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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Mains, Make-ahead

Cauliflower & Chickpea Malaysian Curry

I realised recently that I use a lot of coconut these days. Whether it’s coconut flakes in muesli or porridge, coconut oil in place of vegetable oils, or coconut milk in a whole variety of dishes, usually paired with lime, coriander or chilli (or all of them!). A little time ago I posted a recipe for sweet potato with coconut, pomegranate and lime, which only needs a teensy bit of coconut milk, and I found this recipe so as not to waste the rest of the tin!

I stumbled across a recipe by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall for a Malaysian-style baked chicken curry, and, meat aside, it sounded really delicious!
When choosing the vegetables to substitute the chicken with, I didn’t want it too complicated, like I’d just thrown a bag of frozen mixed veg in there. Too many times now I’ve been out to a restaurant for what would have been a really lovely curry, only for that pleasure to be dampened by a rubbish mix of lank veg.
I’m not too picky when it comes to this, really! I chose cauliflower because I love the chunkiness in there, and chickpeas because, well, who doesn’t love a chickpea? It sounds more like the veg you might put in an Indian curry, but they really work great in this coconut-y curry too.

When we make meals in our house, 90% of the time we make sure there is enough for at least 6 portions so we can freeze the rest and save us a whole load of time in the future. This curry is another great one for that, as it makes 6-8 portions! We definitely need a bigger freezer! 
Another thing I like about this curry is that, because I make a big curry to give us more portions, I can put in a whole cauliflower and a whole can of chickpeas (or more if you want!). There is no wasted veg that will sit in the back of your fridge, rotting away, because you didn’t know what yo do with the rest, or you hadn’t incorporated an extra half a cauliflower into your meal plans. No waste = happy times!

Unlike Hugh’s curry, this one doesn’t require any browning or baking. Phew! Just one pot on the hob – perfect.

I just wanted to say – I had no idea how to photograph this! I like the first image, but it isn’t like any of my others. It was frustrating! Meals like curries, soups, stews and chillis aren’t very photogenic. Annoying! I tried my best. It tastes good, anyway!

Ingredients:

2 heaped tsp cumin seeds

2 heaped tsp coriander seeds

1 heaped tsp fennel seeds

2 tsp ground turmeric

2 tsp ground fenugreek

1 large (or 2 smaller) onion(s), peeled and roughly chopped

3 large garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped

1 large chilli, roughly chopped

1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

2 tbsp rapeseed oil

400g tin chopped tomatoes

400ml tin coconut milk

1 cauliflower head, cut into florets

1 tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Basmati rice, to serve

Directions:

1. If you want, dry roast the cumin, coriander and fennel seeds in a pan for a few minutes, until fragrant. Pop them in a pestle and mortar and grind into a powder, then mix them with the turmeric and fenugreek.

2. Add the chopped onion, chilli, ginger and garlic to a food processor, and blend to a coarse paste. You will probably need to scrape the sides down a couple of times to get it all blended nicely.

3. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the spices and cook for a minute or so, then add the onion paste and cook for about 5 minutes, until the paste has softened, stirring constantly.

4. Add the chopped tomatoes, coconut milk, cauliflower florets and chickpeas to the pan, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Simmer with the lid on for about 25 minutes, until the cauliflower is cooked but not too soft. Stir frequently to stop it sticking to the bottom, and add a bit more water if needed.

5. Top with coriander leaves and serve with basmati rice.

 

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Mains

Sweet Potato with Coconut, Pomegranate and Lime

We absolutely love sweet potatoes in this household at the minute. They appear on our plates in all sorts of forms, from cakes, patties, wedges or chunks, to just simply baked, with delicious toppings such as in this sweet potato with pomegranate, coconut and lime recipe.

When I was on my way home after buying the ingredients for this, I took a little detour. I went trampling through the grass and trees, following rabbits and butterflies. It was a well-needed vacation for my mind, really. Without the comfortable feeling of familiarity, it have my mind space to breathe. It is really good to do this every now and again! I took some photos on my tablet while I was frolicking through the greenery.

After all the wondering around I did (check the pictures!), I’d worked up quite an appetite! In this meal, I was wanting to experiment with sweet and savoury flavours, something that I don’t do too often. So this is different to a lot of the food that I eat, but definitely something that I’m going to have again!

As me and Liam both love sweet potatoes, we always seem to have one kicking around in our cupboard. Like an emergency potato, or something. Usually emergency food isn’t the most nutritious, but sweet potatoes are! They contain a high level of beta-carotene that is required for making vitamin A, which is important for eye health and the immune system, and they also contain loads of dietary fibre, helping to slow digestion and steady our blood sugar levels.

