Monday, 30 December 2013

Dominate the New Year!

Every year for as far back as I can remember I would make the resolution to get fit and slimmer. Every year I would fail until I found myself counting down the new year in 2012 and realising that I had lost my perpetual resolution and I had finally achieved the goal I had so desperately wished for, for far too long (even when I blew out my birthday candles). 

If you find yourself this time of year thinking about your battle with your health and fitness, there are some tips I can give you and many great tools on my previous posts. However, I achieved this goal not because of a resolution but because of a spontaneous choice to change my lifestyle for good. My persistent commitment and nothing else has got me to when I can finally stop resolving to lose weight in the New Year. 

When I meet people and they find out how much weight I lost. They always ask me; what's the secret. I hate this question because we all know the answer; it isn't Jenny Craig, Weight Watches, a juice diet, a raw diet etc...Its balanced living: making small positive changes daily...never quitting or making excuses. 

However much you want a six pack or to fit in a size 8 pair of skinny jeans, please don't make the resolution to lose weight this year. Statistically you will fail. Instead make goals to change small things like; eat a nutritious breakfast every day and stop drinking soda or even just cut out potato chips. Those small changes over a long period of time will give you results. I have noticed that a lot of people will buy their lunches and dinner...why don't you make your resolution to cook or prepare food for yourself at least five out of seven days a week. Not only will this benefit your health but your wallet too!

 I am making my health and wellness resolutions for 2014, and I thought they might be interesting or helpful/inspiring for you. 

1. Eat as clean as possible. Eat food with ingredients you understand and preferably are unprocessed, organic and ultimately local. The farmers markets on the weekend are fabulous for providing fresh produce at really affordable prices. Try the Riccarton House market on a Saturday morning if you live in my city: Christchurch, New Zealand.

2. Participate in social physical activity. I plan to do more duathlons and maybe even push myself to do a triathlon. They aren't too scary, especially the social ones like the PhysioMed Women's Duathlon & Triathlon. Furthermore, I'm thinking of starting a gym class or a dance class. However this goal is heavily dependent on funds :(

3. Do something each day that your future self will thank you for...I love this quote and it reminds you that those little baby steps or small decisions every day will contribute to reaching your goals.

4. Now this one is for my mental well-being: start my career! I am determined to start working as a marketer, using my degree and making all that time and money worth it! Working in retail has taught me so much and given me many helpful skills; however, one more boxing day will kill me :P

How will you kick off your New Year? Hopefully you don’t wake up next to a random, hung-over and disorientated. This year you can start off the New Year how you plan to live it…healthy!

I'm starting with breakfast:
Egg omelette wrapped around sautéed asparagus, ham, mushrooms and a sprinkle of feta. Yum!


I love at the moment:

1.     The Collective Company’s new fresh yoghurt smoothies. I am in love with the ‘Super’ flavour. However I give my seal of approval to the ‘zZoom’ and the ‘Green Machine’.
2.     My new Fro-Frutti from Kmart. It turns frozen fruit into soft serve or sorbet!
 


3.     Bliss Balls. Packed full of super foods. Nuts, seeds and sweetened naturally = my dream energy packed treat!



Happy New Year!
2014 is yours! xx

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Mug-cake Madness - cake for one!

When the midnight munchies hit or you want a quick breakfast that tastes like dessert but is good for you...then why not whip up one of these babies!

1. Banana Nut Muffin:


In a bowl mix together:

  • 1/3 cup of oat flour (grind oats in bullet blender)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sweetener - i like equal stevia (at most supermarkets)
In a separate bowl mash:
  • 1/2 ripe banana
Mix in with banana:
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 Tbsp geek yoghurt
  • 2 Tbsp milk
Combine wet and dry, then cut up the rest of you banana and fold into mix.
Pour mix into greased mug.
Add sprinkling of chopped walnuts
Microwave for 1:45 - 2:0 minutes
Tip onto plate and top with geek yoghurt mixed with:
  • 1 tsp of vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tsp of sweetener 
  • A bit of milk if needed
Note: Add 1/2 Tbsp of good quality cocoa to the oat mix to make it a choc-banana muffin!



