May 28, 2014

Fudgey Chocolate Protein Brownies

These brownies are super low in calories but fabulously fudgey and rich. If you like moist and decadent brownies, this is the recipe for you. You can substitute the almond flour for oat flour if you like and throw in some dark chocolate chips to make the brownies a little more decadent. 

Chocolate Protein Brownies

  • 1/2 cup of almond flour
  • 1/2 cup of chocolate or vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 cup of cacao powder or cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup of Natvia stevia sweetener
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 drops of butter vanilla essence* optional
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut or macadamia oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 large mashed banana
  • 3/4 cup of almond milk (unsweetened or chocolate flavour)
  • 1/2 cup of frozen raspberries or blueberries

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees and grease a small baking brownie tin, I use coconut oil spray.
  2. Mix together the almond flour, protein powder, cacao or cocoa powder and baking powder.
  3. Add in the remaining ingredients except for the berries and mix to combine.
  4. Gently stir through the berries and pour mixture into the greased tin.
  5. Bake for 18 - 22 minutes, until cooked through. Cooking times will vary on how moist the brownies will be. Leave in longer if you want them to be more set.
  6. When you remove from the oven, let the brownie cool completely before slicing.
  7. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. These brownies taste super fudgey when they are cold. Yum!

May 20, 2014

Wheat-free Low-Sugar Blueberry Crumble 'Crunchola' Muffins

When I was in high school, I found one the true loves in my life. That love was cereal. Not just any cereal, but a crunchy combination of oats and blueberries known as Crunchola. Opening the box was sheer delight every time as I shook the packet to find the best clusters of granola inside. This love wasn't conventional. This love extended past breakfast time to afternoon tea dates, after dinner treats and on-the-go nibbles. I was slightly addicted.

Cutting out gluten and refined sugar from my diet saw the end of my Crunchola love affair. While the cereal is made of oats, it's not THE healthiest option in the breakfast aisle but it is one of my food memories. Grocery shopping last week I saw my beloved old friend and wondered if there was a way we could once again be friends. Tentatively putting a box in my trolley full of almond butter, broccoli and tofu I wondered how I would introduce my old pal to my new foodie foray.

As a baker, I wanted to turn my old favourite into a sweet treat and the blueberry flavour seemed perfectly matched to making muffins. Coffee shop muffins are usually puffed up high with additives, full of preservatives and bursting with sugar. In my opinion, it is one of the worst foods you could pick, let alone for breakfast. The calorie content is often more than what's in a Big Mac. Looking at my box of blueberry Crunchola, I saw a way we could work together to fix this muffin madness.

Combining Crunchola (which I pulverised to make a Crunchola flour) with a few of my favourite ingredients, I made a delicious breakfast muffin that fused together my former flame and my passion for healthy food. Yummy Blueberry Crumble 'Crunchola' Muffins. Wrap up individual muffins in cling film to freeze or store in a cool place inside an airtight container for up to three days.

Blueberry Crumble 'Crunchola' Muffins

  • 2 cups of Crunchola flour* make Crunchola flour by placing 3 cups of Crunchola cereal into a food processor or high speed blender. Process until fine crumbs are achieved. Use any left over flour for the topping.
  • 1/4 cup of coconut flour 
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons of Natvia* the cereal is already sweetened so only a little sugar is needed
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup of almond milk
  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil or macadamia nut oil
  • 1/2 cup of frozen blueberries
  • Topping: 1/4 cup of Crunchola flour mixed with 2 tablespoons of coconut or macadamia oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees. Grease two 12-hole muffin tins or line with patty pans.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the Crunchola flour, coconut flour, baking powder and Natvia.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, almond milk and oil.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir together to combine but try not to overmix. 
  5. Add the the blueberries and fold through.
  6. Put a generous tablespoon of mixture into each muffin hole or until 3/4 way full.
  7. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes until slightly risen and golden on top.
  8. Let cool slightly in the tray before carefully transferring to a wire rack to cool.

May 15, 2014

Skinny Cheesecake In A Tea Cup

Image taken from Not Quite Nigella

I love cheesecake. I really love cute tea cups. Cheesecake in a tea cup? I am obviously obsessed. Another fave of mine is quick desserts that you can whip up when you are in desperate need of a skinny sweet treat and the fridge seems sadly empty. This takes a few minutes to prepare and then the microwave does all the work (in two minutes flat) so this dessert is perfection. If you want to get fancy and impress your friends with Martha-Stewart-approved creativity, just double or triple the recipe to make a batch for a dinner party. You could even spike said cheesecakes with a little raspberry liqueur to make a delicious little night cap. A spoonful of sugar does make the medicine go down.

