Recipe: SQUASH TOAST WITH ALMOND BUTTER, COCONUT & FRESH BERRIES (gluten, grain, dairy & sugar free, vegan)

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This is such a yummy healthy breakfast or dessert! Quick to prepare and cook, so no reason to choose cheap, nasty, sugar-laden breakfast cereals or prepackaged puddings over this delight!

You can choose winter or summer squash as both are loaded with vitamin C & A, and have a small impact on your blood sugar. Furthermore, cooking the squash in the stable fat options below means the already low starches and sugars are taken slowly into the bloodstream. The reason I’ve chosen to cook the squash in either coconut oil, butter or ghee instead of vegetable oils or margarine spreads is that heating unstable vegetable oils causes havoc on our systems. Not only do oils such as corn, soy, safflower, sunflower and canola increase the likelihood of having fat stored on your body, but they also stimulate an inflammatory response in the body (water retention, painful and stiff joints, thickened arteries, etc). In addition, remember while olive oil is a brilliant vegetable oil, you must avoid using when cooking with high temperatures – stick with the suggestions I’ve listed below:

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Ingredients (serves 1):

1/4 squash (the end without the seeds)

1 TBSP almond butter

1 TBSP coconut oil / ghee /butter

3 TBSP desiccated coconut

handful of blueberries

Pinch of pink salt

Preparation:

Preheat two pans (one small, one large) on a low heat or if you’re grilling switch the grill on to 180 deg

Directions:

Thinly slice into the top end of the squash, as if you were cutting a loaf of bread. Cut as many slices as you feel hungry for (I usually cut around 4 pieces that are around 1/2cm thick).

To the small pan add the desiccated coconut and stirring occasionally toast this for the duration of time you’re frying the squash.

Spread coconut oil on both sides of the squash pieces.

 To the large pan add the squash pieces and turn the heat up to a high medium (or place under the squash pieces under the  oven grill). Fry (or grill) for 5 minutes, then flip the squash pieces over and toast the other side.

Plate the squash toast,  spread generously with almond butter and add a pinch of salt. Then to finish, dress with the toasted desiccated coconut and  blueberries.

Enjoy!

Variations:

A quicker version – pre-cook the squash in hot water for a couple of minutes then pan-fry on a high heat for 2 minutes on each side. Keep the desiccated coconut un-toasted.

A more filling version – substitute berries for sliced banana

A more decadent version – serve with raw cream, coconut cream or yoghurt.

For the carnivores – add 2 rashers of bacon chopped into small pieces and fried until crispy (this is delicious!)

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Recipe: DARK CHOCOLATE & BANANA DESSERT (sugar, dairy & gluten free, paleo, vegan)

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The great thing about preparing paleo meals is the massive room for experimentation – once you’re used to the new set of rules and the ingredients at hand, there are so many ways to approximate paleo versions of old favorites, or invent entirely new meals. Here’s a dessert I made up a few weekends ago that was absolutely delicious – a perfect complement of flavours with the dark bitterness of the chocolate, the sweetness of the banana and the richness of coconut. After freezing, the hard/soft textures really come into play too.

To echo the preface of my last “treat” recipe (chocolate coconut rough) – it’s so important to know your sweeteners and avoid the nasty ones (cane sugar, HFCS, agave etc). As always, don’t reward with sweets as this only reinforces the reward and pleasure triggers in our brain. If you’re craving sugar fill up on proper, whole foods and fats. When you do feel like a treat, stick to healthy recipes like this one:

Ingredients (serves one):

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 1 banana

Preparation:

Line a small bowl or large coffee cup with a square of baking paper (about 10cm x 10cm)

Directions:

Put a small pot on a low heat, add the coconut oil and water and slowly melt them down. Add the cocoa and stir until smooth. Turn the heat off and add the desiccated coconut and stir well.

Thinly slice the banana and stir into the chocolate mix.

Spoon the mixture into your cup or bowl and place in the freezer for at least an hour.

To serve:

Take your pudding out of the freezer 10 minutes before you plan to eat it.

Pull it away from the baking paper and return to the mug or bowl.

Take a teaspoon to CONSUME & ENJOY!

Recipe: CHOCOLATE COCONUT ROUGH (paleo, gluten & dairy-free)

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Having a sweet treat (“because I’ve been so good / worked so hard…”) each day is one of the most difficult habits to break. The major problem with using sweet food as a treat is that it triggers the reward and pleasure systems in our brains, meaning that we associate sweetness with achievement and success.

