Category Archives: Recipes

Oomff!

First of all – thank you SO much for all the lovely birthday wishes! I was certainly more than spoiled with my presents this year. The bf earned MAJOR points, obviously, and just further secured his position of “best boyfriend of all time”. (Not like he ever had much competition!) I’m slowly trying to detox and get back to feeling normal after some slight over indulgences, including polishing off about 1/2 a Kahlua cheesecake in the course of 2 days. I’m hoping a couple days of conscientious eating and exercise will help me get right back on track. And, of course, that includes lots of oomff!

What is oomff? Oomff is “one of my favourite foods”. But not just any old “mmm, that’s yummy!” foods. Oomff needs to live up to its name, too. To be oomff, it has to be delicious, nutritious, energy boosting and generally make me feel good after eating it. And, of course, it has to be food.

I’ve added a few new things to the oomff category recently. The current “omg why did I not know about this recipe years ago!?!” is raw brownie batter. It’s packed with all sorts of things your body needs to function at optimal levels. Oh, and it actually tastes like homemade, delicious, “oh so bad for you but oh so yummy” regular brownie batter.

Raw Brownie Batter
(adapted from Megan at Healthy Hoggin)
2 tbsp almond butter
2 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 tbsp agave nectar
a few drops of vanilla extract
a pinch of salt.

Put everything in a bowl. Mix well. Eat.

This is TO DIE FOR. It feels like you are mega cheating on any sort of healthy diet you may be on. It’s sweet and chocolatey and nutty and amazing. But, unlike the traditional stuff, this is made with ingredients your body can easily digest and won’t cause sugar spikes or crashes.

It should be noted that this is an incredibly calorie-dense treat. Don’t go eating this by the bowl-full daily and expecting weight to magically drop off you because you’re eating “raw” and “vegan” dessert. Both the almond butter and the coconut oil are high in calories and in fat. They are both really good for you, but keep in mind that moderation is the key to getting the benefits without the downsides. (Like added pounds!)

 

Another oomff? Choco energy balls. I don’t have a recipe for this one as I just started throwing things in my food processor and adjusting as I went along. But I brought them into work (mainly so I wouldn’t eat them all myself in one day) and everyone loved them, with a few people asking for the recipe… so I’m going to make another batch, measuring and noting the ingredients this time. I’ll post it up here – with photos – when I’m done.

The basics, though: dates, cashews, coconut, sesame seeds, cocoa powder, agave nectar. All put through the food processor for a few minutes, then rolled into balls and dehydrated in the oven for a couple hours. They are SO yummy! And addictive. I ate 6 for breakfast the morning after I made them. (Hence the bulk of the rest getting brought along to work!) Can’t wait to share the recipe with you guys and see what you think!

 

How was your week? Have you recently discovered any new oomff? Anyone fall off the “good eating” wagon like I did recently? Are you getting right back on track or finding it a little hard?

Advertisements

9 Comments

Filed under Diet, Recipes

If at first you don’t succeed – try, try again.

(I promise I won’t keep posting about smoothies every day!)

This morning was attempt #3 at a Green Monster.  I took pictures of the entire process – mainly because I’d like to start adding more photos to my blog but I’m always forgetting to actually take any – and what do you know? This smoothie is the best one yet. Not that I’m attributing it all to the photos, but I have a sneaking suspicion that helped in some way.

Laying everything else - ready to start

I started by getting everything out and onto the countertop. I was toying with the idea of adding frozen peas. I’m not sure why. They aren’t “leafy greens” – but they are veggies. And they’re cold. I nixed them for frozen berries, though.

Spinach & bok choy

Taking Cammy‘s advice, I tossed the spinach (and baby bok choy – fancy!) into my food processor with a splash or water and started blending away, occasionally scraping down the sides. I left this running as I ran around the apartment getting ready for the day.

Mmmm - healthy!

After a few minutes – and a little foam – I was content that there were no more little spinach bits left. Blending all the greens with a little water before adding anything else is definitely the key. It was silky smooth and completely green-bit-free. Yes!

The last step.

When I was happy with the consistency of the greens, I tossed in the rest of my smoothie ingredients: frozen banana, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and some ice cubes. I added a little more water to thin it out a bit, as well. And since the greens were already set, I only had to blend this enough to break up the fruits – minimizing any potential extra foam.

Ta da! All done.

(You can still see a little bit of the leftover greens on the side).

