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.
Grilled salmon is one of my favourite mid week meals, it’s simple and quick to make and you can add different herbs and spices depending on what mood you’re in! I like to add chilli flakes, a squeeze of lemon (or lime) and a grind of sea salt and pepper, or sometimes I will add a splash of tamari and a drizzle of honey.
As I like to make the salmon the star of the show, I tend to keep the stir-fry pretty simple. For this recipe I’ve added lots of greens, ginger and also grilled cherry tomatoes. You can add any vegetables you like to the stir-fry, the more the merrier!
- 1 x salmon fillet (I prefer boneless, remove the skin after grilling)
- 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds (or ground cumin)
- juice of half a lemon
- 1/4 tsp of cinnamon
- sea salt and pepper
- 1 inch of fresh ginger (grated)
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- 5 cherry tomatoes
- 2 handfuls of spinach
- 2 handfuls of kale (I LOVE black kale)
- 1/2 courgette
- 4 baby sweetcorn (or small handful of prepared corn)
- 1/4 red or green pepper
- sprinkle of fresh parsley
Turn the grill on to a medium to high heat and prepare a baking tray with foil. Lay the salmon (skin side down) and the cherry tomatoes onto the baking tray, season the salmon with 1/4 tsp of cumin seeds, cinnamon, squeeze of lemon juice and a grind of salt and pepper. Pop under the grill.
As the salmon begins to cook, chop the vegetables into bite size pieces and start to heat up a wok using a small amount of coconut oil. To the wok, add the rest of the cumin seeds, the grated ginger and crushed garlic, and begin to stir-fry the vegetables leaving out the kale and spinach – these will be added towards the end.
After 10-12 minutes the salmon should be cooked through (check the the deepest part for the flesh to be firm) and the tomatoes grilled. Remove from the grill and leave to one side, add the kale, spinach and lemon juice to the wok and stir-fry until they start to wilt. Remove the skin from the salmon, and serve with the stir-fry. Add a sprinkle of parsley and sesame seeds to garnish!