Banana Cinnamon Muffins

Banana Cinnamon Muffins

This is a simple healthy recipe for everyday snacking, super comforting and tasty. The pictures don’t really do justice but that’s OK, these are your humble everyday treats – not the show stoppers at the banquets.

The muffins turned out fluffy and light, kind of like a sponge cake, but better. And don’t be scared of chickpea flour – I have only used it before for pancakes (which I love) but this was a pleasant surprise! Oh and chocolate chips would have taken these to the next level…

Banana Cinnamon Muffins (GF, DF)

2 ripe bananas, chopped
1 apple (I used granny smith), peeled
2 organic eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbs maple syrup (or more to taste)
1/4 C coconut oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1.5 C chickpea flour (besan flour)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon

1. Heat the oven to 175 Celsius.
2. Put all wet ingredients to blender and blend.
3. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.
4. Poor wet mixture to dry mix.
5. Scoop to muffin tray (use coconut oil if not silicon). Sprinkle some cinnamon on top. The muffins raise quite a bit in the oven so don’t overfill the muffin cups.
6. Bake 20-22 minutes for normal sized muffins (or 15 minutes mini muffins). The recipe makes around 12 muffins (or loads of minis).

These keep a few days in an airtight container in the room temperature or up to 5 days in the fridge (the texture and flavor is better in the room temperature).

I made a mix of mini muffins and muffins and guess what we will snacking this week for morning coffee snack… I think this would be a great cake base too, but chickpea cake? Hmmm.

Fluffy Chocolate Mousse

I feel like I have cracked the da vinci code with this recipe. I love chocolate mousse and I’m obsessed with making it healthy. I have previously made one that is brilliant, but the texture is more pudding thank fluffy mousse. So take this as an upgraded version when you have that extra 10 minutes (and some extra aquafaba from a can of chickpeas).

Fluffy Chocolate Mousse, GF/DF/vegan (Serves 4 for dessert)

1/2 C aquafaba (liquid from a can of chickpeas)
300g silken tofu, drained
1 tbs almond butter
2 tbs raw cacao
1-2 tbs sweetener of choice (I happened to have monkfruit and erythritol mix, normally would have used coconut sugar)
50g dark chocolate
40g (1 scoop) favourite protein powder (I used Tropeaka Salted Caramel)
Pinch of salt

1. Melt the chocolate in a bowl on top of a pot of boiling water, make sure that the bowl covers the whole pot and no steam escapes. Set aside.
2. Add tofu in a blender with almond butter and melted chocolate. Once mixed together add raw cacao, sweetener, protein powder and salt. Blend until smooth. Taste and add sweetener if needed.
3. In a separate bowl, use hand mixer to whip aquafaba to a foam. This takes about 5 mins.
4. Pour the tofu mix from the blender to the bowl and carefully fold the mixture. Do not over mix.
5. Refrigerate a few hours or overnight.

Carrot muffins

I felt like baking but had no fun seasonal ingredients and wanted to use what I have, so I decided whip something up from pantry essentials and some tired carrots and a ripe pear that I had sitting in the fridge veggie section. These turned out great, perfect midweek snacks for those home office coffee procrastination moments. Also good for kids as low in sugar and there is heaps of hidden nutrients !

Carrot Muffins (GF, DF)

2 carrots, grated
1 pear (or apple)
2 eggs (replace with flax eggs if needed)
1/2 C soy/almond/oat mylk
1/4 C coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 C maple syrup

1 C flour (I used a mix of buckwheat/brown rice/tapioca if no need for GF use spelt or oat)
1/2 C almond meal
1/3 C coconut sugar
1.5 tsp baking soda
0.5 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
0.5 tsp ginger
1/2 C rolled oats (GF if needed)
40 g sultanas (or handful of chopped dates, seeds or nuts)

Topping (optional):
2 tbs rolled oats
1/4 C walnuts, chopped
1 tbs coconut oil, melted
1 tbs coconut sugar

1. Heat oven to 190 Celcius.
2. Place mylk, melted coconut oil, maple syrup, pear/apple chunks, vanilla and eggs in blender. Blend until smooth.
3. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.
4. Poor the wet mix to the bowl with the dry ingredients, mix.
5. Fold in grated carrots and sultanas.
6. Spoon the mix in a silicon muffin tray (I also used some coconut oil for oiling).
7. Mix all topping ingredients together and sprinkle on top of each muffin.
8. Bake in the oven for 15-25 minutes, depending on the size of the muffins. I used a small muffin trays, which made 12-16 small muffins and they were ready after 15 min, but if using large ones keep checking and bake for 25 min if required.

Rhubarb Crumble (DF, GF)

Rhubarb Crumble (DF, GF)

My one joy at the time of the lockdown has been ordering a veggie box every week from local farmers full of mystery veggies and fruits. This has forced some creativity out of me to use some ingredients that I don’t usually buy – and it has actually been quite fun!

