Friday, 15 August 2014

Peanut Butter & Sultana Apple 'Sandwich'

Vegan - Vegetarian - Gluten Free - Dairy Free - Paleo - Oil Free - No Added Sugar - No Added Salt

This is a super easy, yet super yummy recipe. Plus, it's a completely balanced snack; containing complex carbohydrates (the apple), heart healthy fats (the peanut butter), protein (also the peanut butter) ,simple sugars and fibre (the sultanas). Everything you require in one sitting! Plus, you also get to eat the rest of the apple which doesn't make it into the 'sandwich'. Cook's perk I guess.

As always choose an all natural peanut butter or a peanut butter with the least amount of ingredients as possible. Ensure the peanut butter you choose has absolutely no added sugar and only uses heart healthy oils, such as palm oil. When your choosing sultanas, ensure you buy a packet that contain only the dried fruit and maybe a small percentage of oil. But ensure that the sultanas you choose do not have any added sugar what-so-ever.

Peanut Butter & Sultana Apple 'Sandwich'

Ingredients1 apple
1 tablespoon crunchy/smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon sultanas

- Cut an apple in half. I used a Golden Delicious apple (because this particular apple and also Pink Lady apples are my favourite), but use whichever apple you prefer.
- Cut two large, even sized chunks out of the apple and set aside the rest of the apple (but don't forget to eat it - waste not, want not).
- Core the chunks of apple using an apple corer (like me) or a knife.
- Spread one tablespoon of crunchy or smooth peanut butter onto one of the apple chunks.
- Evenly disperse the sultanas over the peanut butter.
- Finally, finish off by placing the other chunk of apple on top of the peanut butter and sultanas covered side.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Green Tea Smoothie

Vegan - Vegetarian - Gluten Free - Dairy Free - Paleo - Oil Free - No Added Sugar - No Added Salt

If your like me, and you don't really enjoy drinking green tea, but you still love the health benefits that it can offer your body, then this is the recipe for you. I am constantly trying to incorporate green tea into my recipes, but in a way where you do not even notice that it is there. For example; my green tea steeped porridge. This is another great way to get green tea into you, without even noticing. So now, no one has an excuse not to reep the benefits.

I made my green tea the night before I planned on using it in my porridge for breakfast the following morning. I left the green tea to steep (with the tea bag in the boiling water) overnight, so it really got a good chance to infuse. When the tea had come to room temperature, I put the tea into the fridge, as I like to add cold liquids to my smoothies. But, if you don't have that kind of time and a room temperature smoothie doesn't bother you, simply allow the green tea to steep (with the tea bag in the boiling water) until the tea has come to room temperature and you are ready to use it.

Green Tea Smoothie

1 banana
1/4 avocado
1/2 cup green tea

- Make the green tea by pouring half a cup of boiling water into a cup or mug with the green tea bag in it.
- Allow the tea to steep overnight (putting the tea into the fridge once it has come to room temperature).
- Remove the tea from the fridge and take the tea bag out of the brew (being sure to squeese out the excess water, it's all useful) and then commence making your smoothie.
- Chop a banana into chunks and put the pieces into a blender, food processor or a wide and tall jug if you are using a hand-held immersion blender (like me).
- Add the quarter of the avocado to the blender or jug (this is for the nutritional benefits but also to give the smoothie a more green tinge).
- Finally, pour over the steeped green tea and blend until completely smooth.
- Smoothies are best served and enjoyed immediately.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Peanut Butter & Jelly Baked Banana

Vegan - Vegetarian - Gluten Free - Dairy Free - Paleo - Oil Free - No Added Sugar - No Added Salt

This is another one of my baked banana recipes! I just can't get enough of them. Seriously, if you haven't tried to bake a banana yet, you absolutely have to! There are no words to describe just how good it tastes. So give it a go! I still have loads of baked bananas recipes up my sleeve. Each time, they get more and more inventive. So if your a fan of these baked fruits, keep an eye out on my blog over the next few weeks.  