Instead of raspberries, you can use any berries in season (blueberries, chopped strawberries, blackberries) or some grated orange or lemon zest if you prefer a citrus flavour. (Citrus would go well with Cointreau in case you were thinking what I was thinking).

If you can't do dairy, sub the cream cheese for tofu cream cheese and the yoghurt for coconut cream or coconut yoghurt. Don't have any biscuits left? (and for that I wouldn't blame you) Try toasted flaked almonds or shredded coconut. Anything with a crunch will give you the texture to perfectly complement the velvety cheesecake.

When time is of the essence, you could serve these cheesecakes immediately while still warm but not completely set in the middle. If you can wait, they will firm up in the fridge. Either way, you will be in cheesecake heaven and that, my friend, is a good place to be.

Skinny Cheesecake In A Tea Cup

  • 1 egg white
  • 6 tbsp low fat cream cheese
  • 4 tbsp plain yoghurt
  • 4 tbsp of Natvia
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp coconut flour
  • 2 tbsp frozen raspberries
  • 1 plain sweet biscuit - you can use whatever you have in the pantry or a skinny sweet recipe.

  1. In a bowl, whisk the egg white with the yoghurt and cream cheese until fluffy. Add in the rest of the ingredients except for the cookie.
  2. Mix well and pour into a generous tea cup or mug, or use two small tea cups.
  3. Microwave for 2 mins.
  4. Using a ziplock bag, place the cookie inside and seal. Cover with a tea towel and smack with a rolling pin to crush. Be careful not to bang too hard or you might rip open the plastic.
  5. Sprinkle the crushed cookie on the top of the cheesecake.
  6. Refrigerate to cool and set.

May 11, 2014

Toasted Cinnamon Nuts and Sugarfree Salted Caramel Apple

Warm breakfasts in the winter is so much more comforting than a freezing green smoothie. While I love my smoothies, I can't face the chill factor when it's frosty outside. If it is still summer where you are, whip up those smoothies but if you are rugged up like me, this is the perfect breakfast for you.

Heat up a fry pan and add two teaspoons of coconut oil. When the oil is warmed, throw in a selection of nuts and seeds of your preference. I used:
  • one small handful of almonds
  • a few pecans, chopped
  • one tablespoons of sunflower seeds
  • one tablespoons of pepitas

Sprinkle in spices and additions:
  • add in teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • one tablespoon of Natvia
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of salt

Stir everything together to coat the nuts with the oil and spices. Turn the heat down on medium and continue to move around to prevent burning. When the nuts look a little toasted, after a few minutes, take out with a large spoon and transfer to the bench covered in baking paper. Spread the nuts and seeds out with the spoon (they'll be super hot so don't touch!) and leave them to set. 

Wipe out the pan and put back onto the heat. Take a small apple and dice into small pieces. Add two teaspoons of coconut oil and throw in the apple. Sprinkle over the apple, one teaspoon of natvia, a tiny pinch of salt. Mix all the ingredients together and turn down to a low heat. Continue to cook until the apple softens. 

Get a bowl of plain yoghurt and pour over the cooked apple. When the nuts have cooled, break up into chunks as the caramel would have now set. Sprinkle this over the top of the apple. Get back into bed with a cosy cup of tea and a book, taking your yummy breakfast with you!

May 06, 2014

Sunwarrior Banana Protein Pancakes

Unlike other protein pancakes I have made before, these taste like dream-inducing fluffy hotcakes that complete a lazy Sunday morning in. To make the breakfast concoction even sweeter, these pancakes are fool-proof meaning you won't need any special flipping skills when you roll out of bed. My protein pancakes also will tick the boxes of free from gluten and sugar, and high in protein.

Sunwarrior Banana Fig Protein Pancakes

Makes 6 - 8 pancakes

  • 1 scoop of Sunwarrior vanilla protein powder (or another vegan protein powder sweetened naturally)
  • 1/4 cup of Natvia 
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large mashed banana
  • 1/2 cup of almond meal
  • 3 chopped soft dried figs (you can soak the figs in hot water for 5 minutes to soften)
  • 1 tablespoons of macadamia oil/coconut oil 
  • 2 eggs and 1 egg white, whisked
  • 1 sliced banana and organic butter to serve

