Monthly Archives: May 2015

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Flapjacks

Peanut butter, chocolate, cocoa nibs, oats, coconut oil, more peanut butter – check!

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Flapjacks

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Flapjacks

This is one of those “oh my god, oh, oh, oh man, wow, oh, yes” type eating moments.  When I have an idea for a recipe, it tends to go one of three ways… disaster, mediocre, or totally awesome. THIS is one of the totally awesome times.

I so adore making (& eating) flapjacks, they are one of life’s pleasures, but you know, I get annoyed with the traditional method of heating the butter, sugar, syrup, the baking etc – sometimes you just don’t have time for all that jazz. So, I trialled this no-bake version, no heating, no baking (except a quick 15second micro-blast to melt the coconut oil, but I’ll forgive that!).

I honestly don’t think I’d be able to tell that this hadn’t been baked. It is firm, moist, holds its shape well, whilst still dropping the odd crumb on to your lap. It is layered with a flapjack base, a topping of peanuty goodness & then coated in a raw cacao chocolate. It is rammed with sweet, salty, peanut flavours & coated with that gorgeous, slightly creamy/chewy chocolate. It really is very very yummy! Plus, those nibs add an amazing brittle crunch to the bar – great stuff.

Perfect 4pm Treat!

Check out the layers – Perfect 4pm Treat!

Now, whilst the protein content of these is pretty good for a small snack-sized flapjack, you’ll see that the fat & carb content is a little higher than normal. This is partly due to the fact that these are a definite delicious, protein packed treat, rather than a low-fat snack food staple, but none of the key ingredients are nasty – it has been made with lovely stuff & so, this makes for a perfect pick me up, just don’t eat all 16 at once, or, if you do, at least they are full of oats and good fats, so you’re still one up on a box of mars bars! 😉

The protein powder that I used is a multipurpose peanut protein powder from Jamie Eason – this is such a good mix. I usually make all my recipes with natural powders, i.e. just the protein powder, no added stuff, but this was given to me to try & you know, it is so so good – great flavour & it lends a brilliant texture to almost everything I’ve made with it!

This whole recipe is free from dairy – the chocolate coating is made using raw cacao powder and coconut oil – it’s a great tip to pick up, because you can use that ‘chocolate’ to make so many great things.

The coconut nectar syrup isn’t compulsory, I saw some in my local whole-foods shop & just had to try it, but you can use any syrup you like, or even honey if you like. The coconut nectar syrup does lend a wonderful deep & intense flavour to the chocolate coating though, so if you do stumble upon it, grab it up!

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Flapjacks

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Flapjacks

Recipe (Makes 16 pieces):

Ingredients:

No-bake Flapjack Base-

  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 2 scoops of peanut protein – I used the delicious Jamie Eason multi-purpose one
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup peanut flour
  • 2tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2tbsp coconut nectar syrup (or use honey/agave)
  • 1/3cup cacao nibs
  • 3tbsp water

Peanut Butter Layer-

  • 2tbsp unsweetened PPB
  • 3tbsp water

Chocolate Layer-

  • 3 generous tbsp cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tbsp coconut nectar syrup (or honey/agave)

Method:

  1. Grab all the ingredients for the flapjack base, chuck them in a bowl & mix them up – it won’t form a dough, but if you squash the mix, it will hold together.
  2. Squash the flapjack in to a silicon pan & firm it down. Pop in to the fridge. *Tip: Put the silicon case on a firm baking sheet to keep it flat.
  3. Grab a cup & pop the PPB and water in to it. Stir together until you have a soft, but not runny peanut butter paste. Smooth this over the flapjack base & return it to the fridge.
  4. Mix all the chocolate layer ingredients together and then pour straight over the flapjack & peanut butter layers. Work quickly to disperse the chocolate before it sets on the cold surface.
  5. Return to the fridge for an hour or so & then chop up in to 16 pieces, with a sharp knife. Store in an airtight container for up to 4/5days in the fridge.

