Healthified Pancakes

I have been a pancake fan forever and I will take them any which way you give them to me.

Over the last few years though it has been a mini-mission of mine to pimp my pancakes so they pack a nutritional punch, while still being light and delicious. There have been numerous incarnations of healthier pancakes in my kitchen. But with this one I think I’ve have hit the jackpot. image

The only sweetner is banana so you can happily give them to little people, and they are easily made gluten free with the addition of gluten free posts. They come together quick smart and I can report that they were devoured by the G also (hence that half pancake on top).

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Perfect Healthified Pancakes (makes 6 smallish pancakes)

Ingredients 
1/4 cup oats
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1/2 banana
2(ish) tbsp milk (I used almond)
1 tsp vanilla

Method
1. First up pop your dry ingredients (oats, buckwheat flour and baking powder) into your food processor and whiz them up so the oats break down a bit- they don’t have to be super fine.
2. Add everything else and whiz again.
3. Heat your pan, add a little coconut oil (or another greasing agent) and cook 2 pancakes at a time. I could have got more but it makes flipping tricky.
4. You know the drill, when bubbles start popping on the surface of your pancake flip that sucker.

Now you can enjoy these babies however you choose, but it would be remiss of me not to mention how I ate mine… As peanut butter and raspberry sandwiches. Get. On. Board. You absolutely won’t regret it!

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I’m quitting sugar

… for lent.imageWhich is why yesterday this donut happened and it was delicious.

It’s not the first time I’ve given sugar the flick. Back in 2012 I successfully stopped eating the sweet stuff after the whole acute hepatitis episode.

Since then I generally try and keep it to a minimum, and although I don’t think I eat that much- certianly less than your average Aussie- I have noticed myself allowing more of it to sneak in recently.

So when one of my cousins mentioned that she’d given up added sugar for Feb Fast, and reminded us that lent started this week I was inspired. Sugar be gone! The fact that I nearly made myself I’ll on the stuff this past weekend probably helped.

I won’t be following the IQS (or any other) program, instead just going with the flow and being mindful about what goes in my mouth.

There is a good chance the next 40 days will include a fair amount of peanut butter… Wish me luck!

Banana Bread (again)

Bananas

My Saturday has included
– breakfast
– baking
– a failed trip to H&M (pro-tip: don’t go on a Saturday, just don’t)
– a large hot chocolate
– vegemite and cheese toastie

The baking has been the highlight (well along with breakfast). Unconsciously I think I have been on a search for my ideal banana bread. It’s tricky. I don’t want to fill it full of sugar. I’d rather make it gluten free. Most importantly, it’s gotta be damn tasty. And I think I may have found it.

Four words.

One. Bowl. Banana. Bread.

It’s also gluten free, and has only bananas and maple syrup for sweetness. I found it on Minimalist Baker, which I have been drooling over for sometime now but have yet to jump in and make any of the creations. What better place to dive in than with banana bread. Especially when you only need one bowl.

We start where all good banana breads start… with mashed, overripe bananas

banana bread: mashed bananas

Next up we add everything except are three flours

banana bread

Once whisked it’s time to add the oats, almond meal and gluten free flour.

banana bread

We whisk again and into the greased and lined tin it goes.

banana bread

Even at this point, I’ve gotta admit it smells delightful. Into the oven it goes for 45 minutes to an hour. I probably could have left mine in a little longer but considering I am planning to toast it for breakfast I figured it didn’t matter too much.

banana bread

Banana Bread (adapted from Minimalist Baker)

Ingredients
3 ripe bananas
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 egg
3 tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
3.5 tsp baking soda
a big pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup vanilla almond milk
3ish tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cup almond meal
1 1/4 cup oats
1 1/4 cup gluten free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)

Method
1. preheat oven to 180*c
2. mash your bananas in a bowl
3. add everything except the almond meal, oats and GF flour. Reserve the cider vinegar too. Whisk it up.
4. add your cider vinegar and give it another little whisk, it’ll fizz a bit.
5. almond meal, oats and GF flour are added, mix it up.
6. pour your batter into a loaf tin and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

You’re done! Now all you have to do is clean up the mess created in the process…

banana bread: behind the scenes

banana bread: behind the scenes

This is pretty much how my kitchen looks every time I bake something… In my defence I did clean the whole place up afterwards!

Banana-Apple-Walnut loaf

Who doesn’t love banana bread?

