Chocolate (Green) Smoothie

Hello, hello, hello I’m back ( or BT has finally fixed our phone line). anyway now normal service can be resumed and I’ve got loads of posts to share with you all, so I best get started. 

  
This here Is a green smoothie in disguise. It’s perfect for a chocolate fix but has less sugar than some of the other smoothie combinations out there. I’m not going to say  it’s clean, or sugar free etc, sugar is sugar whichever way you look at it, and this has some fruit in. 

Ingredients 

  • Handful of spinach 
  • Small piece of cucumber
  • 1/2 frozen banana 
  • A few chunks of mango
  • 1tsp of cacao powder 
  • 1/2 tsp maca powder
  • Milk of choice 

Place all ingredients into your blender/ nutribullet etc and voila there you have your smoothie

  
Right back to it I’m experimenting with photo backdrops and have some pictures to take. ( it’s one of my aims this year to improve my photography skills). 

Green Banana Flour

Am I going bananas? It this a thing? Well ( some would argue yes to both if they know me) green banana flour is the latest grain free flour to hit the ever growing “free from” market.  I can hear health fashionistas jumping for joy from here.  However my burning question was what is it exactly, and do I need to try it/ incorporate it into our allergen riddled lifestyle? 

I’m interested both personally, and professionally, I’m often asked about diet and lifestyle and giving advice to patients, so I was keen to find out. That and by nature I’m quite inquisitive so one no show the other afternoon had me looking at the research. 

In the green phase banana has a high starch/ resistant starch content. This type of carbohydrate isn’t as quickly absorbed by the body- keeping us feeling fuller for longer, and helping to regulate insulin levels ( Bras et al 2013).  Also by nature it is high in potassium and gluten, dairy and nut free. 

  
Natural Evolution kindly sent me some flour to experiment with, and I’ve had great fun with some creations. It is a difficult flour to get to grips with in baking, you need less than conventional flour and a fair amount of liquid. Bear with it though. It gives a lovely almost nutty taste and a fairly light fluffy texture.   My tip ( as advised by Natural Evolution ) was to start out trying a spoonful in your smoothie, it provides  a thicker texture and I swear I felt more satisfied after, which is a bonus in a morning if you are In a rush. 
So my next trial was a cake, and being autumn, coupled with the fact we grew a lot of apples I decided on a spiced apple cake.  This works well either on its own ( with a coffee obviously) or as a pudding with custard. The nutty taste of the flour also lends itself well to spices like cinnamon and mixed spice. 

Ingredients 

  • 140g banana flour
  • 50g brown rice flour
  • 150 g sugar of choice (caster, stevia etc) 
  • 1tsp gf baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp xanthum gum
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice 
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of oil eg, coconut, vegetable or grape seed ( I used coconut) 
  • 1/2 cup of milk of choice
  • 1-2 sweet apples. 

Method 

  • Preheat your oven to 180 and line a cake tin. 
  • Melt your oil if using coconut. 
  • Mix dry ingredients together. 
  • Beat the eggs and add to the oil. 
  • Mix wet and dry together. 
  • The mixture goes like a crumbly dough- add your milk at this point and mix well. 
  • If it’s still a bit dry add some more milk a splash at a time until a smooth batter is achieved
  • Pour half into a tin and add a layer of Apple. 
  • Cover with the rest of the mixture
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. 
  • Leave to cool in the tin for ten minutes then transfer to a rack. 

  

Serve and enjoy.

  

Have you tried green banana flour yet? What are your thoughts or tips? Let me know in the comments below. 

Easy Frozen Dessert- Go Bananas

I can’t call this a recipe, it’s so easy. I also cannot and wouldn’t claim this to be my own invention. The yonanas machine uses this concept, as does every clean eating or free from blogger at some point I’m sure, however this is a great hack you need to know using the humble banana to make icecream. 

  
See it even looks like the real thing, but is dairy free, gluten free, nut free, soya free, vegetarian and vegan. 

So to make a basic banana icecream you need : 

1 food processor

2-3 frozen bananas 

A splash of any milk of your choice. 

Method

  •  Begin by freezing you bananas ( cut into smaller pieces first) for at least 2 hours.
  • Put into the food processor ( Nutribullets don’t work well for this). Pulse to break the banana down. 
  • Then keep blending. It goes through a few stages but when the banana looks like bread crumbs add the milk and turn on again. 
  • The rest is magic, eventually the mixture becomes smooth and the texture of icecream.  
  • I like to freeze for a few hours to harden the mixture up, but you can serve it straight away and have a soft, creamy ice cream type dessert. 

