Thursday, 17 July 2014

Pineapple Smoothie

Vegan - Vegetarian - Gluten Free - Dairy Free - Paleo - Oil Free - No Added Sugar - No Added Salt
 
 
This is a very simple but delicious smoothie recipe. It just tastes so tropical, perfect for those hot sunny days we've been lucky to have this summer here in Ireland. I used tinned pineapple for this recipe. And one serving of tinned pineapple is generally three to four pineapple rings. I used three rings here. But, of course you can use a fresh pineapple. One serving of a fresh pineapple is a quarter of a pineapple, peeled and cored. Because I used tinned pineapple, I like to use the tinning juice, as I am a big advocate for making use and not waste. And I always ensure to buy pineapple tinned in 100% pure pineapple juice, not just for health reasons (avoiding added sugars and what not), but I can then make sure that I will be able to use every bit which comes in the can. If your using fresh pineapple, and therefore, do not have any tinning juices, you can use pure grape juice instead (it's so naturally sweet) or just unsweetened almond milk or whatever your milk of choice is. With all that explained, on with the recipe.


Pineapple Smoothie

Ingredients
1 banana
1 serving fresh/tinned pineapple
1/4 cup 100% pure pineapple juice/unsweetened almond milk


Method
- Chop the banana and the pineapple into chunks and add the pieces to a blender, food processor or a wide and tall jug if you are using a hand-held immersion blender (like me).
- Pour over the pineapple juice or alternatively, the almond milk.
- Blend until completely smooth.
- Smoothies are best served and enjoyed immediately.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

'Nutella' Filled Strawberries

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

I put the word Nutella in inverted commas for the title of this post because I didn't atually use Nutella to fill these strawberries. I used a dark chocolate hazelnut spread. The brand I used is called Keen and the only ingredients are hazelnuts and 85% dark chocolate. I got this spread from the webiste Body First Nutrition, which is a health food and supplements online store. But you should be able to find this particular spread in many health food shops. Of course, if you don't mind consuming dairy and a bit of sugar, use actual Nutella for this recipe. Just be sure to stick to the serving suggestion which is between 15 and 30 grams. Which is 1 to 2 tablespoons.

Because the serving suggestion for my dark chocolate hazelnut spread is 1 tablespoon, I dispersed the spread evenly between four strawberries. But if you are using 2 tablespoons of Nutella, you can use up to eight strawberries to desperse the spread. Eight large strawberries is a one single serving of strawberries (which is good to know).

This recipe is really yummy! The fruity-ness and the sweetness of the strawberries really brings out the chocolatey-ness and the flavour of the dark chococlate hazelnut spread. It's like a match made in food heaven.


'Nutella' Filled Strawberries

Ingredients
4 - 8 large strawberries
1 tablespoon dark chocolate hazelnut spread

Method
- Cut the ends of the strawberries, so they can stand upright on a plate.
- Remove the green leafy part of the strawberry.
- Using a small, sharp knife, create a wide and deep hole in the top of the strawberry.
- Evenly disperse the tablespoon of dark chocolate hazelnut spread between all of the strawberries.
- Chill in the fridge for at least half an hour before serving.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Vanilla Protein Yoghurt

Vegan - Vegetarian - Gluten Free - Dairy Free - Oil Free - No Added Sugar - No Added Salt
 
Since starting my new strength and conditioning programme a few weeks ago to try and build some muscle mass (I am seeing some improvements by the way), I've been making a real effort to include some form of protein in every meal. Be it in the form of meat, fish, eggs, beans and other legumes, nut or nut butters, soy products or my protein powder.

I mentioned in a previous post that the protein powder that I use is an all natural soya protein powder. However, I have found since using this protein powder, that it has been disrupting my digestion. For this reason, I have stopped taking the protein powder and have ordered a new protein powder, a fully vegan and raw protein powder made solely out of grains and legumes, which is soy free. Soy doesn't normally react badly with my system at all, since I regularly consume other soy products such as natural soy yoghurt and unsweetened soy milk. But for some reason, this soy protein just didn't agree with me. However, if you don't have such a senstive digestive system like me, I would definitely recommend an all natural soy protein powder to you as it is so easy to incorporate into lots of different foods, both sweet and savoury and also, is not easily detectable within the food you add it too. I will also let you all know how my system reacts to my new fully vegan and raw protein powder once it arrives.

