When I hear the words ‘healthy’ and ‘cookies’ in the same sentence, I usually think “oh here we go again” – a so called ‘healthy’ recipe, which either isn’t that healthy when you look at the ingredients, or it is healthy but tastes pretty awful and nothing like a real cookie. However, this recipe is a complete game changer! For one, the ingredients are wholesome, nutritious and won’t put a dent in your waistline, but most importantly, they taste AMAZING!
I found this recipe online (I’m always on the look out for healthy bakes), and I just had to write about it. I usually try these recipes and they never turn out like the official photo, but these actually look pretty decent! (I made a few changes as I was limited to the ingredients in my cupboard, so feel free to personalise it too!) So, low and behold: refined sugar-free, good-for-you, chocolate chip cookies! (They look pretty good, don’t they?!)
Anyway, here’s the recipe!
1 can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup agave nectar
1tsp baking powder
1tsp vanilla essence
85% dark chocolate (broken into small pieces)
Set your oven at 180c and line a baking tray well. Then, simply blend the chickpeas, peanut butter, honey and baking powder until the mixture is a smooth paste. Stir in the dark chocolate pieces.
Now spoon the mixture onto the baking tray in even mounds (they can be however small or large depending on the size you want your cookies). Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until golden brown. Make sure you check on them regularly, then remove, let cool and devour!
(Original recipe from zannavandijk.co.uk – there are some awesomely healthy and delicious recipes on there!)
Christmas is around the corner which means a lot of delicious and indulgent food to look forward to. Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE this time of year and can’t wait to tuck in to my Mum’s roast dinners and all the chocolate and cake that is bound to be on offer. I think it’s completely healthy to indulge at Christmas and if you’re going to relax and enjoy yourself at some point in the year, then this is a really perfect opportunity!
The one thing I don’t want, however, is to eat so much food that I feel awful for the entire festive period. Over the past year or so I have become much more interested in my health and fitness, and I have learned how good my body can feel when fuelled with nutritious, healthy food. (This is something I plan to blog more about in the future).
Anyway, I am visiting my family this week and the ‘bad food’ temptations started as soon as I entered the door! Despite making a promise to myself that I will enjoy the festive period without worrying too much about food, I want to do some ‘damage limitation’ so to speak. Therefore I have come up with a few tips of how we can all enjoy Christmas but also keep on track and keep feeling good over the next couple of weeks:
Starting Christmas day with a good breakfast will set you up for a day of treats and make you feel better about eating what you want later on. Have some eggs with smoked salmon, or grilled bacon with spinach and tomatoes – still delicious, filling and full of good fats and protein.
Try to eat relatively healthily during the days running up to Christmas and the ones after. Again this will make you feeling better about indulging on the day and keep you feeling good throughout.
Save the treats for when you really want them. Don’t eat 3 mince pies in a row just because you can. Eat one when you really fancy it – trust me, treats you wait for are the ones you tend to enjoy the most!
Keep up the exercise! 2 weeks away from your usual routine doesn’t have to mean 2 weeks of sitting on the sofa. Find a local gym which offer a pay-as-you-go option – this is what I plan to do whilst staying with my parents. If this isn’t possible or if the gym is closed, why not try some home workouts or go for a walk or a run to get your body moving.
Stay hydrated. Again, a few days or weeks outside of your normal routine can make you forget how important it is to drink enough water, so keep a bottle with you and try to keep up with your recommended intake.
Finally, take time for yourself and relax. After all, this is the time of year when we should take a break from the stresses of everyday life and enjoy some time with our friends and family. So do exactly that! Christmas day is one day of the year where worrying about what you eat is NOT allowed. It’s a day of roast potatoes, pigs in blankets and all the chocolate you can eat.
Now everyone loves a good slice of cake, but sometimes it’s hard to indulge when you’re trying to be good and watch what you eat. So, I spent my Friday evening experimenting in the kitchen on a mission to bake a guilt-free but equally delicious cakey treat, and this is what I came up with – a Blueberry and Coconut loaf!
Blueberries are super food and there are endless benefits to making sure they are a staple in your diet. As a thin-skinned dark berry, they are lower in fructose (fruit sugar) than many other types of fruit. They are also a rich source of antioxidants and are high in vitamin C which strengthens the immune system, helping to protect the body against illness.
Coconut is an excellent source of fat and is thought to reduce our urge to eat something sweet – the healthy fat in coconut slows down any rise in blood sugar and helps to reduce hyperglycaemic cravings.
This recipe also happens to be gluten and dairy free, so great for those of you who might have intolerances!
1 cup oats
1 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup natural sweetener (I used Xlylitol but honey could also work well)
3/4 cup almond or coconut milk
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
1 scoop whey protein (optional – great if you want to higher the protein content)
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1 cup frozen blueberries
1. Pre-heat oven to 200c
2. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl
3. Once fully combined, pour mixture into a loaf tin (which I had slightly greased with some coconut oil) and put in the oven for about 30-40 mins or until your knife comes out clean when testing.
4. Let cool, then slice up and serve! I even added a spoonful of peanut butter to mine for an extra treat – delicious!
Carrot Cake is definitely one of my favourite cakes of all time – the delicious mixture of carrots, cinnamon and spices, combined with its soft, squidgy texture is just amazing. However, we can’t go eating carrot cake all day long so here is a great healthy and completely raw alternative – so there’s no worrying about burning anything! This is adapted from Madeline Shaw’s recipe (http://madeleineshaw.com/) – her website is full of amazing home made recipes and healthy lifestyle tips – I definitely recommend checking it out!
This raw carrot cake is completely guilt free and all you need is a food processor/blender, a cake tin and a freezer – could it be any simpler? It has a cashew-nut icing to give it an extra creamy taste and cashews are in fact extremely nutritious. They are a rich source of copper – an essential component of many enzymes which plays a role in a wide range of physiological processes including iron utilization, development of bone and connective tissue, and the production of the skin and hair pigment called melanin. It is also important in energy production and antioxidant defences – so go nuts about cashews!
Carrots are also high in vitamin A and anti-oxidants which help to keep your skin hair and nails healthy, and dried apricots are an excellent source of dietary fibre and are rich in potassium, which is great for maintaining healthy blood pressure.
These whole foods are extremely nourishing as well as deliciously tasty, so why not give this recipe a go and see what you think!
100g of dried apricots
150g of grated carrot
2 tbsp of honey (argave nectar would also work)
30g of coconut oil
100g of desiccated coconut
60g of cashew nuts
1 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of ginger (could also add nutmeg)
40g walnuts (optional – I love walnuts in carrot cake so thought they would go nicely in this too!)
100g of cashews nuts
50ml of nut milk (almond or coconut)
For the base:
Grease a small cake tin/baking tray with coconut oil.
Put the nuts and apricots into a food processor until mixed together nicely.
Add the desiccated coconut, spices, honey and coconut oil and blend.
Break up the walnuts into smaller pieces and fold in along with the grated carrot. Then scoop mixture into the baking tray, flattening it out evenly.
For the topping:
In the (now empty) food processor, blend the second batch of cashews and nut milk until it is as smooth as possible. Then spread this over the top of the carrot mix and pop in the freezer for approximately an hour.
Remove cake from freezer and cut them into potions (I got about 8 slices out of a small cake tin).