Healthy Recipes: Homemade Buckwheat Cranberry Granola

You may or may not be aware that buckwheat is an incredible fibrous food that benefits your digestion ten-fold. So combining it with a homemade granola was a no-brainer for me.

Shop-bought granola can sometimes contain more sugar than a candy bar with far too many carbs. Making it yourself is not done in the same way as the factories. There, the grains go through a whole lot of processing to come out crunchy yet airy and pliable with milk.

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Healthy Recipes: Low Sugar Rum & Raisin Chocolate Pudding

This recipe is ideal if you’re looking for a rich, great tasting spiced sponge dessert with less sugar than traditional recipes. I tried making this low-fat as well as low-sugar, but the full-fat butter was imperative for getting the gooey, sensual taste you expect from a rum & raisin pudding. If you’re a diabetic or simply want to reduce your sugar intake, leave out the raisins.

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Ingredients

For the pudding:

  • 4 eggs – whisked
    1 tablespoon honey
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (optional)
    2 tablespoons coconut oil – melted
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    145g unsalted butter – melted
    100g almond meal
    50g coconut flour
    100g sugar free dark chocolate – melted
    40 mls dark rum
  • 50g sun-dried raisins (optional)

For the custard:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 600ml skimmed milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp honey

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200oC.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, almond meal and flour.
  3. creamicreamingOnce well combined add in all the rest of the ingredients, minus the rum.
  4. Combine together until you have a slightly runny mixture. Now you can add half of the rum, and keep adding to taste.
  5. Divide the mixture amongst small ramekins, filling ¾ full.
  6. Place the ramekins in a shallow tray of water and bake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes.
  7. Now you can make the custard… beat together the yolks, lemon, honey and vanilla.
  8. Once fully mixed, throw in 2 tbsp of the milk and continue beating.
  9. Heat the remaining milk in a saucepan until just boiling.
  10. custardPour the hot milk over the yolk mixture and mix rapidly (otherwise you’ll end up with scrambled eggs!).
  11. Return all the mixture back to the saucepan and place over a low heat. Keep mixing this until it’s thick enough. Don’t mix or heat it for too long as it will likely curdle.
  12. Leave the mixture to cool, then strain to remove any lumps.
  13. Douse the pudding with the remaining rum, letting it soak in. Then you can pour over your custard. Yum! 🙂

Healthy Gluten-Free Recipes: Raw Banana Energy Balls

These no-bake glorious banana oatmeal energy balls have only 30 calories per ball and suit an IBS, Diabetics, Celiac & Paleo lifestyle. Perfect for on-the-go snacking and pre- & post-workout.

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If you’re abiding by a clean eating lifestyle, because either your digestive ailments insist upon it, or you simply want to eat clean for your own wellbeing, then these healthy banana energy balls are the ticket.

Because they’re small and essentially are popped into the mouth like candy, it’s easy to replace these with unhealthy snacks such as biscuits and cookies. They’re also far more filling and full of heart-healthy calories from the raw fruits and seeds. I eat these pre-workout because they give me tonnes of energy (hence the name), but also because I just can’t wait until after the gym for them – I’m way too busy rolling around on the floor in pain to eat anything immediately after a gym session.

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When I’ve made these before, I made a big batch in one go and froze around two thirds of it. Then, when I was hungry or knew I needed something for a journey, for example, I’d pop these frozen balls into a Tupperware container and allow to defrost in the pot for a few hours. Once the hunger started to creep in, there were these little balls of joy. This makes them especially good for working people who can’t help but graze throughout the day in their office chair (me!!).

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Try out this recipe, and even give it a fiddle yourself with some of your favourite ingredients thrown in. I also like doing mine with dessicated coconut and dried mango pieces instead of the banana, but really it’s all to play for with these yummy bites!

Ingredients

  • 200g ground almonds
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • 200g dates, crushed (soak these in 100ml water overnight to plump them up)
  • 2 large ripe bananas
  • 100g rolled oats
  • 50g ground flaxseed (if you can’t find flaxseeds, sunflower seeds are fine)
  • 5 tablespoons chia seeds

Method

  1. In a food processor, mix the ground almonds, drained dates, bananas and flaxseeds and mix on high. The mixture should be nice and thick.
  2. Add in the 100ml water your dates were soaking in (this should be thicker than water, with a slight syrupy consistency) and gradually stir in the oats and flaked almonds to the mixture. Blend and pulse until all the oats and water have been added to the banana mix.
  3. Your mixture should be ready to roll now (if you feel it’s too thick or too runny, add in either more oats (if it’s too runny) or more water (if it’s too thick)). Roll into small balls and then carefully roll each one into a bowl of chia seeds.
  4. Pop in the freezer for a few hours. Once these are set and look to be staying firm when you squeeze them slightly, they’re ready to eat!