Macros per flapjack:

148kcals, 9.4g fat, 11.8g carbs, 7.3g protein

Go on, try these out & stash them in the fridge for up to 4/5days – maybe share some with your friends, if you really like them! Anyway, anything that stacks up this well in tupperware has GOT to be made, right?!?!

Perfect tupperware stacking

Perfect tupperware stacking

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The Amazing Double Kidney Bean Chocolate Cinnamon Protein Muffins (with Marshmallow Frosting)

I’m super pleased with how these delicious protein muffins with marshmallow frosting turned out. I had no recipe to follow, just a few tried and tested ideas stored in the back closet of my brain.

Chocolate Cinnamon Protein Muffins with Marshmallow Frosting

Chocolate Cinnamon Protein Muffins with Marshmallow Frosting

I’ve experimented with beans in cake batters before & I’ve experimented with marshmallow frosting made from bean juice too, so somewhere in this lot, there had to be an awesome & totally viable recipe, with minimal waste on the bean front.

Now, I’ve made these delicious, moist, firm, protein packed, chocolate chipped, bouncy frosted delights with red kidney beans, but there’s no reason why something like a black bean or a butter bean wouldn’t do the trick – just avoid baked beans, because that’s just not ever going to work!

Anyway, these cakes are pretty amazing. I’m totally excited that I can use the WHOLE contents of a can of beans, with no waste. I feel like Heston Blumenthal, with more hair & less money!

If you’ve never tried a protein muffin before, then the texture may be a little alien to you. I find that protein cakes, especially those made with whey, tend to be a little rubbery and slightly dry – feel free to try reducing the amount of whey in the batter, or subbing the whey for something like a hemp instead, which will lend itself beautifully to the chocolate flavour, but may mean that you’d need to fiddle with the rest of the ingredients to balance out the batter – if you’re an experienced protein baker, you’ll be fine doing that! However, the protein marshmallow frosting that is slathered all over the top of the muffin really helps to balance out the base – it gives moisture, texture, & creamy fluffiness, just delicious, the 2 together are pretty amazing & go great with a freshly brewed coffee.

Some of the ingredients you’ll be familiar with, some maybe not so much, but there are some real gems in the list, like stevia – an awesome natural sugar alternative, really versatile & a world away from the sweeteners of the 80s! Coconut sugar – another amazing table sugar alternative, it doesn’t actually taste of coconut, as it is derived from the nectar of the coconut flower. It has delicious, deep caramel tastes to it. Xantham gum is a genius thing to have in the kitchen – it is easy to get hold of now, in most supermarkets (find it either in the baking aisle, or the ‘free from’ type section). This genius powder will allow a liquid to emulsify & thicken, without the need for cooking, it is so so clever & is the secret behind that delicious marshmallow frosting.

Before you get started, I’ll just warn you that you’ll end up with wayyyyy more frosting than you’ll actually need for the cakes, but that is great, because, if you’re anything like me, you’ll happily sit and eat that right out of the bowl or end up spreading it on anything, or topping a bunch of fruit or… oooh yes, ice-cream with it – you’ll most definitely find a million and one things to do with the left-overs!!

Right, here goes…

Recipe (makes 12 muffins & a world of frosting):

Ingredients:

Chocolate & Cinnamon Protein Muffin Batter-

  • 1 can red kidney beans (DO NOT CHUCK THE JUICE, save it for the frosting!!!)
  • 2 scant scoops of unflavoured whey
  • 4tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup stevia/natvia
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (or any other milk)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract/bean paste
  • 1-2tsp ground cinnamon
  • 30g dark chocolate, chopped

Cinnamon & Vanilla Marshmallow Protein Frosting-

  • The juice from the can of kidney beans
  • 1/2 cup + 2tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2tsp vanilla extract/bean paste
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1.5 tsp xantham gum
  • 1 scant scoop unflavoured whey