I can say this is definitely far and away the best of the 3 smoothies. No little green bits. Minimal foam. And very, very yummy. I think the ice cubes are important, too. They keep the smoothie colder for longer AND if there were any little bits of greens or fruits, they blended in with the bits of ice and I wasn’t bothered by them.

So, there you have it. My “best yet” smoothie – with photos!

And while those of you back up in the northern hemisphere are chatting about the cooler weather, shortening days and coming of fall, here in the southern hemisphere we’re anxiously awaiting the arrival of summer. The clocks spring forward this weekend and even with the crazy storm, you can tell summer is on its way. And I can’t wait!

For those of you who have just been through summer – do you have any advice? Is there something that you wish you would’ve done this summer? Or something you wish you would’ve known when summer first started? In-season fruits and veggies you should’ve taken advantage of? Workouts that take advantage of the nice weather? Recipes that helped you make it through the hottest months without consuming tubs and tubs of ice cream?

If you could do summer again – what would you do?

10 Comments

Filed under Diet, Photos, Recipes

Foam, foam, go away.

Green Monster attempt #2 this morning wasn’t any more successful than my attempt yesterday. In fact, I think I like yesterday’s smoothie better. bah!

It's so foamy!

Ingredients:
– 4 handfuls of spinach
– 1 rose apple (peeled)
– 1 banana
– some water to thin it out a little
– a dash of cinnamon

Blend, blend, blend – about 5 minutes.

It tastes pretty yummy. Almost like a very healthy, vegetable-based apple pie?

Problems:
–  it STILL has the little chunky pieces (of spinach and apple this time) that I find myself chewing as I drink it.
– it’s foamy. Due totally, I’m sure, to the long blending time.

Any advice? Maybe I’m expecting too much. Maybe I should be using a juicer, not a blender, to make these things if I expect a nice, smooth drink. Maybe I should be adding ice so it’s more like a slushie and I don’t notice the bits of food as much? All I know is that something’s gotta change.

Hmph.

Ignoring my failures to make a perfect smoothie, I’ve been impressed with myself recently. I’ve been eating pretty well, drinking lots of water and green tea, walking lots (despite the Australia-sized storm that’s been bashing NZ since Friday). I feel like I’m back in the groove. And while it’s not suddenly super challenging, I feel like I’m starting to work on it again. Maybe it’s all the new recipes and experimenting in the kitchen. Or the fact that I rocked out a 40-minute chest and shoulder workout with free weights and machines while every other girl in the gym was either on a treadmill/elliptical/bike or stretching. Or the fact that I feel like my waist is getting just the teensiest bit smaller.

Whatever it is – I like it.

Speaking of new recipes, when I got home from the gym last night, I decided to try the Raw Cheesecake I made the night before.

Raw, vegan chocolate "cheesecake".

I didn’t have any cute little springform pans so I just made it in our microwave egg poacher – which happened to be the perfect size. Mine’s the one on the left. Andrew’s is the pure chocolate one on the right. He was skeptical, to say the least, when I was making them. “Add cocoa to mine. I don’t want it to tastes like veggies!!!” In the end, he liked mine better and we both agreed it really, really had the same taste and texture as cheesecake. I think I’m going to make the next batch with a smidge less lemon juice (I found it slightly overpowering) and with a gluten-free crust. Will be testing them out on a couple vegan friends this weekend – exciting!

What was really funny about eating the cheesecake, though, is that even though it’s a healthy version – with no dairy and only a little honey as sweetener – I felt like I have totally cheated and indulged in some forbidden treat by the time I was done! Except it came with no sugar crash, headache, stomachache or cravings afterwards. Guess what else is going to turn into a freezer staple along with my frozen bananas?

Do you have any ideas or suggestions to get my smoothies velvety smooth without all that foam? Should I be trying a juicer instead? Make it the night before and chill it? Help!

6 Comments

Filed under Diet, Recipes

Healthy Hoggin’

I spent a good few hours last night reading through Megan’s blog: Healthy Hoggin. (If you haven’t been there before – go!)

I think she’s going to be my food bible for the next little while. Or, at least, she’s going to be where I turn for some yummy, yummy raw, vegan treat ideas and inspiration for indulgent healthy treats. Plus she uses a food processor lots and I’m totally all about that right now.

After looking through pages or posts and recipes, I decided I wanted to try:
Raw cheesecake
Raw chocolate macaroons
Detox Mac n Cheese
Roast broccoli
and Cherry Chocolate Bomb pudding

Of course, being the clever girl I am, I figured I could remember all necessary ingredients without writing them down if I went straight to the supermarket after reading the recipes. Needless to say, I came home from missing at least an ingredient or two from most recipes. (Though, to my credit, that’s because the supermarket didn’t actually have a few of the ingredients!)