2. Berry Cream Mugcake:

 
Mix together:
  • 1/4 cup oat flour
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • 1 Tbsp yoghurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla protein powder
  • 1 Tbsp berries
  • 2 drops of liquid stevia or 1 tsp of any sweetener of you choice
Pour into greased mug
Microwave for 1 minute
Tip onto plate...
Pour a mix of: 
  • 1 Tbsp yoghurt
  • 1 tsp protein powder 
  • 2 drops of stevia or 1 tsp of other sweetener of you choice
On top with mashed and defrosted (if frozen) berries.



3. Cinnamon Apple Mugcake:


Chop 1/4 of an apple into small pieces.
Put into a mug with a Tbsp of water and sprinkle cinnamon on it.
Microwave for 1 minute (until soft) drain excess water.

In a bowl mix:
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 1 Tbsp almond meal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp sweetener (honey/maple)
  • 1 Tbsp yoghurt
  • 1/3 cup milk
Blend together and then pour into greased mug on top of the apple.
Microwave for 1:00 to 1:20 minutes.

Enjoy! xx

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Revive Your Cooking Motivation With These Recipes...



After my recent recipe book shopping frenzy, i have found my new favourite cook books from Revive Cafe based in Auckland. Revive is vegetarian, healthy and full of goodness.  Many of their dishes are vegan, dairy free and gluten free. 



Two Favourites: 


Chewy Indonesian ice:


Makes 3- 1 cup servings

1 cup of brown ice
2 cups of water

1 spring onion
1 capsicum
1/4 cup currants
1/4 roasted peanuts
1/2 tsp chilli flakes or crushed chilli
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp curry powder
2 Tbsp of date puree o honey

Lemon dressing:
1/4 oil
1 clove garlic chopped or crushed
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp lemon juice

Method:
1. cook ice until tender and sticky
2. Chop the spring onions and capsicum finely
3. Combine the lemon dressing ingredients in a blender and blend
4. Combine all ingredients well in a big bowl



Spring Kumara Mingle:

Makes 6 - 1 cup servings:

2 large Kumara
1 Tbsp oil
400g can of red kidney beans (chickpeas is nice too)
1/4 cup Chermoula dressing (see below)
4 cups fresh spinach torn
1/2 tsp salt

Method:
1. Wash the kumara and chop into 2cm cubes leaving the skin on
2. Toss with oil on an oven tray. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for around 15 minutes o until soft
3. Mix all ingredients in a bowl



AMAZING DRESSING:

Chemoula Dressing:

Makes 2 cups:

1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
3 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp honey or date puree
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp crushed chilli
1 cup oil
1/4 room temp water
2 tsp cumin seeds (optional)

Method:
1. Select a blender, food processor or stick blender
2. Blend all ingredients (except oil, water and seeds)
3 While blending, slowly add oil and then add water at end until desired consistency is reached
4. Mix in cumin seeds

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Power Bars

These were an experiment and i tried to remember how much of each ingredient i used. Please let me know if you try this and whether it works out for you. They were so yummy!

Ingredients

  • About 1 packed cup chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 Tbsp. ground chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. ground flax seeds 
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats (dry, not cooked)
  • 1 cup shelled pistachio nuts
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate chips (optional - but so good!)
  • 1/3 cup egg whites (or 1 egg and 1 egg white)
  • 1 Scoop of protein powder - vanilla or plain is best.
  • 1/4 cup of wheat bran

Method

Preheat the oven at 190 degrees Celsius.
Combine the dates, honey, eggs, chia seeds, flax seeds and salt in a food processor, and pulse until smooth and combined. You should be able to stir the mixture. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the oats, pistachios, dried cranberries, protein powder, wheat bran and white chocolate chips until evenly combined.
Pour into a baking paper lined 20cm by 20cm square tin. Press and spread evenly into the tin. Bake for about 20 mins or until golden brown - keep an eye on it and use your intuition - times will vary for every oven.

Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. 


Sunday, 29 September 2013

Tasty Italian for One

If you are both single and a lover of pasta like myself...then this is the perfect recipe for you! A dish full of vegetables and lean protein. A simple and quick meal if you use left over chicken and jarred or leftover roasted peppers but is full of complex flavours.