  
So there you have it, that’s the basic method, and then experiment with different flavours. Choc chips go really well, as do blueberries or strawberries. 

Leek and potato soup

Well it’s been a funny old week weather wise. Here in the shire we’ve had rain, snow, hail and wind inter spaced with token gestures of sunshine. So to amuse mini me, and have something warming for lunch we made a leek and potato soup. 

It’s comforting in cold weather, and not a drop of cream in sight ( feel free to add some if you prefer though). You can leave it chunky it or blend it smooth, which is my preference, it’s up to you. The main point is it’s super easy, and delicious to. 

  
Ingredients

  • 1 tbs coconut oil 
  • 1 onion chopped thinly 
  • 250 g potato 
  • 2 medium leeks 
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock 
  • Salt and pepper to season ( I use pink Himalayan salt) 

Method 

  • Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan, and add the onion. Fry for 3-4 minutes until they soften. 
  • Add the leeks and potato cook for a further 5 minutes. It’s better to cut the potato into small chunks so it cooks evenly and faster. 
  • Season and add the vegetable stock. You can make your own or use a stock cube with boiling water, either works. 
  • Bring to the boil and simmer until the vegetables are tender. 
  • Blend with a hand blender or blender until smooth. 
  • Enjoy a bowl when you are ready. 

  

Turmeric Latte 

It’s that mid-afternoon slump, and unseasonably cold here in then leafy shires. I fancied a latte.  Today I’m having a latte with a difference – Turmeric. As in the South Asian grown spice (related to the ginger plant) widely used in Indian and Asian cooking. I’m not going mad bear with me. 

Now there has been many a claim about the miracles of this spice. Some of which I’d take with a pinch of salt as there isn’t enough hard evidence to credit or discredit it. So I’m not stating these, however this type of latte is better than your usual sugar laden offerings from high street coffee houses and I’ll stand by that ( oh and it’s tasty to). 

  
Ingredients

  • 250ml of plant based milk, I used coconut but almond or cashew work well to. 
  • 1tsp Turmeric
  • 1tsp agave nectar ( or less if you prefer) 
  • A sprinkle of cinnamon to serve. 

Method

  • Place all ingredients into a milk pan, and heat until steaming.
  • I mix with a milk frother 
  • Serve in mug and sprinkle with cinnamon to serve. 

Sit and relax with your mid afternoon drink. Enjoy.

Today’s Smoothie -Berry Blast

  
Morning all, I hope the week it treating you well? Just thought I’d share my smoothie this morning, I’ve been using stuff up and this totally works. 

Ingredients

  • Handful of Spinach
  • 1 frozen banan
  • 1cup frozen mixed berries
  • 1tbs chia seeds
  • Top with coconut milk (coconut water would work to I think) 

Blitz and serve. 

Rhubarb and Ginger Compote

So it’s the first day of spring, and the gardens are starting to come to life. I confess this year will be rewarding after I went all good life last year. So my rhubarb is ready to pick so I’ve been playing around with recipes to see what I can come up with. 

  
This compote is first. It’s great with yoghurt and granola for a breakfast, as a base for a fruit fool or a crumble. I love ginger and it works so well with rhubarb so this compote is delicately spiced as well. Even better it’s gluten free, nut free, suitable for those following a Paleo diet as well as vegetarians to. 

Ingredients

  • 750g rhubarb chopped into thumb sized pieces
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • Fresh or crystallised ginger chopped up ( thumb sized piece) 
  • 1 -2 tbs agave nectar ( you can use 100g caster or 75g coconut sugar) 

Method

  • Put the rhubarb and ginger into a pan along with the Orange zest and juice. 
  • I also put a couple of table spoons of water in as well. 
  • Add the cinnamon stick and your sugar
  • Bring to the boil then turn the heat down to a gentle simmer. 
  • After about 5 minutes the rhubarb will be cooked (stewed). It will break down, but I prefer it when it still holds its shape a little. 
  • Serve however you prefer. I’ve teamed it with soya yogurt and my homemade granola. 

  

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding 

  
This is so easy to make, I love Chia puddings. They take about 5 minutes to make and if you put it in a jar then perfectly portable when mornings are rushed and time is short. The texture reminds me of my childhood of tapioca puddings. These clever little seeds are not only nutritious, but expand when introduced to liquid giving a tadpole effect.  

 Now if this isn’t your bag you can also blend the pudding which gives the most creamy texture, there are no hard or fast rules- adapt it to suit your taste. 

