Irresistible Avocadoes

I’d like to share with you my love for avocadoes. If you are not an avocado lover yet, you may now be. Full of oleic acid, fibre, vitamin E, and packed with anti-oxidants. It has a rejuvenating effect on your body. It gives you beautiful complexion (besides being anti-ageing) and keeps your hair luscious which men just love! With the right type of fat it contains, it will keep your hearts healthy for donkey years. It is an incredible fruit; containing over 20 vitamins and minerals.
Food for thought: Ayurvedic vaidyars consider avocadoes to be anti vata and anti kapha; therefore if occasionally you suffer from dry skin or joint aches, avocado is the remedy for you. It moisturises dry hair and moistens dry lungs. It is a builder of ‘ojas’, hence it is wonderful as baby food! With its high content of electrolytes as well as containing calcium and magnesium, it is crucial for muscle functioning and balance, making it ideal for you to re-fuel after your TRX or HITT sessions or bodypump classes!You name it !

Have your avocadoes on toast, in smoothies, in salads, as a side guacamole or in a chocolate mousse below !
Nutrient breakdown per half avocado:
• Protein } 1/2 avocado contains 2g protein
• Fibre } 1/2 avocado contains 7g fiber
• Healthy fats } 1/2 avocado contains 15g fat
• Vitamins :Vitamin C } 17% DV; Vitamin E } 10% DV ;Vitamin K } 26% DV ; Folate } 20% DV ;B6 } 13% DV ; B5 } 14% DV
• Minerals : Magnesium } 7% DV ;Potassium } 14% DV; Copper } 9% DV ;Manganese } 7% DV

Dark Chocolate and Avocado Mousse for you and your guests

Ingredients:

2 very ripe avocados, 3 tbsps cocoa powder, squeeze of lime juice or more, 3-5 tbsps of organic runny honey (or agave syrup).
For the honeyed strawberries: 200g of strawberries, halved and thickly sliced,1 tbsp of organic runny honey, a good squeeze of lime/lemon juice.

Method :
Combine the strawberries, honey and lemon/lime juice. Cover and leave for 20-30 minutes then, once the juices start to seep out of the berries, stir again an set aside until ready to serve.  Meanwhile, make the mousse, halve the avocadoes, remove the stones, peel , and put the flesh in a food processor. Add the cocoa powder, a good squeeze of lime juice, and 3 tablespoons of honey. Process to a velvety, thick puree, then taste and add more honey or lime juice as you like.
Scoop the mousse into small serving dishes, cover and chill for an hour or so. Serve the honeyed strawberries and their juices spooned on top.

Sun dried tomato Hummus

We always have some hummus in our fridge, that we can have as a snack, as an entrée while cooking dinner or as an addition to our packed lunches. Hummus gives you a healthy source of vegetarian protein and is filling enough to keep your hunger at bay before your next meal. It is a great side especially when having a vegetarian meal and hummus is so versatile with the flavours you can add to it. Yes hummus is always available from the supermarket, but why not make your own, with organic ingredients or not, it is  fun and a better option than constantly purchasing it all made up.

Nutritional benefits : High in Manganese for energy production, High in Iron(important for menstruating women, pregnant or lactating women and growing children). Iron has an important role since it forms part of haemoglobin, which transports oxygen from the lungs to all our body cells, and is part of key enzyme systems for energy production and metabolism. Cholesterol lowering; Low Glycaemic index and therefore supports blood glucose levels and can be ideal for any imbalances in hormones or  in pre-diabetic/diabetic states; High in fibre and great for the digestive tract;High in saponins, antioxidants that help us fight against disease and play a role in cancer prevention.

 

Ingredients

2 cups of tinned organic chickpeas

1/3 cup of tahini

4 tablespoons of olive oil

3 small garlic gloves

5-6 sundried tomatoes

1 teaspoon of paprika and a 1 teaspoon of cumin

Maldon sea salt and pepper to taste

squeeze the juice of half a lemon

Method:

Use a hand blender or a food processor to combine all the ingredients. Depending on the consistency you prefer, add more or less lemon or a dash of water. The creaminess can be obtained by varying your tahini and olive oil quantities.

I had a jar of sundried tomatoes and squeezed out the oil, but you may also purchase organic sundried tomatoes from Suma, Infinity foods, Tree of life online.