This was my creation from what I had in my fridge...enjoy! Best enjoyed with a glass of wine ;)

Ingredients:

50-80 grams of whole wheat spaghetti or egg fettuccine (dry - but fresh would be even better)
1 cup of cherry tomatoes roughly chopped
1 roasted pepper (equivalent of jarred roasted peppers) roughly chopped
250 ml of hot stock or seasoned boiled water
1\8 cup of grated cheddar or  grated Romano/Parmesan
5 button mushrooms sliced thickly
two handfuls of fresh baby spinach
1\2 cup of leftover chicken or smoked chicken diced
1/8 cup of diced red onion (brown onion is fine too)
1-2 cloves of garlic (the more the better in my opinion!)
1 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar
1/2 Tbsp of Tomato paste
1/4 cup of red wine
dried mixed herbs and salt and pepper to taste
Finely chopped parsley

Method:

  1. Get a saucepan full of well salted boiled water and get to a rolling boil.
  2. Add pasta and cook until al dente - drain and set aside 
  3. In a fry pan, saute red onion until it starts to caramelise
  4. Add balsamic vinegar, garlic, tomatoes and red peppers
  5. Cook until the chopped tomatoes start to break down then add half a cup of the stock/seasoned water and the sliced mushrooms
  6. One the 'sauce' has begun to reduce and the tomatoes have broken down even more, add the rest of the stock/water, tomato paste and the red wine.
  7. As you go add dried herbs and seasonings to taste
  8. After a couple of minutes reducing the sauce - add the cooked/smoked chicken, spinach and cooked spaghetti/fettuccine - when the sauce is a few minutes from perfection.
  9. Once the chicken is heated through, the spinach is just wilted, remove and dish onto a warm place or bowl.
  10. Sprinkle with grated cheese and freshly chopped parsley.
  11. Enjoy!
This was a lovely dinner that can be bulked out to impress crowds easily.




Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Rocking it Asian Style - Super Soba!

Soba, the Japanese buckwheat noodles most often served in both hot and chilled broths, appear here in a salad. They are widely available, usually sold in boxes or plastic bags in the Asian section of the supermarket. I've kept the vegetable additions basic, but feel free to put in slivered radishes for more colour or to substitute slivered green beans for the snow peas.
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 4
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 200-270g soba noodles
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

Dressing
  • ¹/³ cup unseasoned Japanese rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup mild-flavored extra-virgin olive oil or other vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, grated


Vegetables

  • 1/4 red onion thinly sliced
  • 100g snow peas, cut into ¼-inch diagonals (about 1½ cups)
  • 1/2 bag of mung bean sprouts
  • 1 cup of shredded cabbage
  • 1/4 capsicum julienne 
  • 1 medium carrot, finely shredded (about ½ cup)
  • ½ cup thin matchsticks of cucumber (seeds removed)
  • 1/4 cup of toasted cashews/peanuts/sesame seeds

Meat
  
  200g pork mince
  1 Tbsp sesame/peanut oil
  2 Tbsp sweet chilli sauce


1. Heat wok with oil and stir fry pork mince with the chilli sauce until golden brown. Set aside.

2. Bring a medium saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil. Add the salt and noodles to the boiling water and cook until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the noodles in a strainer. Rinse with cold water. Transfer the noodles to a bowl and toss with the sesame oil. Refrigerate until ready to mix with other ingredients.
3. To make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk the rice vinegar, oil, soy, ginger, garlic and salt until blended.
4. Add the snow peas, onion, carrot, cucumber, mung beans, cabbage and half of the dry roasted nuts/seeds to the soba noodles. Add the dressing and toss to thoroughly blend. Top with the remaining nuts/sesame seeds.
Serve cold.
Substitutions
-Substitute diagonally sliced asparagus, 1-inch lengths of green beans and/or mixed mushrooms.
-You can use any meat on hand - diced chicken/pork/beef etc.

This was a big hit in my flat! A real crowd pleaser!

