Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies ūüć™

It’s World Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, so of course, I had to attempt a healthy version of everybody’s favourite cookie. The secret ingredient to these is…chickpeas! Who would have thought? The chickpeas create a chewy and fudgy texture and a nutty flavour. Believe me, you would not be able to tell the difference between these and a regular cookie. If you’re a chewy-cookie person, then these are for you! ūüć™

INGREDIENTS

400 g chickpeas 

1/4 cups peanut butter or almond butter

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cups rice malt syrup or honey

2 tablespoon coconut oil

1 teaspoon baking powder

2/3 cup dark chocolate chips

METHOD

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a tray with baking paper.

2. Combine the chickpeas, peanut butter, vanilla extract, rice malt syrup, coconut oil and baking powder in a food processor. Mix until all ingredients are a doughy consistency.

3. Place the dough into a large mixing bowl and fold through the chocolate chips.

4. Scoop out spoonfuls of cookie dough and roll them into balls. Make sure your hands are wet as the dough is very sticky.

5. Place the balls onto the baking sheet and flatten them using the back of a wet spoon.

6. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Let the cookies sit for 5-10 mins then place on a cooling rack until room temperature. Store in an air tight container.

Diabetes Friendly Kale Salad

Not many salads aren’t diabetes friendly. I mean, it’s salad- you can’t get much healthier than fresh fruit and vegetables. But the issue is that salads are boring and generally tasteless. As a kid, I was always forced to eat salad- Mum would have never let me be a fussy eater and I thank her for that. But this did spark my interest in finding salads that are packed with flavour and won’t leave you feeling hungry. This salad is tasty and packed with vitamins and minerals. Also, if you’re a kale-hater, try using spinach or mixed lettuce!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Bunch Kale, finely chopped
  • 2 Carrot, ribbons (you can do this with a potato peeler)
  • 1 Pomegranate
  • 1 Apple, julienned
  • 1/2 Greek Yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup Tahini
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard

Method:

  1. Combine vegetables in a bowl and toss until evenly combined.
  2. Mix greek yoghurt, tahini, lemon juice & mustard and pour over salad.

Diabetes-Friendly Healthy Fudge

Having diabetes doesn’t mean you have to miss out on delicious sweet treats. With this recipe, you can have your fudge and eat it too! These chewy delights have a secret ingredient…chickpeas! They are a great plant-based source of protein, and are extremely high in dietary fiber.  I used canned chickpeas as they are a lot more convenient, but if you’re worried about added sodium you can buy them dried, and soak them yourself. They have a low glycemic index which means they are great for diabetics! For added sweetness I used frozen raspberries. You might be thinking…doesn’t fruit contain sugar? Diabetics can’t have sugar right? Wrong! Everyone should be eating foods in moderation. But fruits have natural sugars that provide nutrients to your body. In particular, diabetics should limit eating foods that will rapidly spike their blood sugar levels. Different fruits will vary in glycemic Index Levels. Raspberries (as pictured above) have a score below 40 which means they have a low GI which means it is a great option for diabetics- plus they’re delicious! As well as raspberries, I used Rice Bran Syrup to add sweetness and a fudgy texture, which has a high GI score so I wouldn’t recommend this sweetener for a diabetic. Instead I would opt for agave syrup which has a GI score of 17. This fudge should be stored in an air-tight container in the freezer as they melt really quickly, so you can cut it up and eat it straight from the freezer as it retains it’s chewy, fudgy texture! Also, be creative with the toppings, you can use whatever flavours suit you.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas (cooked from 1/2 c dried, or a 15 oz. can rinsed and drained)
  • 7-10 dates (dates have a high GI scale, so you don’t need to add them into this recipe if you’re conscious of this)
  • 2/3 cup Tbs natural almond butter
  • 1/2 c rice bran syrup OR agave syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • dash salt
  • 1/3 c coconut oil, melted
  • your choice of toppings- I used; frozen raspberries, chia seeds, cacao nibs, hemp seeds, chopped dates and melted dark chocolate.

Method:

  1. Blend chickpeas & dates in a food processor
  2. Add almond butter, your choice of sweetner, vanilla extract, salt & coconut oil and blend until smooth
  3. Line a baking tray and pour fudge into it.
  4. Decorate with toppings and freeze over night.
  5. Once the fudge is set, cut into bite sized pieces and store in an air-tight container.

