snack

Paleo Almond & Chocolate Chip Cookies – GF & Vegan

Paleo almond meal

A healthier approach.

Lately I’ve been trying to squeeze a little yoga in before bedtime, to stretch out my runners legs and as part of a wind down routine. Let’s call it a spot of self care. For the most part it’s working out pretty well, it’s calming on the mind and loosening those tight muscles little by little. Years and years of heavy running along with my penchant for hard hitting circuits (pain is good, isn’t it?) means that I’m not exactly Miss flexible. In fact I’m about as flexible as a wafer! The thing is I know what I need to do to, stretch, foam roll, massage but I guess I’m a bit lazy. I’m hoping that my nightly 10 minute yoga sequence will help, I’ll let you know.Almond cookie stack

One thing I have no trouble sticking with in the evening is my nightly ice cream habit! It’s one of my vices but  really I could do with something a little healthier. I shouldn’t think a sugary dairy hit is not what my body wants before bed, despite what my mind is telling me. So I wanted to make something equally as delicious, more healthful and with way less sugar.  My mind didn’t immediately gravitate to a cookie but this isn’t any old cookie! This is a super cookie made from such healthful ingredients you could have easily get away with having them at breakfast.

Right, I’m going to convince you why you need these cookies in your life. First up, they’re utterly delicious and I’m not just saying this, truly. They’re not overly sweet and contain just a few healthy ingredients including almond meal, coconut oil, honey and almond milk. The best part is they are really low carb which is perfect for some late evening paleo snacking. The low sugar content wont give you any crashes and as they’re jam packed with almonds, this healing food will in fact stabilise blood sugar which is important if you’re crashed out for the next 8 hours. See, these cookies are amazingly for you, just check out the ingredients list for yourself. I devoured a couple last night during a ‘Dexter’ session and I must say, I was impressed all over again and I could see that Russ felt the same!Cookie dough

Cookies for breakfast anyone? I’ll be having a couple tonight, before bed,  a habit I don’t feel the urge to kick.

What do you eat to satisfy evening cravings?Almond cookies

Paleo almond & chocolate chip cookies

1 cup almond meal
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
dash of cinnamon
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon almond milk
1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips

Method:

1. Add the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl. Combined the wet ingredients whisking thoroughly. Add the wet ingredients to the almond meal mix along with the chocolate chips. Bring together to form a cookie dough.
2. Roll into 8-10 small cookie balls and place on a baking tray. Press down lightly with a fork.
3. Bake at 175 ºC for 8-10 minutes until lightly golden. Be careful not to over cook. Remove from the oven & allow to cool before storing.

Raspberry Bomb Coconut Muffins

These are the bomb!
These are the bomb!

A coconut thing.

My love of coconut is way out of control, I slip some of this exotic fruit into most meals! Whole coconuts, flaked coconut, desiccated coconut, creamed coconut, coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut butter….coconut anything! Anyway, I needed something yummy to brighten this seriously dull Sunday. It’s ‘British summertime’ and the sun has disappeared with a sky so grey that there is no sky. *Sigh. Hence a need for some kitchen therapy and some yummy goodness in my life. Plus, I need some snackage for the work week ahead. I found these muffins on All Recipes which I tweaked to create a sugar free lower glycemic muffin. I managed to incorporate coconut in three forms: milk, oil and desiccated. Bonus!

Totally inspired by all the silly best of both/half and half bread products out there, I made these 50% whole wheat  and 50% white (well it’s OK if it’s cake but come on just get with the wholegrain bread and be a man!). So, enter the ‘best of both’ sugar free (splendid stevia), raspberry (I used St Dalfours French Jam as it’s sweetened naturally with grape juice) bomb coconut muffins.

Raspberry bomb muffinsUmmmmmmmmmm. My Mum’s two favourite things happen to be coconut and raspberries so I’m going to drop some round this afternoon because I’m nice like that!

Raspberry Bomb Coconut Muffins

(makes 12)

125g plain flour
125g whole wheat flour
175g stevia
3 handfuls desiccated coconut
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 egg
90ml coconut oil
200ml Koko (coconut) milk
1/2 jar good quality raspberry jam

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 190 ºC. Line a muffin tin with twelve cases.
2. Put all the dry ingredients into a large bowl.
3. In another bowl, lightly beat together the egg, oil and milk.
4. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together. The mixture should be fairly thick.
5. Put 1 1/2 dessertspoons of mixture into each of the cases. Then put half a teaspoon of the jam onto the mixture. Add another dessertspoon of mixture to cover the jam.
6. Sprinkle each with a little more coconut.
7. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until the muffins are a lovely golden brown colour.

Allow to cool completely & enjoy with a cuppa.

Spiced Carrot Muffins

Carrot spiced muffin

Do you randomly reminisce about mediocre food you were fond of as a younger you? I do, all the time but come to think of it, I think about any food, all of the time! Of late it’s been the ginger biscuits I made as a kiddo, usually when I was bored or avoiding homework. They were nice but I wonder, were they really that good? I’ve been thinking maybe it’s the nostalgia that makes food seem more appealing than it perhaps was?! In their defence, these ginger biscuits were pretty popular though, my family loved them for a good tea dunking. It’s just that there really wasn’t anything special about them, they were just biscuits. But they were the first biscuit recipe I nailed and gosh was I proud! See, it’s nostalgia. They were bursting with immense gingery goodness, probably because I usually doubled the suggested 1 teaspoon to 2, well 2 1/2 actually!

