Bliss balls are one of my favourite sweet snacks to make, they’re simple to blend together and when dipped in melted dark chocolate… oh my! I absolutely love sweet treats and I’ve been trying to find alternative ways of getting my ‘fix’ without reaching for the sweetie jar. I know that these still contain sugar, but as they’re naturally occurring I feel that they must be healthier than the processed treats you can buy in stores – but that’s my personal view.
Dates are natures candy!
I love dates, they’re gooey, sticky and taste like caramel. The problem I find is that many recipes call for a specific variety called Medjool, which although admittedly they do taste delicious, they’re also pretty expensive compared to other varieties. The cheaper alternatives aren’t quite as sticky so can prove more difficult to use in bliss balls, however I’ve discovered a great way to get around it! Simply soak the dates in hot water for a few minutes, drain the water and they become lovely and soft which makes them ideal for blending.
Here I’ve created a ginger nut inspired recipe, dipped in dark chocolate – it makes approx 20 which can be stored in the fridge for a week or so, longer if kept in the freezer.
You will need:
- 150g pitted dates
- 150g of mixed nuts (I used peanuts and cashews)
- 1 tbsp of chia seeds
- 1 tbsp of flaxseeds (optional)
- 1 tsp of ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
- 50g of dark chocolate
How to make:
Begin by pitting the dates and removing the stones, then pop into a bowl and cover with hot water. Add the nuts to a food processor and blitz until a rough fine crumb, add the chia seeds and flaxseeds and blitz again.
Drain the water from the dates and add to the processor, tip in the spices and blend together. Keep mixing for a few minutes, scraping down the sides until combined.
Using your hands, roll into small balls (just under ping pong sized I guess!) and lay out on a baking sheet. Pop in the freezer for a few hours to harden slightly. I melted 50g of dark chocolate with a pinch of ground ginger, drizzled over the balls and popped back in the freezer.
Store in the fridge or freezer, and try not to eat them all in one go!
Chocolate porridge is the best! It’s sweet, warm and delicious, just what we want on cold wintery mornings (or evenings!) and a perfect way to start the day. To make this porridge extra creamy, I’ve added a spoonful of coconut butter. If you’ve never tried it, you must! Coconut butter has a rich, velvety texture that tastes creamy and is amazing spread on toast, added in smoothies or simply eaten with a spoon!
The crumble topping is really easy to make and takes this dish to another level… I like to make the crumble for all different flavours of porridge, from apple and cinnamon to mixed berry and peanut butter. If there’s any left over, simply pop into a jar and use for sprinkling on top of smoothies or yoghurt.
Heres how to make my chocolate crumble oats…
You will need:
- 60g of oats
- 30g mixed nuts
- 1 tbsp of raw cacao powder
- 1 tbsp of coconut butter (I used Go Nutrition)
- 1 tbsp of maple syrup
- 250ml of milk
How to make:
Roughly chop the nuts and add to a pan with 10g of the oats. Gently toast the oats and nuts for a few minutes, making sure to stir frequently to prevent burning. When lightly brown, spoon out of the pan and set aside to cool.
Prepare the porridge by adding the remaining ingredients to the pan, simmer for 5 minutes and keep stirring until thick and creamy. Spoon into a bowl and top with the crumble and some fresh fruit. Enjoy!
Only the pure in heart can make a good soup – Ludwig van Beethoven
January is the time for curling up on the sofa with a big bowl of steaming hot soup, feeling warm and snuggly. It’s like central heating for the soul! As I can’t eat onions (who knew they’re in pretty much everything?!) I struggle to find any ready made soups from the supermarket as onion tends to be a staple ingredient. So I’ve started to make my own soups, and so far I’m loving the flavours.
There’s also something satisfying about making your own soup, blending it together and heating it up in a pan for lunch the next day with a few slices of warm buttered toast. It fills you up without feeling sluggish after and is a great way of sneaking in left over vegetables that may otherwise have been thrown out at the end of the week.
This soup will last in the fridge for up to 5 days, making the perfect dish to take to work, and it really couldn’t be any simpler.
Here’s how I made it…
You will need:
- 250g of carrots (approx 2 large carrots)
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 200g dried red lentils
- 1.5 litres of stock (I used beef stock but vegetable will work great too)
- 20g of fresh finger
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 tsp of cumin
- 1/2 tsp of turmeric
- 1/4 tsp of cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp of chilli flakes
- salt and pepper to season
How to make:
Prepare the carrots and red pepper by roughly slicing into coin sized pieces, boil the kettle to make the stock (if using a stock cube) and set a pan on a medium heat. Add the vegetables, stock and red lentils to the pan, stirring together.
Next thinly slice the garlic and ginger, and add to the pan with the rest of the spices. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 30 minutes or until the carrots are soft.
Leave to cool slightly before adding to a blender (I use my NutriBullet and blend in batches) and blend until smooth, or use a hand blender in the pan whilst still warm. Serve hot with toasted bread and butter!
