Feel free to add chocolate chunks if that’s your thing – I LOVE Pico Super Dark chocolate to bake with.

Preheat the oven to 180ňöC. Mix the oats, flour, cinnamon, salt, sultanas, bananas and pepitas together in a large bowl. Then, add the olive oil, vanilla extract and maple syrup and stir to combine.

Add extra olive oil until the mixture is cookie dough consistency. Roll into small balls and whack in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes (or until golden brown).

I hope you enjoy these great snacks.

xx

Flourless Banana Pancake Recipe

There is nothing better than waking up to warm, fluffy pancakes.

Of course, that requires someone to make them for you, but I’m always happy to do the hard work if it means I get the largest one. This week, I was having pancake cravings so I used my recipe for simple, healthy, flourless recipe for pancakes. I like to substitute white flour for oatmeal because oats are full of fibre, very nutritious, and filling, meaning that the pancakes are sure to keep me full until lunchtime.

The banana also acts as a sweetener instead of cane sugar, whilst providing the fluffy texture

I’ve come up with oatmeal-banana pancakes –¬† the banana acts as the perfect healthy sweetener, whilst adding a creamy texture to the batter.

You only need 4 ingredients and this recipe makes around 3 medium sized pancakes. Each pancake is very filling, which saves you from snacking for the rest of the day.

You will need:

  • ¬†1/2 a very ripe banana
  • ¬†1 egg (vegan option: 1 chia egg)
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Place all the ingredients in a blender and pulse together until smooth and runny. Add a dribble of milk (I use almond) if the mixture is too dry. Sometimes I also like to add powdered peanut butter for some nutty flavour.

Grease pan with coconut oil, and pour batter into pancake shapes over medium heat. Wait for them to bubble before you flip!

For toppings I usually go for a compotee of mixed berries: mix 1 cup of mixed berries, 1/2 tbsp maple syrup and cinnamon together. Microwave for 30 seconds and then stir shaved almonds or coconut shavings through.

This is a perfect fix for breakfast in bed, and it’s filling and contains nutritious ingredients!

Enjoy!

Christmas: the Ultimate Treat Day

I don’t believe in ‘cheat days’ but rather ‘treat days’.

Sounds like a small difference to most, however, in order to foster a healthy relationship with food it has been important for me to redefine what eating junk food means. This meant a slight change in perspective: rather than unhealthy meals being ‘bad’ and a ‘cheat’, I see them as a treat that provides balance amongst my healthier food choices.

Of course, Christmas is all about treats and enjoying lots of wonderful flavours.

I started off the day with a candy cane cookie (Vegan Shortbread recipe, shaped in a candy cane – my friend made them for me) and a T2 Choc Chip Chai.

Then I busied myself making a Bread & Butter Pudding. And of course, I ate half the batter as I was making it. I used Taste’s recipe for it. Despite my affinity for anything with chocolate, B&B Pudding is still my favourite dessert.

To make the B&B pudding a little more nutritious, I added two eggs (six eggs total), took out the pure cream, and substituted the cows milk for almond milk. If you want a dairy free recipe you could try coconut cream, coconut milk and Nuttelex as your cream, milk and butter substitutes.

I find it’s fun to ‘healthy-fy’ recipes where I can – it was still just as delicious, and reduced the richness of the pudding so I could enjoy other things!

Just before lunch, we had assorted cheeses (Camembert, Brie, Cheddar) with biscuits, salami slices, bread sticks, chopped veggies with avocado dip and tomato relish. These were savoured with mulled wine and champagne.

For the main meal, there was an array of dishes but I chose smoked ham, roast chicken and prawns, with a side of a quinoa, kale and roast beetroot salad that I tossed together.

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What’s important with Christmas is your mindset. Don’t go crazy all day on Dec 25 and then try to restrict calories for the rest of the week – you’ll just end up having a crap holiday. Rather, listen to your body and eat until you are full, enjoy the treats you wouldn’t normally enjoy, and eat intuitively for the days after. Your body will naturally crave fewer calories after a full day of Christmas eating!

Merry Christmas! I hope everyone had a lovely day, whether you celebrate Christmas or not.

xx

A Delicious Alternative to Restaurant Bought Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken is one of my favourite dishes. So, I decided to develop a healthier recipe so that I could enjoy it more nights of the week. Every now and again I do like to enjoy the real thing. If you live in Sydney, Nilgiris does a fantastic butter chicken that I would recommend.

For my homemade butter chicken I substitute the butter, cream and naan for other, leaner flavours.

For one serving:

  • 150g chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup Greek yoghurt (or plain dairy free yoghurt).
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • Handful of slivered Almonds
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (you can try other oils if you like, but I find that olive oil gives the best flavour)
  • Couple of sprigs of coriander, chopped finely
  • Sprinkle of salt and garlic powder
  • 3/4 tbsp of Garam Masala for more authentic flavour
  • Vegetable stock or water, to add if the paste becomes too thick

After mixing everything except the chicken thighs and yoghurt together in a bowl, chop the chicken thighs into small pieces and mix them in with the paste you just made. Then fry the bowl contents on medium-high heat, and once the mix is done stir through the Greek yoghurt.

It’s as easy as that!

I usually serve this with some falafels or brown rice for a nutritious source of healthy carbs!

xx