I also found a brilliant website that is straight forward and allows you to compare two foods' nutritional content:

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Pesto Perfection

So quick, easy, and–in this case–so good for you, pesto helps you make dinner in a flash. You can put it on your favourite pasta, in your omelettes/frittatas/quiches or on pizza. It is also fantastic to add to rice, quinoa, or potatoes. Spread on crackers or bruchetta, pesto makes for a super-simple but very tasty appetizer. And this particular one delivers a nutritional punch with lutein-packed spinach and omega-3 oils from flax seeds and walnuts.


All this, and it tastes delicious, too...
Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup walnuts, baked for about 7 minutes in a 190C oven (or in a small dry non-stick pan on the stove-top) until lightly toasted
  • 3 tablespoons flax seeds
  • 4 cups spinach leaves, packed (use can use frozen, thawed, if fresh spinach is unavailable)
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic, depending on how much you like it - the more the merrier is my policy!
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil/avocado oil - garlic/herb infused rice bran oil would work nicely too...maybe even walnut oil if you are lucky enough to have some!
  • 1/3 cup freshly-grated Parmesan/Romano
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt - I'm a fan of Himalayan salt (the pink salt)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper


1. Grind the walnuts and flax seeds together in a food processor for about 1 minute. Add spinach, garlic, olive oil, Parmesan, water, salt, and pepper, processing until the mixture is smooth.
2. To use, add the desired amount to cooked pasta, adding some of the reserved pasta-cooking water if needed for consistency.



Savoury twist to a breakfast favourite:



Pesto French Toast:

Serves 2


Ingredients:


  • 1 large eggs and 1 white or 1/3 cup of egg whites - I use Zeagold egg whites from the chilled section by the milk at selected Countdowns or Fresh Choice Barrington.
  • 1.5 tablespoons pesto
  • 4 tablespoons trim milk or almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon honey (optional - I don't bother)
  • 2-4 thick slices of soft bread, preferably some herbed sour dough variety or really grainy!
  • 1/2 cup cubed reduced-fat feta
  • 2 slices of good kiwi shoulder bacon or deli ham (bake/grill/fry)
  • Smoky sauce like BBQ/Hickory 
  • Mesclun greens: e.g. Rocket/Baby spinach 

Method:

  • Crack/pour your eggs into a small bowl.
  • Add in the pesto, milk, and honey - if using.
  • Whisk until well combined.
  • Heat a pan over medium-high heat. Spritz with Canola oil.
  • Soak bread slices in the egg mixture until well saturated.
  • Cook as you would "normal" French toast. Flipping until set in the middle and well browned.
  • Serve on a bed of greens with smoky sauce drizzled over the bread and cooked bacon/ham and top that with the feta...YUM!


Here is cheaper pesto recipe - no herbs and a less costly nut/seed option...Use in all the ways mentioned above...

Spinach Pesto With Pumpkin Seeds:

Ingredients:


  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup baby kale leaves (or more spinach) - you can often find Kale at Raeward Fresh or The Funky Pumpkin  - you could experiment by adding other green vegetables like edamame (soy beans) as a replacement too.
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast (Lotus supply the yeast to selected Health 2000 stores and Liberty Market/Piko Wholefoods in CHCH

  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 to 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil - one with good mono-unstaturated fats: choose from this great infomation sheet
  • salt + pepper

Method:

  1. Roast your pumpkin seeds: 400 degrees F for 5 to 7 minutes -- until browned (or dry roast on stove-top in pan) -- then let cool a bit while you get the rest of the ingredients together.
  2. Then place all ingredients except the salt + pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice into your food processor and pulse.
  3. Then start adding in the lemon juice + olive oil a bit at a time until you reach your desired consistency.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to your tastes.
  5. Makes a heaping cup. Cover in an airtight container and store for up to a week. Or freeze.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Power Breakfasts:

Lately I have been alternating between two different breakfasts that are full of protein/fibre and keep me full until lunch time!

Microwave Frittata:

Basic 'base':
1-2 Tbsp Cottage cheese (lite is best but it doesn't matter too much)
1 whole egg + 1 egg white or 4 egg whites

Options for fillings:
10 grams (handful) of torn baby spinach
1 Tbsp finely grated hard cheese like Romano
10-20g of crumbled feta
Spring onion finely chopped
1/8 cup Edamame (soy beans) - high in protein!
1-2 button mushrooms
Sundried tomatoes
Roasted jarred capsicum
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
About 50g of: Leftover meat from dinner or ham/cooked bacon etc...
Leftover vegetables from dinner

Really the possibilities are endless..

