Gingerbread Granola

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Americans always have funny names for things don’t they? Biscuits are “cookies”, soft drink is “soda” and lollies are “candy”! I soon learned that what the Americans call “granola” is what we Aussies call “toasted muesli”! Well, wherever you’re from and whatever you call it, we can all agree that granola tastes amazing!

I have to admit, granola is not something I generally eat because the store-bought stuff is usually super high in sugar and fat and let’s face it, I eat enough sugar and fat in one day so I don’t need any extra at breakfast. But I love the stuff! I’m a big fan of anything crispy, crunchy, cereal-y and nutty. Luckily, I came across a post on Pinterest of gingerbread flavoured granola and I knew I had to try it! Everything ginger reminds me of being a kid and visiting my favourite Auntie and Uncle who would always have a container of Arnotts biscuits waiting for us when we arrived – my choice was of course Gingernuts! I also love chocolate-covered ginger, ginger cake and I always make gingerbread for Christmas. So I was very excited to add one of my favourite spices to a long-lost breakfast love!

As this was my first time making granola, I wasn’t sure of exact measurements and wasn’t fussed with making it super healthy. Consequently, I just threw everything in a bowl and made use of whatever ingredients I had to make this batch. Next time I will probably substitute the golden syrup with rice malt syrup or honey and add a variety of different nuts, this is just what I had on hand. Feel free to use whatever you like! And if you like ginger as much as me, you may want to add more spices to this recipe (including more ginger and mixed spice) as mine didn’t come out quite as spicy as I would have liked!

Anyway, have fun making this granola or any version you like with added dried fruit, peanut butter or shaved coconut. The possibilities are endless! I plan to enjoy this for breakfast with greek yoghurt and some baked peaches 🙂

 

Gingerbread Granola (makes about 4 cups)

2 cups rolled oats

2 cups mixed nuts (I used pecans and walnuts)

1/3 cup golden syrup

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

 

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and spread on a baking tray lined with non-stick paper or a silicon cookie tray. Bake for about 15 minutes at 180 C, mixing several times (depending on your oven, just check to see how brown the granola is getting).  Don’t be too worried if mixture looks a little wet when you take it out, it will dry up as it cools down. Then eat!

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The Perfect Diet

Atkins, candida, low-fructose, raw food, gluten-free, high protein – I wonder, how many different types of diets exist and which one is perfect for everyone? Some of us have probably tried one, two or all of these diets in a bid to make a change in our health, whether it be for weight loss or to battle illness. Personally, I have dabbled in at least three of these diets over the years and have not found complete success with any of them. But just take a look online and you can be sure to find thousands of people who can advocate for the benefits of each one. At the same time there are thousands of people who claim that none of these diets work. With so many mixed messages, how is someone like me meant to figure out what’s best?

Over years of experimentation with raw food, low carbs, gluten free and the like, I have discovered that there is no popular diet that is perfect for everyone.  While one diet is perfect for one person, it may be harmful for the next. The problem is, there are so many diets now accessible online that people simply download a plan, follow it exactly and expect results. And they may get those results. But there are always those who don’t and that is because if a diet is not personalised, it is likely to fail. To find the perfect diet for you, it’s about being conscious of how your body responds to certain foods. I discovered early on that dried fruit was a no-go for me when I ate half a bag of dried apricots and ended up doubled over in pain from bloating and gastrointestinal issues. The same thing happens to me when I eat grapes and too much ice-cream. Both dried fruit and grapes are very high in fructose while ice-cream is high in lactose so I put two and two together and decided that I probably have some sort of sugar intolerance. As a result, I  avoid the kinds of sweet foods which lead to those gastrointestinal issues.  Interestingly, I have no problems drinking freshly squeezed juice, eating wheat and various other high-sugar fruit and vegetables which may have negative effects for others following a low FODMAPS diet. So it’s really about discovering what works for you.

As a general rule, fresh, unprocessed foods and plenty of water is the foundation of a great diet. From there, it’s all about experimentation to find out what foods and meals work best for your digestive system, energy levels and palate! Recording how your body responds after each meal is a fantastic way to pinpoint some of the foods that could be potentially contributing to great health or ill health. And my final tip: the perfect diet is the one that makes you feel good on the inside and look good on the outside! x

Mini Coconut Brown Rice Puddings with Fig

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Before a few months ago, I had never eaten a fig. Fresh, dried or otherwise, this fruit always seemed to elude me. I had never seen it in a grocery store until recently and at the occasional time I saw it on a menu, I would ignore it in favour of fruits like pear or apple – safe and delicious! However, I was forced to finally try figs when I went out for breakfast with the BF one day to a hip, little backyard cafe called Cafe Komodo. The fruit from the “pancakes with fruit” I ordered turned out to be dried figs, served with cute pikelet-sized pancakes, maple syrup and a small scoop of ice cream. Granted, it wasn’t the healthiest breakfast I had that week but the dried figs were a perfect addition and from then on, I decided to give figs a fighting chance!