This box often included rhubarb, and I made rhubarb jam and sauce a few times and enjoyed them with yoghurt and granola or on top of oatmeal – so delicious!

This time I wanted to bake something easy and made an old classic Rhubarb apple crumble! This could be done with just rhubarb (or apple) or by replacing apples with strawberries.  Or why not stone fruits. Great easy dessert, snack or breakfast to use whatever seasonal!

Rhubarb-Apple Crumble (Vegan, GF)

4 Rhubarb stalks
3 Apples
1 tsp cardamom
(1 tbs rose water)

1 C rolled oats (gluten-free if needed)
1/3 C buckwheat flour (any flour will do)
1/4-1/3C coconut sugar
50g coconut oil, melted
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
(optional: cinnamon)

  1. Set oven to 200 Celcius.
  2. Cut washed rhubarb to 1 cm pieces and dice apples (no need to peel, just wash).
  3. Mix in a bowl with cardamom and rose water if using.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. Mix vanilla to melted coconut oil and mix with the dry ingredients forming a crumble (I used my hands to mix).
  5. Use coconut oil to lightly grease an oven tray. Poor rhubarb-apple mix evenly in the oven tray, cover with the crumble.
  6. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until golden.
  7. Enjoy warm with coconut ice-cream.

The recipe makes 4-6 portions as a dessert/snack (yes it’s healthy enough to be a snack – or even breakfast if you top it with coconut yoghurt!). We also had some as a pancake topping with some vanilla coconut yoghurt and it was a perfect weekend brunch treat. Reminded us of those good old days when someone else served us our brunch in a cafe shop!

Also, I used a large oven tray (not the one pictured – that’s just for reheating the leftovers), but you could use individual oven dishes if you want to be fancy!

Hot Cross Buns (GF, DF)

Hot Cross Buns (GF, DF)

This recipe was inspired by Nodo bakery recipe, but I tweaked it a little for my liking. I have to say, this is the first time I have actually baked anything close to a real hot cross bun using a gluten-free recipe, I could not believe how well they turned out – just like normal ones and better than 99% of the gluten-free ones in stores. Oh and if you are a weirdo who doesn’t like fruit buns – you can replace dried fruit with cholate chips.

Hot Cross Buns (makes 12)

  • 2 1/4 C Gluten-free baking flour (I used Red Mill 1-to-1)
  • 1/2 C buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 C brown rice flour
  • 1/2 – 3/4 C coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum (I did without but works better with)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp psyllium husk
  • 1.5 C almond milk
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 C soft margarine
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp all spice
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 200G dried fruit (I used sultanas and blueberries), soaked

METHOD:

  1. Turn the oven to 185  degrees.
  2. Activate the yeast by mixing it to warm milk in a small bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, soak the psyllium in the water and set to thicken.
  4. Mix flours, xanthan gum, coconut sugar and salt together in a large bowl.
  5. Add the yeast mix and psyllium husk to the large bowl with the flours, soft butter and the egg.
  6. Mix the ingredients by using a spatula or hand for 8 minutes scraping the bowl sides to ensure there are no dry ingredients left.
  7. Add the spices and mix the dough for another 4 minutes.
  8. Add in the soaked fruit and mix the dough until the fruit has dispersed properly.
  9. Place the dough to fridge to for an hour at least – longer the better.
  10. Transfer the rested dough onto a greased baking tray, crossing the buns with the crossing mix (see below).
  11. Use an oiled sharp knife to cut a grid within the baking tray. (my tray was a rectangle and it made a grid of 3×4 buns)
  12. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
  13. Coat with glazing mix to finish (see below).

Cross mixture:

  • 1/4 C any flour
  • 3 tbsp water

Mix flour and water together in a sandwich/piping bag until smooth.

Glaze

  • 1/6 C hot water
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar

Stir together until the sugar has dissolved then brush over the freshly baked hot cross buns.

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Cardamom Bun Smoothiebowl

Cardamom Bun Smoothiebowl

If you are not Finnish – you may not know that every second weekend of February is dedicated for a sledding hill and cream buns! It’s the best feeling to spend all day out in the snow and afterwards have a hot drink and yummy Selma bun. Traditional Finnish cream bun, semlas, are cardamom spiced soft buns filled with whipped cream and either almond paste or rasberry jam, yum but not really in line with my gluten and sugar-free reality, at least not this year.

Also as it’s nice and summery here and I’m nowhere near snow and slides I started my day with this low sugar, nutritious smoothie bowl and it was creamy and yummy and filling and perrrrrfect way to start a Sunday.