Natural soy yoghurt (or a natural dairy variety) already contains a fair amount of protein. In one serving of natural soy yoghurt, that's half a cup, you will get 5 grams of protein. Now, to up the protein anti, I added one serving (10 grams/2 teaspoons) of my all natural soya protein to my natural soy yoghurt. This meant that I was then getting 14 grams of protein in this single bowl of yoghurt. Pretty awesome right? Then, just to add some flavour, I added natural vanilla extract to my yoghurt. I didn't add any sweeteners, as I really enjoy the natural taste of foods. But if your a suckler for some sweetness, I would recommend adding agave nectar to sweeten the yoghurt, as it is a nutral tasting healthy liquid sweetener. Finally, top your vanilla protein yoghurt with any toppings of your choice. I topped mine with chunks of pineapple. Yum!


Vanilla Protein Yoghurt

Ingredients
1/2 cup natural soy yoghurt
1 serving all natural soya protein powder (10g)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Liquid sweetener (optional)
Toppings of choice

Method
- Measure out 1/2 a cup of natural soy yoghurt (or dairy alternative) into a bowl.
- Measure out one serving of your chosen natural protein powder and stir this into the yoghurt until it is thoroughly incorporated.
- Add the vanilla extract and optional liquid sweetener at this stage and mix this into the yoghurt until combined.
- Top the yoghurt off with any topping of your choice.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Black Forest Gateau Toasted Sandwich

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


Are you a fan of the classic cake, a black forest gateau? Well, to be honest, I never was a huge fan of this particular cake. I don't know why, I just never really liked the combination of flavours and textures. But when ever I create a black forest gateau inspired healthy breakfast recipe (like my recipe for black forest gateau porridge), it's always one of my favourites. The combination of black forest gateau inspired flavours with the use of healthy ingredients truly is just delicious. Trust me! Now, for those of you who may not know what flavours are contained wihtin a black forest gateau cake, I will enlighten you. Black forest gateau is the combination of chocolate, cherry jam, fresh cherries and coconut.

Now, for my healthy version of a black forest gateau cake, but in the form of a toasted sandwich, you will need a few ingredients. First of all, two slices of gluten free brown bread. Of course, if you don't mind regularly consuming gluten (I try to avoid it as much as possible), you can simply use two slices of regular 100% wholemeal bread. The brand of gluten free brown bread slices that I use is called Genius and I find that this bread, especially when toasted, is actually much nicer than regular wholemeal bread. Next, you will need a sugar free jam. I use an all natural sugar free raspberry jam which is naturally sweetened using grape juice. The brand I use is called Follain. If you can't find a sugar free jam without artifical nasties, you can always make your own. Use my recipe for my no-cook sugar free raspberry jam. You do not need to use a cherry jam for this recipe, as they are often difficult to find anyways. You will also need a chocolate spread of some discription. I used a dark chocolate hazelnut spread for my sandwich. The brand I used is called Keen and you can find it in most health food shops or online. However, if you can't find a healthy hazelnut spread, you can always just melt one serving of 70% dark chocolte and use that you spread onto your toasted sandwich. Or, if you don't mind consuming dairy and some sugar, you can always use the well know hazelnut spread, Nutella. Just make sure to stick to the serving suggestion! Finally, you will need unsweetened shredded or desicated coconut.


Black Forest Gateau Toasted Sandwich

Ingredients
2 slices gluten free brown bread
1 tablespoon all natural sugar free raspberry jam
1 tablespoon dark chocolate hazelnut spread
1 - 2 teaspoons unsweetened desicated coconut

Method
- Toast the slices of gluten free brown bread until golden brown using a toaster or grill.
- Spread the jam onto one of the slices of bread.
- Spread the dark chocolate hazelnut spread onto the other slice of bread.
- Evenly sprinkle the desicated coconut onto the slice of bread coated with chocolate spread.
- Place the slice of bread with jam on top of the chocolate and coconut slice.
- Cut the sandwich in half and serve and consume immediately.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Breakfast 'Hot Dog'

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


Sorry for not posting in a few days. We've been having real trouble with our apartment over the last week or so. There are a few major faults that need to be fixed, and we've been advised by the landlord and auctioneer to find another place to live, at least until all of the construction work is finished and the apartment is habitable again. The thing is, rental properties are few and far between in Edenderry, because of the demand. So, it's been tough finding somewhere else to live. We have a place that is looking promising, which we found through a friend with contacts. So fingers crossed that all will go well and we will be able to move into it within the next week. 

Now, onto the recipe. This dish may resemble your traditional hot dog, but it couldn't be further from the real thing. This is a 'sweet' hot dog, rather than a savoury one and it is so good for us, it's breakfast approved! I've replaced the usual soft white bread roll with a gluten free brown bread roll. The brand I use is called Pure Bread and each roll contains just 100 calories plus loads of fibre. I replaced the greasy and fatty hot dog sausage with a banana instead. And finally, I replaced the traditional toppings of sugar filled ketchup and mustard with organic crunchy peanut butter and all natural sugar free raspberry jam. The peanut butter I use is the brand Kelkin, which has minimal ingredients (peanuts, palm oil and salt), contains no sugar and is a well known health food brand. The brand of sugar free jam I use is called Follain, and I love this jam because all it contains is raspberries, grape juice and pectin. The jam is naturally sweetened using the grape juice, so there are no artificial nasties within this jam. This is a seriously yummy alternative to a classic hot dog.