To help with sugar cravings the best things you can do is eat proper meals – fill up on good quality whole foods such as vegetables, meats, fish, fats, soaked nuts and seeds and whole fruit. Following this you should choose chocolate/cakes/desserts etc that are sweetened with small amounts of any of the following: fruit, dried fruit, raw honey, good quality maple syrup, stevia, coconut palm sugar, rapadura, xylitol or molasses.

You should absolutely avoid cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup, poor quality agave and ALL artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose and saccharin (yes, even in the form of chewing gum). This latter list can send you on a mood roller coaster, increase anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, can deplete your immune system, upset your gut flora, increase blood pressure and increase body fat (especially around the waist). I wrote more about sugar and other sweeteners here – take a look.

With this in mind, I wanted to show how you can create a healthy version of a classic treat: chocolate coconut rough. Using either raw honey or good quality maple syrup alongside good quality fats such as coconut oil and almonds will mean you won’t be bouncing off the walls then crashing an hour later. With this recipe aim to reduce the amount of sweetener each time you make it – notice how quickly you get used to less sweetness when you reduce how much of it you consume.

… and if you really suffer greatly with binging and craving sugar next time you reach for a sweet sit, breathe and contemplate the following questions: 

  • What am I really hungry and craving for?
  • Where do I get my sweetness in life?
  • Does my desire to feel healthy and energised outweigh the need for sweet foods?

And to help you along your way:

  • Sign up with a friend so you can help support each other come off sugar!
  • Get inspired – there are plenty of people online and in real life (like myself) who are here to help inspire and encourage healthy habits
  • Get baking with healthy ingredients! Enjoy and help assimilate your healthy treat with a smile – nourishing thoughts are just as essential as nourishing foods!

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Ingredients (base)

  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 3/4 cup coconut
  • 3/4 cup soaked sultanas (choose chopped up prunes or figs for a lower sugar option)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder/soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg or 2 small eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa

Ingredients (topping, optional)

  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup/ honey / rice malt syrup (omit for a lower sugar option, add 1 another TBSP of coconut oil)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup coconut

Preparation:

Soak the sultanas / dried fruit in a bowl of warm water for 30 minutes – this is optional but does help bring more chewy moisture to the mix

Set aside a 24cm round or 20cm square 4cm deep greased or lined baking dish

Pre-heat your oven at 160 deg C

Directions for the base:

Put a small pot on a low heat, add the coconut oil and honey and slowly melt them down. Add the cocoa and stir until smooth

In a bowl add the dry ingredients. Stir in the egg(s). Then add the wet ingredients and mix well.

Firmly press the mixture down firmly into your baking dish

Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes

Directions for the topping:

In your small pot on a low heat melt down the coconut oil and maple syrup or honey. Heat to boiling point and simmer gently for about 1min to thicken.

Add the cocoa, vanilla and desiccated coconut

Stir and spread over the cooked base while still warm. Refrigerate or freeze to set icing.

… and enjoy!

Personal tip: I love keeping this in the freezer and taking a piece out 5 mins before I eat it!

Recipe: RED VELVET CHOCOLATE CAKE OR CUPCAKES! (grain & gluten free)

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This is where the modern part of paleo comes in (wink wink!). I know our cave ancestors didn’t eat cake but I’m sure if they could have, every once in a while, they would have! Needless to say this delicious cake is pretty goody two shoes when compared to most of the others out there today. So pop the oven on and get baking! Then of course invite some friends and family over to share, as there’s nothing better than a great natter with your loved ones over a warm piece of chocolate cake mmmmm!

Ingredients

2 cups of cooked and grated beetroots (cook at 160c for 60 mins)

4 eggs

1/2 cup coconut oil / ghee / organic grass-fed butter

1/2 good quality maple syrup / rice malt syrup / coconut sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup cacao powder

1/3 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup almond flour

Directions

Preheat oven to 170C

In a food processor or blender, beat the beetroots, eggs, oil, honey, vanilla, baking soda, salt and spices. Blend well.

In a separate bowl sift the cocoa powder and coconut flour, then fold in the wet ingredients.

Pour into a greased cake pan and bake for 35-45 minutes (or until an inserted knife comes out clean).

Eat warm with grated chocolate  / raw cream / raw yoghurt / good quality dairy-free ice cream or let it cool and ice with the recipe below.

Chocolate icing

Ingredients

1/4 cup organic maple syrup / rice malt syrup
2 ripe avocados / 3 TBSP soft ghee / butter / coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup raw cocoa powder

Directions

Blend together then ice the cake!

 

CUPCAKE VARIATION!