Semla Smoothiebowl

1 tbs cashews

1 tbs chia seeds

1/3 C gluten-free oats

(Water)

1/2 frozen banana

1/2 C frozen zucchini

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cardamom

1 tbs vanilla protein powder

1/3 C oat mylk (or any plant-based mylk)

3 ice cubes + (1 cube of frozen coconut mylk or just ice)

  1. Place cashews, oats and chia seeds in a cup an fill with water until they are all covered. Let soak for an hour or overnight.
  2. Poor cashews, oats and chia mix (including the water) in a blender with banana, zucchini, protein, spices and oat mylk.
  3. When the smoothie is smooth add the ice/coconut mylk cubes and blend until smooth and thick.
  4. Enjoy with raspberry jam and chopped almonds (or brazil nuts) on top. 

Make the jam before and store in a jar in fridge for two weeks.

Raspberry Jam

2 C raspberries

1 tbs xylitol

3 tbs chia seed

3 tbs water

1 tbs vanilla extract

1. Bring all the ingredients boil in a small saucepan.
2. Mix until thickens.
3. Cool down and adjust the sweetness with more xylitol if desired.
4. Store in a air tight jar in the fridge.

For mind and body

For mind and body

Wow, it’s been a while. This blog has been an outlet of my eternal need to create all things yummy, healthy and cruelty-free. It’s my Sunday pleasure to spend hours in the kitchen baking and trying things out and I get the greatest fulfilment when I have a table full of friends who I can cook for. So simply enough – cooking and baking is my pastime, creative outlet, meditation and hobby. Last three months, life has gotten in the way and I have simply had no energy to even think of cooking, let alone take pretty pictures of food. My job has been demanding, health issues have occurred and I have found myself very stressed. I mean beyond ‘I will cook to chill out a little’-stressed, more like ‘I can’t go to bed because I’m too scared to go to work’-stressed.

I have realised that giving time to these sort of passions have an enormous impact on those stress levels, mental & physical health, and other things us corporate robots thread to say out loud at the office in fear of being considered weak and less capable (and let’s leave the female part out of this). I’m more than my job and my well-being is vital to be able to perform in any segment of my life. So hurrah for me getting back to the kitchen!

I will stop ranting now and I will share you the most brilliant dessert hack I have invented. I love desserts – love them. I could have something sweet every day. Because let’s be honest even vegan ice-cream and raw cakes are not for everyday consumption I have mastered few treats that have a nutritional level that makes them a perfect snack. I don’t usually track calories, but to demonstrate, I did it for this recipe.

So hear this out, if you enjoy this chocolate mousse as a dessert (makes four portions) one serve has 25 grams of protein, 215 calories and only 8g of sugar. If you have this as a breakfast/snack (makes two portions), you will have 50 grams of protein and 430 calories and 16 g of sugar. Also as a bonus almond butter has healthy fats to keep you full and cacao powder has great antioxidant benefits!

And that’s not even the best thing about this treat – it tastes ridiculously good and is so easy to make! I have not had one dinner party that people would not have asked the recipe before they leave our place (and they are always shocked to learn that it’s vegan, sugarfree and all in all not bad for you). It does not taste like some protein pudding but delicate chocolate mousse.

So see below a recipe to treat that smart mind of yours and to nourish that perfect body of yours!

The Chocolate Mousse (for 4 as a dessert, for 2 as a snack)

1 packet of Silken Tofu (300g)
2 tbs almond butter
5 medjool dates (pitted and soaked if they aren’t soft)
3 tbs cacao powder
1 Scoop chocolate protein powder (optional, only use if you like the flavour of your protein powder – you can also substitute with a tablespoon of almond meal and maybe a little more cacao powder- I use Prana On Hazelnut Cacao)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Optional add-ins: vegan chocolate chips, chopped hazelnuts, a one drop of peppermint or orange essential oil.

  1. Drain the water out of the tofu.
  2. Blend pitted dates, tofu and almond butter until smooth.
  3. Add in rest of the ingredients and blend until sweet.
  4. Taste. Add maple syrup or sweetener of your choice if desired.
  5. Refrigerate four 30 minutes (or not if you inpatient).
  6. Serve with fresh raspberries or strawberries.

The mousse lasts up to two days in the fridge but it’s at its best to enjoy same day.

If you are completely sugar free opt for xylitol/stevia instead of dates and if you are cutting down calories half the amount of almond butter.

Liquorice Lemon Bites

Liquorice Lemon Bites

Here we go – yet another protein ball recipe. I know I post them a lot but it’s such an easy yummy snack to take with anywhere! And you can also serve them as a dessert with a cheeseboard and other nibbles. Fellow liquorice lovers – this is for you!