National Diabetes Week: Breakfast Baked Eggs

Baked eggs are such a good way to start your day. They’re easy and quick to make, and don’t let the title fool you- you can eat this any time of the day! I also love this recipe because it is so versatile, if you don’t have beans or other ingredients in your fridge/cupboard, then pretty much any other vegetables will work- be creative! I used onions, chickpeas & beans and I’d usually put some kale or spinach in there too but I had none. I chose beans and chickpeas because they have a low GI scale (less than 55) so they’re a good option for diabetics. I also served it with crusty Turkish bread, but if you’re conscious of your blood sugar levels spiking (or if you’re diabetic) then try a sweet potato rosti or bread packed with fibre and whole-grains. You can also speak with your health specialists about low GI foods that won’t spike your blood sugar levels as much. Just remember to always eat in moderation and variety! ūüćÖ ūü•Ď ūü•¶ ūü•í ūü•¨ You can do this dish in either an oven safe saucepan or a regular sauce pan, Ill mention both methods below. This meal is also a big crowd pleaser, so get your family and friends around for breakfast and wow them with this dish!

Ingredients: Serves 2

  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1/2 can chickpeas
  • 1/2 can cannellini beans
  • 1 tin crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • sprinkle salt & pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • Parsley to garnish

Method:

  1. If using an oven safe saucepan, preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. In a saucepan, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and cook onions for 5 minutes or until transparent on a medium-low heat.
  2. Add chickpeas and beans and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and heat on a medium heat until simmering.
  3. Add spices and heat for a further 2 minutes.
  4. Crack eggs into the sauce. If using the oven method, place saucepan into the oven and bake for 7-10 minutes, the whites should be solid but the yolk still runny. Don’t forget to use oven mits to take out the pan- I’ve done this before and it’s not fun! If you don’t have an oven safe pan, crack eggs into the sauce and cover with a lid for about 5-10 minutes, the whites should be solid but the yolk still runny.
  5. Garnish with parsley, enjoy!

Pink Lavender Tarts

So, I don’t just make healthy dessert recipes- I do like to indulge in the occasional sugar filled, butter-rich dessert. And these will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth! I recently planted edible lavender in my garden because firstly, I love the fragrance. Secondly, I’d never cooked with lavender before. So I’ve now developed a little obsession for everything lavender. From making lavender oil/essence to spray on my pillow (it’s really good for sleep!), to making teas and now to creating lavender inspired recipes! I’ve tested and trialed a few recipes but this was by far the best (and actually worked out!). These delicate pastries have a crisp base with a french, lavender infused custard. Perfect for a tea party to impress your friends! I chose two different styles, I used a mini cupcake tin for one and rolled out the pastry thinly and used cookie cutters for the sandwich type.

Ingredients:

  • Pastry;
  • 1 2/3 cups (250g) plain flour
  • 125g unsalted butter, chilled, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, chilled
  • Creme Patissiere;
  • 2¬†cups¬†milk
  • 1 tbsp Lavender buds (You can purchase edible lavender from local garden stores)
  • 6¬†tbsp¬†sugar
  • Pinch¬†salt
  • 2 ¬Ĺ¬†tbsp¬†cornstarch (cornflour)¬†(3 tbsp / 30 g for a stiffer pastry cream)
  • 1¬†tbsp¬†vanilla bean paste / extract / 1 vanilla bean pod
  • 3¬†large egg yolks
  • 1¬†large egg¬†(please see notes)
  • 3¬†tbsp¬†unsalted butter, softened 1 2/3 cups (250g) plain flour
  • 125g unsalted butter, chilled, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, chilled

Method:

  1. Process flour, butter and a pinch of salt in a food processor until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Then with the food processor motor running, add egg and one tablespoon of chilled water to flour and butter mixture. Process until mixture begins to form a large ball.
  3. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for at least 30 mins.
  4. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. With your chosen tart shape, spray tin with nonstick oil and mold your pastry. Bake for approx 10-15 mins. The pastry should be just about to turn golden.
  5. For the custard, split the bean and scrape the vanilla seeds out of the beans.
  6. Add the vanilla, lavender buds with the milk into a saucepan. Heat the milk over medium high heat and bring it to a simmer, almost to a boil. 
  7. While the milk is being heated, place the sugar, egg and yolks, cornstarch and salt in a bowl. Whisk until you have a thick, smooth mix. Set aside until the milk comes to a boil.
  8. As soon as the milk starts to bubble, remove it from the heat. Slowly pour about a half of the hot milk,into the egg mix, whisking constantly to temper the egg mix. Then, add the egg mix back into the hot milk in the saucepan.
  9. Heat the custard base, over medium heat, while whisking until it starts to thicken. Remove from the heat and add the butter. Whisk in the butter, until it’s mixed in.
  10. Pour the custard into a bowl and immediately cover the surface with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap is touching the whole surface. This is to prevent a custard skin from forming on top.
  11. Let the custard cool down to room temperature and then fill the pastry cases.
  12. Dust with icing sugar, enjoy!