You can top these with chutneys, mashed avocado, hummus etc...

Method
Spray a mug with cooking spray, set aside.
In a separate bowl combine and beat the 'base' ingredients.
Chop/prep the filling options and add to base mix
Season with herbs and/or salt & pepper
Pour mix into the prepared mug then place into the microwave.
Cook on high for 30 seconds, then stir, then another 30 seconds, then stir.....until the egg is just set. This should not take longer than 2 minutes.

I like to place on a piece of rye or whole grain/wheat toast - I'm loving Signature Range rye at the moment - high protein!


No time to make breakfast in the morning?
Are you looking to incorporate more 'super' foods into your diet?

Then this breakfast is for you...

Anna's Super-Charged Power Overnight Oats:

1/3 cup whole grain oats (old fashioned oats)
1 Tbsp of raw buckwheat
1/2 - 1 Tbsp of chia seeds
1/2 - 1 Tbsp of ground flax seed (linseed)
1 Tbsp Goji berries
1/2 to 1 tsp of cinnamon
1/3 cup of low fat yoghurt (I like fresh and fruity lite) - unsweetened Greek is best though.
1/4 cup of low fat/unsweetened almond/coconut/soy/rice milk
Sweeten with low calorie/low G.I. sweetener if you need to but if you use flavoured yoghurt, you shouldn't need to.


  • For added punch:
    • If you are heading to the gym then add a scoop of vanilla or unflavoured protein powder. NOTE: you may need a bit more liquid if you do this option.
    • 1/2 to 1 Tbsp of Maca powder is great for energy and libido boost - also a great hormone balancer. This powder has been found to improve PMS and boost sperm count!


Layer options:
Frozen/fresh berries
Sliced banana
Diced pineapple
Diced Kiwifruit
Really, any seasonal fruit that you like...

Toppings:
No more than 28g of dry roasted nuts and seeds
Or  1-2 Tbsp of nut butter
Or 1 Tbsp Cocoa nibs

Method:
Combine ingredients.
Spoon 1-2 Tbsp of mixture into tall glass
top this with a layer of fruit of your choice.
Repeat...

Cover and chill in the refrigerator...
In the morning quickly roast nut/seed combo in a small dry fry pan and throw on the top...or top with nut butter/nibs.


Let me know how you go with these and if you have any questions regarding where to find these ingredients ask in the comments or on Facebook.
If you live in Christchurch, I suggest Liberty Market on Moorhouse Avenue for these and other 'healthy'/'organic'/'natural' foods.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

My Love Affair with Lentils

Lentils have become a staple in my newly improved diet. Low in calories and high in nutrition, lentils are perfect to eat in the summer in salads and spreads and fantastic in the cold months in hearty stews, soups and curries. I always gravitate towards foods that are easy to cook, and lentils are a hassle-free compliment to any meal. Nutty and earthy in flavour, lentils have a high nutritional value that anyone can benefit from by incorporating them into their diet. I have learnt to use them in place of meat in dishes like lasagne, and have used them to up the protein factor in things like hummus.

For some great lentilspiration: Recipes.


Eat lentils and reap their health benefits including:

Source: mindbodygreen.com

1. Lower Cholesterol – Lentils help to reduce blood cholesterol since it contains high levels of soluble fibre  Lowering your cholesterol levels reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke by keeping your arteries clean.

2. Heart Health – Several studies have shown that eating high fibre foods like lentils reduces your risk of heart disease. Lentils are also a great source of folate and magnesium, which are big contributors to heart health. Folate lowers your homocysteine levels, a serious risk factor for heart disease. Magnesium improves blood flow, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Low levels of magnesium have been directly associated with heart disease, so eating lentils will keep your heart happy!


3. Digestive Health – Insoluble dietary fibre found in lentils helps prevent constipation and other digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis. 


4. Stabilized Blood Sugar – Adding to the many benefits of fibre, soluble fibre traps carbohydrates, slowing down digestion and stabilizing blood sugar levels. This can be especially helpful for those with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia.