Method:

  1. Start by pre-heating the oven to around gas 3/170C & then begin making the cake batter. Chuck all of the batter ingredients (apart from the dark chocolate) in to a bowl & use a stick blender to zap it all up until you have a smooth batter. Then fold in the chopped chocolate.
  2. Divide the mix in to a silicon muffin tin, with 12 holes. I like to put my silicon trays on to a metal baking sheet before filling, because it is next to impossible to move those wibbly wobbly sheets once they are filled, without spilling it all everywhere!
  3. Bung the cakes in to the oven, for about 10-20minutes – check after 10, they should be *just* cooked. Remove from the oven when ready & allow to cool in the tin for 5-10minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
  4. Whilst the muffins are cooking, get going with the amazing, genius frosting. You’ve got to use an electric  whisk here, preferable a stand mixer, unless you want to spend forever trying to whisk this yourself, I’m not even sure if you could whisk it yourself!
  5. Put the bean juice & the coconut sugar in to the bowl & start to mix it. Let it whip together for 2minutes, to allow the sugar to dissolve & combine. Stop the whisk & add in the xantham gum, the vanilla, the maple syrup & the cinnamon. Now start the whisk again, gradually turning up to maximum & leave it to beat the hell out of itself for about 5-10minutes. You” see it go from a small amount of brown liquid, to a whole voluminous bowl full of creamy coloured marshmallow fluff. The frosting is almost done when you can lift the whisk up and leave a firm trail of marshmallow hanging from the beater (excellent opportunity to get a spoon in there and taste lots of it).
  6. Add in the scoop of whey and slowly beat to combine – this will stiffen the frosting slightly, so that it will be just the right texture to pipe on to the cakes. Taste the frosting (again!) to check for vanilla and cinnamon – add more if you’d like to.
  7. Once the cakes are cool & have been removed from their cases, you can load up some of the frosting in to a piping bag & get loading it on to the muffins. Go crazy with it, you almost want the ratio of cake to frosting to be 50:50. The frosting is a bit like trying to pipe jelly, so don’t cry if you can’t make a perfect pattern with it!
  8. Once you have frosted the muffins and eaten a bunch of the leftover marshmallow fluff, you can grab a blow torch & give the frosting a quick toast – this is totally optional, but I love it, plus the frosting does this weird thing where it looks like it’s breathing when you torch it!
  9. Allow the frosting to cool a bit & jam a cake right in to your mouth! These cakes will keep for about 2 days, in an airtight container – they are actually slightly better and more moist if you leave them overnight & have one the next day, but the frosting starts to go a bit mushy if you leave them too long, so you know, you’d better just eat them all super fast! 😀
Gooey, delicious, toasted...

Gooey, delicious, toasted…

Just LOOK at the chocolate chunks!

Just LOOK at the chocolate chunks!

 

 

Macros per muffin (1of 12):

Without frosting- 84kcals, 3.5g fat, 6.6g carbs, 7g protein

With frosting- 131kcals, 3.6g fat, 17.4g carbs, 8.3g protein

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Dark Chocolate & Cranberry Protein Coconut Macaroons

Ok, oh my goodness, I mean really, really OH my goodness. I really think I hit the jackpot with these protein powered coconutty cranberry macaroon babies.

Dark Chocolate & Cranberry Protein Coconut Macaroons

Dark Chocolate & Cranberry Protein Coconut Macaroons

I’m a chief procrastinator. If I can get out of one task by finding another, seemingly more important, job, then boy, I will! So, there I was this morning, staring through my revision notes & thinking, “hmmmm, it’s about time I made something new. I have an open carton of coconut milk… I ought not to waste it… hmmmm, I also bought coconut. I wonder what I can make…”.

So, I thought about it a bit & then had a memory spark, from decades ago, of those super delicious little coconut macaroons – not the fashionable, pinterest-friendly french macarons, but the good old traditional coconut rammed, chocolate bottomed crispy, chewy confections of my childhood.

