Breakfast, Snacks & Treats

Banana & Oat Pancakes

Without a doubt, these are my favourite pancakes. I mean, I love traditional ‘pancake day’ pancakes, but these are something else, and super healthy (the best bit). They are my go-to pancakes for a lazy-weekend breakfast, and I’m actually going to (or try to) start my own tradition of banana oat pancakes for Christmas day breakfast (my mum’s tradition is cinnamon rolls – yummy!) These pancakes are moist in the middle and sweet from the bananas, and will set me up perfectly on Christmas day!

So there’s only 1 week left until Christmas, and it has been a busy build up. I’ve had a visit from my uni friends, Liam and I had a board game night with some of our fellow board gaming friends, and I’m paying two visits to my mum because we can’t be together at Christmas. Good job the pancakes are worth your wait! So, only 1 week to go, and I still need to do everything that is actually related to Christmas. The last couple of days before The Big One will be filled with present wrapping, Christmas tree decorating and Christmas food preparation.

I was asked by my pen pal what my favourite season was a few weeks ago. Apparently hers is autumn, and I agreed that was mine too. What was I thinking? Winter is definitely the best! I love the crispness in the air and all the wrapping up in layers to go outside. I love it when there is a frost on the ground and a mist lurking over the little lakes that my train travels past. I also love snuggling up at home in the evening or at the weekend (our new house has a log burner too, so we need to get that going soon. Super snuggly!)

These pancakes are perfect for the colder months, when healthy and warming food is a must! These aren’t nutritionally-void pancakes like the traditional ones, but ones made from banana, oats, spices and healthy fats. The bananas are really potassium-rich, which is essential for cardiovascular health and maintaining a healthy blood pressure. Bananas also have a high fibre content, some of which is soluble fibre that is linked with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Oats are a really good source of this soluble fibre! These are super healthy pancakes!

Banana and Oat Pancakes (nabbed from Cookie and Kate)

Ingredients:

3 ripe bananas

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon honey/maple syrup

2 eggs (room temp)

1 cup oats

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions:

1. Mash bananas in a bowl, then mix in the melted coconut oil, lemon juice and honey/maple syrup.

2. Beat the eggs, then add to the mixture and mix.

3. Pop the oats in a little food processor and blend until the oats resemble flour (about 10 seconds or so). Mix in the baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg

4. Add the oat flour mix to the banana mix and stir to combine.

5. Leave for 10 minutes!

6. Heat up a little coconut oil in a pan and drop a tablespoon or two of the batter in and even it out with the back of the spoon. Cook the pancakes for a minute or so on each side.

To keep the pancakes warm while you cook the rest, wrap them loosely in foil and pop in the oven, preheated to about 90 C

Top with maple syrup, sliced banana, crushed walnuts and coconut flakes

Enjoy guys 🙂 x

 

 

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Smoothies & Shakes, Snacks & Treats

Chocolate & Strawberry Dairy-Free Milkshakes

I don’t follow a dairy-free diet (I love Greek yoghurt, soured cream and cheese too much!), but, you know how much I love everything coconut-related! I was inspired to get my blender out and mess around with different milkshakes when I read an article in the latest Women’s Health magazine, which contained a recipe for a healthy burger, chips and milkshake. The addition of dairy-free ice cream in that milkshake I feel was unnecessary, and I tend to try and avoid using loads of substitute foods, so I concocted these two traditional-flavoured milkshakes, with a healthy twist.

Each of the ingredients images show enough for 1 large milkshake or two small ones, but I actually just made half of this (so 1 small milkshake in each flavour) as I was making both flavours. Regarding the amount of ice you use, well, that all depends on how you like it! The strawberry milkshake is thinner than the chocolate one, because of the addition of banana to the chocolate shake. You can add more ice to thin them out if you want, but I think this is a balanced amount to start with.

I almost feel like I’m copping out here. A recipe with only 4 ingredients? I know. I have been in an ‘Oh my god, what am I going to do with my life?’ kind of crisis. October marks the start of the final year of my PhD, and I never though I would feel so terrified of the real world approaching. I have to get a proper job after this. Oh god. To stop too much comfort food passing my lips, I’ve been sipping on the odd coconut milkshake. Mmmm, creamy coconut! Anyway, Liam and I have really been enjoying these milkshakes recently (and a tropical one – think banana and pineapple!) so I thought I would share it with you.

Although coconut milk contains loads of saturated fat (if you hadn’t heard!), it is the specific type of saturated fat in coconuts that is actually thought to have a beneficial effect. Long chain fatty acids, the bad type of saturated fat, are linked with heart disease. Medium chain fatty acids, for example lauric acid, are known to have anti-viral and anti-bacterial effects (and so help out our immune system). This is the main type of saturated fat in coconuts! Yippee! Lauric acid also increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels, which lowers your chances of developing heart disease.