Breakfast 'Hot Dog'

Ingredients
1 gluten free brown bread roll
1 banana
1 tablespoon organic crunchy peanut butter
1 tablespoon all natural sugar free raspberry jam


Method
- Cut the gluten free brown bread roll down the centre, making sure not to cut the whole way through to the other side though.
- Place the banana into the open brown bun.
- Measure out the peanut butter and the jam and smear the condiments onto the banana, dispersing it evenly over the whole length of the banana.
- Serve and enjoy. 


If you can't find a sugar free raspberry jam that is naturally sweetened (I know they can be hard to find), alternatively, you can make your own. Use my no-cook sugar free raspberry jam recipe, it's super quick and easy to prepare and is ready to eat in about five minutes.  

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Dark Chocolate Covered Medjool Dates

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

This recipe couldn't be simplier but at the same time, it could not be more delicious. I am not exagerating in the slightest when I say that this recipe tastes exactly like a chocolate covered caramel. The texture is almost exactly the same too. Just look at the following picture, there's no need for any convincing, I think this picture is proof enough. Every now and again, I come up with a recipe that I am really proud and passionate about, and I usually highly recommend that you try that particular recipe. And that is exactly what I am going to say now, once again. You just have to give this one a go! If you've got a sweet tooth or really strong chocolate or candy cravings, this is the recipe for you! I can't think of a more delicious way to stay on track with your healthy eating and fitness goals.


Because of the calorie count within medjool dates and 70% dark chocolate, the serving size for this recipe is; two medjool dates covered in one serving of melted 70% dark chocolate. These two chocolate covered dates are perfect for a snack and contain around 225 - 250 calories. Which is the perfect calorie count for a snack.

Dark Chocolate Covered Medjool Dates

Ingredients2 medjool dates
1 serving 70% dark chocolate


Method
- Line a plate with parchmenet or baking paper.
- Remove the pip or stone from both of the dates by slicing the dates down the middle, horizontally.
- Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over simmering water in a pot on the stove. Or, like me, you can melt the chocolate in the microwave, in a bowl, using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to stir (do not use a metal spoon, it can encourage the chocolate to split).
- If melting the chocolate in the microwave, heat the chocolate for ten to twenty seconds then remove from the microwave and stir, then repeat.
- Once the chocolate is completely melted, completely submerge the dates into the chocolate until they are evenly coated.
- Place the dates on the plate covered with parchment paper and put the dates into the fridge until the chocolate has hardened and cooled.


Thursday, 3 July 2014

Improved Digestion Pro-biotic Smoothie

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


This smoothie is called my 'improved digestion' smoothie because it contains three ingredients which naturally improve the digestion process. And this smoothie is also called my 'pro-biotic' smoothie because one of those ingredients, contains loads of pro-biotics, which too, naturally improve ones digestion. And those three ingredients are; banana, which are full of fibre, excellent for our digestion. Prunes, which are known world wide for curing constipation and to speed up the digestion process. And finally, natural soy yoghurt (of course you can use any natural yoghurt of your choice; coconut yoghurt, almond milk yoghurt, goats milk yoghurt or cows milk yoghurt). The pro-biotics found within yoghurt are great for our digestion. So with all of that explained, on with the recipe! 


Improved Digestion Pro-biotic Smoothie

Ingredients
1 banana
4 prunes 
1/2 cup natural soy yoghurt
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

Method
- Chop the banana into chunks and add to a blender or a wide, tall jug if using a hand-held immersion blender.
- Add the the yoghurt and the almond milk.
- Blend on a high speed until all the ingredients are combined and reach a smooth consistent texture.
- Then add the prunes (roughly chopped) and blend just until the prunes are broken up a bit but not pulverised. It's so nice to get a few chewy chunks of prune throughout your smooth beverage.
- Smoothies are best served and enjoyed immediately.

I used four prunes for this recipe, as that is how many prunes makes up a single serving. I would not recommend using more than the recommended serving, as this can cause some people's digestion to speed up a bit too much, if you catch my drift. Also, I generally use half a cup of unsweetened almond milk for my smoothies, but because I used yoghurt in this recipe, it means that less milk can be used, as it is simply not required. And as always, you can use whatever milk that you prefer.