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to make some gingery baked goods for a while now. I just love ginger with it’s warm, rich, spicy yet sweet flavour provoking memories of a gloriously sticky ginger pudding smothered in creamy pale yellow custard. Even a fiery Thai or Chinese stir fry packed full of ginger just makes you feel warm and comforted. Yes, I think there’s something comforting about ginger and I love that it’s good for us too. In India, ginger is viewed as a complete wonder spice and this is good enough for me (being a huge fan of all things Indian).

I used an overly-heaped teaspoon in the muffin mix because I just love the flavour and it works fantastically with the pineapple, carrot and raisins. In hindsight, these could even take some more – so if you like ginger go for 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons. Definitely a match made in heaven. I’m thinking of making oatmeal with these flavours, kind of like an exotic carrot cake breakfast. I used honey and crushed pineapple to sweeten and to ensure it retained as much moisture as possible, plus I wanted to replicate the moist and sticky ginger puddings I loved so much as a kid.

Step by step

Alongside ginger I used a teaspoon of cinnamon,  another spice I am completely obsessed with. I use  both these exotic spices most days, even just a sprinkle on cereal, toast or porridge. A few years back in the middle of some hefty marathon training  I read that cinnamon is amazing for blood sugar regulation. Obviously, eager to gain a winning edge I started stirring heaps into my breakfasts, popping it into smoothies, sprinkling on honey toast, whisking through pancake batter and adding generously to my curries, North African dishes, well anything really. I swear this carried me through the long hard training and not once did I ‘hit the wall’ as they say in running jabber. Purely psychological? Maybe, but there’s something in it, quite literally. Whenever I google ‘cinnamon benefits’ it never ceases to amaze me (same for ginger) how healing these can be! I’m pretty mindful about generous health claims but the taste, aroma and colour of these spices just make you feel like you’re doing your body a favour.

These muffins are super blood sugar regulators and high in fibre too.  Full of wonderful flavour and texture, these muffins are an acceptable breakfast snack and even a worthy pudding contender – with a scoop of ice cream or  a dollop of custard. Are you sold yet?

Carrot spiced muffin
Sticky, sweet, spiced & fruity

What was the first recipe you mastered as a kid (or adult for that matter!)?

Spiced Carrot Muffins

(makes 10-12)

1 1/2 cups of wholemeal self raising flour
1 teaspoon of ginger
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
small handful of crushed walnuts
small handful of raisins
2 tablespoons of honey
1 cup of shredded carrot
1 cup of crushed pineapple
1/2 cup canola oil
1 egg

Method:

  1. Sift all the dry ingredients together and combine well. Add the walnuts, raisins and carrot.
  2. Combine the wet ingredients and mix just enough to fully combine.
  3. Place in 10-12 muffin cases and sprinkle with oats.
  4. Bake at 175 ºC for 25 minutes.

Bake for 25 minutes at 175 °C.

Banana Spelt Bread Loaf

Better than cake!
Better than cake?

Having your cake and cheating it!

Bursting with fibre, B vitamins, potassium and low GI to boot but this banana bread could be cake it’s so good! Adding nut butter gives this a protein kick also, making it ideal for a hurried breakfast.

I’ve never eaten banana bread before! Well I have now……well actually I’ve eaten half a loaf so far and I’ll definitely be baking and eating this bread much more in the future. It’s delicious, healthy and so easy – winner!

Hands off- these are reserved for banana bread!
Hands off, reserved for banana bread!

It’s best to use really ripe bananas so this is great if you’re trying to use up old battered ones.

I stumbled across the recipe on The Healthy Foodie blog with a claim that this loaf is the best banana bread EVER. Well if I’m going to try this for the first time what better recipe to choose than the tastiest banana bread EVER!

But I can’t say whether this is the best banana bread in the world because it’s the only banana bread I’ve tried. It’s a great place to start though! Well actually it’s a gloriously tasty place to start, so tasty I doubt I’ll even try another!

I adore bread and love bananas and this loaf fools me into thinking I’m eating cake but in actual fact there’s no sugar or bad fat involved. Bonus.

A piece of cake!
A piece of cake!

Have a great day.

Banana Spelt Bread

(makes 12 slices)

Dry Ingredients:
1 cup spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 heaped teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup raisins

Wet ingredients:
2 medium bananas
1 egg, beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1 vanilla pod, deseeded
coconut, to sprinkle on top

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 175 ºC. Combine all dry ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Mash bananas in a larger bowl, add the egg, buttermilk, vanilla.
  3. Use a spatula to combine wet and dry ingredients fully without over stirring.
  4. Transfer mixture to a greased loaf tin. Sprinkle with coconut and place in the centre of the oven for 1 hour or just under.  Use a toothpick to check if it’s cooked through.

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