Healthy and Indulgent Dark Chocolate Brownies

 

These brownies are a beautiful treat to reward yourself after an intense workout, a difficult day or for one of those days where you need some chocolate indulgence. Brownies are often associated with naughtiness but a healthy version of dark chocolate brownies made from scratch is both undoubtedly delicious and decadent. They have no refined sugars and they  contain healthy fats, fibre, protein, and antioxidants like  good quality dark chocolate. I had no dark chocolate in the house last sunday, so used dark organic cocoa powder instead and got them ready for the oven within minutes before the Master Chef finale !

Serves about 15

Time to prep: 10 mins

Time to bake :25-30 minutes

Ingredients :

28 g or about 5 ounces of high quality organic 60-70% cocoa dark chocolate

1/2 of organic coconut oil

2/3 of agave nectar

1/2 cup of ground almonds

A pinch  of maldon sea salt

1/4 cup of gluten free self raising flour or another type of flour you may prefer using

1/4 teaspoon of baking soda

2 organic free range eggs, beaten

1 tablespoon of bourbon vanilla essence

Method :

Preheat your oven to 180-195 degrees Celsius. Line a square baking pan with parchment paper, or spread some coconut oil well with a kitchen towel.Aim for a baking pan of about 8 inch by 8 inch

Melt the dark chocolate and coconut oil in a saucepan over low heat, and stir gently. If using dry cocoa powder, then you can add it to the bowl with the other dry ingredients.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the agave nectar, almond flour, the gluten-free flour, Maldon sea salt, and baking soda. Make a well in the centre and add the beaten eggs, vanilla extract and melted chocolate mixture. Beat for about under 2 minutes long and allow the batter to come together .At first it will seem like a thin  cake batter but do continue to beat it until it becomes smooth .Spread the mixture evenly in the tray and with a spatula

Add cocoa nibs/ dark chocolate chips to the top of the brownie mix once in the tray, and press in lightly.

Bake in the centre for about 30 mins or until the brownies have set

Cool on a wire rack once ready

Allow to chill for 1 hr before cutting if you wish or have them warm and gooey with a cup of tea

For nutty dark chocolate brownies, add chopped hazelnuts or almonds in the mixture before baking

brownie bake

Spirulina Energy Balls

This is a recipe I have adapted and share regularly with clients. It Is low in glycaemic index with the source of sugars from fruits and agave nectar.It can be an ideal snack for you to carry, and has a content of protein and fibre in addition to the superfood ,spirulina.You can use them as a pre-workout snack or if you have a sweet tooth at 4pm. Flaxseeds from the family of lignans, have wonderful properties, supporting a healthy digestive tract and providing support to the endocrine system. They are not only high in ALA, a form of omega 3 fatty acids giving them  anti-inflammatory properties but are also high in anti-oxidants, thus help to protect against  health conditions(such high cholesterol levels, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, cancer)

Ingredients :

1 cup of rolled oats

4 tablespoons of chopped medjool dates

1/4 cup of flaxseeds

1 teaspoon of spirulina powder (Organic burst)

1/2 cup of almond butter (Meridian)

2 teaspoons of melted coconut oil (allowed to cool down before adding to the mixture)

1 tablespoon of agave nectar

Method :

Combine the dates, almond butter, agave nectar and coconut oil in a food processor and pulse until the dates are fully chopped and everything is combined.

In a bowl, mix together oats, flax seeds, spirulina. Then add your date mixture and stir well until fully combined.

Roll into balls.Place the balls in an airtight container and store in the fridge or freezer.

 

 

 

Apple and cinnamon muffins

Wholegrain Dairy Free Apple and Cinnamon Muffins

These are delicious and perfect for a tea time snack for the family on the weekend, or as an alternative to unhealthy snacks at work or school. They have no refined sugars, no dairy(especially if you try to avoid it like I do) and the wholegrain flour allows you to have a lower glycaemic index snack and keep you fuller for longer. Therefore one muffin should be sufficient and allow you to have better control on your portion. I ran an interactive food club with some of my clients on their weight loss journey last night where the topic was about portion control and hunger management. We know it can be hard to remind ourselves how much is considered reasonable when you are trying to achieve such a goal and break off particular habits (ex: 50 % of the plate filled with unrefined carbohydrates or consuming a whole pack of Nairns oat cakes (6) as a snack when 3 oat cakes should be enough).
I will delve deeper into this in a separate article.
Let’s get back to the muffins

