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. (Yes we purposely booked this trip over Valentines Day, as a cheeky romantic getaway for two single girls).
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 literally have everything – vegan cafes, vegetarian restaurants, chocolaterie’s, wholefood cafes, Egyptian restaurants, fancy bars, Contemporary Australian cuisine, Indian takeaway, Asian fusion, Japanese dinner places, pizza… the list goes on.
What I was particularly 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.
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 over the avo/dukkah toast & dandelion latte combo), but they also do a delicious Lunch and Dinner menu.
If you are here for the contemporary Australian brunch scene, head to Bayleaf. Offering all-day brekkie options like house-made bircher, corn fritter stacks, and dill/salmon eggs, it’s a brunch spot you just can’t miss.
$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.
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.
Byron is known for organic/wholefood food spots that do mouth-watering raw treats like vegan/GF 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 going to treat myself and go all out. Hands down the best ice cream shop I’ve ever been to is In The Pink.
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, and I have absolutely no regrets.
P.s. if chocolate is your thing – be sure to check out Love Byron Bay – Crêperie & Chocolate Boutique.
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!
You will need:
25g Chocolate Protein Powder
1/3 Cup rolled oats (Use coconut flour for the gluten free option)
100ml almond milk
Pinch of Salt
Pinch of Cinnamon
1 egg or 1 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 tsp baking powder
Vegan butter alternative or coconut oil for cooking
Peanut butter, blueberries, chopped banana for topping.
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:
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
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.
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.
Hands down my favourite breakfast ispancakes (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.
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).
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 🙂
Reading over and editing this post I realised how many times I used the word Spring. It starts to sound funny if you say it too many times, but unfortunately Oxford dictionary doesn’t have any good alternatives.
We’re getting to the end of Spring over here in Australia, and although I’m excited about the beachy, holidaying climate that summer is bringing, it’s sad to see those cool, breezy Spring days go.
Because Spring is the season before Summer, here in the Southern Hemisphere, its 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 I am reminding myself not to be too cynical about salads – with the right ingredients they can taste great, and they do have numerous health benefits.
So this Spring I worked with some of my favourite ingredients to create the perfect Spring salad.
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.
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.
Mmm some mornings all I feel like is a smoothie when I wake up.
Below is my recipe for a quick, healthy and FILLING smoothie for breakfast. This thing literally keeps me full until lunch, and I’ve made sure I packed it full of ingredients with wonderful health benefits.
You will need:
1 cup spinach – high in protein, fiber, vitamins.
1 tsp turmeric – contains curcumin which increases your immune.
1/4 cup almond milk (or water) – rich in protein and calcium.
1/2 cup blueberries – antioxidants combat ageing and boost cognition.
1/2 cup strawberries – source of manganese and potassium.
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 yogurt – makes you feel full and has great probiotics.
Blend them all together…
If you have any good smoothie recipes please share them with me! I’d love to try them.