Almond butter and blueberry smoothies

Right now this is my go-to smoothie combo. If I could, I would have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And I just can’t stop raving about it! Apart from telling all my friends various times, I also thought I better not let you beautiful readers down and give you this super quick and luxurious smoothie, so you too can rave about it.

It’s packed with almond butter and chia to make it super thick and creamy while also providing you with a generous dose of good fats and a complete source of protein. Cacao powder adds a rich but subtle chocolate taste while also being a great source of magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron and potassium.  Maca powder is an ancient vegetable that is great for balancing hormones, relieving stress and boosting energy with a delicious malt flavour. It is best to start with a little if you have not had maca before and gradually increase the amount to suit your taste.  These ingredients really make this a super feel good smoothie far any day of the week! Plus blueberries and bananas, could it get any more super?!

Almond butter & Blueberry smoothie

serves 1 hungry soul for breakfast or 2 as a snack

Ingredients

  • 1 C almond milk
  • 3 frozen bananas
  • 1 heaped tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • 1 tsp raw cacao powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 C fresh blueberries, to serve
  • Dried rose petals, chia, cacao nibs  and almond butter, to serve if desired.

Method

  1. Measure and place all the ingredients, except the blueberries, into the blender in the order listed.
  2. Blend on high for 1 minute or until thick and creamy.
  3. Pour into 1 large bowl or two smaller jars and pop into the freezer for 5 minutes. The chia seeds will gel and make the smoothie extra thick.
  4. Meanwhile wash your blueberries and slice some in half. Prepare any other toppings you wish to include.
  5. Remove the smoothie/s from the freezer and top with the blueberries and (almond butter, chia, rose petals and cacao nibs).
  6. This smoothie needs a spoon!

Enjoy! Show me your smoothies on Instagram #goodnessgraciouskitchen

 

 

 

A nutty fruit cake

This cake has been a lifesaver over the last few months. Every time I’m heading to university I try and have a couple of slices in my bag because I never know how hungry I might get, and this is the perfect snack. Especially compared to what the vending machines have on offer (ew). Taking your own snacks somewhere is always a good idea if you’re trying to live a healthy lifestyle. You know exactly what you’re putting into you’re body, as you’ve made it yourself. And this nutty cake is full of all things good so you’ll feel fabulous eating it. Plus, it travels amazingly unlike many other soft cakes or muffins that always seen to get squished under everything else in your handbag!

This recipe was inspired by My New Roots life changing loaf of bread. Sarah’s recipe for the beautiful nut and seed loaf can be found here. I have simply turned the loaf into a bit more of a cake, with lots of fibre rich dried fruit to make it a sweeter treat. My recipe is completely oil free and  has remained vegan, held together only by psyllium seed husk, which is almost like magic fairy dust. It just binds ingredients together so easily so you can have beautiful egg free cakes and bread.

Nutty fruit bread

Makes one large loaf

Ingredients

150g oats

4 tbsp psyllium seed husk

4 tbsp buckwheat flour

4 tbsp flax seeds

250g raw almonds or pecans

100g sunflower seeds

2 tsp baking powder

100g chopped dried figs

1 tsp cinnamon

200g dried dates

250ml water, plus extra

juice of 2 oranges, zest of one

Method

Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Line a loaf tine with baking paper.

Weigh and measure out all the dry ingredients, except the dates, into a large bowl. Add the orange zest and combine well.

Place the dates and the water into a small saucepan. Gentle bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, until the dates and soft. Mash the mixture together with a fork and mix into the dry ingredients. Add in the orange juice and up to 1/2 a cup of water. The mixture should be really thick.

Scoop the mixture into the prepared tin and flatten the top. Place into the preheated oven for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully take the loaf out of the tin and place on a wire rack. Brush the maple syrup over the top before placing it back in the oven to cook uncovered for another 20 – 30 minutes, or until golden brown all over.

Remove and cool completely before slicing with a sharp knife.

Keeps in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 week. Also perfect frozen in slices and lightly toasted before serving.

Enjoy!

 

Warming chocolate muesli

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This is definitely a weekend treat, maybe even just a Sunday morning treat when you feel like being indulgent. Instead of popping out to your local cafe, wake up a little earlier and toast these beautiful whole grains with natural honey, then stir through that little bit of decadence, dark chocolate chunks. Your whole family will wake up to sweet smells of honey and cinnamon and you’ll be everyones favourite for the day.

