Avocado Chocolate Brownie – Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free!

These avocado chocolate brownies are always a winner! They are packed full of vitamins and minerals and are gluten-free and dairy-free. The brownies do contain maple syrup so try to avoid going all out and eating the whole tray in one go!

Ingredients:

Makes 9 (depending on size)

  • 1 avocado
  • 50g coconut oil (melted)
  • 120ml maple syrup
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 35g coconut flour
  • 110g cacao
  • 1 tsp bicarb
  • 50g pecan nuts

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175C
  2. Whisk avocado until smooth
  3. Add the egg and whisk until well combined
  4. Add the coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract and egg
  5. Combine the coconut flour, cacao and bicarb in a bowl and stir well
  6. Gradually add the flour mixture into the blender with the avocado mixture until well combined
  7. Roughly chop the nuts and stir into the batter
  8. Place in a lined tin and bake for 30 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean
  9. Leave to cool and then cut into 9 squares

Lemon Truffles

These lemon truffles are a great healthy treat for when you are in craving something sweet. I make a batch and freeze them and then take a few out in a morning and they are defrosted by mid morning ready to eat.

Don’t like coconut? Simply roll them in something else such as rose petals, cacao or leave them plain.

As well as being a good source of energy and fibre dates are packed full of vitamins and minerals including: calcium, iron, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium and zinc. Combined with the almonds these truffles are a great way to boost your brain power!

Ingredients:

(makes 20, depending on size)

  • 125g raw almonds
  • 170g pitted dates
  • 2 lemons
  • 20g desiccated coconut

Method:

  1. Place the almonds on a baking tray and bake for 10mins at gas make 4/180C. Alternatively you can buy unsalted roasted almonds
  2. Chop the almonds in food processor
  3. Juice the lemons then add lemon juice and dates into the machine. Blend until they are all coarsely mixed
  4. Put the coconut into a small bowl
  5. Using your hands, form little balls
  6. Roll the balls in the coconut

Blackberry, Courgette & Mint Muffins – Dairy-Free

Blackberries evoke fantastic childhood memories for me, from spending hours out in the fields picking them through to making blackberry and apple crumble with my gran. Somehow as a child my parents always bribed me to go on walks my telling me there would be blackberries to pick – I still to this day have no idea what they did when blackberries were out of season!

In my opinion you can’t beat picking something straight from a tree or bush and eating it. So unsurprisingly I still love blackberry picking and every year I have a fair few trips out standing in fields collecting blackberries. I find it  one of the most relaxing pass times, being out in the fresh air and eating fresh fruit, I think there probably still is a need to weigh me before and after entering a field/lane with blackberries in as I manage to eat as many as I pick!

As I’ve got older I’ve loved coming home and experimenting with blackberries from making blackberry gin to tweaking my crumble to make it healthier; and somewhere along the line of experimenting I came up with this seasonal recipe for minty blackberry muffins, with courgettes hidden in them!

These can be adapted to be gluten-free by using gluten-free flour. You can make them vegan by replacing the egg with apple sauce. I have made both versions of these muffins and tested them on some willing volunteers and they went down well. I just found that as I didn’t need them to be vegan using an egg instead of apple sauce was easier.

So why not go out and spend some time this weekend picking blackberries and making the most of the bumper crop we are having this year?

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 190g plain white flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • 65g golden granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint
  • 90ml of melted coconut oil
  • 90ml of soya milk (or nut)
  • 1 egg
  • 90g grated courgette
  • 75g blackberries

Method:

  1. Pre heat the oven to gas mark 4. Place 12 muffin cases into a muffin tin (I use silicone muffin cases as I find the muffins rise better and you don’t need to grease them)
  2. Place the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, sugar, mint and a pinch of salt in a bowl and stir well
  3. In a pan melt the coconut oil and then add the soya milk, mix well. Add to the dry ingredients and stir well. When it has the consistency of very thick batter add the beaten egg and stir until combined well
  4. Fold in the blackberries and courgette
  5. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases, so that they are about ¾ full. Bake for 30 mins, until a skewer comes out clean
  6. Cool on a cooling rack

4 Ingredient Coconut Chocolate Bars – Vegan and Gluten-free

These bars are so quick and easy to make and hit the spot when you need a sweet hit. They are similar to a ‘bounty bar’ but without all of the added sugar!

