I’m on a personal mission to reduce my biscuit intake. Now there is totally nothing wrong with a biscuit or 2, but these carrot cake energy balls add in variety and nutrition. I find they really hit the spot by giving me something to munch quickly when I’m running from job to job and they are more filling than my usual biccie.
These last for 3 days in the fridge and they also freeze well so why not make a batch and get them out the freezer in the morning, ready for when you need them.
Sundays for us are the one chilled breakfast day of the week. No school run. I don’t teach any Pilates classes so it’s a day to take time over brekkie and have something different. This is one of my favs.
So here is a my super simple recipe for you. These pancakes are easy, quick to make and packed with nutrition too, plus filling due to the seeds.
These are also perfect if you weaning as the pancakes are soft and make great finger foods. My children are always very happy when I decide to cook these.
Drop a serving spoon portion onto the pan/griddle and allow to cook for a couple of minutes, look for the bubbles on the top then flip it. These need a little more TLC than normal pancakes when turning them over.
I served mine with greek yoghurt and fruit.
Enjoy and let me know if you make them, I’d love to see your pics!
Cheesecake. It’s tasty, but it can be pretty high in calories. Now whilst I totally do not advocate calorie counting regularly, I do like having healthier alternatives to foods like this that mean I can make them without it being an extravagance.
So here is the much asked for recipe for those cheesecakes we made on Eat Well for Less. I made this for Christmas and it made a great lighter dessert.
Here is the video clip of Gregg, Chris and I in action making it.
Preheat the oven to 170C/150C Fan/Gas 3½. Lightly grease a 12-hole muffin tin with some oil.
Put the remaining oil and honey into a saucepan, heat until warm and runny.
Remove from the heat and stir in the oats and mixed spice until completely coated.
Divide the oats between the muffin tin holes, pressing down on the mixture to make a solid base.
In a large bowl, mix together the yoghurt, cream cheese, vanilla extract, lemon zest, stevia, sugar and cornflour. Mix the eggs into the cream until smooth. Spoon evenly between the muffin holes on top of the oats.
Bake for 15 minutes or until just set. (They should still wobble a little.) Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Carefully remove the cheesecakes from the tin and top with fruit of your choice.
Serve immediately or transfer to a sealed container and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Truvia is fine to use in this recipe or you could swap the Stevia for another sweetener of your choice.
Snacking sensibly for me is a must. I need bucket loads of reliable energy to get me through my day. An average day for me involves 3 kids, much pilates and 1-2-1 dietetic clients. I don’t sit still for long, so crashing mid afternoon is not an option, especially as that’s the school run and my hungry time of day. So one thing I teach my clients and work on myself is balancing my snacks.
Yes fruit is fabulous, however it doesn’t keep me full for long or sustain my energy. So I pair it with protein or a wholegrain, higher fibre carb. Or if I’m feeling outrageous, I mix all three. For me it is not about the calories or the macro’s but the balance.
Satiety is the feeling of fullness that persists after eating. It affects the length of time between eating events and possibly the amount of energy consumed at the next. Protein is filling and can help stabilise blood sugars. Fibre rich foods require more chewing so psychologically take longer to eat, they can displace other energy rich food and slow gastric emptying.
Some of my favs: Apple, cheese and oatcakes Dried apricots, almonds and 25g dark chocolate Oatcakes with nut butter and banana
Then there are these peanut butter cookies. Perfect with fruit and they take just 10 mins to bake. These make me feel like the perfect mum on those days I manage to whip the mix up before the school run and have them ready 10 mins after the kids walk in the door! Better still the kids can make them – I haven’t let them loose on this recipe yet.
My children love granola as a topping for their yoghurt, but often the shop bought versions are super sweet and the lower sugar options are pricey. In my mind making my own sounded like a faff, hence it’s not something I’ve investigated… until I started making a new flapjack recipe and didn’t get the consistency quite right. You know when you know it isn’t right but you keep going regardless. Silly me. As an experienced flapjack maker (and eater) I should have know better. Flapjack intuition.