Even though the sweet potato has a tremendously higher level of beta-carotene than the white potato, it is generally thought of as an overall healthier version of the bog-standard white potato. However, from what I have read, they seem to be pretty similar in carb and fat stats. I think the differences in healthiness of each really comes into play when to take into account what you eat with them. For example, with a white potato, you eat baked beans, cheese and coleslaw, while with a sweet potato you may have a dollop of soured cream, or due to their flavour you might just eat it on its own. Or… with coconut, pomegranate and lime? I thought so.

Just a little note: You may want a slightly smaller sweet potato than the smallest one Sainsbury’s had when I went shopping (pictured!). I was feeling rather defeated only half way through eating. If you can’t find a smaller one, just bake a large one for two people, or save the other half for lunch the next day (always a bonus when something can feed you for more than one meal!)

 

This is what you need:

Per Person:

1 Sweet potato (approx 250g)

2 tablespoons (full-fat) coconut milk

large pinch of coconut flakes

1/8 to 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds (your personal preference)

1 teaspoon coriander leaves

1/4 lime

A pinch of sea salt

This is how you make it:

Preheat the oven to 210C (190 Fan) and bake your potato(es) for approx 45 minutes (although if they are as big as mine, you will need longer) until soft inside

Allow to cool for a few minutes, then make a slit in the centre and mash the potato slightly with a fork

Add coconut milk, then coconut flakes, pomegranate, and coriander. Squeeze the lime wedge over the potato, then season with a pinch of sea salt.

Enjoy!

Stay happy (Give your mind some space – get friendly with the grass and trees!)

Alice x

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Breakfast, Smoothies & Shakes

Glorious Green Smoothie

Everyone loves a smoothie, right? Well, we do in this house (flat)! My favourites are the green smoothies, whereas Liam loves the more indulgent ones – frozen banana, milk, chocolate and peanut butter, for example.
I love green smoothies. Why? For starters, they helped me kick my caffeine habit. It wasn’t a bad one, but I was always conscious that my intake was slowly increasing. I went from one instant coffee a couple of times a week, to 1 instant with breakfast, 1 americano when I got to work, and then another americano in the afternoon, all in about 3 years. This was too much for me! I still enjoy a cup at home at the weekend, but now I really enjoy it without feeling like a slave to it.

My motivation to get rid of the coffee came when I bought the Honestly Healthy recipe book. It is really informative on which foods are acid-forming in the body (which is bad). Coffee is apparently one of the worst. I was also more than aware that coffee can actually cause more tiredness – anyone who saw me around 3pm would have known this too.
I needed something to substitute for the coffee, but also give me a bit of a boost in energy. Enter the green smoothie!
I won’t lie… the headaches and tiredness were pretty bad – I decided to (pretty much) go cold turkey. But, it passed, and I felt really good.
Now, all this liquid veg and lack of coffee does my energy levels wonders!
I also love the fact that before, I would never eat a stick of celery, or a kiwi, or a handful of kale in any regular day. I would never eat a stick of celery in any day to be honest – I think it tastes quite vile. But whizz it up in a concoction of nutritious green yummy-ness and I’ll drink one straight down, no problem.

All of these vegetables and fruits that would have never made it into my meals or snacks, are now giving me all this extra nutrition that I wasn’t getting before. Bonus! I have recovered from the coffee-induced slump and gained an extra boost from the veg.  
This green smoothie is one of my favourites. It is from the Honestly Healthy book, with a little extra addition of a banana (or mango if you don’t like banana). I still drink one every morning ‘in replace of my coffee’ even though my coffee habit is long gone. If this is my new habit, well, I don’t think I will be trying to kick it just yet!

You will need:

A large handful of spinach

1 kiwi, skin and white centre removed

2 celery stalks, ends removed

1/4 avocado

1 banana (or about 6 x 1 inch chunks frozen/fresh mango)

10cm piece of cucumber (approx. 1/4 – 1/3 cucumber)

1/2 lemon, juiced

250ml cold, filtered water

8-12 ice cubes, depending on size

This is what you do:

1. Wash the celery, spinach and cucumber.

2. Put the spinach in the blender first. Chop the rest of the solid ingredients and add to the blender.

3. Juice the lemon into a small bowl. Really go for it! Then remove any seeds that popped out. Pour the juice into the blender.

4. Add the water and ice cubes.

5. Blend until smooth!

Stay Happy,

Alice x

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