Right, good, yeah, lets make those – traditionally these are made with sickly sweet dried coconut, heaps of white sugar & sometimes a can of condensed milk – I knew I could better that, so I tried & I did & they are awesome!! These are crispy & crunchy and golden on the outside, white, chewy and coconutty, studded with chewy cranberries on the inside & they are wearing a dark, almost bitter pants and hat combo *drooooool*

Give these a go, you won’t regret it, unless you don’t like coconut… or chocolate… or cranberries… in which case, maybe go look elsewhere!

Dark Chocolate & Cranberry Protein Coconut Macaroons

Dark Chocolate & Cranberry Protein Coconut Macaroons

Recipe: (makes 11-12 macaroons)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsweetened dessicated coconut
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 scoop unflavoured whey protein
  • 2tbsp natvia/stevia
  • 10drops vanilla flavdrops / 0.5tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1/4 cup dried unsweetened cranberries
  • 2tbsp coconut milk
  • 1tsp coconut nectar syrup (or maple/agave will do the trick)
  • 40g dark chocolate

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to gas 3/170 degrees C, line a baking sheet with non-stick baking parchment.
  2. Using an electric whisk/kitchen mixer, whip the egg whites until they are frothy. Add in the natvia/stevia and vanilla & continue to whisk until stiff peaks have formed.
  3. Carefully add in the rest of the ingredients (apart from the cranberries & chocolate) and fold in to the whites.
  4. Once the mix is sort of coming together (it doesn’t really form a cohesive dough, but it will clump together in wet blobs – if it is too wet, add a little more coconut, if it is too dry, add a little more coconut milk), fold in the cranberries.
  5. Take clumps of the mix and place on the paper on the baking sheet – the mix should make 11-12 golf ball sized blobs.
  6. Tidy up the edges of the blobs, just to stop any rogue bits of mix from burning.
  7. Pop the tray in the oven for 10-15minutes. Keep an eye on them, they will burn quickly, if they are browning too fast, turn the oven down a bit – the insides need to be cooked, but without burning the outsides.
  8. When golden brown and cooked through, remove from the oven & leave to cool slightly.
  9. Melt the chocolate and dip the bases of the cooled macaroons in to it, then place back on the baking tray. Use any leftover chocolate to drizzle lines over the tops.
  10. Put the macaroons in the fridge to set the chocolate, then store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Macros (per macaroon, based on 11 in a batch):

107kcals, 7.8g fat, 7.5g carbs, 3.2g protein

Dive in & lemme know what you think!

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Next Level Cauliflower – Recipe

I’ve had a long-standing dislike to cauliflower. Even slathering it in cheese sauce and bacon bits could never disguise the taste of Grandma’s sock drawer. Until…

…You roast the hell out of that brassica!

spiced, roasted cauliflower

spiced, roasted cauliflower

OK, in all fairness, I am getting better at eating cauliflower, now that I’m a grown up (sort of), so if you do really really truly HATE cauliflower, this may not be the holy grail of all recipes, but it is worth a shot, because this really does change up the flavour and texture of that brain-like veggie.

Another reason to train yourself to eat cauliflower is that it is so good for you. These white cruciferous vegetables are rammed with phytonutrients and antioxidants (clever things that can help to protect us against cancer). They are also low energy dense foods, as in, you can eat lots and lots and lots & feel full (high water content), without actually eating very many calories – excellent if you need to feel satiated after eating & good news if you are on a calorie-restricted diet. Being a vegetable, the humble cauliflower is also a great source of fibre – another tick in the box for helping you feel full & keeping your tummy happy.

This way of cooking cauliflower is genius. It take a few seconds to prepare, next to no cooking supervision required & it uses no fat whatsoever, so it keeps the dish low in fat & therefore, low in calories too. The best thing about cooking vegetables in huge roasted chunks like this, is that you can often use them in place of higher carb foods, like potatoes.