So when Miss K tried to pick up and eat said flapjack and it crumbled to smithereens we needed a quick rescue as I’m not one to throw away food. Turns out it makes an amazing granola. Sweet enough but not super sweet. I’ve worked out the nutritional info as about a 30g serving.
Heat the honey, margarine and peanut butter (I used the microwave) until it is melted.
Mix in the oats, nuts and sunflower seeds.
Press into the tin and bake at Gas Mark 4 for 20 minutes.
Stir and break it up, bake for another 5 minutes.
Cool and store in an airtight container such as a kilner jar.
By Priya Tew, Dietitian UK
Dietitian UK https://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/
This is one of those foods to watch your portions and to eat with enjoyment. I’m a huge believer in having some sweetness if you fancy and not depriving yourself. I’m trying to model this and teach the children. My boy has a sweet tooth so this granola enables him to have the sweetness but also get a good balance of nutrition in.
Each year my love of growing vegetables, well grows. I had a dad who had very green fingers and grew a lot of the vegetables for the small hotel my parents ran. In the summer months our bath water was often emptied by buckets into the vegetable patch! My Sri-lankan grandmother has the greenest fingers in the family. Her windowsills were often covered in seedlings and she would disappear into the garden at mealtime to pick “greens” to make into a family favourite dish. A meal of rice and curry is not right without “greens”.
One of my first successes was courgettes. Most years I get a good crop, apart from last hear but I blame the baby for that 😉
This year however I have 2 plants that are exploding with monster courgettes and a bountiful supply is on its way. Follow my instagram stories for pics of the garden and how I cook them.
Personally I love courgettes. Roasted, in a stir fry, ratatouille, on pizza…. only issue is that Miss K and the J boy are not so keen. So it’s been a season of finding ways to encourage them to eat them. I don’t like to hide vegetables so I do tell them it’s in there, once they have tried some. Here are my top ways that they like and eat:
Courgette cake. This has gone down so well. I’ve been making it and freezing it. Recipe below.
Courgetti. Not because we want to be on trend but because it works. Spiralising courgette, cooking with garlic and lemon juice is a winner.
Grated courgette in bolognaise, risotto or pretty much any dish!
Roasted and blended with tinned tomatoes for a pasta sauce.
Hubby and I love a courgette curry so that’s also on the menu but I have to make the children something different on those nights!
So here is a lovely courgette cake recipe. You really won’t taste the courgette and I’ve lowered the sugar content for you too, it works out at 3g sugar per slice but some of this is the yoghurt and courgette. Per 100g it is 3.6g sugar so a much healthier alternative to many other cakes.
I made this for a family party recently and it went down really well!
Courgette and Sultana Cake (Wheat and Lactose Free)
Easy to make, reduced sugar recipe and includes plenty of yummy courgette.
300g plain wheat free flour (I used Aldi's own brand)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
Grate the courgette.
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4. Grease and line a loaf tin.
Mix together all the wet ingredients.
Add the flour and carefully mix in.
Now add the remaining dry ingredients and mix.
Pour into the loaf tin and put in the oven.
Bake for 20 minutes uncovered and then cover the top with foil to prevent it burning.
This cake takes 30-40 minutes in my oven, I recommend checking it by inserting a skewer and seeing if the bottom is cooked. You don't want to have the bottom too soft (I've made that mistake for you!).
Granola is one of those foods that I could easily eat quite a lot of, though I tend to not eat it as a cereal but add it to dishes. I love the crunchiness and the variety it gives to transform your simple fruit and yoghurt into something more exciting. However granola is usually high in sugars and the amount of fruit, nuts and seeds is surprisingly low. If you have the time you could of course make your own, but you have to watch it carefully when it bakes. With my current tribe of small people I would be sure to burn it!
So I was most delighted to be sent a pack of granola to try out, especially when it was chocolate granola. Such a hard life.
Lizi’s granola is something I’ve recommended to some clients in the past due to it’s low sugar content and low glycaemic load (GL). The GL is a measure of how much a portion of a food affects your blood sugars. The GL for this granola is 6.6 for a 50g serving. Generally a low GL foods is one under 10 and you want to keep your GL to under 100 per day. So this granola is definitely a good option if you want a not too sweet, crunchy hit with a chocolately taste. It uses dark chocolate (which I love), some may say there is the added benefit of polyphenols and antioxidants but at only 5% dark belgium chocolate you won’t be getting much per 50g serving.