Healthy Recipes: Cake Frosting Without Icing Sugar

Stuck for something to make this Bank Holiday weekend? Try my gorgeous low sugar frosting to suit any and every teatime classic cake!

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Frosting is always the best bit of the cake and it’s always a disappointment if you get a forkful of yummy cake with no frosting attached. To avoid this, I lump bucketloads of frosting onto my cakes and, whilst this might not be the healthiest thing to serve, I figure why do anything by halves?

But as I become more and more focused on eating good food and maintaining a healthy lifestyle for my IBS, I thought I’d better start shaping up my homemade cake recipes. And before I could even consider the cake part of the recipe, I had to think about the most important component… the frosting.

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Creating a low-sugar cream cheese frosting is very difficult. Firstly, you have to combat the sourness of the cheese, which screams for sugar (no-one wants a sour-topped cake, do they?). It also needs to retain its fluffiness and stiffness to sit atop the cake, which is what the powdered sugar is used mostly for. It was also difficult to find a cream cheese that a) wasn’t super fatty and b) wasn’t termed ‘low fat’ and full of nasties like guar gum and sunflower oil.

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The final recipe is a product of all the best ingredients I could find that would make this be both tasty and healthier than the store-bought varieties – especially considering most store-bought varieties consist purely of sugar, palm oil, invert sugar syrup and colourings. I’m still looking to amend it, perhaps with a naturally lower fat cheese substitute – but for this I’ll have to just keep trying 😉

Ingredients

  • 400g thick non-fat natural yogurt
  • 10 oz full-fat cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp cinnamon

If you need the ingredients in cups, check out this easy cups to grams converter.

Method

  1. Beat the cream cheese until soft and pliable and add the yogurt. Beat these together until soft peaks are formed.
  2. Now scoop in the vanilla, honey, lemon juice and cinnamon and beat again until smooth but not runny.
  3. frosting1Pour into a container and chill for a few hours or until the mixture has stiffened. Once you can spoon the mixture and it clings to the spoon upside down, the frosting is ready for your cooled cakes.

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The Difference Between Greek & Greek Style Yogurt

Yogurt can be made through hundreds of processes, dependent on a grand spectrum of things. Anything from the type of milk used, to the length of time it’s been strained, to how long it’s been cooled, to what country’s methods are being utilised can make a big difference to the yogurt’s taste, texture, and price.

Change up any of the above, and you’ll end up with a different yogurt every time – some of these changes are, however, not for the better.

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Are Plant Waters Any Better For You Than Tap Water?

Termed by some as a ‘super water’, plant-based waters have recently hit the market as the new “it thing” in healthy drinks. But are they even any good, or any better than tap water?

The most common plant-based waters around at the moment are derived from: Coconuts, Aloe Vera, Maple Trees and Birch Trees. So far, so healthy by the sounds of it.

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Hidden Gluten: Where To Find It

Beware of barley, do not seek solace in starch, and don’t believe that wheat-free always means gluten-free. Take a look at the food products and ingredients you should be avoiding on a gluten-free diet.

If you’re trying to avoid gluten or have to avoid it for medicinal purposes, it’s important you get all the facts about what gluten is and where it’s likely to be lurking.

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Healthy Gluten-Free Recipes: Vegan Black Bean Burger

Perfect for vegetarians, celiacs, and those with other digestive ailments, these nourishing black bean burgers are a lighter choice than a regular burger and are protein-rich, full of fibre and contain no meat.

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If you’re fed up of chickpeas and want a legume with a little more OOMPH, these black bean burgers will be right up your street. Hot, spicy and full of flavour, these burgers go nicely with a cool salsa or guacamole.

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Ingredients

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 50g sweetcorn
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • ½ cup gluten-free bread crumbs (you can make these yourself by allowing around 5 gluten-free bread slices to stale and then blitzing them in a food processor)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c and grease a baking sheet.
  2. Mash the beans in a bowl until thick.
  3. In a food processor, blitz the bell pepper, onion, and breadcrumbs together and then stir into the beans.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the egg, sweetcorn, chilli powder, cumin and hot sauce.
  5. Stir the egg mixture into the beans mixture until thick and doughy.
  6. Divide the mixture into 8 patties and place on the baking tray.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes on each side.
  8. Serve with gluten-free pitta or flatbreads.

You can also give these other meat-free burger recipes a go: Tofu Burger, Lentil Burger, Black Bean Burger, Beetroot Burger & Broccoli Burger!

Veggie Eats: The Best Places For A Good Salad In Manchester

Become that person – the one that orders a salad in a restaurant.

Commonly discarded as a flimsy decision – especially when there are so many choices on the menu of irresistible and delectable options which specifically aren’t healthy but taste so damned fine – make the best decision for your IBS and for your health in general by opting for a salad next time you go out to eat.

Take a look at my top 5 places to grab a great, hearty and wholesome salad in Manchester and never be disheartened with a restaurant’s salad offering again!
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