Like always, choose a peanut butter with as few ingredients as possible. Added salt or a healthy heart oil (like palm oil or something like that) is fine, but steer clear of peanut butters which have added sugar and vegetable oils. An all natural peanut butter (containing only peanuts and nothing else) is your best bet. 

The same goes for when you are choosing your sugar free jam. Choose a jam with only two to three ingredients (fruit, a natural sweetener (like grape juice) and natural pectin (usually sourced from apples). Steer clear of jams which are sweetened artificially. Artificial sweeteners are just too hit and miss. You don't actually know what you are putting into your body. 

The peanut butter I use is a health food brand called Kelkin and the jam I used is a brand called Follain. Both can be found in Tesco. 

Peanut Butter & Jelly Baked Banana

1 large banana
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 tablespoon sugar free jam 

- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
- Using a sharp knife, score the skin along the length of the banana on both sides.
- Remove the top layer of skin, revealing half of the banana, but leaving half of the banana protected by the skin.
- Place the banana on a baking tray (skin side down).
- Put your banana into the oven and bake for 15 - 25 minutes, depending on your oven. It takes my oven 20 minutes to bake my banana to perfection.
- Your banana is cooked when it the remaining skin has turned completely black, the banana itself looks 'dry' on top but the flesh of the banana is soft and squishy to the touch.
- Remove your banana from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes as you measure out your peanut butter and the jam.
- Smear the peanut butter all over the top of the banana, followed by the jam.

- Serve immediately and enjoy. 

Friday, 8 August 2014

Maple Iced Coffee

Vegan - Vegetarian - Gluten Free - Dairy Free - Paleo - Oil Free - No Added Sugar - No Added Salt

This is the recipe for my maple syrup flavoured iced coffee. This recipe is extremely simple and straight forward  to make and it is also very quick to assemble too. Though an easy recipe, this iced coffee packs such a punch in terms of flavour. It's just pure addictive! There's just one thing to remember before you make this iced coffee. You have to ensure that the maple syrup that you purchase is 100% pure maple syrup and not a maple flaovoured syrup or a mixture of maple syrup and another syrup, which is also quite commonly sold. It's also a good idea to get a medium to high grade maple syrup. It just means that it's of a better quality. Use half a tablespoon to one whole tablespoon of maple syrup in your iced coffee, depending on how sweet you want it and how much you like the flavour of maple syrup. I love it! So I used one whole tablespoon. One whole tablespoon of maple syrup is about 50 calories.

Like my previous iced coffee posts, you have to make your iced coffee twice as strong as you would usually make your coffee. This is because when you chill the coffee, it loses some of the strength that it would have when it is hot. So, for example, when I make hot coffee, I use half a teaspoon of instant coffee powder or granules. So, when I make an iced coffee, I use a full teaspoon of coffee. So add as much or as little as your tastes require.

Maple Iced Coffee

1 teaspoon (or more) of instant coffee powder/granules
Boiling water
1/2 - 1 tablepsoon 100% pure maple syrup
Unsweetened almond milk
2 large/4 small coconut water ice cubes/normal ice cubes

- Boil the kettle with an ample amount of water.
- Put the instant coffee powder or coffee granules into your serving glass of choice.

- Pour the boiling water into the serving glass, about 3/4 of the way up.
- Add the maple syrup at this point and stir to combine.
- Place the coffee into the fridge to chill for four to eight hours (or over night).
- When the coffee is chilled, add as much unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice) to make the coffee as creamy as you desire.
- I add two large coconut water ice cubes to my iced drinks (for extra nutrition) but you can add two to four normal ice cubes, depending on their size.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

2 Ingredient Home-Made Healthy Banana Ice-Cream

Vegan - Vegetarian - Gluten Free - Dairy Free - Paleo - Oil Free - No Added Sugar - No Added Salt
Home-made healthy banana ice-cream (also known as nice-cream) is a healthy alternative to traidiotnal ice-cream, which as we all know, is full of fat and sugar. Traditional ice-cream is made from full fat dairy cream, suagr and egg yolks. But this banana ice-cream, is made from just two healthy ingredients; bananas and milk. But you still get all the satisfaction of eating classic ice-cream, with the sweetness and the frozen goodness, but just without all the nasty things.