Liquorice Lemon Bites

1/3 C buckwheat kernels
1/3 C pepitas
1/3 C almonds
1 tsp liquorice root powder
5 medjool dates
4 dried figs
1 tbs of lemon peel (organic)
1/2 scoop (20g) of (vanilla) protein powder
1-2 tbs water

  1. First blend figs and dates in food processor until forms a paste. Remove the paste from the food processor.
  2. Blend almonds pepitas and buckwheat in the food processor until small pieces. About 30 s.
  3. Add rest of the ingredients and blend (including date&fig paste and water).
  4. Start balling.

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Donuts Part 1. Pumpkin Spice

Donuts Part 1. Pumpkin Spice

A month ago I bought a donut tray. Since then I have been obsessed to create a perfect recipe. I was reading some blogs and Minimalist Baker was using aquafaba to her vegan donuts, I tried and it turned out to be the perfect fluffying effect donuts needed. Guys these donuts, have nothing to do with those oily deep-fried ones – but you know those ones you buy from the supermarket – dense and sweet and fluffy? I have nailed it!

I will post a series of flavours, and I will start with the seasonal one. Ps, if you don’t need gluten free – just replace buckwheat, brown rice and tapioca flours with normal baker’s flour.

Pumpkin Spice Donuts

  • 1/4 cup aquafaba (the liquid in a can of chickpeas)
  • 1/2 cup oat milk 
  • 2 tbs  melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup 
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp gingerbread spice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup  almond flour 
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp tapioca starch

Glaze

  • 1/3 C cashews (soaked for few hours)
  • 1 tbs coconut oil (melted)
  • 3 tbs coconut cream 
  • 1 tbs maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 drop orange essential oil (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 190 Celcius and lightly grease a donut tray (mine is quite large and this recipe makes 6 big donuts but if you have a small one this makes 12).
  2. To a small mixing bowl, add aquafaba and use a mixer until it begins to foam, keep mixing few minutes until soft peaks form – about 3 minutes. Set aside. 
  3. To a large mixing bowl, add the melted coconut oil. Then add the coconut sugar, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and sea salt and whisk to combine. Then add pumpkin puree and oat milk and whisk to combine.
  4. Add baking powder, baking soda, almond flour, buckwheat flour, brown rice flour and tapioca starch and whisk to combine.
  5. Lastly, add the whipped aquafaba and gently stir in. If the batter appears too thin at this point, add 1 Tbsp each almond flour or gluten-free flour at a time until it thickens up (keep it scoopable not pourable).
  6. Divide batter evenly between donut tin.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Check at 18 minutes though, how they look.
  8. In the meantime, make the glaze by blending all the ingredients (add essential oil last). Tip: make a double dose and freeze for next time, it’s easier to blend larger amounts (opt out the orange essential oil in case you want to make another flavour… wait for the lemon & rose recipe next week!).
  9. Remove donuts from oven and let cool for few minutes. Then grab the tins with a towel and tap on the counter to loosen. Then gently invert onto an oven tray (metallic). Let cool.
  10. Spread the glaze when doughnuts are cool. Then top with crumbles of walnuts and orange peel.
  11. Best when fresh.  Keep in the fridge for up to three days or freezer for a month.

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Pumpkin all day everyday

One of the reasons that Australia is such a great place to live is the pumpkin culture. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a restaurant or coffee shop without a pumpkin salad option (other one is beetroot). It is all-year everyday vegetable – unlike in Europe where pumpkins are available for autumn only. Just saying, missing out… So this is me justifying my new spring favorite breakfast – pumpkin pie overnight oats (just kidding an hour will do)!

This is not only the most delicious thing ever but also now my everyday saver. I make a batch of this and have it a t work after my run or barre class (hence the ugly photos). Most convenient thing ever! I used to make oatmeal and have it with banana and PB – but as spring is coming this is more fresh but still as filling and delicious and creamy. Nothing like some slimy overnight chia puddings, yuk.

Btw, if you want to go crazy – add some sultanas and chopped walnuts as well as a small crated carrot – and you got yourself pumpkin pie – carrot cake hybrid oats.

Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats

½ – 1 C butternut or kent pumpkin 
1/3 C oats
1t tbs chia
¼ C oat mylk
(1 tbs vanilla protein)
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp gingerbread spice
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp turmeric

  1. Dry roast or steam pumpkin (25-30 minutes in 200 C will do for a half pumpkin as a whole – with peel on). Let cool and chop to pieces. You can do this when ever and use the pumpkin later (one should always have roasted pumpkin in fridge to add to salads, pasta sauces, pizza toppings, smoothie bowls or sandwiches). 
  2. Blend pumpkin, banana and oat mylk until smooth (also the pumpkin peel, it’s good for you).
  3. Add rest of the ingredients in blender and pulse to mix everything. 
  4. Potentially add a dash of more mylk if too sticky.
  5. Put in a container and let sit in fridge for at least an hour.
  6. Eat with vanilla coconut yogurt.