These blondies are super dense – a combination of using coconut flour and purely egg whites creates a clos texture, perfect warmed up with custard (the British coming out in me!) or served with ice-cream. Equally as good is pairing with a cup of tea and some yogurt for a mid-afternoon snack.
Macros per blondie (based on 9 servings): 162kcal; 10.7g protein, 17.5g carbs, 6.4g fat
- 100g oats, ground into a flour
- 12 tbsp. liquid egg whites
- 60ml unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 120g 0% fat plain Greek yogurt
- 6 tbsp. runny nut butter of choice (I used 4tbsp. Fantasy French toast Epic Spreads and 2 tbsp. pumpkin spice G Butter)
- 20g coconut flour
- 5 tsp Stevia
- 100g raspberries, divided into two 50g portions
- 30g white chocolate chips
- Preheat your oven to 350F.
- In a food processor, or blender, grind the oats into a flour. Set aside in a medium mixing bowl.
- Blend the Greek yoghurt, egg whites, nut butter, half the raspberries and almond milk and add to the ground oats.
- Sift the coconut flour into the mixture and then add the Stevia, the other half of the raspberries and the white chocolate chips.
- Stir until thoroughly combined.
- Grease and line an 8” square cake tin and pour in the mixture.
- Bake in the center of your preheated oven for 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown and springs back when touched.
- Allow to cool on a wire rack before cutting into slices.
- Serve warm with custard, ice-cream or Greek yogurt.
So it is the season of giving, but it is also the season of spending. I am a big advocate of crafting and hand-making as much as I can. I love nothing more than creating a delicious recipe or upscaling a piece of furniture myself. You get it exactly how you want it and at a fraction of the price. As well as it being a season for giving to family and close friends, you often find yourself gifting for colleagues and neighbors and these token gestures of goodwill soon add up. (And that’s if you can even think of what to gift!) This dark chocolate and fruit bark is so easy to prepare, so versatile and so cost-effective, yet tastes decadent. It also has the benefit of being homemade, which people always appreciate. You can adapt it to suit any palette and any chocolate preferences. Time to get creative (but without breaking the bank!)
Macros per portion (based on 20 servings): 75kcal; 8.7g carbs, 3.8g fat, 0.9g protein
- 200g good quality dark chocolate (I used Trader Joe’s Belgian dark chocolate)
- 170g almonds
- 60g raisins
- 50g dried cherries
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- Roughly chop the almonds and set aside.
- Break up the chocolate into a medium, microwave safe bowl and microwave for 45 seconds.
- Remove the bowl from the microwave and stir the chocolate thoroughly. Note: it is very easy to burn chocolate in the microwave. Chocolate deceptively holds its shape and a few seconds too long can ruin a whole bowl of chocolate. Instead of microwaving, you can melt it over a pan of boiling water on the stove top. If you decide to use milk or white chocolate instead of dark, please be aware that these chocolates are much harder to work with due to their lower cocoa solids.
- Return the bowl to the microwave and continue to melt the chocolate in 20 second intervals, stirring thoroughly after each burst in the microwave. The heat from the chocolate will continue to melt it, even after it has been removed from the microwave.
- Once the chocolate has melted, stir in the roughly chopped almonds, cherries, raisins and almond extract until they are all combined.
- Place a sheet of baking paper in a small baking tin and pour the chocolate mixture on top. The chocolate mixture should be glossy rather than dull (dull indicates it may be burnt).
- Transfer to the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to cool and harden.
- Remove from the refrigerator and break into segments.
- Place in festive bags to gift or display on a fancy plate to accompany festive drinks and coffees at the end of a get together!
The options for this are endless. For a cereal lover, why not add in crushed cornflakes? You could sub the fruit for crushed candy canes and peppermint extract to create another seasonal favorite.
I am not normally one for fruity sauces with savory meals, but there is something about the sharp tang of cranberries that really appeals to me. It has become a staple of our Christmas Day lunch to accompany the roast turkey and veggies, but, I probably prefer it more teamed with melted Brie, turkey and arugula on a crusty, seeded roll. At this time of year, cranberry sauce can be found in abundance at the supermarkets, but they are often high in refined sugar and sporting a very suspicious texture. This cranberry sauce is neither. It maintains the sharp zing of the cranberries with just enough sweetness to stop you making those tart faces! It also has a texture of a homemade jam or purée and can equally be enjoyed as a topping to ice-creams and other sweet dishes. It is so simple to make and can be stored, refrigerated for about 2 weeks.
Macros per portion (based on 15 servings): 16kcal; 4.2g carbs, 0g fat, 0.1g protein
- 12oz bag of fresh or frozen cranberries
- 4 fl oz fresh orange juice
- 4 fl oz water
- 15 single serve packets (15 tsp) granulated sweetener of choice
- In a small saucepan, bring the water and orange juice to the boil.
- Turn the heat down to medium, add in the sweetener and stir thoroughly.
- Pour in the cranberries carefully and stir.
- Cook the cranberries until most of them burst (this is personal preference, depending on whether you want a smooth or chunky sauce. The more cranberries that burst, the smoother your sauce will be). You will need to monitor the sauce and stir frequently to avoid it sticking. Cooking time is approximately 10 minutes.
- Reduce the heat and cook for a further 5 minutes, to allow the sauce to begin to thicken.
- Turn off the heat and allow to cool completely before transferring to a dish and refrigerating. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.
- Enjoy on Christmas Day, in sandwiches…or even as a tart topper to a dessert!