Pass me a straw!

Ingredients

(Each makes 1 large milkshake, or 2 small milkshakes (like the ones pictured)

Chocolate:

1/2 can coconut milk, refrigerated

150g or so of ice, crushed

2 tablespoons organic cocoa powder

1 banana

Optional extras to sweeten it a little: drop of vanilla essence and a squeeze of agave nectar (yum!)

 

Strawberry:

1/2 can coconut milk, refrigerated

150g or so of ice, crushed

100g strawberries

4 pitted dates

 

Directions:

1. If your blender doesn’t handle ice well (like mine), pop it in a bag (the ice, not the blender) and place on a chopping board, cover with a tea towel and give a good bash with a rolling pin. Quite therapeutic.

2. Add crushed ice, coconut milk, and either banana and cocoa powder, or strawberries and dates, to a blender.

3. Blend until smooth. Add agave and/or vanilla essence to the chocolate milkshake if using, to add sweetness.

4. Enjoy!

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Breakfast, Snacks & Treats

Banana & Cherry ‘Nice Cream’

Apparently this ‘nice cream’ stuff has been going around for ages. By ages I mean years! I hate missing out on things, and I really hate the thought that I have been missing out on this for that long. I was clearly too busy stuffing my face with Haagen Dazs while churning out essay after essay at university a couple of years ago.

A fair few of your will know I also have an Instagram account, where I like to post pretty pictures of the yummy things I eat. It is there that I found a recipe for this healthy ‘ice cream’, or ‘nice cream’ as people like to call it. Who would have thought that frozen banana could make such a smooth and creamy dessert?! Not me, for sure. How wrong I was!

Since Liam and I have been eating this, we haven’t bought any ice cream or made any late night trips to the local shops for a mars bar ice cream (but damn, those things are good!). This, I have to say, is a pretty grand achievement. Pat on the back for me! To be honest, I haven’t even felt like I wanted any proper ice cream. Nice cream just feels so indulgent that I feel totally satisfied after I’ve eaten it (well, only after I’ve licked every last bit out of the bowl).

It has been a bit of a struggle since I moved house last week to get back into the routine of things. This past week in the lab I’ve had a total ‘can’t be bothered’ attitude, and I’ve not really felt like doing anything when I get home. That’s what a week off to move house will do to you! I really needed a holiday after all of that packing, lifting, knackering my knees, unpacking, cleaning, more cleaning, and more unpacking. Oh, and the final day of my time off (literally the Sunday) we found out the washing machine wasn’t working! More lifting (this time heavier than any piece of furniture we own, because the washing machine was full of water) and more knackering my knees.

Despite the washing machine being hard work though, it was nice learning something new. I will have to get used to this DIY business now we’re homeowners!

Anyway, I have finally got round to taking some snaps of this amazing dessert, and here it is. It is so easy to make, even my Mum said she made it when I told her about it a few weeks ago (and she is not one for making new things). I think she uses cow’s milk, but I like to use homemade almond milk. If you want to do this, it is SO easy. Here’s how!

For about 3/4 cup: Soak 1/2 cup almonds in some water for about 2 hours. Drain, then whizz them in a blender a little. Add 1 cup filtered water and blend until smooth. Add 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp agave nectar and blend slightly just to mix. Pour the mixture into a nut bag or a muslin cloth (I got mine from Steamer Trading Co for about £2.50) and then squeeze the liquid through into a jug/bowl. There you have it! You can save the almond meal that is left in the nut bag/cloth for baking with. I made these with my almond meal. YUM!

It is so simple, all you need for this delicious dessert is a bit of frozen fruit, a bit of milk, a hand blender and a bowl. My hand blender is such an old faithful. I’ve had it since I first moved out of home to go to university (6 years ago!) and it is still going strong even though it was a real cheapy.

This is what you need:

Serves 2

1 banana, sliced and frozen

1 cup frozen fruit (my favourites are mango, cherries or raspberries)

1/4 cup (60 ml) milk, which can be cow’s or nut milk. I love to use homemade almond milk! If you want to make your own almond milk, just follow my little ‘how to’ in the ramble above.

This is what you do:

Put all the ingredients in a sturdy bowl. I say sturdy because I broke through the bottom of a cheap and flimsy bowl from Poundland. Serves me right, I guess.

Let the frozen fruit thaw slightly, which should only take a few minutes.

Now blend! Blend it all up with a stick blender until smooth.

Enjoy! (I’m sure you will.)

You will be happy (but not goofy, like me) if you make the switch to nice cream!

Alice x

 

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