There is lots of conflicting information about coconut oil at the moment, some say it is the best food ever whilst others think it is too early to say whether it lives up to its health claims. Personally, I use coconut in a number of dishes as I believe it is important to have some saturated fat in your diet and I don’t eat butter or red meat so I think it is ok to have a small amount of coconut for saturated fat. Whilst these squares are high in calories they are nutrient dense and I can’t eat more than one of these at a time so it is better than eating a sugar laden snack.

Ingredients:

(Makes about 15 depending on size)

  • 170g unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 100ml coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 100g 85% dark chocolate

Method:

  1. Place the desiccated coconut in a high-speed blend on the highest setting for 5 minutes
  2. Melt the coconut oil in a pan
  3. Add the coconut oil and maple syrup to the blender and blitz until well combined, the mixture should stick together when squeezed between your fingers
  4. Line a baking tray with grease proof paper and place the mixture into the tin, press the mixture down firmly into the tin
  5. Place the baking tray into the freezer for about 30 minutes to set
  6. Once the coconut mixture has set cut it into squares
  7. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water and then dip the coconut squares into the chocolate until covered. Once coated in chocolate return the squares to the grease proof paper lined baking tray
  8. Place the chocolate covered squares back into the freezer to set. Once they have set place the coconut squares in to an air tight container and store in the freezer

Healthy Rhubarb Flapjack – Vegan

If you are in need of an energy fuelled sweet treat then this flapjack is just the thing for you. Sports clients and busy mums equally love it as it is so quick and easy to make and it can be frozen. Personally I freeze it in individual portions and then take one out in the morning and by mid morning it has defrosted.

Oats are a slow release carbohydrate and can help to lower cholesterol levels. Along with being packed full of fibre they contain a number of minerals including magnesium, manganese, selenium and zinc.

Ingredients:

  • 300g oats (or gluten-free oats)
  • 50g sunflower seeds
  • 50g pumpkin seeds
  • 200g dates (chopped finely in a food processor with splash of water)
  • 2 medium bananas, mashed
  • 100g sultanas
  • 3tbsp honey
  • 200g rhubarb, orange and ginger compote

Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients, except the rhubarb, together and stir well
  2. Put half of the mixture into a greased and lined try, push it down firmly
  3. To make the rhubarb compote place 200g rhubarb in a pan with the juice and zest of 2 oranges and 1cm root ginger, grated. Cook until the rhubarb has broken down but not too runny
  4. Put the rhubarb compote on top so that it is a layer on top of the flapjack mix
  5. Add the remaining mixture and press down so that the rhubarb is in a layer in the middle of the flapjack
  6. Bake for about 45 minutes at gas mark 5
  7. Slice whilst warm and leave to cool

Chocolate Avocado Bites

These avocado chocolate bites are delicious, they melt in your mouth like a truffle! They are higher in sugar than my normal recipes but I came up with them as a snack to be eaten whilst breastfeeding when your body needs  extra energy (and things that can be made in advance)! The addition of avocados means these bites are packed full of nutrients, much more than a standard truffle!

Making these bites takes about 10 minutes to make and then you leave them to set in the fridge for a couple of hours before rolling them into balls. They couldn’t be easier to make! Oh and they are vegan and gluten-free!!

These are a snack to have occasionally in the same way you would a chocolate truffle.

Ingredients:

Makes 20, depending on size

  • 1 avocado
  • 1-2 tbsp almond milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp ground almonds
  • 100g 70% chocolate
  • 20g desiccated coconut

Method:

  1. Blitz the avocado with a slash of almond milk until smooth
  2. Add the vanilla, and ground almond and blitz again
  3. Melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl over a pan of water (bain marie)
  4. When the chocolate is melted remove from the heat and stir in the avocado mixture until well combined. Cover and place in the fridge for a couple of hours until firm
  5. Remove the mixture from the fridge and roll into small balls, roll in coconut and then place them in the a container in the fridge until you are ready to eat them

Easy Bean Dip – Vegan and Gluten-free

This dip is super quick and easy to make and will be sure to impress your friends with it’s taste.