Instead of baking this mixture as a cake, you can divide the mixture into a muffin tray or cupcake baskets and then ice them with this delicious coconut cream icing recipe…

Coconut icing

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of desiccated coconut

1/4 cup coconut oil

1 TBSP maple syrup or raw honey

1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Then ice the cupcakes!

 

Recipe: BANANA & AVOCADO ICE CREAM (vegan, dairy & sugar-free)

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Ingredients:

1 very ripe banana peeled, chopped and frozen

1/2 avocado

Preparation:

Blend frozen banana and avocado together with a hand blender and eat straight away while creamy, cold and fluffy!

I know this sounds a weird mix but it somehow works! Delicious and ridiculously healthy with no troublesome highly pasteurised dairy products and no added sugar! Perfect for the kiddies too as the avocado fat helps slow the rate at which the sugar hits the system, so no manic sugar highs!

All you have to remember is to chop and freeze your bananas when they are spotty and ripe –  this is after all when they boost their nutritional best and are most easily digested by our systems.

Variations:

Blend in 1tsp of cinnamon / 2 tsp cocoa powder / vanilla / chopped pecans / desiccated coconut

Swap avocado for 1 TBSP of melted coconut oil

Recipe: GINGER COOKIES (vegan, gluten, grain & dairy free)

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Ingredients (makes about 10 small cookies):

4 TBSP coconut oil or butter
2 TBSP raw honey/maple syrup/date syrup
1 c almond flour OR macadamia flour OR 1/2 c desiccated coconut & 3 TBSP coconut flour
1-2 TBSP fresh ground or powdered ginger
1 tsp baking soda

Preparation:

Melt the coconut oil and raw honey/maple syrup together on the stove, add a dash of water and wait for it to slightly thicken. Let it cool a bit

Add the remaining ingredients and mix together

Roll into balls then squash flat with fork

Bake on 165 C for about 10 mins until golden. Leave to cool, then keep in the fridge – these get better by the day!

The wonders of ginger!

  • thins the blood so can help with tension headaches and menstrual cramping
  • assists blood sugar imbalances so can help with diabetes and sugar cravings
  • immune booster and powerful antioxidant so great to ward off the common cold and clean out your system

Recipe: AVOCADO CHOCOLATE MOUSSE (vegan, gluten, dairy & grain-free)

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Ingredients

1 chilled avocado

1 TBSP coconut oil

1 TBSP water

2 TBSP raw honey / maple syrup / 1 frozen banana

3 TBSP cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla

Pinch of sea salt

Preparation

Put all ingredients into a blender, and blend together until smooth. Transfer into a small bowl, refrigerate for at least 30 mins (or 15 mins in the freezer!). Tastes even more delicious the next day… Enjoy!

Variations

Sprinkle with desiccated coconut / grated dark chocolate / sliced banana / berries

Remember nutritional benefits of avocado from here and coconut oil from here

Recipe: BANANA LOAF (gluten & grain-free)

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This is a definite favourite of mine: perfect to have a slice with a green juice for a quick, on-the-go breakfast, or as an afternoon treat with a cup of tea. Great treat for kids too, as it’s naturally sweetened, and rich in healthy fats and proteins.

Ingredients:

2 organic eggs
2-3 ripe bananas
1/3 – 1/2 cup of butter or coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup of almond flour or 1/2 cup of coconut flour (or a mixture of both. Add a little more if the mixture looks too wet)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 pinch of Himalayan salt

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 165C
Blend the wet ingredients for a minute or so until they appear airy and fluffy
Add the dry ingredients, being careful not to over-mix
Pour the mixture into a lined tin
Bake for 20-30 minutes

Variations

Try adding cinnamon / chocolate chips / raisins / sultanas / cranberries for a tasty variation!

This recipe can also be used to make mini-muffins

Recipe: HOT CROSS BUNS (gluten & grain-free)

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Ingredients:

3 cups of ground almonds or 2 cups of ground almonds and 1/2 cup of coconut flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 pinch of Himalayan or sea salt

1/4 cup of coconut oil (melted)

2 tbsp honey – ideally raw or locally produced

zest of 1-2 oranges (depending on how much you like that citrus zing!)

1/2 tsp of vanilla essence

2 organic eggs

1 tsp cinnamon

80g of dried cranberries or barberries or sultanas (make sure they are 100% berries with no vegetable oils!)

25-50g or dark organic chocolate (no less than 85% cocoa!)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 160C

Combine all ingredients and mix well

Roll into small bun shapes – about 14 small portions and place on a lined baking tray

Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until golden

Melt some dark chocolate and paint on the crosses!

Enjoy! Happy Easter!