Unfortunately, fresh figs are pretty uncommon in my local grocery stores, so when I found a packet in Woolworths I had to snap it up! I thought my first time trying a fresh fig would be amazing. It was bland and boring! I’m not one to waste though, so I set about discovering all the ways I might cook up the six pint-sized figs before they shrivelled up and died.

So here’s a simple dessert recipe using only a few ingredients! I adapted the recipe from [http://www.tarteletteblog.com/2011/08/recipe-gluten-free-fig-gateau-de-riz.html] – I swapped the brown sugar for rice malt syrup as I am trying to reduce my fructose intake and I used silicon moulds to bake the puddings in for portion control. I also used a steamed sachet of brown rice which only took 90 seconds to steam in the microwave. This takes all the hassle out of cooking rice on the stove if you’re in a hurry! This recipe would probably work with quinoa and chia added in to the rice as well. Overall, these mini desserts are low in fat, sugars and GI and so make a perfect treat for the health-conscious. They are not terribly sweet so I would suggest drizzling a bit of rice malt syrup over them to serve. Hope you enjoy!

Mini Coconut Brown Rice Puddings with Fig (makes 7 small puddings)

Ingredients

1/2 can of full-cream coconut milk

250g cooked brown rice (I used Sunrice Organic Brown Rice Steamed Rice Sachet)

2 eggs

1 tbsp rice malt syrup

2 small figs, sliced into 7

Directions

1. Steam your rice in the microwave if using a rice sachet. Otherwise, just put your cooked brown rice in a bowl.

2. In another bowl, mix the coconut milk, eggs and rice malt syrup until well combined.

3. Pour milk mixture over cooked rice and stir.

4. Pour rice batter into 7 silicon moulds (sit the moulds in a muffin tray) and top each with slice of fig.

5. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes at 180 C until golden brown. Let the puddings cool down slightly and set a little in the tray.

6. Eat hot from the moulds if you like or let the puddings cool down completely and slip off the moulds, pop the puddings on a plate and drizzle with rice malt syrup to serve. Enjoy!

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Raw Ferrero Rochers

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Oh dear. It seems I have an obsession. But I think it’s a healthy one this time! For anyone who follows me on Instagram, they may have seen that I was given the greatest gift anyone could ever receive on their birthday – a stash of products from the latest Mayver’s Food range! If you don’t know about Mayver’s, they are an Australian company who makes raw seed and nut spreads (among some other things) that are completely natural and functional – that means they are good for you! I have six products from their range so far and all of them are AMAZING. Consequently I’ve been going hammer-time in the kitchen, spreading, mixing and dolloping Mayver’s goodness on pretty much anything. Now, it should be noted that while these products are totally raw, they are definitely not fat-free or low-calorie. Personally, I don’t really believe in calorie-counting if you are eating natural, clean, pure foods so I am a massive advocate for this brand, especially if you’re using it to replace highly, processed, sugar-filled foods that are devoid of nutrition.

Which leads me to this awesome recipe! It’s my take on Ferrero Rochers (which I absolutely love but know that they aren’t the healthiest treat in the world). If you liked the previous post ‘Chewy Choc Peanut Slice’ you will see that this is just a variation on that, and so you can experiment with your own flavours if this doesn’t take your fancy. I adore how these balls turned out and they are sure to satisfy any sweet cravings, trust me!

Enough rambling, here’s the recipe!

Raw Ferrero Rochers (makes about 11 balls)

Ingredients

6 heaped tbsp chia seeds

3 heaped tbsp cocoa powder or raw cacao powder

3 tbsp almond meal

1/2 cup Mayver’s hazelnut & cacao spread

1 tbsp honey (more if you like it really sweet)

Method

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until it makes a thick paste. Roll the mixture into small balls and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Refrigerate until firm. Eat!

Note: These raw balls would have looked cute presented in some gold tin foil but all I had was some silver metallic paper which I crushed up in my hand to give it a crinkly effect. They would also look great in some super mini patty pans which you can buy from homeware/kitchen stores 🙂

Chewy Choc Peanut Slice (Gluten, Sugar & Dairy Free!)

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I posted this recipe up on my Facebook and Instagram and I was bombarded with comments and requests for the recipe! I don’t blame y’all – this sweet treat tastes even better than it looks! The texture is a mixture of chewy, soft and crunchy thanks to the addition of chia seeds. Seriously, it’s the best thing EVER. For my overseas readers, you may not be able to get the Mayver’s products however you can just substitute with whatever brand you like. Go make it now! You won’t regret it! 

