Thursday, 18 September 2014

Pina Colada Parfait

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

Creamy. Pineapple-y. Coconut-y. Sounds familar right? It sounds like a Pina Colada! For those of you who might not know, a Pina Colada is a popular cocktail which contains white rum, pineapple juice and coconut milk. The flavour combination is a match made in tropical heaven. But now you can achieve that same flavour, but without the need of an alcoholis beverage. Just make my Pina Colada breakfast parfait and you'll be well on your way to tropical bliss. Plus, your body will really thank you for it.

Pineapple is known for it's detoxifying abilities. Natural soy yoghurt (or you can use any dairy or non-dairy yoghurt of your choice) provides us with the protein that we need to feed our muscles. And desicated coconut provides us with essential healthy fats.

You need to use fresh pineapple here, as tinned or defrosted frozen pineapple just won't cut it. You can also add a quarter cup of toasted rolled oats (or toasted gluten free rolled oats) to this parfait, to make it more filling ,if you'd prefer.  

Pina Colada Parfait

1/4 of a fresh pineapple peeled and chopped
1/2 cup natural soy yoghurt (or yoghurt of choice)
2 teaspoons unsweetened desicated coconut

- Peel and chop quarter of a fresh pineapple into bit sied chunks.
- Measure out half  cup of natural soy yoghurt.
- Measure out two teaspoons of unsweetened desicated coconut (as this is one serving) and toast the coconut on a dry pan over a medium heat until slightly browned and fragrant (be careful to keep a close eye on it as it can burn quickly if your not vigilant).
- Choose a serving glass and then start to layer your ingredients.
- Start with half the pineapple chunks in the bottom of the glass, then add half the soy yoghurt, then sprinkle half of the toasted coconut on top.
- Repeat the last step and your Pina Colada parfait will be complete.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Ice-Cream

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

I'm still going strong with the home-made healthy banana ice-cream recipes. If you don't already, follow me on Instagram for more nana ice-cream/nice cream inspiration, that doesn't make it onto the blog. This particular recipe, is like a dream come true for me. Why? Because I've said many times before how much I adore the flavour combination that is banana, peanut butter and chocolate. 

I used 70% dark chocolate chips for this recipe, which I got in Holland & Barrett. But you may be able to find them in some super markets, and not just health food shops. I found dark chocolate chips in Aldi once before. Alternatively, use one serving of a 70% dark chocolate bar of your choice and just chop it up into chunks. Just make sure you read the serving suggestion to determine how many squares counts as one serving as it differs from bar to bar due to the size and shape variation. 

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Ice-Cream

1 large frozen banana
Splash of Avonmore Protein Milk (or milk of choice)
1 tablespoons crunchy/smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon 70% dark chocolate chips

- 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. I always freeze my bananas well in advance, so I have them in the freezer for whenever I get an ice-cream craving.
- 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 avonmore protein 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, add the tablespoon of peaut butter, mix this through and then give the ice-cream one final blend to combine.

- Then add the chocolate chips and stir them through to evenly disperse them throughout the ice-cream.- Scoop the ice-cream out of the jug or blender and into serving cups, glasses or bowls.

I'm starting my course next week, through an organisation called Image Fitness Training, which will qualify me as a personal fitness trainer and a group class instructor. This means that I will be commuting twice a week up to Liffey Valley on the bus. And do you know what that means? Packed lunches! Let me know if you would be interested at all in any blog posts regarding ideas for healthy packed lunches or, alternatively, follow me on Instagram, as I will more than likely be posting pictures of the lunches that I do pack. 

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Peanut Butter & Date Banana 'Sandwich'

Vegan - Vegetarian - Gluten Free - Dairy Free - Paleo - Oil Free - No Added Sugar - No Added Salt
This is a really quick and easy recipe, similar to my recipe for my peanut butter and sultana apple 'sandwich'. Please excuse the slight bruising on the end of my banana by the way. Although, bit of a useful fact for you here; you should actually eat bananas when they start to get brown spots and bruising on their skin, rather than when they are perfectly yellow or still have a tinge of green on them. Why? Because when they are turning brown, this is when they are actually fully ripe and when they do the best things for you, nutritionally. A sligtly browned banana is great for your digestion and also, this is the stage when a banana is at it's sweetest and most flavourful. So there ya go!

I used two Medjool dates for this recipe, because that is a single serving, but only one date actually fit onto my banana 'sandwich'. Nevermind, it just meant that I got to eat one of nature's yummiest fruits on the side. Seriously, if you haven't tried Medjool dates before, go and get some right now! You can find them in many super markets (I get mine in Tesco) and although they are a little bt pricy, they are worth every cent. Honestly, I compare them to eating caramels!

