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.
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).
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!
Here’s the macronutrient breakdown compared to 2 scoops of regular chocolate gelato:
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.
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!
Wait… doesn’t Yum Cha involve selections of pork buns, prawn/pork dumplings, beef entrails, spiced meatballs, chicken wrapped in lotus leaf?
The Green Gourmet offers a plant-based Yum Cha menu. From fake-Beijing-duck wraps and chia seed ‘prawn’ dumplings to BBQ-not pork buns and taro meatballs, they have it all.
From the outside, the restaurant doesn’t look like much. A (green) hole in the wall, sitting on a major Highway amongst the barking traffic. It’s a gem only locals know about. Inside soft music plays, customers sit at homely wooden tables and the tasty food is served quickly by the friendly staff.
My cuisine craving this week was Chinese. After visiting 45 Broughton Chinese Takeaway on Wednesday night for delicious stir fried black fungi & greens in oyster sauce, sweet & sour chicken, (real) pork buns and San Choy Bow, by Saturday I wanted more.
My friend and I decided to order a Green Gourmet feast whilst doing a Harry Potter movie marathon (the perfect combination).
We ordered the Deluxe Gourmet Entrée which, for $32 together, gave us a selection of BBQ-not-pork satay skewers, ‘oyster’ (mushroom) fritters, steamed dumplings and burdock salad. To complement the entrée range we ordered stir fried veggies in soy sauce, shangtung-not-chicken and finished the meal off with peppermint tea and dark chocolate.
The Green Gourmet also does a fantastic selection of homemade vegan desserts; ‘monkey choccy’ sponge cake, lemon and berry ‘cheesecake’, Oreo chocolate cake (to name a few). But we didn’t have much of a sweet tooth that night so decided to give them a miss.
The Green Gourmet has two locations – St Leonards and Newtown. If you’re in the area definitely give it a try!
I’ve always been interested in trying out different diets I discover (Banting, Keto, Paleo, Vegetarian, Mediterranean you name it). Except I’ve always had a hard time with straight veganism, because of how many food groups it cuts out.
The benefits that the Vegan diet provides to the environment and to animals are undeniable. (If you have any shred of doubt about this check out the facts here).
However, I am sceptical about whether it is a viable option for maintaining balanced nutrition and fuelling my body with everything it needs to function. Whilst I am surethat there are ways to get all required nutrients whilst being vegan, as there are fewer options to choose from, it requires a commitment to ensure that the body is deficient in anything.
To elaborate; when committing to a vegan lifestyle you must ensure you are still getting enough protein (1.3 x your weight in kilograms, in grams), iron, omega 3 fatty acids, zinc.
So, I decided I was only allowed to judge it once I’d given it a go, and try being the all-scary, waiter-frustrating, plant-based eating, VEGAN. For a week.
Sunday DAY ONE
I’ll start here by admitting that the vegan diet was meant to start yesterday (Saturday). However come Saturday lunchtime, with the all-good intentions of being vegan, I bought Dal and Naan from an Indian shop I wasn’t familiar with. When my food arrived I found the Dal was made with creamy ghee butter and the Naan was smothered in cheese. With my steaming Dal and gooey, cheesy naan staring up at me, I decided veganism would have to wait until Sunday.
Hint 1: When ordering out at new places, always ask what ingredients are in dishes.
Sunday, my first day of being vegan. My boyfriend and I went out for brunch at a local cafe that does the generic big brekkies, bircher muesli’s, porridges, pastries etc. for breakfast. I was shocked to find that not one of the twenty-or-so dishes were vegan. I had to Build My Own Brekkie and ordered half an avo, roasted cherry tomatoes, and a slice of toasted sourdough for AU$12.50.
For dinner, I went out with a friend to Coco Cubano, a restaurant that serves flavour-packed Cuban food, including Fajitas, Nachos, Pressed Sandwiches, Burgers, Burritos, Churros and exotic cocktails (reminds me of an up-market Guzman Y Gomez). I went with their quinoa salad – and opted not to have a topping of chicken/steak/halloumi – with a side of guacamole and plain corn chips. My problem: The meal was delicious, but I was still peckish afterwards. I had to have a handful of roasted cashews and almond milk tea to save me rolling about with hunger pains all night…
Monday DAY TWO
I didn’t have any big plans today (eating-wise) but I did have my weekly Game of Thrones night with my friend, where she always cooks dinner for me. I have to admit, I did feel a little uncomfortable mentioning that I was Day Two of my vegan streak, and when I sheepishly mentioned my diet restrictions I realised I had to bring a dish along so I wouldn’t be a pain.
Hint 2: Offer to cook/bring your dishes to other’s houses.
Tuesday DAY THREE
I worked all morning and decided to treat myself by going out for a late lunch afterwards (a habit that’s become a little too regular lately). Usually, I would head for Guzman Y Gomez, Sushi Train, or Grill’d, but I spotted a restaurant that’s recently opened up, called Nudefish Poké. I chose to go with the Down to Earth poké bowl which hosted tofu, mushrooms, beetroot, pickled carrot, ginger, snow peas, radishes and tamari almonds, brown rice and avo in a salty-sweet soy sauce. I definitely wouldn’t have usually chosen this option, but it turned out to be a delicious choice I’ll go for again.
Wednesday DAY FOUR
I was off to uni today, which meant I needed a big, filling breakfast if I was going to last the day without breaking the budget and splurging on another bought lunch. I put together a homemade brunch, taking inspiration from Niomi Smart’s Butternut Cashew Wholemeal Pasta (she calls it vegan Mac n’ Cheese), which filled me up until 4pm.