But what do you do when you only have 1 over ripe banana? You scour your fridge for any other bakeable fruit, that’s what. And that’s how I ended up with this frankenstein bread-loaf creation.

I started with Teresa Cutter’s healthy banana bread recipe, but didn’t have everything I needed to got to making substitutions.

Banana-Apple-Walnut loaf

A little rice malt syrup here. A little melted butter there. Some grated apple instead of banana. And BOOM! You’ve got yourself a tasty and healthy snack.

Banana-Apple-Walnut loaf (based on Teresa Cutter’s Banana Bread)

Ingredients
1 ripe banana, mashed
2-3 large apples, grated (squeeze most of the juice out too)
3 eggs
200g almond meal
1/2tsp bi carb soda
1/2tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp rice malt syrup
1tsp vanilla
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2-3/4 cup walnuts

Method
1. Preheat oven to 160*c
2. Combine banana, apple, eggs, vanilla, rice malt syrup, melted butter and apple cider vinegar
3. Add the almond meal, walnuts and chia seeds, mix it all up until combined
4. Spoon batter into a greased loaf tin
5. Bake for 45 minutes, test it with a skewer, if it comes out clean you’re done
6. Let it cool in the tin before removing
It should keep for about a week in an air tight container. You can also slice it up and freeze it in individual slices for a grab and go option.

Yum.

Gummies

The thought of making my own gummy lollies always struck me intimidating. Like so many things, once I actually attempted it, nothing could be further from the truth.

I first saw this recipe a couple of months ago on Balanced Bites and immediately wanted to try it. First I had to source the grass-fed gelatin the recipe called for (thank you GPA Wholefoods). It arrived reasonably swiftly and I was good to go. This and that pushed my gummy making to the side but with a free Saturday afternoon I decided it was time to make it happen.

With the AFL Grand Final on in the back ground- well done Hawthorn- I got to work. The recipe was simple enough, and I simplified it further… down to only 3 ingredients (4 if you include a splash of water).

First up you need a cup of berries (I used raspberries), fresh or frozen- defrost them if they’re frozen- and a cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice.IMG_5187Once the berries are defrosted they get whizzed up with the lemon juice and look like this. That’s the gelatin that is pretty much invisible in the bowl on the left. IMG_5193Add gelatin to berry-lemon mixture, it’s on a medium heat.IMG_5194Whisk. Whisk. Whisk. You want all the gelatin dissolved. you can see some lumps here still, they did disappeared. IMG_5196Once all your gelatin is dissolved pour your mixture into something to set, I used a cake tin (I have no idea why this photo looks anaemic, apologies). From here it’s into the fridge for about half an hour.

Do what you please for the next half an hour… And then… grab that tray out and marvel at how good you are. IMG_5195Because you just made gummy worms! Of course you don’t have to cut them into worms, they can be little chunks if you prefer, or any shape you please (you can bet I’ll be getting some cookie cutters involved next time).

These weren’t as flavoursome as I was hoping. Next time I might try a berry combo and add some zest to liven them up. Overall though I am very pleased with how these babies turned out. And not a grain of refined sugar in sight!

Raspberry and lemon gummy worms (adapted from Balanced Bites)

Ingredients:
1 cup berries fresh or defrosted from frozen
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
5 tbsp grass-fed gelatin (the original recipe calls for 6, but apparently an Australian (metric) tbsp is 20ml as compared to a US one that is 15ml- don’t ask me why… it makes zero sense to me)
As mentioned next time I’ll be adding some zest too

Method:
1. Let your berries defrost if they’re frozen while you juice your lemons- I realised upon doing this that there is not a citrus juicer in my house, how is that possible? Doesn’t everyone have a citrus juicer? Not me evidently. One cup took about 8ish lemons, I still didn’t have quite enough so topped it up with a little water.
2. Put your berries and lemon juice into a blender or mini food processor thing, whatever you’ve got handy. Whizz it all up until you’re good and smooth with no obvious berry chunks left.
3. Pour your berry-lemon mix into a small saucepan over medium heat.
4. Add your gelatin and whisk, whisk, whisk. There will be lumps, but if you keep a-whiskin’ they’ll disappear eventually.
5. Once your gelatin has dissolved take it off the heat and pour into a ceramic dish or cake tin and stick it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
6. It’ll be set but still a little jiggly, cut it however you please.