6. Increases Energy – Lentils increase steady, slow-burning energy due its fibre and complex carbohydrates. Lentils are also a good source of iron, which transports oxygen throughout your body and is key to energy production and metabolism.


7. Weight Loss – Although lentils include all these beneficial nutrients like fibre  protein, minerals and vitamins, they are still low in calories and contain virtually no fat. One cup of cooked lentils only contains about 230 calories, but still leaves you feeling full and satisfied.


6. Increases Energy – Lentils increase steady, slow-burning energy due its fibre and complex carbohydrates. Lentils are also a good source of iron, which transports oxygen throughout your body and is key to energy production and metabolism.


7. Weight Loss – Although lentils include all these beneficial nutrients like fibre  protein, minerals and vitamins, they are still low in calories and contain virtually no fat. One cup of cooked lentils only contains about 230 calories, but still leaves you feeling full and satisfied.




5. Good Protein – Of all legumes and nuts, lentils contain the third-highest levels of protein. 26 percent of lentil’s calories are attributed to protein, which makes them a wonderful source of protein for vegetarians and vegans.


Tips for Preparing and Cooking

Source: http://www.whfoods.com


Tips for Preparing Lentils


Lentils can be prepared the day of serving since they do not need to be presoaked. Before washing lentils you should spread them out on a light coloured plate or cooking surface to check for, and remove, small stones or debris. After this process, place the lentils in a strainer, and rinse them thoroughly under cool running water.

The Healthiest Way of Cooking Lentils

To boil lentils, use three cups of liquid for each cup of lentils. Lentils placed in already boiling water will be easier to digest than those that were brought to a boil with the water. When the water returns to a boil, turn down the heat to simmer and cover. Green lentils usually take 30 minutes, while red ones require 20 minutes.
These cooking times can be slightly adjusted depending upon the final use. If you are going to be serving lentils in a salad or soup and desire a firmer texture, remove them from the stove top when they have achieved this consistency—typically 5-10 minutes earlier than their usual cooking time. If you are making dal or some preparation that requires a mushier consistency, achieving this texture may take an additional 10-15 minutes.



Monday, 1 July 2013

Cake + Cake + Loaf = YUM

The 29th of June was my 22nd birthday and i decided to bake two cakes to celebrate! 

Cake #1:



Irish Mocha Cake:

Makes: 12 servings
Active Time: 
Total Time: 

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole-wheat pastry flour - (I sifted together 1 Tbsp cornflour with 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and a 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp of plain flour twice to make my version of home-made pastry flour).
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar or equivalent sweetner of your choice
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup nonfat buttermilk (1/2 Tbsp vinegar/lemon topped until half cup with trim milk)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten - or egg replacer equivalent (I used Orgrans egg replacer, you could use a flaxseed/chia "egg")
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil/avocado oil
  • 2 Tbsp Irish cream Sugar Free Torani syrup
  • 1/2 cup hot strong black coffee - I used Robert Harris Irish plunger blend

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 180 Celsius. Coat a 9-inch (23 cm) round cake pan with cooking spray. Line the pan with a circle of wax paper. (I used a silicone mould which I greased and floured).
  2. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add buttermilk, sugar, egg, oil and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add hot coffee and beat to blend. (The batter will be quite thin.) Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake the cake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes; remove from the pan, peel off the wax paper and let cool completely.
  4. Ice with avocado icing - link below...

NUTRITION

Per serving: 139 calories; 3 g fat ( 1 g sat , 2 g mono ); 18 mg cholesterol; 26 g carbohydrates; 2 gprotein; 2 g fiber; 212 mg sodium; 60 mg potassium.