I did whip up some roasted broccoli and raw cheesecake, though!
The broccoli was okay, but I think know I was overly generous with my olive oil and they ended up being too greasy for my tastes. But I can see the potential, so I’ll definitely be trying that again with a little less EVOO. The cheesecake has to sit in the freezer overnight to set, so I can’t give you a verdict on it yet. I can tell you that the leftover “batter” was delicious, though! Can’t wait to try the real thing tonight.

I also whipped up my very first Green Monster for breakfast this morning. Well, technically, it’s more of a Purple Monster…

Roar!

It’s about 2 cups of spinach, a banana, a handful of frozen strawberries/blueberries/blackberries, a splash of rice milk and  some water – blended to bits! Bits is actually a good description… I was running late this morning and, never having made this before, I blended til it looked liquidy. Then I tossed it in a container and ran out the door. It is yummy – I won’t argue that! – but it definitely could’ve used some more time in the processor. I keep having bits of spinach I need to chew and I don’t think that’s really how it’s supposed to be. I think the berry seeds are adding to that, too.

I’m definitely going to keep making these and adjusting the recipe to taste until I find some perfect Green Monster recipes which, of course, I’ll pass along here.

Do you have any websites/blogs that you turn to for food and recipe ideas? Are you a Green Monster fan? If so, what are your favourite ingredients? How long do you blend it to make sure there are no little pieces left?

6 Comments

Filed under Diet, Links, Recipes

It’s on like Donkey Kong!

OMG.

Banana soft serve is AMAZING!

I know I’m eons behind the times on this one, but I did not have a blender/food processor until this weekend. I’ve been dying to try soft serve since I heard about it on multiple blogs month ago. So, naturally, I was trying bananas in the freezer before I even got the new-to-me food processor down on the countertop!

My new baby!

Now, I was SUPER excited about this food processor – mainly because I wanted to try this soft serve – but also because I found it, in great condition, at a secondhand shop for $40. Score! Upon getting it home and set up, I realized it’s missing a few attachments and blades and things – but it still acts like a blender, juicer, cream whipper, french fry slicer and dough mixer, so I still think I got a great deal on it!

Somehow, I managed to wait a full 24 hours or so to make sure the banana was fully frozen before excitedly trying to make what everyone else has been raving about forever. I took it out of the freezer and carefully peeled it with a sharp knife, then cut it into chunks and tossed it in my food processor. Pulse. Pulse. Pulse. (To break up the banana into little bits). Then a few minutes of blending – stopping occasionally to scrape the mixture down from the sides.

Once it seemed to have a good, creamy consistency, I scraped it out into a bowl and plopped down on the couch to give it a whirl. And, as you probably have already guessed, I absolutely LOVED it. It had the same consistency as ice cream and was just as satisfying. Possibly even more satisfying because I knew it was just a banana. Talk about the ultimate in guilt-free!

Om nom nom. Amazing.

I’m super excited about trying more varieties. Adding some other frozen berries, some cocoa powder, maybe even a little peanut butter! I also can’t wait to whip up a batch for my vegan friend. With summer just around the corner, I’m sure she’s going to love this dairy-free treat.

Plus, now I can finally try a whole heap of other recipes I’ve been holding off on for lack of food processor. A green monster for breakfast tomorrow? Some chocolate macaroons for dessert? Pureed and blended everything just because I can?! Yes!

What are your favourite “food processor foods”? What other amazing treats have I been missing out on? Dish!

21 Comments

Filed under Exercise, Products, Recipes

Homemade muesli

When it all boils down, there are three main things that I really consider when it comes to choosing what food to buy/make/eat:

1. Health and nutritional value
2. Deliciousness
3. Cost

The list is ordered randomly, btw. Sometimes cost is the deciding factor, other times it’s all about the taste! I’m really not all that strict with my ranking system.

One of my favourite things to eat is natural, unsweetened yoghurt with muesli and whatever random bits I can throw in to keep it interesting – banana chips, dried fruit, fresh fruit, coconut, puffed rice etc. Healthy? Check! Delicious? Check! Cheap? …well, sort of. Muesli can get expensive. Especially since I need to find some that is gluten-free, which generally means it’s also organic and filed with expensive fancy ingredients that you barely taste.