Chewy Choc Peanut Slice (makes 16 bite size pieces)

Ingredients

6 heaped tbsp chia seeds
6 heaped tbsp cocoa powder or raw cacao powder
1/3 cup natural peanut butter 
1 heaped tbsp Mayvers peanut cacao spread 
1 tbsp PB2 (if u don’t have this just add another 1/3 c of peanut butter) 
1/4 c honey
Roasted nuts, chopped (I used almonds)

Method

Mix all ingredients together until it forms a sticky paste. Spread the mixture into a thin slice tin lined with baking paper and top with nuts. Refrigerate until firm (a few hours should be fine) and slice it up into bite size pieces. Easy! 

Note: You can also use the same mixture to make bliss balls, just roll into small balls, coat with crushed nuts or coconut and refrigerate.

Vegan Burrito Bowls with Lime Rice

No cheese! And it still tastes good!

No cheese! And it still tastes good!

I have to admit – a lot of my recipes have a solid foundation in pure laziness. This recipe is a perfect example! I had all the ingredients I needed to make burritos but I was too lazy to make the tortillas from scratch like I’ve done in the past. Solution? Chuck all the ingredients into a bowl and make a burrito salad! The only extra addition required is some basmati rice for an extra carb hit. You can omit this if you are watching the calories but I’m asian, so I can never so no to rice! If you want to make this meal completely clean, I would suggest you swap the refried beans over for canned black beans and add some avocado 🙂

Warm Burrito Bowls with Lime Rice (Serves a hungry 1)

Ingredients:

1/2 C Basmati Rice

1 lime (plus an opptional extra lime for garnish)

1/4 can of vegetarian refried beans

Jarred jalapenos (use as much as you like)

1/2 corn on the cob, boiled and kernels removed (alternatively, used canned corn kernels)

6 cherry tomatoes, quartered

Chopped Lettuce & baby spinach (as much as you like)

Fresh coriander to garnish

Method:

1. Cook rice by absorption with the juice of one lime added to the water. If you want your rice to be crunchy, let it overcook slightly.

2. While the rice cooks, heat up your beans and corn.

3. Assemble your burrito bowl! First add rice, then your greens, corn, tomatoes, jalapenos and a dollop of beans. Garnish with lime and coriander. Add avocado if you have some. Enjoy!

Gluten Free Cheeseburgers & Sweet Potato Chips

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This recipe is my attempt at emulating the cheeseburgers from a local joint called Nordburger that specialise in American style fast food.  Just because I don’t eat gluten anymore, doesn’t mean I should have to give up cheeseburgers, right? It’s true, this isn’t one of my healthiest recipes in terms of fat and salt content, but if you have the urge to eat a burger, it’s certainly better for you than what they serve at Maccas, and you can control the amount of fat and salt you use.

Gluten Free Cheeseburgers & Sweet Potato Chips (serves 2 or 3)

Ingredients for Burger

300g good quality beef mince

1/2 onion, diced

1 or 2 dill pickles (from the jar)

1/2 tbsp dijon mustard

1/2 tbsp cornflour

1 tsp dried italian herbs

Salt & Pepper

1/2 tbsp olive oil & some extra for frying

Ingredients for burger toppings

2 slices of cheddar cheese

1 rasher of bacon (optional)

Ketchup

American Mustard

2 large gluten free bread rolls (or 3 small)

Ingredients for Sweet Potato Chips

1 large sweet potato

Salt & Pepper

Olive oil

Method

    1. Preheat an oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
    2. Prepare the chips: scrub the skin of the sweet potato thoroughly then slice thinly into rounds.
    3. Put a sheet of baking paper on a tray and spread the rounds all over until covered. It is ok if they overlap because when they cook, they will shrink and create more space.
    4. Spray or drizzle olive oil over the sweet potato rounds and season with cracked salt and pepper.
    5. Place in the oven and bake until crispy and brown on one side. Keep an eye on them and flip the chips with a spatula so the other side of the chips can brown.
    6. While the chips bake, prepare the burger patties: add oil and butter to a medium size pan on medium heat. Add onion and fry until soft.
    7. Add dijon mustard and fry for a couple more minutes. Take the onion mixture and place in a small bowl to cool.
    8. Once cooled, add the mixture to the beef mince and combine with hands. Add herbs, salt and pepper & further combine. Do not overmix or the patty will become tough.
    9. Add cornflour and combine then shape into 2 large patties or 3 small patties.
    10. Heat oil in a medium frypan, cook patties for a couple minutes on one side. Flip pattie and add a slice of cheese. Cook for a further couple of minutes. Let the burgers rest for 5 minutes while you prepare the bun and burger toppings. If you want bacon for the burgers, now is the time to cook it!
    11. Slice burger buns in half and toast in oven until golden brown.
    12. While the buns toast, slice a couple of pickles for the topping.
    13. Assemble the burgers: burger patty with cheese, pickles, sauce and ketchup, with sweet potato chips on the side. Enjoy!

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