Overnight oats are one of my favourite breakfasts to make, they’re so easy to mix together the night before and grab a jar of them before heading out of the door in the morning. I usually exercise at 6am and after I’ve got showered and ready for work, I simply top the oats with fresh berries and seeds and munch away while I’m sat at my desk.
There’s so many different flavour combinations that it’s no wonder overnight oats have become my staple breakfast! I like adding grated apple and cinnamon, or if I’m in a chocolate mood (more often than than not…) I’ll add a heaped teaspoon of raw cacao powder and a spoonful of peanut butter – so good!
This recipe is made with conference pears (any type will work fine though) and ground ginger for a lovely spiced ‘gingerbread’ hint. I’ve also added chia seeds for an extra protein boost and it also creates a slightly different texture compared to just using oats alone.
You will need:
- 45g of oats
- 1 tbsp of chia seeds
- 1 pear (peeled and grated)
- 1/4 tsp of ground ginger (or 1/2 tsp if you prefer a more intense spice)
- 1/2 tsp of maple syrup
- 160ml of milk (I used coconut milk from a carton)
- 1 tsp of flaxseed (optional)
Peel and grate the pear into a bowl, add the rest of the ingredients and stir until completely combined. Leave in the fridge overnight and enjoy chilled for breakfast. Top with more pear, fresh fruit and a sprinkle of flaxseed.
Oh hello 2017! January is the month when most of us decide to set new goals for the year ahead, feel more conscious to eat healthier and set aside time to become more active. A few of my aims for this year is to experiment with more flavours, ingredients and try out new things in the kitchen. So, my first recipe of 2017 is this delicious beetroot and raw cacao smoothie bowl…
It might seem like a slightly strange flavour combination, but trust me, it tastes awesome! The beetroot adds an earthy tone to the smoothie but when blended with the intense flavour of raw cacao it creates a luxurious velvety taste that’s crammed full of goodness. You can add a little more liquid if you prefer to drink it from a glass otherwise the texture will be more like soft scoop ice-cream, yum!
You will need:
- 100g of cooked beetroot (in natural juices) – I used the vacuum packed beetroot
- 1-2 frozen bananas
- 1/2 avocado
- 1 heaped tsp of raw cacao powder
- 1 tbsp of oats
- 1 tbsp of greek yoghurt
- cup of milk (I used coconut)
How to make:
Simply add all of the ingredients to a blender and whizz together until smooth and creamy. Pour into a bowl (or glass) and top with your favourite fruit, granola and nuts. Enjoy!
Christmas is almost upon us and although we’re all busy buying gifts for our loved ones, sometimes it’s nice to make your own presents and there’s nothing more tastier than a jar of homemade granola! I love making my own granola as it means I can play around with flavours and know exactly what the ingredients are rather than some of the sugar heavy store versions. There’s something really satisfying about making your own granola too, the kitchen smells amazing when it’s baking and it’ll make the perfect gift for that special someone!
Here’s how I make my own Winter Granola…
- 150g oats
- 125g mixed nuts (I used a mix of cashews, peanuts, macadamia and pecans)
- 2 tbsp of pumpkin seeds
- 2 tbsp of sunflower seeds
- 1 tsp of cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp of mixed spice
- 1 tbsp of pure maple syrup
- 1 tbsp of coconut oil
- pinch of sea salt
- 75g of mixed dried fruit
Preheat the oven to 180°c (160°c fan). In a pan, gently heat the coconut oil, maple syrup, cinnamon and mixed spice together until dissolved, be careful not to burn. In a large bowl, weigh out all of the other ingredients (excluding the mixed dried fruit) and stir together. Pour the liquid into the bowl and stir until the oats are completely covered. Transfer the mix onto a large baking tray and spread out evenly.
Pop into the oven and bake for 15 minutes, stir every 5 mins to ensure all of the granola is baked and golden brown. This also helps the nuts and oats to stop burning, this can happen pretty quickly if you don’t watch out!
When golden, remove from the oven and stir in the mixed dried fruit. Leave to cool before storing in an airtight jar.
Chocolate & hazelnut is a classic flavour combination, and one of the best smoothie bowls to make! I used to love Nutella but since I’ve started being much more aware of what I’m putting into my body, I tend to stay away from the shop bought version (Sarah Wilson, founder of I Quit Sugar, has a great article about it here) and make my own using ground hazelnuts, raw cacao and pure maple syrup. It’s so much more tastier too knowing you’ve made it yourself!
Here I’ve made one of my classic smoothie bowls, you can easily swap out the flavours by adding peanut butter or ground almond instead, it’s great to experiment. I’ve also added avocado as I find it makes the smoothie extra thick and creamy. I love topping my bowls with fresh fruit and a handful of granola. I’ll be sharing a homemade granola recipe soon, so keep a look out!
- 1 banana, chopped and frozen
- 1/2 ripe avocado
- 1 tbsp of whole or ground hazelnuts
- 1 tbsp of raw cacao
- 1 tbsp of chia seeds
- 1/2 – 1 cup of milk (I like to use Koko coconut milk)
Simply add all of the ingredients to a blender (I use a NutriBullet) and whizz together until thick and creamy, add more or less liquid depending on how thick you prefer your smoothie.