Cannellini beans are a great part of a healthy diet as they are high in both protein and fibre. Beans such as cannellinni are frequently used in weight loss as they can help to maintain healthy, normal blood sugar levels in the body. Beans not only help you to feel full but they are also low in calories so they can be used to help achieve a calorie controlled diet. Along with the high fibre content this also makes them a great food for diabetics.

Ingredients:

  • 1x 400g tin cannellini beans
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 heaped tbsp. sesame seeds
  • A pinch ground cinnamon
  • Large handful flat leaf parsley
  • 1 lemon juiced

Method:

  1. Whizz all ingredients, except 1 tbsp lemon juice, in a hand blender until smooth and creamy, taste and add more lemon juice if required
  2. Serve with pitta bread, bread sticks or crackers

Raw Carrot Cake Bites (Nut Free and Vegan)

This recipe came about as I needed a snack that was nut-free and all of my date ball recipes contain nuts.  I love carrot cake so I thought why not create a healthy snack based on these flavours.

Carrots are a fantastic source of beta carotene. Beta carotene is converted into Vitamin A which has many fantastic benefits to eye health hence the saying that eating carrots help you see in the dark!

Vitamin A acts as a antioxidant to cell damage, some studies suggest that it can slow down the ageing of cells whilst protecting the skin from sun damage.

This recipe is quick and easy to make, for a gluten-free version simply replace the oats with gluten-free oats.

Ingredients:

Makes 30 (depending on size)

  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 2 tbsp apple sauce (1 small apple, stewed)
  • 4 dried apricots
  • 1 heaped tbsp date paste or 50g Medjool dates
  • 1tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g jumbo oats (or gluten-free oats)
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp mixed spice
  • The juice of 1 orange

Method:

  1. In a food blender, blitz the dates and apricot until they are chopped.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and blitz until well combined
  3. Roll the dough into small balls and place in an airtight container
  4. Store in the fridge, or they can be frozen.

Chia Jam

This delicious refined sugar free alternative to strawberry and blueberry jam is packed full of goodness. It is made with just 5 ingredients including fruit, chia seeds and honey, can be made in 5 minutes and lasts for about 6 weeks.

Chia seeds have recently grown in popularity and become one of the top ‘super foods’ as they are packed full of nutrients and are easy to digest when correctly prepared providing a great energy boost.

Aztec warriors ate chia seeds to give them high energy and endurance, it is said that just 1 spoonful of chia could sustain them for 24 hours.  Chia means “strength” in the Mayan language.

Chia seed benefits include promoting healthy skin, reducing signs of ageing, supporting the heart and digestive system, building stronger bones and muscles.

To get the best flavour for your jam it is best to use fruits that are in season. This is easy to do in the summer when there is an abundance of berries in season, in the winter I use frozen berries that have been picked in season (either I pick them myself and freeze them or many supermarkets sell frozen berries that have been picked in season).

This jam works with any berries so pick your favourite combination and enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • 200g strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 200g blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 4 tbsp chia seeds
  • Juice of half a lemon

Method:

  1. Place the berries in a pan with a splash of water and place on a gentle heat until the fruit breaks down in to the texture of a compote
  2. Add the honey and lemon and stir well
  3. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for about 10 minutes
  4. Stir in the chia seeds and then transferred to a sterilised glass jar

When the jam is cool store

4 Ingredient Healthy Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate mousse that is healthy, tasty, dairy-free, gluten-free and packed full of amino acids!!! Yes you heard right, oh, and it only takes a few minutes to make! Avocados get a lot of bad press but I think they are fantastic, they can help to lower cholesterol, improve your skin and regulate your blood sugar. They are packed full of vitamins and minerals including; Vitamins C, E and potassium.

Ingredients:

  • 1 avocado
  • 2 tsp cacao powder
  • 1 tsp honey or maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • Orange zest to taste

Method:

  1. Blend all the ingredients with a hand blender (you may need to add more orange juice if the mixture is too thick)
  2. Put into serving dishes and chill in the fridge until you want to eat it!

Fancy a mint chocolate mousse?

Swap the orange for a couple of drops of peppermint oil and add a good splash of almond milk.