I made this on a chilly day when the rain just seemed to keep on coming down. I felt like something warm and nourishing for breakfast but also something a little special and different from my usual oats. Popped quinoa is a fabulous addition to any muesli as it has a beautiful nutty flavour and chewy texture. Quinoa is also a good source of plant protein, so along with the healthy fats from the almonds and complex carbohydrates from the oats you will be full until lunch. I have used organic dark chocolate, 85% cacao and dairy free, I would recommend using this or cacao nibs for a healthier alternative. Of course you won’t get the same marbling affect of the warm milk and chocolate if you opt for the cacao nibs.

Once again this is not your traditional granola or musli, so definitely a weekend or special occasion treat! Now i’ll just have to hide it in the back of the pantry so my sister doesn’t pour it on her cereal EVERY morning, or eat it all straight from the jar.

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Chocolate muesli

Ingredients

2 C rolled oats, gluten free if necessary

1 C popped quinoa

1/2 C popped brown rice

1/2 C raw almonds, roughly chopped

1/2 C shredded coconut

1/3 C sunflower seeds

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 C unprocessed local honey

1/4 C goji berries

100g dark chocolate (85% cacao or more)

Warm almond milk, to serve

Fresh berries, to serve

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.

In a large bowl combine the oats, almonds, popped quinoa and rice, coconut, sunflower seeds and cinnamon. Pour over the honey and give it all a good mix. You will have a big sticky mess.

Carefully transfer this to your baking tray and spread it out. Place in the oven for 10 minutes before giving it all a good stir. Let cook for another 5 – 10 minutes, until its all golden and toasted. Cool in the tray.

Once the muesli has cooled stir through the goji berries and dark chocolate.

Serve in small bowl with fresh berries and warmed almond milk.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight jar for 2 weeks.

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Fat banana pancake

gracebancroft

This is the perfect lazy Sunday breakfast when you feel like pancakes but don’t want to stand at the stove flipping them all morning. With this ‘fat’ pancake you just pop it in the oven while you get on with your morning and soon enough its golden and bubbling with sweet juices from the banana, ready to be gobbled up. Saying that, it makes this the perfect treat for any day of the week really.

The flavours I have gone with lend to a tropical theme but any seasonal fruit would be delicious, such as grilled peaches or caramelised apple. Caramelising the bananas first really enhances their flavour and gives them a beautiful golden colour without having to achieve that and overcooking the batter.

Eggs are a beautiful breakfast ingredient as they are a complete source of protein and combined with the healthy fats and some complex carbohydrates you will be full until lunch time!

gracebancroft

Fat banana pancake

Serves 4.

Ingredients 

1/2 C almond meal

1/2 t gluten free baking powder

2 T buckwheat flour

2 T rolled oats

2 T desiccated coconut

1/2 t ground cinnamon

zest and juice of 1 lime

3 free range organic eggs

2/3 C coconut milk, plus extra

1 T coconut sugar

2 T extra virgin coconut oil

2-3 bananas, sliced lengthways

Method 

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celcius. Place a 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil in your baking dish (roughly 20cm in diameter) and pop it in the preheating oven until melted.

Whisk together the almond meal, baking powder, buckwheat flour, oats, coconut, lime zest and cinnamon.

Squeeze half the juice of the lime over the sliced bananas and sprinkle over the coconut sugar. Heat the remaing tablespoon of coconut oil in a small frypan and cook the bananas cut side down until golden and caramelised.

Meanwhile, in a small jug whisk together the eggs and coconut milk then pour into the dry ingredients. Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Pour into your prepared baking dish and top with the bananas, caramelised side up.

Place in the preheated oven and cook for 25-30 minutes or until golden and puffed.

Serve with a squeeze of lime juice, shredded coconut and coconut milk.

gracebancroft

Enjoy! And get creative with other seasonal fruit.

 

Persimmon and banana muffins with a pecan crumb

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It is currently peak persimmon season here in Perth and as my parents have a tree and the local farmers markets are practically giving them away, I have more than I know what to do with. So I have been getting creative with ways to use this delicious fruit, enjoying them with porridge and on toast but this was my first try at baking with them, and what a treat it was! The persimmon adds a subtle flavour and creates a moist crumb along with the banana. They are very wholesome muffins, I think one could even be grabbed as a quick breakfast snack if your short on time.