When I ran out earlier this week, I vowed to find something other than $8/box muesli to top off my yoghurt with. Now, I know for some people $8/box isn’t a big deal – but I’ll go through at least a box a week and it really does start to add up. Not enough that I’d cut it out of my diet, but enough to make me think maybe there’s a better option. Upon scouring the internet, I found heaps of great recipes and figured “I could make this!” Unfortunately, I’d just come home from the grocery store and wasn’t about to head back for a second trip just for a few bits. I figured I could improvise.

(This is about the point when I wish I’d taken pictures of the process!)

My version of homemade muesli:
– a bunch of rolled oats. (I didn’t measure, but I’d guess it was about 2-3 cups?)
– a bunch of shredded, unsweetened coconut (maybe 3/4 cup?)
– a bunch of almonds, chopped up into small bits (ummm… about 3 handfuls whole almonds)
– 3 or so tablespoons of honey
– a drizzle of olive oil
(Clearly, this is a very specific recipe that must be followed to the letter!)

Yoghurt, muesli & fruit breakfast (with a container of muesli to the side)

* Put oats into a large bowl. Add coconut and almonds and mix well.
* Put honey and oil into a saucepan and heat on low heat until nice and liquidy.
* Drizzle honey mixture over oat mixture. Toss until well coated.
* Spread everything over a baking sheet and pop in oven.
* Bake at 300*F/150*C, tossing occasionally, until nicely toasted.
* Remove from oven and allow to cool.
* Add chopped dried fruits of your choice. (I added apricots, because that’s all I had!)
* Mix well and store in air-tight container.

The recipes I read online also included things like cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pecans and walnuts. They also suggested adding dried apples, papaya and pineapple to the mix once it’s cooled. The great thing about muesli is that it’s SO flexible and you can really cater it to what you have available at the time.

I had a little last night – can I tell you how amazing it was fresh out of the oven! – and, as you can see from my photo, it was a main player in my breakfast this morning. It’s definitely going to replace the store-bought stuff I used to get, for the reasons I listed at the start.

1. Health/nutritional value: Because I’m making it myself, I know exactly what is going into it and have complete control over the ingredients. I can also make sure it is definitely gluten-free! No rye, barley or wheat in this muesli.
2. Deliciousness: It’s really, really yummy. I can only imagine what the next batch will be like when I have a chance to stock up on a few extra goodies for it – especially some more dried fruits and sunflower seeds!
3. Cost: WAY cheaper than the store-bought stuff! A 1kg bag of oats cost $2.50. I think I used about 1/5 of it in my massive batch last night. Even if I splurge a little on some fancier dried fruits or nuts, I’m still coming out way ahead.

So that was my accomplishment of the day yesterday. It’ll be interesting to see how long this batch lasts. Though I might end up eating it faster just so I can make another batch with some new goodies!

Do you try to make things from scratch or would you rather just buy it pre-bought? Have you come across any new recipes recently that you love?

9 Comments

Filed under Recipes

Hills and pancakes

This morning I finally woke up feeling a little closer to normal and far less like the stay puff marshmallow man. Hooray! Thank you copious amounts of water, lots of walking and stabilizing hormones.

The "hilly" route

And while I still haven’t been to the gym (I know, I know!) I’ve been trying to sneak a little extra exercise in while I can. I’ve been getting up earlier in the morning since I’ll be starting at 8:30 instead of 9 with my new job, and have been taking different routes to/from work. My favourite covers 3 km and takes about 45 minutes. It’s longer, but has almost no hills. The quickest route is about 1 km with almost constant hills. This morning, I did the 2 km “some hills but mostly flat” walk. It’s nice to have the choice and knowing that I can’t really “get off easy” with any of them. If I want a shorter/quicker walk, I’ve gotta do the hills. If I want to avoid the hills, I have to walk almost 3 times as far.

Waking up a little earlier also gives me a little more time to enjoy breakfast. This morning I made amazingly yummy oatmeal “pancakes”. They are super easy, fast and so good.

  • Mix 1/4 cup of instant oatmeal with 2 egg whites, 1 whole egg and a scoop of protein powder. (I used a spoonful of gluten-free bread mix as I don’t have any protein powder).
  • Pour into a hot, non-stick pan and cook like normal pancakes.

I found this recipe on http://she-fit.com/ and am absolutely in love with it. Thanks so much for sharing it, Ruth! I added a bunch of cinnamon and a little honey to mine. They’re also great cooked per the recipe and then topped with a little bit of jam. Mmmmm.

Would you rather get up early or sleep in?
I think I’ve finally switched to the “get up early” team… as long as it’s not too early!

5 Comments

Filed under Diet, Recipes