Avocado icing



Cake #2:


Tropical Cheesecake:

  • Base
  • cooking oil spray - to grease the tin
  • 5 Arnotts Gingernut biscuits
  • 1 cup oat flour/almond flour
  • 1/4 cup Unrefined organic cold-pressed coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp ground ginger

  • Filling
  • 1250g reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 125g light cottage cheese
  • 1 egg + 3 egg whites (or two whole equivalent in egg replacer)
  • 400g plain low-fat unsweetened yoghurt - I used passionfruit yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons plain flour
  • 1/3 cup icing sugar
  • 1/8 cup pureed tropical fruit

Topping
Large container of Dole tropical fruit pureed - minus the 1/8 cup used in the mix above
2 tsp cornflour
Toasted coconut

Step 1Preheat oven to 180°C. Spray a 20cm springform pan with oil. Place biscuits and oats in a food processor bowl and process until finely crushed. Add oil and process until combined.
Step 2Press biscuit mixture in the base of prepared pan. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes to chill. Then cook for 10 mins. Allow to cool before pouring on the mixture.
Step 3Process cream cheese and cottage cheese until soft. Add eggs and process to combine. Stir in yoghurt, icing sugar and flour. Pour over prepared base.
Step 4Place pan on an oven tray and bake for about 1 hour, or until just set. Turn oven off and cool cake in oven with door slightly ajar.
Simmer puree with cornflour in saucepan over medium heat until it thickens - cool
Toast around 1/4 cup of desiccated coconut in a dry pan until golden brown.
Spread puree over cooked cheesecake, sprinkle with the toasted coconut and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.




I have also recently tried this awesome loaf given to me by my dad. The recipe is originally from the Women's Weekly but I have healthified it! It is so yummy...light & fluffy, yet moist!

Date and Walnut Loaf:



1 cup pitted dates, coarsely chopped 
1 tsp baking soda 
1 cup boiling-hot black tea
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed or coconut sugar for low GI
1 egg, lightly beaten  - or egg replacer substitute
1 tbsp melted coconut oil (refined) 
1 tsp vanilla essence 
2 cups self-raising flour, sifted  - I used 1 cup whole wheat and 1 cup plain flour mixed with 2 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp of baking soda sifted together
½ cup walnut pieces
1. Place dates in a bowl. Sprinkle with baking soda and cover with hot tea. Set aside for 1 hour for dates to soften and cool.
2. Heat oven to 160C. Grease and line a standard loaf tin with baking paper.
3. Stir brown sugar, egg, butter and vanilla into the cooled date mixture. Stir in sifted flour and walnuts to just combine. Spoon mixture into prepared loaf tin.
4. Bake for 1 hour or until loaf tests cooked when a skewer inserted comes out clean.


Monday, 17 June 2013

Two recipes for you to try this week...

My winning recipes of the week:


Tropical Inspired Pancakes

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

  • Oat flour (grind/blend rolled oats in processor) - could use any flour/meal but oat is low GI
  • Mashed banana/crushed pineapple
  • 15g/1Tbsp low fat unsweetened Yogurt - or lite cottage cheese for more protein
  • 1/4 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp Baking soda
  • Sweetener of your choice (optional - the fruit gives plenty)
  • Shredded coconut  - to taste: I put in about 1/2 Tbsp
  • 1 egg white/equivalent of egg replacer (I used Orgrans)
  • 1/4 tsp Ground ginger
  • Milk/water to get to the right consistency (Optional)
Method:
Blend all the ingredients in a processor or bullet blender and add the additional water/milk until the batter reaches the desired thickness.

To serve: 
I spread/drizzled my home-made coconut butter over them with sugar free maple syrup and some low fat yogurt. Some chopped tropical fruit like mango, pineapple etc. would be nice on top too.



Sun-dried Tomato and Red Lentil 'Hummus'

This is great to eat straight with carrot sticks or on whole-grain crackers etc. or in a wrap. I have used it as a pasta sauce - thinning it out with some left-over pasta water. I plan to use it in a vegetarian roasted vegetable lasagna this week too - yum!

Yield: 1 heaping cup

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup uncooked red lentils + 1 & 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil)
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 5 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt, or to taste
  • water to thin out, if needed
  • Herbs & seasonings of choice, if desired



Nutritional info (without tomatoes): (per 2 tbsp) 45 cals, 1 gram fat, 7 grams carbs, 60 mg sodium, 1 gram fibre, 3 grams protein.

Read more: http://ohsheglows.com/2012/06/15/sneaky-red-lentil-hummus-kitchen-sink-veggie-wrap/#ixzz2WWU9XJFW