When choosing persimmons there are two varieties, astringent and non-astringent. I have used the astringent variety  here as they have very soft, bright orange flesh when completely ripe. If this variety is not ripe the flesh will be quite firm and have an astringent texture in your mouth. Not pleasant at all, so make sure you choose a very ripe persimmon! The non-astringent variety could be used however the flesh is often a lot firmer so once peeled it would be easier to blend to a paste rather than mash.

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The pecan crumb adds a really lovely texture to the muffins and as they are so easy to make, its worth another minute for the crunchy crumb on top!

 

Persimmon and banana muffins with a pecan crumb

1 1/2 C buckwheat flour

1/2 C coconut sugar

2 t baking powder

2 t ground cinnamon

1 t ground nutmeg

2 bananas, mashed

1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out

1 persimmon, peeled and mashed

2 free range organic eggs

1/2 C plant yoghurt

1/4 C cold pressed macadamia oil

1/4 C pure maple syrup

Pecan crumb

1/3 C rolled oats

1/3 C pecans, roughly chopped

4 T pure maple syrup

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.Grease a 12 hole muffin tin with coconut oil.

Combine the buckwheat flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl. In a separate bowl whisk together the bananas, vanilla, persimmon, eggs, yoghurt, oil and maple syrup.

For the pecan crumb, simply combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. Spoon into muffin tins and top with a small spoonful of the crumble mix, pressing it lightly into the muffin mixture.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Gently tip the muffins out of the tin and serve warm or store in an airtight container for two to three days.

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Enjoy!

Breakfast in a jar

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As you may know by now, I love a delicious breakfast that can be prepared the night before! When I have to rush to work I like being able to grab my breakfast jar as I head out the door, knowing it will fill me up until lunch time. This breakfast in a jar is no exception. With creamy chia, slightly tart rhubarb and crunchy sweet buckinis it will satisfy all your cravings and you won’t be tempted by a pastry or muffin.

I also love how easy this is to prepare at night. It’s really just a matter of mixing it all up, and if you wish making enough to last a few breakfasts.

Chia seeds are the highest plant source of omega 3, fibre and protein as well as boasting a range of vitamins and minerals. It’s a great vegan protein source as it contains all 9 essential amino acids. Chia will help you have luscious hair, glowing skin and strong nails.

I like to serve my chia with a tart rhubarb compote, its easy to make and delicious. Just slice 4 stalks of rhubarb into 1 inch size pieces and combine in a pan with the juice of 1 lemon, 2 T coconut sugar, the seeds of a vanilla pod and a little fresh ginger. Cook over low for 5-10 minutes, until just soft. Refrigerate until required.

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Chia and rhubarb parfait

Serves two

4 T chia seeds

1 C coconut milk

1/2 C coconut water or filtered water

Seeds from a vanilla pod or 1 t vanilla bean extract

1/2 C Rhubarb compote

2 T buckinis

1 t bee pollen

1 T coconut flakes

Method

Combine the chia, coconut milk, coconut water and vanilla in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning spoon out half and layer in a jar with the rhubarb, buck inis, bee pollen and coconut flakes.

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Enjoy!

Coconut bircher

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Bircher muesli is one of those fabulous breakfasts that you can throw together the night before and then its there for you to grab as you race out the door in the morning. I am sometimes rushing off and just pop my jar of bircher in my bag to enjoy when I get to work. Otherwise, I’ll happily eat it at home after a run, thankful for a relaxing morning with no breakfast mess!

I have tried many different versions of bircher but this would have to be my favourite by far. I found that if I used nut milk or yoghurt the result was rather dense whereas the coconut water gives a lovely light texture and refreshing flavour.

I have used rolled oats but they could easily be swapped for quinoa flakes. The toppings are really whatever you fancy on the day and I like to change them up to keep it exciting. Coconut yoghurt or greek yoghurt is always nice as well as some crunchy nuts and something sweet. Fresh fruit is also a delicious addition.

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Coconut bircher muesli 

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

1 C rolled oats

2 T chia seeds

1/2 C desiccated coconut

1 small granny smith apple, grated

2 t cinnamon

1 1/2 C coconut water

Toppings

2 T coconut yoghurt

1 T raw almonds, chopped

1 T goji berries

1 t bee pollen

Method

Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and give a quick stir. Add the apple and coconut water and combine well. Cover, place in the fridge and let set overnight.

In the morning take out the bircher, give and stir and then serve your desired amount. Top with coconut yoghurt, almonds, goji berries and bee pollen.

Enjoy!