Delicious Banana Bread

I love this delicious banana bread, it is great when I feel like I want a piece of cake but not a sugar high. It’s also great for toddlers too!

Due to my M.E. I’m very sensitive to sugar so when I eat something sugary I get a real high followed by a crash that makes me need to sleep.

This delicious banana bread is great as it is free for refined sugar, and the wholemeal flour provides slow release carbs alongside the walnuts which provide both protein and omega 3.

The original recipe came from The Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook by Gill Rapley and I amended it slightly to make it dairy-free.

I first started making this recipe as my little girl would eat any vegetable, fruit, carbohydrate and even lentils that you put in front of her but she wasn’t keen on protein other than yoghurt and cheese. This recipe was a great way for me to get her to eat some egg and walnuts.

Ingredients for the Banana Bread:

Makes 12 mini loaves or one big one

  • 100g whole meal self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp ground mixed spice
  • 40g melted coconut oil
  • 50g raisins
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 50g walnuts
  • 1 egg

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4
  2. Line a loaf tin or mini tins with grease proof paper. I like to use silicone mini loaf tins as they don’t need to be lined
  3. Sift the flour and spices into a bowl
  4. Melt the coconut oil in a pan and add it to the flour, stir well
  5. Stir in the raisins
  6. In a hand blender blitz up the walnuts until they look a bit like bread crumbs
  7. In a separate bowl mash the bananas, stir in the egg, until well combined and then add the walnuts
  8. Fold the banana mixture into the dry ingredients
  9. Spoon into the tin/s and bake, big loaf for 45 mins, small loaves 20 mins or until a skewer comes out clean
  10. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy

Store in an airtight container or the banana bread can be frozen. If you are making a large loaf slice it before placing it into the freezer.

If you’ve enjoyed this recipe then why not check out more of my toddler friendly snacks I’d love to hear how you get on, so add a photo and comment below.

Classic Houmous Recipe

I love houmous, I think I could eat it until it came out of my ears! This houmous recipe is quick and easy to make and is super versatile. It can be made with different beans or you can add spices to change the flavour.

I have to confess I don’t tend to make houmous very often, I usually buy it, I’m not organised enough to remember to make it in advance! It is a great snack to have in the fridge for all the family. My little girl loves it so when I need a quick snack for her I grab it out of the fridge and give it to her with some breadsticks. I aim is to get more organised and make houmous more often as the shop bought brands are quite high in salt.

Variations

I’ve played around a lot with houmous recipes to try and get a consistency and taste that I like. I have found the best way to get a smooth consistency is to add a splash of water, especially as personally I prefer it not to be too oily. I’ve recently experimented with cooking the garlic first so that it isn’t as bitter as raw garlic and this works really well.

The garlic can be roasted in the oven but if the oven isn’t on then I find the easiest way to do it is in a pan. Leave the garlic cloves whole and crush them with the skin on. Place them in a frying pan with a splash of olive oil and toss them regularly until they are soft. Remove the skin and then add to the food processor.

Most of my clients don’t have tahini in their homes and if they do it often goes off before they have had a chance to use it. Therefore this version of houmous uses toasted sesame oil instead.

Houmous Ingredients:

  • 1 x 400g tin of chickpeas
  • 2 gloves of garlic
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil (or 1 tbsp of tahini)
  • 1 small handful of parsley
  • splash of water

Method:

  1. Roast the garlic in a little olive oil, either in the oven or in a pan (as above)
  2. Add all the ingredients to a blender and blitz until well combined
  3. Add more water if the consistency isn’t smooth enough for your liking

If you’ve enjoyed this recipe then why not check out more of my healthy snack ideas

Vegan Guacamole

This vegan guacamole recipe is super easy to make and tastes delicious. During our baby yoga sessions we talk about weaning and the importance of encouraging children to try lots of different flavours from a young age.

This guacamole is perfect as the avocado makes it nice and creamy whilst the basil and lime give it flavour. I love to add a couple of drops of tabasco sauce to mine which goes down a treat with my one year old!

However, when I made it for my baby yoga class to try I omitted the tabasco so as not too put any of the children off!

Avocados are fantastic for babies (over 6 months) and toddlers as they are very nutrient dense and have a high fat content which will help to fill them up. In addition the cream texture is usually a hit with most babies. I like my guacamole to be smooth but you can make it chunky which is a great way to encourage your baby to try new textures if you have started with purees.

You can buy guacamole from most supermarkets, however they often include preservatives and are filled out with other ingredients such as rice flour and salt. Personally I think it is so easy to make that I would never bother buying it, especially as most brands include milk based ingredients and vegan versions seem to be more expensive.

Guacamole isn’t just for babies either it works fantastically with my chicken fajitas recipe too.

Guacamole Ingredients:

  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 lime (juice)
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • Small handful fresh basil
  • Few drops Tabasco sauce (optional)

Method:

  1. Remove the skin and pip of the avocado
  2. Place the avocado in a blender with the tomatoes,basil and lime juice
  3. Blend until combined

If you’ve enjoyed my guacamole recipe then why not check out more toddler friendly recipes or more of my vegan recipes.

Chocolate Fudge Drops

I created this recipe for healthy chocolate fudge drops as I frequently get asked for ideas to help people with sugar cravings. More often than not sugar cravings in the evening are due to habits that we have formed. This can be due to a number of things from feeling like we deserve a treat after a stressful day to not eating enough and still being hungry.

As a result, these delicious chocolate fudge drops are packed full of protein and healthy fats to give you an energy boost and a sweet treat in one go.

I’m happy for my toddler to eat them too as they have no added sugar. They are quick and easy to make and don’t require any baking! Making them perfect to make whilst keeping an eye on my toddler!

Not only are they tasty they are fantastic if you are breastfeeding to keep your energy levels up or in the early days of long nights with your baby!

Ingredients for Chocolate Fudge Drops:

Makes 20 (depending on size)

  • 9 Medjool dates
  • 3 tbsp Coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp cashew butter
  • 2 tbsp cacao

Method:

  1. Put the dates into a small hand mixer and blend until they are finely chopped
  2. Melt the coconut oil, then leave to cool a little bit
  3. Add all the remaining ingredients to the blender and mix until combined
  4. Roll the mixture in to small balls and place on a lined baking tray
  5. Refrigerate for an hour to allow the balls to set

Variation:

I like to mix these up a bit and a great way to do this is to make with peanut butter instead. Simply add an extra tbsp of coconut milk and replace the cashew butter with peanut butter.

I’d love to hear how you get on with this recipe so leave a comment below. Alternatively click here for more of my healthy treats.

Vegan Chocolate Fudge Drops, packed full of protein with no added sugar

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

Healthy, Vegan Lemon Truffles

I love these healthy, vegan lemon truffles, they are a great treat for when I’m craving something sweet. I like to make a batch and freeze them and then take a few out in a morning so they are defrosted by mid morning ready to have as a snack. 

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 vegan lemon truffles are a great way to boost your brain power and help you to push through the mid-afternoon energy slump!

They may be healthy but they still need to be eaten in moderation. When I have clients who need a bit of support to eat in moderation I suggest making a batch and freezing them to remove the urge to eat them all in one go.

Vegan Leon Truffles 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 mark 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, roll the mixture to form little balls
  6. Roll the balls in the coconut and place in an air tight container

They will keep for about a week if stored in an airtight container. Alternatively as mentioned above they can be frozen, simply place in  a tupperwear tub and put them in the freezer.

I’d love to hear how you’ve got on with this recipe so leave me a comment and photo below.

If you’ve enjoyed these healthy, vegan truffles then why not check out more of my healthy snack recipes.

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