You need just one banana to create this recipe. You need to peel and chop your banana into chunks and then freeze until solid (it will need a good four hours at least). A good tip is to peel and chop several bananas at once and freeze them all, so you have frozen banaans on hand whenever you mjght get a craving for ice-cream, perhaps on a hot sunny day. I freeze my bananas in plastic food and freezer bags, as I find that this is easiest. I used unsweetened almond milk for make my banana ice-cream, but you can use any milk that you prefer, dairy or dairy free. This is just the basic recipe for a health alternative to ice-cream. Stay tuned for more ellaborate and delicious recipes with this ice-cream base to come.

2 Ingredient Home-Made Healthy Banana Ice-Cream

1 large banana (previously peeled, chopped and frozen)
Splash of unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)

- Peel and chop your banana into chunks, then place the pieces into a food and freezer bag and freeze for at least four hours, or until the banana is solid.
- Remove the frozen banana from the freezer and remove from the freezer bag.
- Place the frozen banana into a blender, food processor or into a wide jug if you are using a hand-held immersion blender (like me).
- Add a splash of unsweetened almond milk and start to blend the banana.
- It should start to resemble a texture similar to thick ice-cream.
- You can add more milk if needs be.
- Once all of the banana is blended and no lumps and left, scoop the banana ice-cream out of the jug or blender and into serving cups, glasses or bowls.

If you don't already follow me on Instagram, click here. I posted a unique way in which you can use this recipe a couple of weeks ago. Did somebody say ice-cream sandwich?

Friday, 1 August 2014

The Liebster Award

First of all, I have to start off this post by thanking Taylor, from the blog Oatastic Oats, for nominating me and my blog for The Liebster Award. When Taylor nominated me, I was just so happy that another established blogger was even reading my blog, never mind liked it enough to nominate me along with ten others of her favourites for this award. I am here-by accepting the award and all that it entails.

For those of you reading this post who don't know what the Liebster Award is, allow me to briefly enlighten you. The Liebster Award is an award passed around from blogger to blogger which basically shows our appreciation for each other. It's a recognition of all the hard work and dedication we put into all of our recipes and posts. 

There are a few rules which accompany The Liebster Award which you must adhere to, if you wish to accept the award. 
- You must link back to the blog which nominated you
- You must share 11 facts about yourself
- You must answer 11 questions asked by the nominator
- You must then nominate 11 of your favourite bloggers yourself and you must notify these people of your nomination
- You must ask 11 questions yourself, which your nominated bloggers must answer should they accept the award 

Having already linked Taylor's blog (Oatastic Oats) above, and now again, on with the next part of the post; sharing 11 facts about myself. I decided to share a mixture of facts that people may already know about me along with a mixture of facts that people don't already know about me and maybe would have never even guessed. 

1. I am starting a Personal Fitness Training course in September through an organisation called Image Fitness Training. The course is based at Liffey Valley Fitness Centre and when I have finished this course, I will possess several useful qualifications that are all fitness related. 
2. I have a bit of an unhealthy addiction to Instagram at the moment. If you don't already follow me, click here
3. I have a dog called Ariel (named after the Disney Princess) and she is a cross between a Shit Zhu and a Wire Terrior.
4. I adore watching the Food Network channel and the Good Food Channel and have had for years and years now. My favourite Chefs and Cooks to watch are Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fernley Wittingstall. 
5. I have four sisters. 
6. I lived in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia for two years from the age of 16 until the age of 18. 
7. I love horse-riding and before I moved to Australia, I used to own seven horses! I don't own any now, unfortunately. But I love a good trail ride or beach ride whenever I get the opportunity. 
8. I have a really sensitive digestive system. Dairy products, like yoghurt, really upset my tummy and so do other things like refined white carbohydrates and protein powders.  
9. When I was younger, I used to hate tomatoes, eggs and broccoli. I love all of those foods now!
10. My favourite singer of all time is Taylor Swift. But I also love Ellie Goulding, Tinie Tempah, Childish Gambino and Lorde. 
11. I love buying health foods from health food shops and health food stores online. My favourite online (and otherwise) health food shops are; Discount Supplements, Body First Nutrition and Holland And Barrett.  