Vanilla almond choc-chip cookies

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I baked cookies. Honestly, I probably shouldn’t have because I’ve already eaten 3. It happened. The recipe is from The Whole Pantry app, which if you’ve not discovered yet I highly recommend. It’s full of tasty, healthy recipes and general goodness.

All of these healthy hints are perfect when trying to change your eating habits, as I have been since returning from Europe (we’ve now been home longer than we were gone, that means it’s time to plan the next trip, right?) I’ve been focusing on real, whole foods, nothing processed or refined. The only time that feels a little difficult is when you want a treat. But not anymore!

These babies tick a whole heap of boxes… Paleo- check! Vegan- check! Gluten free- check! Refined sugar free- check! You can even make them nut free, by substituting sunflower seed meal in for the almond meal. There are only a handful of ingredients, and they come together and are ready for the oven in less than 10 minutes flat. IMG_4799Dry ingredients meet wet ingredients… the warmed up honey and coconut oil smelled absolutely incredible. IMG_4801Crumbly but combined. At this point you have to exercise some serious self restraint to not eat the whole bowl like this. I managed to hold off until I had twelve cookies ready to go- then I ate the remaining mixture and was tempted to eat one two cookies raw. IMG_4802Ready for the oven. I put them in for 10 minutes to start with, and they didn’t need anymore (keep an eye on them just in case). They’ll be super soft when you pull them out of the oven but they firm up as they cool.

I will most certainly be making these babies again. I briefly considered making a second batch today- it may still happen…

Vanilla almond choc-chip cookies (from The Whole Pantry app)

Ingredients:
1.5 cups almond meal
2.5 tbsp coconut oil, melted
0.25 cup cacao nibs
2 tbsp maple syrup (I used honey due to my lack of maple syrup)
1 tsp vanilla
0.25 tsp sea salt (I forgot this…)
0.25 tsp baking powder

Method:
1. Preheat your oven to 170*c (340*f)
2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl (I melted my coconut oil and honey together first)
3. Mix it up
4. Portion onto a lined baking tray, press down slightly
5. Bake those suckers for 13 minutes (as I said mine only needed 10, but I may have a hot oven)
6. Leave them to cool- yes this is necessary, they’ll fall apart if you try and sneak one early
7. Eat ’em! IMG_4791

Baked Raspberry Cheesecake (sugar and gluten free)

A couple of weeks ago I attempted my first no-bake cheesecake. It was a raspberry and lime number with a cashew and coconut oil base. It was delicious.

For Mother’s Day dinner with the BF’s family I was in charge of dessert and so I decided to put cheesecake on the menu again. But this time it was going to be baked.

Pressure… I was feeling the pressure. If this didn’t work, then we’d be having ice cream with chocolate topping, which, let’s be honest, is a delicious dessert. However, I was hoping for something a little more impressive as a Mother’s Day treat.

Naturally I wanted to enjoy this along with the rest of the family so it was going to be sugar and gluten free. IMG_2595Base was up first, almond meal and butter, and a little flax meal, that easy. IMG_2596All pressed into our tin. Looking good so far, but the base is hardly the difficult part now is it. IMG_2597Filling. Whipped into a creamy cloud. IMG_2598Raspberries, about to folded through. And the just baked base ready to go. IMG_2599Ready for the oven. IMG_2600Baked! And not a crack in sight! IMG_2605Raspberry coulis time. Soooo red.

I didn’t get a photo of the finished product because it was eaten pretty quickly. But I can tell you I had two slices and then took some home, it is now sitting in my fridge begging me to eat it every time I open the door…

Baked Raspberry Cheesecake

Ingredients:
200g almond meal
50g butter, melted
600g cream cheese
140g sour cream
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
3-4tbsp stevia
1tsp vanilla
300g raspberries

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 160*c and grease a 20cm springform tin
2. Combine almond meal and butter, and press into the base of your tin. Bake for 5 minutes, allow to cool.
3. Whip cream cheese, sour cream, eggs and yolk, stevia and vanilla until creamy.
4. Fold in half the raspberries.
5. Pour filling into your tin and bake for 40 minutes. The centre will still be jiggly, let it cool in the tin.
6. Toss the rest of your raspberries and a couple of teaspoons of stevia into a pan and cook until juicy, mash the berries. Done.
7. Pour coulis over your cheesecake, cut and serve with cream or ice cream… delicious!