4 ingredient Vegan Choc-Peanut Cookies… that actually taste good (V, DF)

Helllooooo 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/snacks to snack on through out the week.

Now that we’re all getting cold in Sydney (and by cold I mean the weather has changed to 22C/71F, and Sydney-siders are wimps), it’s lovely to have some comfort food options that aren’t going to make the anticipation of bikini season super stressful.

For these I use 2 ripe bananas, 1/4 cup creamy organic crunchy peanut butter, 1 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup organic dark chocolate chips.

Mix these ingredients all together in a bowl and place in small balls on a lined baking tray to cook.

Cook for 10 minutes at 200C/390F.

ENJOY!

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

Chocolate ‘Nice-cream’ For Breakfast (Vegan)

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

If you don’t know what nice cream is, let me help you. It’s basically a soft and velvety concoction that tastes like ice cream but is made from all the good stuff. As such, 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. My recipe is an ultra filling dessert, but I 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

Banana and Almond Muffins? Yes pleaaassee | Recipe

You know when you have that sudden craving to bake? Well I experienced this at about 11pm last night and I just had to go with it.

I usually head straight for the cacao and medjool dates to make something super chocolatey-infused, gooey and sweet, but for some reason today my eye caught the two overripe bananas that were sitting on the kitchen ledge.

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So, I preheated the oven to 180˚C and gathered together what I could find in the pantry for my filling banana and almond muffins. These can be made vegan and are gluten free.

I found:

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 just 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 together to form a runny mixture, which I combined in the bowl with the dry ingredients.

Next I mixed all the ingredients together in the bowl, and placed about 2 heaped spoonfuls of mixture into 8 lined cupcake tins. All they needed was around 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

I found Vegan Yum Cha and it didn’t disappoint 

Vegan Yum Cha. When you first hear it something doesn’t sound quite right. Doesn’t Yum Cha involve selections of pork buns, prawn/pork dumplings, beef entrails, spiced meat balls, chicken wrapped in lotus leaf (the meat-involved list goes on)?

The Green Gourmet offers a totally plant-based Yum Cha menu. From fake-Beijing-duck wraps and chia seed ‘prawn’ dumplings to BBQ-not pork buns and taro meat balls, they have it all.

From the outside, the restaurant doesn’t look like much. A (very green) hole in the wall, sitting on the Pacific Highway amongst the barking traffic, it’s a gem only locals know about. Inside soft music plays, customers sit at quaint wooden tables and the delightfully tasty food is served by accommodating 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 if you ask me).

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 compliment 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.

Do note that 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.

Safe to say it was delicious and I would recommend to anyone in the area!

xx

I tried being Vegan for a week

Yes I decided to go vegan for a week, and no I didn’t die of malnourishment.

I’ve always been interested in trying out different diets I hear about (Banting, Paleo, Vegetarian, Mediterranean you name it). Except I’ve always had a hard time with veganism.

For some reason the stereotype of the vegan diet being bland, boring and difficult to cater for has always put me off. This past week, 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.

Sunday DAY ONE

I’ll start here by admitting that the vegan diet was meant to start yesterday (Saturday). However come Saturday lunch time, 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. Perusing the menu (naively expecting to find multiple vegan-friendly options) 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 (no butter please) 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/haloumi – 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 as to not inconvenience her.

Hint 2: Perhaps offer to cook/bring your own dishes to others houses, if you’d like to be invited back.

Tuesday DAY THREE 

I had work all morning and decided to treat myself by going out for a late lunch afterward (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, snowpeas, 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 definitely 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 all the way to 4pm.

I realised here that I was half way 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 dairy and animal products be working?

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Brunch ~ Homemade Butternut Cashew Pasta, kale salad, roast tomato, 1/4 avocado

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 close 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 almost made it… I thought I’d definitely 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 my favourite Indian restaurant, Cumin. I went with the Dal Tadka (a staple favourite of mine), knowing that it was 100% vegan and 100% delicious. A perfect end to the week.

The Verdict: I have to say, as much as I would have liked to come out of this week as a hardcore vegan promoter, I just don’t think I could keep it up. I had a wonderful week exploring new food options and meals, and I genuinely respect the lengths vegan’s go to, to protect animals, their health and the environment (read more here). 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 butters, nut milks, soy milks and egg replacers) and to cut down on my meat intake. 

Do you have any diets you swear by? Let me know xx

Four Months of Freedom in Sydney

Uni is finally over and I have a break for four months.

I’m so excited to just relax and explore Sydney and finally do the Asia travel I’ve been anticipating for months.

Since I finished last Wednesday I have packed in seeing as many people as I can and doing as much exciting stuff as I can fit in around my shifts at work (9 to 5 four days a week this Christmas season).

Since then I have also been to a couple of restaurants with friends, my favourites being Courtyard at Coogee Beach, where I had an acai bowl and a matcha latte, and BahBQ a Brazilian restaurant in Crows Nest which offers the unique experience of a Brazilian Churrasco where you pay $59pp to have an all you can eat degustation.

My favourite meals are the fire roasted meats, garlic prawns, grilled halloumi, polenta chips, crumbed banana and roasted pineapple.

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I also had a shopping day with my best friend and we went to see the massive Christmas tree (3 stories high) at Queen Victoria Building and bought some Christmas presents for friends. I also bought myself two pairs of bikini bottoms from H&M for only $15, to increase my swimmer collection for when I go traveling to beachy places like the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Byron Bay in the coming months.

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Standing underneath the tree at QVB – hundreds of Swarovski crystals create a dazzling illusion as they hang from a mirror base

I’m so excited for the coming months, I’ve had a great first year at uni but I am very ready to relax with friends, travel and eat good food instead of being cramped in my room studying.