So, here is how you make this:

Ingredients:

  • 1 big cauliflower
  • 1-2tsps of spice mix (your choice, but I used ‘old bay’ seasoning, something like cajun/curry/fajita seasoning would be awesome too!)
  • Spritz of lemon juice

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to Gas 6/200C
  2. Remove the outer leaves of the cauli
  3. Chop the cauli in half, then try to cut in to large, equal sized wedges – not all wedges will stay in one piece, but that’s cool because the small bits roast up & go super crispy & tasty!
  4. Bung the wedges on a good, solid non-stick baking sheet & sprinkle with your chosen spice mix.
  5. Turn the wedges over and season the other side.
  6. Chuck the tray in the oven for approx 30-40mins (use your own judgement here & cook to your liking, I like it when it starts to blacken around the edges!)
  7. Whip out the oven, sprinkle with lemon juice & eat the whole damn lot before anyone else gets a look-in!

Enjoy!

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Smart BBQ Side-Dish Swaps

Unless you choose griddled chicken breast & a green salad, BBQs can be a calorie minefield.

Typical BBQ sides include coleslaw, pasta salad, cous cous, sweetcorn, potato salad & bean salad. Whilst these can all be full of yummy veggies, they also tend to be crammed with mayo-based dressings or oil/butter.

By making your own sides, rather than buying them in, you can control what goes in to them, without compromising on taste – I mean, have you *tried* low-fat shop bought coleslaw?! Ewwwww!

Try these three options at your next BBQ & save on calories and fat…

Coleslaw:

Swap the shop bought stuff for this homemade version. Crammed with veggies and made with a fat free yoghurt. A high fibre, high taste, fat free alternative.

Fat free coleslaw

Fat free coleslaw

This version had a head of fennel, 2 carrots, 1 red onion, a handful of radishes & half a head of broccoli (florets & stalk) in it. The carrots & broccoli stalk were grated & the rest of the veggies were super finely sliced. The dressing was a few good spoons of 0% fage greek yoghurt, the juice of half a lemon & some dried dill. Mix well & season to taste.

Potato Salad:

Swap out the mayo coated BBQ staple for this low-fat, tasty option.

Low-fat Potato Salad

Low-fat Potato Salad

By using a mix of baby new potatoes & a large sweet potato, the GI of this salad is reduced, making this salad filling for longer & helping to stave off the second/third/fourth helpings. The potatoes have been chopped and roasted in just  tsp of olive oil, a little seasoning & some dried lovage (use any dried herb here, I just love the savoury taste of lovage). Roast up, then throw over the juice of 1 lemon, some sea salt flakes, some finely chopped chilli & some fresh chopped mint. It is important that you get the lemon juice on as soon as they come out of the oven, otherwise the potatoes won’t soak it all up & become yummy!

Guacamole:

I beg of you to never ever buy shop bought guacamole. It just ISN’T guacamole. It is gross & tastes bland and slimy! Many shop bought versions are actually made using powdered avocado, that is mixed in to a mayo base, so actually pretty grim & full of the wrong fats. Try this fresh version – it literally takes 5 minutes to make and tastes so so much better.

Fresh Guacamole

Fresh Guacamole

This bowl full of deliciousness used 2 ripe avocados, 2 small tomatoes, 2 spring onions, 1 fresh chilli,  lime & some sea salt. Here is a top tip for your guac – spoon out the avocado flesh in to a bowl & then use an apple corer to mash it – go on, try it! It takes seconds to mash and also means you can keep it chunky. Finely slice everything else, juice the lime right in to the bowl, add in a pinch of sea salt, mix & taste. Try also adding some chopped fresh corrainder, or a pinch of cumin or paprika – delicious!

Go ahead and try these swaps out at your next BBQ & feel smug about your healthier choices – it also means you saved enough macros for that dessert! 😉

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