Brussel sprouts. You either love them or you hate them. They remind me of being part of the Christmas dinner as a child, and looking back now, I am not too sure why they were there?! They always came in huge packs and you always had to put a few on your plate – and they were always the one aspect of Christmas dinner that remained on its own serving plate for leftovers! Needless to say, they were not something that any of my family readily enjoyed, but, year after year, they showed up at the table! Instead of boiling them whole, I find panfrying shavings makes these vegetables entirely different and incredibly tasty!
Macros per portion (based on 2 servings): 184kcal; 26p, 18c, 0f
- 350g brussel sprouts, roughly chopped
- 200g plum/cherry tomatoes
- handful of fresh cilantro
- pinch of black pepper
- 8 egg whites
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp chili powder
- Heat a large non-stick pan over a medium heat.
- Add in the brussel sprouts and saute for approximately 10 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure all of them soften.
- Roughly chop the tomatoes and add to the brussel sprouts, enabling the liquid from the tomatoes to help soften the brussel sprouts further. Cook for a further 2 – 3 minutes.
- Add in the cilantro, black pepper, cumin, chili powder and egg whites. Cook until the omlette is cooked underneath (you will be able to tell when the edges become crispy and start to come away from the pan).
- Transfer the omlette to the oven and turn on the broil setting. Cook for about 3 minutes – until the top of the omlette is slightly golden and the omlette is cooked all the way through.
- Enjoy hot, but equally as good reheated. I ate mine with sardines, but would also be delicious with chestnuts, salsa and crusty bread.
Roasted chestnuts. Can you beat that festive smell? The very thought of roasted chestnuts brings a smile to my face; it conjurs up childhood memories of being all bundled up in a scarf, gloves and hat and walking the Christmas market with a hot chocolate. Although it is still pumpkin season, I am a huge Christmas lover and any excuse to start the festive season, I am all for it! Mushrooms don’t make for the most aesthetic of meals, but this sauce is so tasty and is perfect with pasta – the pasta I have used below is butternut squash zuchette pasta from Trader Joes.
Macros per portion (based on 3 servings): 115kcal; 10g protein; 15g carbs, 1g fat
- 150g mushrooms, sliced
- 15 roasted chestnuts, peeled
- 150ml unsweetened almond milk
- 5 slices of ham
- 1 tsp rosemary
- 1 tsp sage
- In a small, non-stick pan, saute the mushrooms over a medium heat until they begin to soften. Add the rosemary and sage and cook for a couple more minutes, until soft throughout. Leave to cool.
- Roughly chop the ham and chestnuts.
- Add the ham and chestnuts to a blender along with the almond milk and mushrooms. Blend until smooth.
- Transfer the sauce to a small saucepan and cook over a medium/low heat until piping hot.
- Serve with pasta, ham, additional chestnuts and veggies for a festive dish!
Bananas have a very limited shelf life in my opinion, I like to eat them when they are barely yellow and as soon as they have brown spots, I turn my nose up! But, ripe bananas make the perfect basis for baking. As bananas ripen, they become sweeter, meaning that you can often use less (or in this case), no added refined sugars! This muffin recipe would be a perfect breakfast alongside some Greek yoghurt and a good cup of coffee. And at 150 calories, you can’t really go wrong…
Macros per muffin (based on 12 servings): 156kcal; 5.6g protein, 23.3g carbs, 5.1g fat
- 250g (approximately two medium) overripe bananas
- 2 large eggs
- 170g all purpose/plain flour
- 60g old fashioned oats
- 85g crunchy almond butter (can substitute for peanut butter or for a smooth consistency nut butter)
- 85g 0% fat Greek yoghurt
- 5ml (1tsp) vanilla essence
- 125ml unsweetened almond milk
- 45g honey
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- Preheat your oven to 350f and line a muffin pan with 12 muffin cases.
- Roughly chop up the banana and add to a large bowl.
- Measure out the remainder of the ingredients into the bowl.
- Using a handheld whisk (or Kitchenaid) whisk the ingredients together on a low speed. Ensure all the mixture is combined, but don’t over whisk as it will break down the ‘crunch’ of the oats.
- Spoon out the mixture into the 12 cases – you can fill to the top as the muffins don’t rise too much and have quite a dense texture.
- Bake in the center of the preheated oven for 18 – 22 minutes. Take out when the top is slightly golden and a knife will come out clean.
- Enjoy warm with Greek yoghurt and sugar free syrup for a higher protein breakfast or enjoy after a savory meal for a 150kcal sweet treat.
Hands up, I admit it, two years of living in the States and I am all about the pumpkin hype. Most pumpkin flavored things that crop up here are actually fairly sweet, but pumpkin on its own, is actually very savory. It has a great color and texture and this recipe brings out all the warm, cosy feelings that autumn should bring! I have eaten it with chicken and whole grain spaghetti, and I have also sautéed it with Miracle Noodle rice and egg whites. The sauce is quite strong in flavor so is probably too overpowering for fish, but it would also make a great basis for a soup too! Happy pumpkin season!
Macros per portion (based on 4 servings): 76kcal; 3.1g protein, 14.1g carbs, 1.4g fat
- 1 can pumpkin (approximately 425g)
- 1 bag of spinach (approximately 250g)
- 65g red onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup (240ml) unsweetened original almond milk
- In a large, non-stick pan, fry the onion over a medium heat until it softens.
- Add the spinach gradually (a large handful at a time), stirring until it wilts and there is room for more. Be careful to ensure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Add the pumpkin, almond milk, cinnamon and cayenne pepper and stir until combined.
- Turn up the heat until the sauce starts to bubble and add more almond milk (or water) if the sauce is too thick.
- Reduce the heat to low and cook for a further 10 – 15 minutes (I find this allows the spices to really ‘knit together’ well).
- Serve over chicken, veggies and pasta for a hearty, autumnal meal.