Here is how we enjoyed the granola – baked apples with chocolate granola. Instantly renamed big gruffalo crumble by the toddler boy. He calls any fruit crumble a gruffalo crumble, completely my fault for starting that one.
“Now my tummy’s beginning to rumble, my favourite food is gruffalo crumble”
Chocolate Granola Baked Apples
A quick, simple dessert that is great to perk up your midweek meals.
I’ve had a hankering for carrot cake for a few weeks after a conversation on social media about a bumper crop of carrots leading to recipes for carrot cake being posted. So when carrots were on offer and hubby came back with 3 bags of them plus 2 bags of parsnips it was suddenly my opportunity. Seriously, there are only so many things you can do with parsnips, so I thought why not try them in a cake. In that moment it felt like probable madness, however actually, you know what? The parsnips add a real kick to this cake. A warm earthiness and nuttiness that really adds to the sweetness of the carrots.
My main critic will always be my husband. He isn’t fobbed off as easily as the children, he has a sweet tooth and isn’t pulled in by any of the latest health trends or superfoods. So I tried him on one. He gave me the “what is it” quizzical expression which I interpret as “What the heck is the crazy woman now trying to give me”. To be fair, you can’t blame him, I am experimental in my approach and a fair few of these experiments just don’t work out. Upon trying it his response was “Actually that’s not bad”. Now for hubby that is a compliment. He isn’t overflowing with expression and excitement like me, thankfully or our house would be even more crazy! So this “Not bad” really meant “I wasn’t expecting it to taste nice but it is pretty good and I like it”. He agreed it was actually the parsnip that made it.
This cake is moist, light and a little to easy to eat. With 250g vegetables in it, it may feel pretty nutritious but you would have to eat a lot of cake to get a portion of veggie in! Having said that these will contain some vitamin A, some calcium and iron, so as cake goes, it is a good option.
It’s been a week of pretty awful sleep. That saying about “They saved the best till last” is not true when it comes to sleeping babies. The third baby is the worse sleeper! However she also gives the best cuddles and is super cute with it, so I can’t be cross with her.
When I don’t sleep well I tend to :
Walk around in a bit of a brain fog, yet still be functional for work – how does that happen?
Want to poke out the eyes of anyone who has a baby that sleeps through the night.
Loose some of my words. My 6 year old is good at finding them for me. “I’m just making…..ummm, ummm” “Breakfast Mummy?” “Yes, that’s the one”.
Get creating in the kitchen. I’ve no idea how but cooking and baking helps restore my sanity.
So on a cold, fuzzy headed Sunday afternoon I was flicking through my recipe notebook and stumbled upon rockcakes. Rockcakes seem to be one of those recipes that people make in school or when they are learning to bake. I think they need a come-back. Super easy to make, which means the children can help, there is little that you can go wrong with and you are left with a mountain of tasty snacks for your week.
I’ve adapted the usual rock cake recipe by adding in fruit and upon tasty the mix I decided it was sweet enough for our palates. Try a bit of it before you add in the eggs and see what you think as you can always add in a little sugar to taste. Doing it this way will hopefully mean you don’t go OTT on the sugar content.
My kids were happy bunnies and rewarded me by playing nicely with minimal arguments all afternoon. I love the subtle pear hint in these. Perfect for tbe after school munchies, which happens to co-incide with my cuppa and snack time 🙂
So when your toddler asks to make star biscuits, you can’t really say No. I’m not a fan of my kids having too much sugar so we always are on the look out for ways to reduce the sugar content of our baking, here we have used just a little apple juice and it worked well. A plain biscuit but you could add spices to it and make it your own. The plain biscuits are good for weaning too.
I used a greek yoghurt topping so the kids could decorate their biscuits which they loved. You need to only decorate the ones you aret going to eat there and then. Store the rest in a tin and the topping in the fridge. The decorating was a good after school activity and make your own snack session.
Easy Peasy Star Bicuits
Simple, low sugar star biscuits that you can add spices to and make your own.