Ingredients :

250g of wholegrain flour ( or gluten free self raising flour is an alternative if you are gluten intolerant)

1 tsp of baking powder

1-2 tsp of cinnamon

50-70g of agave nectar (or organic honey, the amount depends on the sweetness you would like to obtain. Agave nectar is lower in GI than honey/sugar.  )

2 eggs

125 ml of unsweetened almond milk (or organic wholebean soya milk)

2 grated apples (or 1 grated large cooking apple)

4 tablespoons of organic coconut oil

(50-100 g of sultanas can be an additional ingredient to the mixture)

Method

1.Heat your oven to 180/160 degrees Celsius ( fan/gas4).In a large bowl mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon.
2.In another bowl, mix the eggs, milk, coconut oil ( if quite hard at room temperature, you may melt the coconut oil and allow it to cool down before adding it to the mixture), agave nectar. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well whilst raising the mixture with a wooden spoon and keeping it light. Then stir in the grated apples
3.Divide the mixture between 12 muffin cases and bake for 25 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack and they are ready to eat

IMG_0204

As a note : Dried fruits like sultanas or prunes have high levels of sugar by volume not by piece.They also contain sulphites which can trigger asthmatic reactions so be careful. If you are watching the amount of sugar you are consuming, then avoid the sultanas in this recipe.

Cinnamon is a wonderful spice that contains Chromium, a mineral that plays a role in how insulin helps the body to regulate blood sugar levels.Insulin is a hormone that your body uses to change sugar, starches, and other food into energy needed for daily requirements. Chromium has been found to be a great tool in reducing your sugar cravings and research has shown that it can help pre-diabetic and diabetic type 2 patients. Always get in touch with a health professional before supplementing !

Banana oat and coconut loaf

Dig into a slice of this moist, slightly nutty, hearty loaf for breakfast on the go or an afternoon snack to prevent dips in energy levels. It is also perfect post workout and it packed with fibre Here is my very easy Gluten free and Dairy free recipe. Adapt it as you like and let me know of the outcome.

Ingredients :

3ripe bananas, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1 egg, 3tbsp grape seed oil or coconut oil( melted), 1/4  cup of organic cane sugar , 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, 2-3 tbsp. of honey, (depending on the ripeness of the bananas), 3.5 tsp of baking powder, 3/4 tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon, 3/4 cup of almond milk or other milk of your choice, 1 and 1/4 cup of  dry shredded coconut, 1 and 1/4 of gluten free flour (again you may swap for wholemeal flour or self-raising flour of your choice, but do adjust the amount of baking powder is using a self-raising flour), 1 and 1/4 of organic gluten free oats.

1.Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius ( 350 F), Line a loaf pan with greaseproof paper

2.Mash banana in a large bowl and add all your ingredients through almond milk, and whisk vigorously to combine. Lastly add shredded coconut (you may swap this for almond meal ).Add the flour and oats and stir

.3. Bake for about an hour, when it is ready it should feel firm and be crackly with a golden brown tint.

4.allow it to cool completely before cutting or it will be too tender to hold form

5.Serve as it is, or add some nut butter or a thin layer of honey. But I loved it just as it was

You can slice and freeze for longer storage. But if you have children or men to feed in the house with packed snacks, it will go away very quickly, I promise. 🙂

So overall the loaf, has the right amounts of protein, fibre, is anti-inflammatory, full of flavour, Beta-glucans from the oats make it good for the heart and reduces the bad type of cholesterol, it will help to balance blood sugar levels and keep you full, limiting sugar cravings. It has omega 3 fats from the coconut oil and shredded coconut ! and these do not oxidise into harming molecules  ( we call free radicals) for the body , upon high heat ( like sunflower, vegetable oil, peanut oil amongst others) Omega 3 are also wonderful for the brain (development and concentration !) and beautiful skin.

If you do not eat EGGS, swap it with chia seeds, 1 tbsp of chia seeds with 2 and 1/2 tbsps of water which you mix and let it soak for a 5 mins.

You may also reduce the sugar content of the loaf as you wish, which I did.it really depends on who you are making it for.

happy snacking

x isabelle