Raw Chocolate Brownies

Who doesn’t love brownies? They’re an all time classic sweet treat, so, of course, I had to find a healthy version of them! Using wholemeal flour, these rich sweets will keep you going for the day- so yes, what I am saying is that you could even have them for breakfast. But personally, after dinner is when I crave my sweets. The beauty with these brownies is that you can decorate them and flavour them however you’d like! I chose choc ganache, raspberries and coconut flakes. If you have more of a sweet tooth then I’d definitely urge to put ganache on the top as it gives them an extra flare of sweetness.

Ingredients:

1 cup of wholemeal flour
1/2 of cacao or cocoa
1/2 of rice bran syrup or organic maple syrup
1 teaspoon of baking powder
3/4 milk
1 teaspoon of olive oil
1/3 cup of melted butter
1 cup of Dark Chocolate
1/4 cup milk

METHOD:
1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees.
2. Mix dry ingredients into a mixing bowl until all lumps are gone.
3. Add the rice bran syrup, milk and butter and whisk until smooth.
4. Grease the molds/tray (For the molds, I used cookie cutters but you can just use a regular brownie tray).
5. Bake for 15 minutes.
6. Heat the milk gently until just boiling, pour over chocolate and mix together until it is smooth.
7. Dip the completely cooled brownies and refrigerate until the ganache sets.

Healthy Waffles

Waffles are one of those foods that when you have the craving you need to fix it (and it’s an acceptable breakfast food!). With this recipe, you can indulge while nourishing your body with healthy and tasty ingredients that will make you feel so good. They’re a fantastic source of fibre which will keep you feeling full for longer (and your bowels will love you for it!). The yoghurt is a great source of dairy which aids strong bones and teeth. I like to use Greek yoghurt because it is packed with probiotics* which assist your gut health. To sweeten up this dish, I used berries and organic honey, but you can use any fruit combinations like stewed cinnamon apples or gooey, caramel date and banana. If you aren’t into fruity flavours, try nuts such as walnuts, macadamias or pistachios as a topping. Also, if you don’t have a waffle maker- just make them as pancakes!

Ingredients; makes approx. 4

1 cup of Wholemeal flour or Oat flour
3/4 cup Milk of your choice
3 tbsp Honey or Maple Syrup
3 tbsp Olive Oil
1 Egg
1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt 

Method:

1. Combine all ingredients and whisk in a large bowl
2. Prep waffle maker (you can use this batter for pancakes too if you don’t have a waffle maker) and cook for approx 2 mins or until golden and batter isn’t sticking to pan. 
3. Serve with toppings of your choice

*Not sure what probiotics are?
Probiotics are live mirco-organisms that when consumed, provide multiple healthy-gut benefits. They‚Äôre usually bacteria, but certain types of yeasts can also function as probiotics. The most common groups include¬†Lactobacillus¬†and¬†Bifidobacterium. Each group comprises different species, and each species has many strains. Because the gut is full of bacteria, probiotics help to keep it in balance. We’ll find out more in the years to come about the health benefits of probiotics because lot more study needs to be performed.

Raw Chocolate & Coconut Cupcakes

As I’ve been trialing and testing different raw recipes, I noticed that A LOT of them are no-bake, frozen treats and because it’s winter here in Melbourne, I thought a dessert that won’t add to the coldness could be the way to go. So I decided on a cupcake because not only are they super pretty- they’re delicious too! But I thought, how am I going to make it taste good and be somewhat good for our bodies? Because a lot of raw, baked goods can be really dry or chewy and taste completely WRONG. So, I wanted something that will a) taste delicious, and b) contain real food. No processed or bleached ingredients. Also, the sweet-craving cycle happens to all of us…we feel like chocolate or something sweet, but we’re ‘trying to eat well’, so we make up different ways to avoid that food like having nuts and berries, because that’s sweet and healthy right? or you may have one piece of dark chocolate because at least it’s still chocolate right? (even though you really want proper, indulgent, milk choc) And then after trying to suppress this craving, you cave in and eat an entire block of chocolate, and then the guilt sets in. But not to worry, with these cakes, you will be able to satisfy that chocolate craving while eradicating the guilty feeling because you’ve consumed ingredients that are going to make you feel good. However, these chocolate cakes still contain chocolate. They’re chocolate cupcakes, so yes, I’m adding chocolate to them. Just because they’re “raw”, does not mean I’m removing all the things that make them delicious. Instead, I use a dark chocolate which provides antioxidants and minerals. Also, most regular baking recipes use dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate, so I’m not cheating you by using the “healthy kind”. I use whipped coconut cream for the icing which does contain saturated fat, however, it’s a natural source which means it’s full of vitamins and minerals. If you really don’t want that much energy in one cupcake, then you don’t have to add the icing. But let’s be real- the icing is always the best part. As an extra treat, I added a chewy caramel centre, because why not?