Peanut Butter & Date Banana 'Sandwich'

1 banana
1 tablespoon crunchy/smooth peanut butter
2 Medjool dates

- Peel your banana and slice it directly down the middle, using a sharp knife, as not to cause any cracks or breaks to the flesh. A regular dinner knife will just not do the job here.
- Measure out one tablespoon of peanut butter (I use crunchy here, for extra texture) and spread it onto one of the slices of banana (the smooth, cut side).
- Pit your Medjool dates and chop each one into four even sized pieces.
- Place the chopped date on top of the peanut butter (remember to eat any dates/pieces of date that don't make it onto the 'sandwich').
- Finally, finish by placing the other slice of banana on top.

The one year anniversary of my blog is coming up soon (the 20th of September). I can't actually believe that it's already nearly been a year since I started this blog. My blog has really come on in leaps and bounds over the last year and the number of viewers grows and grows every single day. I want to thank each and every one of you who takes time out of your day to read my recipes and posts. I'd like to know more about what you guys would like to see on the blog in the next coming year so please let me know (by commenting below or contacting me via social media) what kinds of recipes you would like me to post/see more of. Or, if you have any specific recipe requests, maybe an unhealthy food favourite of yours that you'd like to see 'healthified', let me know as well, and I'll see what I can do.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Hot Caramel Sauce

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

I have gone nana ice-cream/nice-cream (2 ingredient healthy home-made banana ice-cream, for those of you who aren't used to the terminology) mad in the last couple of weeks. I froze a whole batch of bananas after I bought them there one of the days (eight bananas in total), so have been making loads and loads of home-made healthy ice-cream and changing up the flavours and toppings as I go. Keep up with all of the variations and toppings I have created by checking back on the blog regularly, or, follow me on Instagram, as I post the pictures and recipes that don't make it onto the blog, on there.

This is a recipe for hot caramel sauce, which is a common ice-cream topping. However, my hot caramel sauce is actually good for you and not loaded with butter, sugar and fat, like the sauce you would find in an ice-cream parlour/ice-cream stand. This recipe is actually very similar to my 3 ingredient healthy caramel sauce, which I posted previously, except for two things. One, the sauce is served hot and not room temperature or cold and two, there is one additional ingredient added. No, this ingredient is not essential (so you don't have to add it if you don't have this ingredient available to you), but, as we are serving this sauce hot, like any sauce in general, it tends to thin out when heated, and therefore, will not be as thick as we might want it. That's why I add this one additional ingredient, which acts to thicken the sauce, and also, keep the sauce thick, even when heated.

The ingredient I add is called arrowroot powder. You will find it in your local supermarket in the baking section, usually beside the cornflour. You can use cornflour instead, if you do not have or can not find arrowroot powder, as it will do the very same thing. I just choose to use arrowroot powder, as it is a healthier choice than cornflour and is gaurenteed gluten free, which cornflour can not always be.

Hot Caramel Sauce

4 pitted dates (does not have to be Medjool)
1/4 cup boiling water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 - 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder/cornflour
1 serving 2 ingredient home-made healthy banana ice-cream

- Chop the dates into small pieces and then pop them into a wide and tall measuring jug.
- Pour the boiling water over the dates and add the vanilla extract.
- For the best texture and the smoothiest caramel, it is best to leave the dates soaking in the boiling water for as long as possible before blending, but this is not essential.  
- Use a hand blender to blend the date mixture until it takes on a thick, creamy, consistent texture resembling caramel.
- Add 1/2 a teaspoon of arrowroot powder and stir it in until incorporated.
- If you think the caramel could be thicker, add an additional 1/2 a teaspoon and mix well to combine.
- Chill the caramel mixture in the fridge until completely cooled as this will fully thicken and set the caramel.
- When you want to serve the caramel, heat it up in the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute or so, or until it reaches a temperture that you prefer.
- Stir the caramel well before serving.
- This caramel will last in the fridge for a few days, so can definitely be made in advance to when you want to serve it.

Okay, so I have mentioned in a couple of previous posts that I had some exciting news to share with you guys. Well, it's finally time to come clean and let you all in on what's going on. If you already follow me on Instagram or Twitter, then you'll already know what's happening. Basically, I applied for the competition, Miss Bikini Swimsuit Ireland, not really thinking that anything would come of it. To my surprise, I was actually chosen as a contestant to compete for the title of Miss Bikini Swimsuit Ireland and to go on to Mexico to represent Ireland in Miss Bikini Swimsuit USA, if I was to actually win the competition. So I attended a press call and photoshoot on the 7th of September (this is where the picture below was taken) and I will soon be heading to the bootcamp part of the competition on the 20th of September. The final takes part late in October. I am so excited to be a part of this competition as it's a completely new experience for me. Let me know if you want me to keep you up to date on how I go throughout the competition, otherwise, follow me on Instagram or Twitter to see how I prepare for the stage regarding food, fitness, etc.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Healthy Chocolate Shell (Hardening Chocolate Sauce)