Now, to answer the questions which Taylor, from Oatasic Oats, asked me.

1. If you had to choose one last meal to eat, what would it be?
This is a really hard one as I have so many favourite foods and favourite meals. But if I had to choose something, I'd probably choose to eat out in a restaurant for my last meal. The restaurant I would choose would have to be The Pancake Manor. The Pancake Manor is a chain restaurant in Australia dedicated solely to pancakes, both sweet and savoury. It's beyond your wildest dreams, plus, they have a gluten free pancake option, which is always a plus.
2. What is your favourite way to exercise?
I have a passion for running! I usually run five days a week, either outdoors, in the gym or on my own treadmill and normally clock up between 3 and 6 kilometres every time. So it definitely has to be my favourite way to exercise. Although, I also love horse-riding and I have recently started a new strength training programme in order to try and build some muscle mass, which I also really enjoy doing. 

3. Are you a cat, dog, or other type of person?
I am definitely a dog person! I have a puppy of my own, called Ariel (yes, after the Disney Princess, The Little Mermaid) and she is a cross between a Shit Zhu and a Wire Terrior. My mam and sisters also own a dog called Aurora (after the Disney Princess, Sleeping Beauty - are you seeing the theme here?) and she is a teacup Maltese crossed with a teacup Bichon Frise. I have also owned several dogs in the past and their names were; Eireann, Ben, Demon, Sandy, Nala, Blacky and Elsie. 

4. What is one place that you would love to go?
I would just love to go to Thailand or Japan. I've never been to an Asian country. But I also have a calling to visit Texas or Tennessee. There's just something about the whole 'country' thing that lures me. Other places I would love to visit some day include; Dubai, Fiji, Amsterdam, Canada, Italy or New Zealand. 

5. What type of cuisine would you really love to try if given the chance?
I've tried a lot of different cuisines already, but never in the actual country of their origin. So, with that in mind, a couple of my favourite cuisines are Thai food and Mexican food. So I guess I would like to try both of them, but in the actual country that they come from, so I could taste the authenticity. 

6. What inspired you to start a blog?
I was inspired to start a blog very soon after realising their existence. I only sort of realised that blogs existed in 2012, after finding Oh She Glows, The Oatmeal Artist and Chocolate Covered Katie. I instantly wanted to get in on the action and start my own blog so that I could share my own recipes with the world. I started two blogs before my current one, which were just for practice, a way to figure out what I really wanted from my blog, like, what type of recipes to share, the design, the layout and all that kind of stuff. 

7. If you could give one tip on food photography, what would it be?
Admittedly, I don't make the photographing part of my blog a priority. It always takes a back seat behind the quality of the recipe, the ingredients and the content of the post. I have been trying to improve my pictures slowly but surely over time, but they still have a long way to go. So I'm not sure if I am even in the position to give anybody advice when it comes to taking a photo.

8. Are you adventurous when it comes to food, or would you call yourself more of a play-it-safe kind of person?
I think I'm both. Some weeks, I'll try loads of new and unique recipes and end up back-logged when it comes to posting these recipes on my blog. But other weeks, I don't try any new recipes, and stick to the ol' reliable foods when it comes to a quick meal. I am actually a big convenience food person! Which people find hard to believe. You just have to be educated when it comes to choosing convenience or processed foods to ensure that you make the right choices. It is quite simple to eat healthily and conveniently at the same time, once you have the know how. 

9. What is the weirdest thing you have ever eaten?
I haven't eaten that many weird things really. All I can probably offer to the table is; Kangaroo. When I lived In Australia, I tried it twice. The first time, I actually quite enjoyed it. But the second time, I didn't like it very much at all. 

10. If you had to name a cow, what would you name it? It can be any colour that you want.
I would name it something cliché! I love cliché names when it comes to animals. If it was a Friesian cow, that's the black and white ones bred for milking, I'd probably call it something like Patch. Or Daisy. Daisy is a cute, common name for a cow. 