Ingredients:

  • ¬†1 and 1/3¬†cups¬†(185 g/6.5 oz) wholemeal flour
  • ¬†1/2¬†cup¬†(50 g/1.7 oz) cocoa or cacao powder
  • ¬†3/4¬†teaspoon¬†baking soda
  • ¬†1/4¬†teaspoon¬†salt
  • ¬†1/2¬†cup¬†Greek yoghurt
  • ¬†1¬†cup¬†(200 g/7 oz) rice bran syrup or organic maple syrup
  • ¬†2¬†large¬†eggs
  • ¬†1¬†teaspoon¬†pure vanilla extract
  • ¬†1/2¬†cup¬†(120 ml) whole milk
  • ¬†1/2¬†cup¬†(120 ml) hot water
  • 3 cans coconut cream* see note
  • 100g dark chocolate (75% or more), melted
  • 7 dates
  • 1/4 cup organic maple syrup or rice bran syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/4 hot water

Method:

  1. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. For the caramel centre, combine dates, maple syrup, vanilla and hot water in a food processor until smooth.
  3. Mix maple syrup and yoghurt until combined. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract and beat until combined.
  4. Add half of the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Then mix in milk, followed by the other half of the dry ingredients, mixing until combined. Add hot water and mix just until combined. Do not overmix‚ÄĒthe less you mix, the lighter the cake will be. The batter should be liquid.
  5. Divide batter evenly between patty pans in a muffin pan, filling them about 1/2 full. Add a dollop of date caramel then fill another 1/4 with batter. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs. Allow cupcakes to sit for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
  6. Using an electric beater, beat together coconut cream* on medium speed until light and fluffy and then fold in chocolate. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary.
  7. Pipe onto cupcakes and decorate with whatever you like, I used cocoa powder, pistachios and raspberries.

*Note; for the coconut cream, freeze tins for about 20-30 mins. The coconut cream should settle at the top. Spoon it out into a bowl and until there is only coconut water left. Discard the water or keep in the fridge to drink or other uses.

Raw Lemon n Lime Cheesecake Bites

These are the perfect summer treat (yes, I know it’s Winter here in Melbourne but I like to pretend it’s Summer). They’re tangy, creamy and chewy and they’re vegan, so everyone can enjoy them! To be honest, they don’t really taste like a cheesecake, but the idea is there. Also, when you make a raw version of a dessert, it is never going to taste the same as the real thing, but to me, it still tastes like it’s own kind of dessert. The chewy base and creamy topping replicate a regular cheesecake, but the taste is a lot more refreshing rather than indulgent. You can also use different fruits to make berry/tropical adaptions. Pop them in the freezer and eat them as a frozen treat or let them thaw out for a creamier texture!

Ingredients:

Base;

  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 6 dates
  • Pinch of sea salt

Topping;

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked either overnight or in boiling water for 1 hour
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup or rice bran syrup
  • 1/4 cup lime juice or lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lime and 1 lemon

Method:

  1. Process the base ingredients in a food processor until it resembles crumbs and sticks together when pressed.
  2. Spoon mixture into a mini muffin pan and press down with the back of a teaspoon (or fingers).
  3. Add the cheesecake ingredients to your food processor and process until smooth (this can take up to 5-8 minutes).
  4. Add to the base and smooth over with the back of a teaspoon and place into the freezer for 2 hours to set.
  5. Top with either grated lime or lemon zest
  6. Keep stored in the freezer in an airtight container

Homemade Dumplings

I absolutely love dumplings. It’s one of those foods that you keep eating and you never seem to get full…and they’re so versatile! You can fill them with any filling you could imagine. In this recipe I used pork, prawn, ginger, garlic and chives. But you can use any filling you want to, my personal favourites are prawn and ginger, scallop, and mushrooms if you’re wanting vegetarian options. They can also be made vegan! I cheated with these by using store bought dumpling wrappers, but they can be homemade too. However, they’re quite time consuming and are hard to make. But one day I will attempt to make them and Ill let you guys know how I go! If you’re feeling peckish, try and make these cheap, easy and delicious dumplings.

Ingredients:

  • 500g ground pork
  • 200g green prawn, minced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3tsp ginger, minced
  • 2tbsp soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup shitake mushrooms
  • 1/4 chopped chives
  • 2 packets of dumpling wrappers

Method:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl
  2. Spoon about 1/2 tbsp of mixture onto the dumpling wrapper. Now explaining how to wrap the dumpling is difficult through words so I have attached a video below on different ways to shape your dumplings.
  3. Steam for about 15 minutes or until the middle is fully cooked.