Top with fresh fruit, granola and seeds. Even a spoonful of greek yogurt would be delicious!
Chia jam has been a staple in my kitchen for quite some time now, and I’m excited to share my winter spice plum recipe with you – a perfect gift for Christmas.
Chia seeds are used in lots of vegan recipes, as they often act as an egg replacement, making them ideal for baking cakes, chia puddings and other delicious treats. One of the great things about chia seeds is that they can hold between 9-12 times the amount of liquid they are soaked in, making them a perfect addition to fresh homemade jam.
Many store-bought jams contain huge amounts of sugar, I’ve discovered that you only need a tablespoon or two of maple syrup or honey to sweeten chia jam, and that can only be good thing right!
This recipe makes 1-2 small jars, and will last for 7-10 days in the fridge (with an airtight lid).
- 475g of plums, stoned
- 2 tbsp of sugar (I used coconut sugar for a slightly caramelised flavour)
- 1/2 tbsp of coconut oil
- 1 tsp of mixed spice
- 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp of orange juice
- 3 tbsp of chia seeds
Preheat the oven to 200°c (180°c fan) and line a baking tray. Stone the plums and roughly chop into small pieces, add to a mixing bowl with the coconut oil, sugar, mixed spice and vanilla extract. Using a spoon, mix the fruit together until evenly coated.
Lay out the fruit on to the tray and pop in the oven, bake for 25-30 minutes until soft and sticky. Leave to cool.
Add the spiced fruit to a blender (I used my NutriBullet) and add a tbsp of orange juice. Blend for a few seconds until roughly smooth. Scrape into a bowl and add the chia seeds. Stir together until well combined and spoon into jars. Pop in the fridge overnight and enjoy spread on toast, with greek yoghurt or give as a gift for Christmas!
This is one of my favourite sweet treats to make, the mix of raw cacao and smooth peanut butter is an absolute dream! I like to make a batch of these as a sweet snack, and I leave a bowlful of them in the fridge and pop the rest in the freezer – then there is always delicious treats at my fingertips.
The secret to making these bliss balls stick together is by soaking the dates in freshly hot boiled water. This makes them extra soft and easy to blend. I also find that you can use any form of dates when you soak them in hot water, which means you don’t have to buy super expensive medjool dates instead.
I’ve used peanuts and cashews as the base of the bliss balls but you can swap these for any type of nut you prefer. They would even taste delicious with almond butter instead of peanut, actually any nut butter would be awesome!
So, here’s my recipe…
You will need:
- 100g of peanuts
- 100g of cashews
- 150g of dates (pitted)
- 50g of desiccated coconut
- 2 tbsp of peanut butter
- 2 tbsp of raw cacao powder
- 1 tbsp of honey or maple syrup
- 1 tbsp of ground linseed (optional)
Boil the kettle and soak the dates in a bowl. Blitz the nuts in a processor until they form a fine crumb. Next drain the dates and add to the processor with the rest of the ingredients and blend until sticky and combined.
Using your hands, roll into small balls and pop in the fridge for an hour. This recipe makes approx 30 bliss balls. Store in the fridge or freezer.
Apple. Peanut Butter. Oats. What more do I need to say?!
I’m always looking to find healthy alternatives to sweet treats, and today I’ve been experimenting with breakfast bars. Lots of the store bought versions are crammed full of sugar, additives and other names that we just simply can’t pronounce – and if you can’t say it, how are we supposed to know what we’re putting into our bodies?
I’m sure many of you are aware of my ‘overnight oats’ addiction (so flipping’ good!) and this inspired me to take some of the key ingredients and have a go making my own breakfast bars. As soon as they’re were out of the oven, the warm sweet scent filled the kitchen and I knew I was onto a winner!
The recipe is simple and easy to follow, and they make the perfect grab and go breakfast when times are hurried. They also taste awesome with a cup of tea as a mid afternoon snack. Brew anyone?
- 200g of oats (I used porridge oats)
- 50g ground almonds
- 2 apples, peeled and grated
- 25g of sunflower seeds
- 25g of pumpkin seeds
- 25g of peanut butter (I used The Protein Works PB)
- 25g of honey or maple syrup
- 25g of coconut oil
- 40g of 80% dark chocolate
Makes 16 squares.
Preheat the oven to 180°c (160°c fan) and line a square baking tray. Peel and grate the apples into a bowl, add the oats, ground almonds and seeds and roughly mix together. In a pan, add the peanut butter, coconut oil and honey (or maple syrup) and gently stir on a low heat until melted. Be careful not to burn! Pour into the mixing
bowl and stir together until combined and sticky.
Press the mix into the baking tray and flatten with the back of a spoon until compact. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Leave to cool on a wire rack before cutting into squares.
For extra yumminess, melt the dark chocolate and drizzle over the bars. Top with a sprinkle of seeds and enjoy!
If you have a really sweet tooth, increase the honey to 50g instead of 25g.