11. Do you have any fandoms/interests that are not food or fitness related? (Harry Potter, Star Wars, Adventure Time, etc.)
I have a bit of an online shopping addiction. I have had for years now. I buy everything online. Health food, supplements (like protein powders), kitchen utensils and of course, loads and loads of clothes! I am not exaggerating when I say LOADS by the way. I have so much clothes in my wardrobe that  haven't had a chance to wear a lot of them yet. 

With all of that completed, now it's my turn to nominate 11 of my favourite blogs to complete The Liebster Award. 

The Oatmeal Artist
Chocolate Covered Katie
Oh She Glows
Happy Healthy Life
The Little Green Spoon
The Coconut Diaries
Eat Clean Live Strong 
Happy Body
Secret Squirrel Food
Desserts For Breakfast

And finally, my 11 questions which the nominated bloggers have to answer. 

1. What are your all time favourite healthy foods?
2. What foods do you dislike or used to dislike as a child?
3. What is your favourite unhealthy food, which you would have as a treat? 
4. What are your favourite health food or supplement shops including online ones? 
5. What is your favourite restaurant to eat out at?
6. What are your favourite restaurants that offer healthy options, for those of us who watch what we put into our bodies? 
7. What type of exercise/work outs do you do and how often?
8. Do you have an interest in the protein contained within the food we eat and how it can benefit our bodies in terms of growing and becoming stronger (building muscle)? 
9. What is your favourite meal of the day?
10. What is your favourite thing to have for breakfast? 
11. What are your preferred pre and post workout meals or snacks? 

I hope you have enjoyed reading thought my acceptance post of The Liebster Award and I hope I have done the chain justice. Thanks again to Taylor, from Oatastic Oats, for nominating me and I hope that even a couple of the bloggers that I nominated will accept the award and keep the chain going! 

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Cheats Cinnamon Raisin Bagel

Vegan - Vegetarian - Dairy Free - Oil Free - No Added Sugar - No Added Salt

It's a great how wholemeal bagels are now widely available for us to buy. However, one of the nicest (in my opinion) bagels available on the market is the cinnamon raisin bagel. The problem with this bagel is that it is primarily made from refined white flour and it also contains a fair amount of sugar. Unfortunately, there is no wholemeal variety of this bagel avilable (well not that I know of anyways, be sure to comment below if you've ever come across one). So because of this, I took it upon myself to create a wholemeal bagel with the same flavours of my favourite cinnamon raisin one. Now, it's a big ask to make your own bagels from scratch (what with the yeast and the rising and the boiling before even baking), though I wil definitely attempt to make my own some day. So that's why I call this recie my 'cheats' cinnamon raisin bagel, because I don't actually make my own bagels from scratch, but rather 'cheat' and just create those same flavours on a pre-bought wholemeal bagel. So for me, and for all those people who want to capture that same flavour of a cinnamon raisin bagel, but in a quick, easy and healthier way, this is what I came up with.

Like my previous post, I used a wholemeal bagel slim/thin for this recipe as they contain only 120 calories in comparison to approximately the 250 calories contained within an ordinary wholemal bagel. But by all means, use a normal wholemeal bagel if you prefer or if that's all that is available to you. The only other ingredients I used for my version of a cinnamon raisin bagel are; a healthy liquid sweetener (I used mapel syrup, but you can use either honey or agave nectar instead), ground cinnamon and some sultanas (but you can use raisins or any other dried fruit for that matter).

Cheats Cinnamon Raisin Bagel

1 wholemeal bagel thin/slim
1 tablespoon mapel syrup/honey
1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon sultanas/raisins

- Toast the bagel slim until lightly golden.
- Pour half a tablespoon of mapel syrup on one side of the toasted bagel and the other half of a tablespoon onto the other side of the toasted bagel.
- Disperse the ground cinnamon evenly over both side of the bagel.
- Then, finally, evenly distribute the sultanas over both sides of the toasted bagel.