I realised here that I was halfway through the diet. Had I noticed any changes in my mood/appearance/health? To be fair, I was only four days in, but I had noticed my skin had mysteriously cleared up – it was looking a lot fresher and livelier… could cutting out animal products be working?
Thursday DAY FIVE
Thursday was a full on day of work and uni, but I managed to squeeze in a quick dinner at Sushi Train with a couple of friends. Straying away from my usual sashimi, soft shell crab and tuna/avocado rolls, I went for the avocado seaweed salad (with soy sauce dressing), a large bowl of miso soup packed with creamy tofu, and edamame beans. The meal combo was so good, that I’ve decided I’m going to go for it the next time I’m there, regardless of being vegan or not.
Friday DAY SIX
I’m coming to the end of my seven days, and I’m in shock that I’ve made it so easily… I thought I’d slip up with the temptations of baked goods, Gelato, creamy sauces and chocolates that had been staring at me from shop windows all week.
On the way home from work I stopped by at McDonalds, to check out if the menu had any vegan options – I was expecting to be told that I would only be able to have a glass of water. To my surprise, that was not the case.
Hint 3: The sodas, apple pie, bread, hash brown’s and juices are all vegan approved.
Saturday DAY SEVEN
I’ve come to the end of my vegan week and went out with a bang with dinner at one of my favourite Indian restaurants; Cumin.
The Verdict: I had a wonderful week exploring new food options and meals, and I respect the lengths Vegan’s go, to protect animals, their health and the environment. However, the limitations with ordering out, and the guilt I felt inconveniencing others when I ate at their houses were major drawbacks for me.
However, noticeable changes in my mood, skin and weight (after just one week) has motivated me to look for more animal product alternatives (nut butter, nut mylk, soy mylk and egg replacers) and to cut down on my meat intake.
Do you have any diets you swear by? Let me know xx
Summer or winter I love a smoothie. Having said that, I live in Australia, so winter isn’t that cold.
After lots of experimenting, I have created the perfect smoothie with ingredients that have different benefits for a healthy lifestyle.
You will need:
1/3 cup brewed green tea Green tea is nature’s power drink. It’s packed with anti-oxidants and carries 0 calories. The low doses of caffeine stimulate your system, whilst increasing fat burning and preventing the chance of cancer, infections, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. If you don’t love the taste of pure green tea like myself, finding fun ways to incorporate it into your diet (like through smoothies) is the best way to go.
1/4 cup Natural Yoghurt I love to add a small amount of creamy Jalna yoghurt to make my smoothie thicker. Go for the full-fat version to make sure your smoothie fills you up. Don’t be fooled by half-fat yoghurts – lower fat means more sugar making you hungrier and wanting more. Dairy-free alternatives I like are Cashew/Almond Yoghurt or Coconut Yoghurt.
A Handful of frozen blueberries Blueberries are little bursts of nutrients, full of fibre and vitamins. They help prevent cancer and cholesterol issues and have also been shown to reduce the chance of heart disease.
1/2 a Banana Banana’s are a wonderfully filling, low-calorie snack. They have numerous health benefits, but perhaps the most interesting is that they have been shown to preserve memory due to their levels of vitamin B6.
1 heaped TBSP of Chia Seeds Chia seeds have dominated the clean eating space for as long as I can remember. No wonder… because they have so many health benefits. They have anti-ageing properties, they aid digestion and bone strength. As they can absorb 10x their weight in water, they prolong hydration and improve nutrient absorption of electrolytes.
1 TSP of acai powder See more about the benefits of Acai Powder in my recent post.
1 cup of almond milk I love almond milk! I do believe it’s an acquired taste, but once you learn to love it, you will be using milk that is 40% less calorie-dense than cow’s milk. However, if you are worried about developing lactose intolerance, make sure to still incorporate a moderate amount of dairy in your diet.
And I’m back after a huge dry patch of not posting – I’m sorry! I’ve been busy perfecting my Acai bowl recipe.
For those who don’t know what an acai bowl is, it’s a smoothie decorated with crunchy, fruity garnishes and dollops of nut butter. Except, you eat it out of a bowl – like soup!
Acai (pronounced ah sah ee) powder comes from the Acai berry, which comes from the Amazon region. The berries are packed with nutrients, providing a dense source of antioxidants that fight harmful free radicals in the body.
The recipe is very simple, but once you are done with all the different colourful toppings and it begins to look like quite a fancy breakfast dish.
You’ll need to use a blender to whizz all the ingredients together. I use my Nutribullet, which is by far the most powerful blender I’ve ever owned.
I’m not a vegan, and definitely not a raw vegan, but I’ve recently wanted to educate myself on the diet by trying out some recipes.
Yes that’s no animal products, by-products, and nothing can be cooked. Check out YouTuber Kate Flower’s who follows the raw vegan diet, and provides lots of insight into the lifestyle.
I decided to challenge myself to create a raw vegan ‘cheese’ cake recipe. I took inspiration from Choosing Chia‘s recipe and The Loopy Whisk’s post, to guide me and make sure they weren’t a complete flop.
What’s important in this recipe is the fruit! Add more berries to the topping for more flavour.
You will need:
1/2 cup cashews
1/3 cup Medjool dates
3/4 cup white quinoa
Slice of lemon
1 teaspoon coconut oil
6 heaped teaspoons coconut yogurt
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Half tablespoon maple syrup
blueberries for topping
raspberries for topping
Soak dates in boiling water for 15 minutes
Line cupcake tray with casings
Put dates and cashews in blender and blend until a paste forms.
Press paste into bottom of cupcake casings and put in fridge
Blend white quinoa, juice of the lemon, coconut oil, yogurt, coconut milk until smooth and creamy
Empty mix into a bowl
Mix in vanilla extract (more can be added depending on desired taste)