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

I'm sure we all know what a chocolate shell is when it comes to ice-cream. If you've ever seen a McDonald's or Burger King/Hungry Jack's (Australian Burger King) menu, you'll know exactly what I mean. It's a chocolate sauce that you dip a soft-serve cone into and it instantly hardens, creating a chocolate shell all over the ice-cream. I used to work at a Hungry Jacks in Australia, and I know for a fact that this chocolate sauce is given the ability to harden via oils and pig fat. Yes, pig fat. I don't want to gross you out or anything, but I would see the bags of chocolate sauce in the cooler and a thick layer of yellow pig fat would sit on top of all of the chocolate sauce within the bag. Obviously, this is the case before the sauce is stirred and heated up, to stop it separating. Doesn't sound so appetising does it? It's also extremely bad for you. That's why hen I saw lot's of Instagrammers (yes, still obsessed with Instagram) creating their own healthy version of this chocolate shell, I knew that I absolutely had to try it.

This is one of those recipes where when you are making it, it seems so simple, so easy, that it seems there's no way that it could actually work. After I had made the sauce and was pouring it onto my 'ice-cream', I was doubtful that it would even set and harden. But it did! It really did. It worked so well and tasted absolutely amazing and that texture is exactly that of an actual chocolate shell, just way, way, way, better for you. I adore this recipe now and swear that I will be making it again and again. I am also trying to think of other things that I could make that this sauce would set and harden onto, that aren't just ice-cream. Stay tuned, as I'm sure I'll come up with something. 

I used extra virgin coconut oil for this recipe. Coconut oil is the healthiest oil for us, currently available on the market. It is widely available now and can be purchased in supermarkets and health food stores. I bought my huge tub of it in Dunnes Stores for around 6 euro. I also used cacao powder in this recipe. Yes, cacao powder, I didn't just spell cocoa wrong. Cacao powder is completely raw and the purest form of chocolate available to us. It is not heated (unlike every other chocolate product on the market) and so it contains the highest levels of antioxidants found in any food source ever! Cacao powder is the only way you can truly eat chocolate completely guilt free. As it contains for added sugars or fats either. But of course, if you don't have access to cacao powder (I bought mine online from a health food shop), you can always use cocoa powder (cocoa powder is heated, so antioxidants are killed during this process). Just ensure you buy a brand that has just one ingredient; cocoa powder, and no added sugar or any other nasties what so ever. Also ensure that you buy a maple syrup that is 100% pure, contains just one ingredient, is of at least a medium grande and Canadian too. 

I used my basic recipe for 2 ingredient home-made healthy banana ice-cream for this recipe. Just look at that chocolate-y sauce, just before it set and hardened. Yum!

Healthy Chocolate Shell (Hardening Chocolate Sauce)

1 serving of 2 ingredient home-made healthy banana ice-cream

1/2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
1/2 tablespoon 100% pure maple syrup
1/2 tablespoon cacao powder (or cocoa powder)

- Heat the coconut oil in the microwave, using 10 second intervals and stirring each interval until it is fully melted and is completely in liquid form. It took me 20 - 30 seconds to melt mine. 
- Add the maple syrup and stir to combine. 
- Add the cacao powder or cocoa powder and stir well until it is completely incorporated. 
- Serve by pouring the chocolate sauce over 2 ingredient home-made healthy banana ice-cream. 
- Allow the sauce a minute or two to set and harden before eating. 

Friday, 5 September 2014

Banana Bread Protein Paleo Mugcake

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

This is a follow-up recipe from my previous recipe for my maple spice protein paleo mugcake. This is one of many more variations of my protein paleo mugcake recipes to come - so stay tuned to the blog in the coming weeks as I will be adding them frequently. To tell you the truth, I have become a bit obsessed with with my paleo mugcakes since I developed the recipe. I mean, who doesn't want cake for breakfast? A crazy person, that's who. 

Anyways, I'll keep this post short and sweet. I went into greater detail about the ingredients in my last post for my maple spice protein paleo mugcake, particularly about the ingredient coconut flour, so check out that post to find out more about it or to find an alternative ingredient that you could use instead, if you don't have coconut flour handy. 