  1. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the vanilla, banana, figs, eggs and oil and mix until combined. Transfer the mixture to a jug or protein shaker to pour into pan.
  2. Heat a fry pan on high heat and add a teaspoon of coconut or macadamia oil.
  3. When the pan is hot, pour in mixture to make desired size pancakes in a rough circle shape. It makes it easier to flip them if they aren't too thick. You can spread the mixture out quickly in the desired shape or thickness as it hits the pan. Also don't crowd the pan, give yourself plenty of room to flip!
  4. Turn the heat down lower and wait a couple of minutes until the pancakes curl slightly on the sides or a few bubbles appear on the surface.
  5. Use a spatula (this part is important!) with a fairly large surface so you can get right under that little pancake and simply turn over. 
  6. Wait another minute or so and then transfer to a plate. Don't overcook the pancakes as they can go a little dry. You can put foil over or a clean tea towel to keep the waiting pancakes warm.
  7. Repeat the process until you have used up all the mixture. 
  8. Serve with a little organic butter on each and sliced banana, or plain yoghurt. Also you can sub the figs with berries, dates or an extra banana! Just resist the urge to pour maple syrup all over them..... Enjoy!

May 01, 2014

Pink Fairy-Floss Gluten-Free Cake

I admit, this isn't exactly a sugar-free recipe. The inclusion of fairy floss kinda dispels all thoughts of a guilt-free treat. On the bright side, I don't think anyone can resist a cake so gloriously pink and perfect, and as I use much less butter and sugar than traditional cakes call for, the result is a light yet luscious celebratory dessert. My family absolutely adored this flavour combination for my mum's birthday and all noted how no one felt at all gluggy or sickly post-cake consumption. My brother can solidly contest to this theory as he had three pieces without flinching.

This cake is the ultimate girly love-fest of sugar, rose scents and juicy strawberries. Who ever you make this blush-tinted masterpiece for is going to feel pretty darn special. Treat your bestie, sister, mum, and any man who can accept a little pink into their lives. My man announced it was the best thing I've ever made. Albeit he does say they almost every time I cook... anything... everyday :)

Anyway, I adore fresh flowers on a cake, especially when the icing is coloured a dusty pink. To make things simple, I used a gluten-free butter cake mix to start off the process and used my special ingredient, Persian rose fairy-floss to flavour. You can use any 'fairy floss' you can find but the Pariya Persian fairy floss is a speciality product, although I did find it at the local grocery store. It is whispy-soft spun sugar, made in a traditional Persian method. Expert confectioners hand spin each batch of delecately sweet Pashmak into a fine weave of wool like strands that dissolve on your tastebuds. I bought mine in rose scent, but it also comes in vanilla, pistachio, chocolate and saffron.

Pink Fairy-Floss Gluten-Free Cake

  • 1 packet of gluten-free butter cake mix - preferably lower sugar mix
  • 2 drops of natural pink food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean extract paste
  • 1/2 cup of Persian rose fairy-floss
  • 50 grams of organic butter
  • 1/2 cup of icing sugar
  • 1 drop of natural pink coloring
  • 1 teaspoon of rose water
  • 1/4 cup of Persian fairy floss

Strawberry layer:
  • 1/2 cup of frozen strawberries, microwaved and cooled

  1. Prepare the cake mix as per the instructions; I used almond milk instead of dairy milk. Add the pink colouring and vanilla bean extract paste and mix well. Gently fold in the fairy-floss, leaving the fairy-floss to ripple through the mixture.
  2. Grease a tin thoroughly with coconut oil and cover the base with greased-proofed paper. 
  3. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for approximately 40 minutes or as per the instructions on the packet.
  4. When the cake is baked, let rest for five minutes before turning out carefully onto a wire rack to cool. When it's completely cooled, refrigerate for 30 minutes if you have the time as it will make the cake easier to ice and prevent crumbs from transferring into the icing. 
  5. To make the icing, make sure the butter is at room temperature. Using an electric mixer, whisk the butter until smooth. Gradually sift in the icing sugar and whisk into a fluffy icing. Add in the rose water, pink food colouring and fairy floss. If the fairy floss makes the icing a little too thick, add in a tiny splash of warm water.
  6. Slice the cold cake horizontally in half. On the base half, spread to strawberries to coat the first layer. Sandwich the other half of the cake on top.
  7. Ice the whole cake to cover the sides and edges. Stick the remaining fairy floss lightly around the sides of the cake to decorate.
  8. Garnish the cake with whatever decoration you like. I used edible pearls and pink flowers.
  9. Refrigerate if the weather is warm taking out 20 minutes before serving. Otherwise, leave in a cool place until you are ready to surprise the special recipient!