I also need to mention that this is gluten free, dairy free (depending on the type of milk used), can but nut free and suitable for a vegan diet as well.

Ingredients (Serves 1-2) 

  • 4 tbs Chia seeds or 30g
  • 125 mls milk (I use coconut) if you prefer it runnier then use a bit more. 
  • 1 tbs raw or u sweetened cocoa powder
  • 1-2 tbs Sweetener of choice agave, date or maple syrup work better. 

Method

  • Put the chia seeds, milk and cocao into a bowl and mix well to combine. 
  • Add the sweetner and mix again. I then pour into jars to be left over night. 
  • After about 30 minutes it’s worth shaking the jar- this stops the seeds clumping together. 
  • Leave in the fridge for atleast 4 hours, but best over night. 
  • I’ve served with fruit and  CoYO coconut yoghurt. 

  
 I need to say, if you don’t like the texture, you can blend it all in your blender, for a thick, creamy pudding. I find if you do this, leave out the agave ( or what ever you have used) and used 3-4 dates instead. They work so well with blended chocolate. 

Have you tried Chia puddings? Let me know what your favourite combinations are. 

My Free From Banana Flapjacks

Well they are free from a lot of things, but not taste. I’ve been playing around with these for a while, and since I’ve been cutting my refined sugar intake I’ve now incorporated a refined sugar free flapjack as well. I’m not going to say it’s sugar free-that would be like eating cardboard, more that the sugar in these is all natural ingredients, so great for those following a clean eating plan. 

 I promise you it’s so so easy to make these flapjacks, once baked they keep for about 4/5 days. And are great for a on the go breakfast or healthier snack for the whole family. 

  

  

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • 2 tbs honey (or date syrup) 
  • 1/2 tsp  ground cinnamon 
  • 2 ripe bananas 
  • 2 cups rolled oats (not quick oats)  I used gluten free
  • 1/2 cup raisins ( dried apricots work well to) 

 Method 

  • Preheat your oven to 180 c and line your baking tin
  • Measure out your oats and fruit and mix in a large bowl. 
  • Gently melt the coconut oil and honey in a pan. Add the cinnamon
  • Mash up the bananas and mix with the melted oil. 
  • Add wet ingredients to the dry and mix until well combined.
  • Turn out Into your pan and flatten down with a spoon
  • Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the oats are golden. 
  • Cut into pieces in the tin and leave to cool. 
  • When cooled enough to tough turn out onto a wire ran to cool further. 

  

I should add  I don’t mash my banana smooth as I quite like a few chunks left in the flapjack. Also feel free to add nuts/seeds as well. They all make for a yummy treat. 

There you have it, if you try this or another flavour combination let me know in the comments box. 

Easy Granola

Well it’s been a good week I’ve been trying with the cleaner eating, lower sugar idea and it seems to be working (yippee) operation wedding dress is encouraged. So this got me thinking, I love my overnight oats,coconut yoghurt and smoothie bowls so a bit of crunch on top wouldn’t go a miss. Granola was the end of the thought process, but not the sugar laden, gluten loaded shop brought variety. I made some, and it’s easy. 

  
The beauty of this recipe is that is so adaptable, this today is gluten and nut free so mini me can have some, but you can add what takes your fancy. The basic make up is the same, but don’t worry about being exact on measurements it’s not that kind of recipe. 

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups of rolled oats ( not quick cook) I used gluten free
  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • 2 tbs of maple syrup 
  • 1 tbs honey 
  • 1 cup of raisins (or mixed fruit or goji berries)
  • Optional 1/2 cup of nuts or seeds pecan or pumpkin seeds work well. 

Method

  • Heat the oven to 150 degrees c. Line a baking tray with non stick paper
  • In a pan melt the coconut oil, honey and maple syrup until all combined. 
  • In a bowl mix your oats, fruit and seeds/nuts. 
  • If you are using nuts you may prefer to pulse them in a processor first if you like smaller pieces. 
  • Pour in the liquid and mix until all the oats are covered.
  • Spread in a thin layer on your baking tray and cook for about 10 minutes, until the oats are golden and crunchy
  • I speak from experience do not leave for too long, your granola will taste like burnt popcorn (even my chickens wouldn’t eat it).
  • Leave to cool and store in an airtight container. 
  • It’s good for upto 2 weeks- if it lasts that long. 

  
Serve and enjoy as a delicious topping on your breakfast or dessert creations. Do you have a favourite granola combination? Let me know in the comments below.