Banana Bread Protein Paleo Mugcake 

1 large banana
2 egg whites
1/2 tablespoon organic honey
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
2 tablespoons coconut flour
2 whole walnuts/4 walnut halves/1 tablespoon chopped walnuts1 calorie olive oil cooking spray 
Additional 1/2 tablespoon organic honey

- Mash the banana into a purée and put it into a bowl. 
- Separate two eggs and add the egg whites into the bowl along with the banana. 
- Measure half a tablespoon of honey and add this into the bowl as well.
- Combine the three ingredients using a fork.
- Measure out the ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg and add them into the mix. 
- Add the baking powder and coconut flour and whisk the mixture thoroughly, with the fork, to combine. 
- You can use a sieve or small strainer when adding the dry ingredient to the wet ingredients to prevent lumps. I made this mug cake both ways, with and without a sieve, and it didn't make much of a difference. So personal preference. 
- Chop the walnuts into small pieces and add these pieces into the mix and stir to disperse evenly throughout it. - Grease the inside of the biggest mug you can find with 1 calorie olive oil cooking spray.
- Decant the mixture from the bowl into the mug.
- Heat the mug containing the mixture in the microwave for 2 minutes, uninterrupted. You will be tempted to open the microwave when you see the cake ballooning over the rim of the mug, but this is normal and imperative for the cake to properly cook.  
- Remove the mug from the microwave after 2 minutes and allow to mug to sit for a little while to allow the mug and cake to cool slightly and also to allow the cake to retract back down inside the mug. 
- Turn the mug upside down onto the serving plate and pour over the additional half a tablespoon of honey to serve.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Iced Green Tea

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

It was such a gorgeous, sunny day out today. Typical of Ireland for the weather to get good in September (and May), when everyone is in school/college/work. But we have to make the most of these last few fine days that we might be lucky enough to get by making all of our favourite 'summer' recipes while we still have the chance. That's why today I made another one of my iced tea recipes. This is my iced green tea recipe. Now, before you instantly exit this post or lose interest because you might not be a fan of green tea, allow me to attempt to change your mind. I do not like green tea! Not even a little bit. I think it tastes grassy and I could never even dream of drinking s steaming hot cup of it. But, however, I am committed to coming up with recipe ideas which disguise the green tea within them, so people like you and me, who don't like green tea, can still reap the awesome health benefits from the drink, without having to suffer the yucky taste. Take my green tea steeped porridge recipe and my green tea smoothie for example. 

Literally the only thing you can taste from this iced tea is the sweetener that you choose to use. I used coconut sugar because it is a neutral tasting healthy sweetener that won't over-power the iced tea. Another goof neutral tasting sweetener you could use is agave nectar. However, if you do not have either of these sweeteners, you can always use honey or 100% pure maple syrup. You will just taste the dominance of these sweeteners a lot more than the subtly of coconut sugar or agave. 

Coconut sugar is a new sweetener to me. I recently bought a bag of it from Holland & Barrett. Though, it is very expensive, at over 11 euro for the bag. But it is a completely guilt-free sugar alternative and unlike all other healthy sweeteners, it is in granulated form and not liquid form (so it has the texture of real sugar, in fact, now that I think of it, it looks exactly light soft light muscovado sugar). So this means that coconut sugar can be used in place of normal sugar in any recipes that require a granulated sweetener to be used, and not a liquid one. For example, cinnamon rolls. If you used a liquid sweetener to create the filling of a cinnamon roll, it would be a right mess! Trust me, I've tried it before, not a good idea. 

Iced Green Tea

1 green tea bag
Boiling water
1 teaspoon coconut sugar (or sweetener of choice)
2 large/4 small coconut water ice cubes/normal ice cubes

- Boil the kettle with an ample amount of water.
- Put a green tea bag into your serving glass of choice. 

- Pour the boiling water into the serving glass, about 3/4 of the way up.
- Then add your sweetener and stir it to fully dissolve and incorporate it into the tea.- Allow the tea to come to room temperature.
- Then, place the tea into the fridge to steep and chill for four to eight hours (or over night).
- When the tea has steeped and is chilled, remove the tea bag from the glass.
- 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.

Can I just say that I am actually so sad that summer is well and truly over. The Autumn weather has well and truly setting in (except for the freak heat wave today, lol) and all the signs are there that life is moving on, along with the seasons; all the back to school stuff in the shops and even the first sight of Halloween decorations and costumes (what, already?). I really felt like I let the summer pass me by this year and I definitely did not take full advantage of it what-so-ever. I really only made the most of the month of August, and I had so much fun, that I instantly regretted not making more of an effort throughout June and July. I guess it's too late now to change things but I suppose that I will just have to take a step back and re-evaluate myself. There's nothing worse than looking back on things, wishing you had done it differently. So that's my goal for the rest of this year and the coming years ahead; to stop taking everything so seriously and to just let go a little and have a bit more fun. Basically, just 'get stuck in' on life!