Tomorrow I’m off for breakfast at a Middle Eastern restaurant called Kepos Street Kitchen, and I’m tossing up between ‘Dad’s favourite brekky – falafel, hummus, labneh, soft boiled egg, tomato salad, schiacciata bread’ or the ‘Avocado toast, coriander seeds, crispy kale, poached eggs’.

Then, for dinner I’m meeting up with a childhood friend for one of our favourite chill nights at the Green Gourmet which is a vegan restaurant that does fake ‘meat’ and I always order the ‘Lo Han Tsai 十八羅漢齋煲 -Bean curd stick, baby sweet corn, carrot, tiger lily buds, wood ear, red date, bean vermicelli & fresh vegetables, stir fried with a delightful blend of Hoi Sin & soy sauce’.

xx

Green Tea Smoothie? Getting Your Greens the Yummy Way

Summer or winter I love a good smoothie (keep in mind I live in Sydney, Australia so winter isn’t really a winter).

After lots of trial and error, I have created the perfect smoothie with ingredients that have different benefits for clean eating.

1

You will need:

1/3 Cup brewed green tea
Green tea is nature’s power drink, packed with anti-oxidants whilst carrying 0 calories. The low doses of caffeine keep you stimulated and awake without the negative effects that excessive amounts of coffee can bring. Green tea has also been shown to increase fat burning when drunk before exercise and prevents chances of cancer, infections, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Incorporating it into your diet is very recommended, but as I can’t stomach the taste of pure green tea, I like to add it to my smoothies.

1/4 cup Jalna pot set natural vanilla yoghurt
I love to add a small amount of creamy Jalna yoghurt to give my smoothie the taste boost that makes me love it. Don’t be fooled by half-fat yoghurts, advertising the benefits of a lower fat diet, remember that less fat means more sugar and the lack of satiety provided will make you want more.

Handful of frozen blueberries
Blueberries are little bursts of nutrients, full of fibre and important vitamins. They help prevent cancer and cholesterol problems and have also been shown to prevent heart disease. Adding a couple of handfuls to your diet each week is essential to clean eating.

1/2 a banana
Banana’s are wonderful for a low-calorie snack which still fills you up. They are associated with numerous health benefits, but perhaps the most poignant is that they have been shown to preserve memory. The brain is arguably the most important part of the human body, so including foods which boost its power is fundamental.

Heaped teaspoon of chia powder
Chia seeds have dominated the ‘clean eating’ industry since it began, with almost every superfood recipe including them. Their popularity is due to their anti-ageing properties, their help with digestion (keeps you feeling fuller longer and reducing sugar cravings), bone strength and how they help with building muscle and losing weight. This last feature of the seeds is because of their ability to absorb 10x their own weight in water, meaning they prolong hydration and improve nutrient absorption of electrolytes.

1 teaspoon of acai powder
Needless to say, acai powder is a recently discovered (by the health industry) superfood. If you haven’t seen acai powder on almost every health food restaurant menu, it’s basically a powder made from acai berries found in South America. Having all of the properties (and more) listed above for chia seeds, they are mostly associated with weight loss as they oxidise cholerestrol preventing it from clinging to arteries.

1 cup of almond milk
I love almond milk! A lot of my friends have told me its an acquired taste, and although it may be, after about a year of drinking it I think it tastes like a chocolately, nutty brew. Using unsweetened almond milk is a reduction of 40% of your calorie intake, over drinking cows milk. Although you don’t want to stick solely to almond milk (builds up lactose intolerance), incorporating it into your diet where you can is important.

xx

Fresh Acai Bowl’s for Breakfast!

And I’m back after a huge dry patch of not posting – I’m sorry!

I really don’t have an excuse but I’ve been having so much fun checking out other people’s blog posts that I didn’t find any time to make my own.

However, today I made an acai bowl for breakfast, and I thought I would share my recipe with you.

For those who don’t know what an acai bowl is, it’s basically a smoothie which you eat with a spoon and put a heap of yummy, crunchy and fruity toppings on.

I find this recipe very easy, and I’m no great chef. So don’t worry about complexity here.

IThey are also lots of fun to decorate in the bowl, so making your own makes you feel like the ultimate foodie and a world chef.

I use my NutriBullet for the recipe, and whizz the following all together:

  • One pitted Medjool date
  • 1 tbsp Acai powder
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1.5 cups mixed berries
  • 1 cup of almond milk (I personally prefer this over cows milk)
  • 1 tbsp of peanut butter (any nut/seed butter will do)
  • 1 cup spinach

The best part of a homemade Acai Bowl is decorating it after. For this, I chop up half a banana, crush some walnuts and sprinkle some gourmet muesli.

And voila! Enjoy.

Have you tried Acai Bowls before?

xx

Attempting to make Raw Vegan ‘Cheese’ Cakes..

I’m not a vegan, but I’ve recently been very interested in the lifestyle. A diet a find particularly interesting is raw veganism.

Yep 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 creating 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

Method
Base

  1. Soak medjool dates in boiling water for 15 minutes
  2. Line cupcake tray with casings
  3. Drain medjool dates
  4. Put medjool dates and cashews in blender and blend until a paste forms.
  5. Press paste into bottom of cupcake casings and put in fridge

‘Cheese’ Cake

  1. Blend white quinoa, juice of the lemon, coconut oil, yogurt, coconut milk milk until smooth and creamy
  2. Empty mix into a bowl
  3. Mix in vanilla extract (more can be added depending on desired taste)
  4. Pour mixture into cupcake casings on top of base.
  5. Place raspberries and blueberries on top of cakes
  6. Place in freezer for 4 hours

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