Homemade almond butter is the perfect pre-workout snack. So easy to make in a high powered blender, you’ll never need to buy shop versions again.
I’ve been hitting the gym now since January and I’m surprised at how much I’ve been enjoying it. One of the classes I attend is a high intensity 45 minute spin class, which requires a lot of energy. I don’t like to eat anything heavy before a workout and so a light snack with protein provides the fuel I need for the gym.
Easy Chocolate brownies with cranberries and hazelnuts
I’ve got a thing about eating chocolate and nuts together. Last year I posted my new and improved ‘Just Beet It‘ brownies that had walnuts and more recently, for Easter, I posted a Creme Egg Double Chocolate Muffins recipe with pistachios. This time round it’s the turn of hazelnuts to make an appearance. Chocolate and hazelnuts have long had a happy relationship. Nutella instantly springs to mind, and so does fellow blogger Danni Martin’s Healthier Chocolate Spread.
Brownies are my favourite to make when you want something chocolatey that’s simple and cause a minimum of fuss. I made these in celebration of my blog turning 2 years old on 30th May. I’ve been so busy of late that I completely forgot all about it! I’m so happy to still be blogging and feel like I’ve really come a long way since I started. Unlike the Just Beet It brownies which were more compact, these easy chocolate brownies are more spongey and light. I used a mix of whole hazelnuts and chopped, just to play around with the texture.
Simple Banana Smoothie With Ginger. Start the day with this quick and simple smoothie.
Last Monday I went to a baking class on mastering macaroons and it was the best fun I’ve had in ages! I met some lovely people, including a lady called Patricia. Patricia and I were the two early birds for the class, so we had time to chat a bit whilst prepping our ingredients for the class. Patricia talked about the gingerbread men she had made recently and I talked about my favourite smoothie of the moment, as it happens to have ginger in it. Before we knew it we were laughing at the mishaps we were having with the macaroons; Patricia was having trouble with the food colouring (grey instead of red), whilst mine were gorgeous in colour but rather on the thick side. They piped out looking like uumm…pink poo! Macaroons are hard to get right but luckily smoothies are so simple to make, especially if you’ve invested in a good quality blender.
Do you ever go through phases of using ingredients for weeks on end? For me, my ingredients of the moment are ginger and coconut. This smoothie was the first one I tested out using the Froothie Optimum G2.1 and the flavours remind me of sitting on a beach soaking up the rays of the sun! Ah, sunshine! It’s made a guest appearance here for the past week and I’m thinking it’s not going to stay for much longer. It really does lift your spirits though and so does this smoothie, with its yellow colour and tropical flavours.
Roasted Sweet Potato and Vegetable Soup
Has my house landed on the Wicked Witch of the East? Seriously, the winds here have been crazy and the house has been creaking, it feels like it’s about to take off any minute and end up in Munchkin Land! On the bright side, it’s weather for hanging clothes out to dry and even better, an excuse for gathering around the table for a delicious bowl of hot soup.
I spent Friday and Saturday making crème brûlée and chocolate truffles, when really I should’ve been making something more healthy (I purposely left a couple of healthy cookbooks propped up in the kitchen to no avail). However, whilst I was out on the prowl for dark chocolate chips, I did spot a 500g bag of vegetable soup mix for a mere 6p! Now that’s a bargain I couldn’t pass up. It was then I knew that I would be making soup with the sweet potato I had at home. Come Sunday I put the Silver Machine – my Froothie Optimum G2.1 into action. I wanted to keep the veg nice and chunky, so blended the sweet potato with the stock first and then transferred it back to the saucepan with the vegetables.
I just love sweet potato and unlike regular potato, it counts towards your 5 a day, so this soup is simple to make, packed with veg, tasty and frugal!
Homemade Cashew Milk and The Froothie Optimum G2.1 High Powered Blender
I closed the lid on my blender and prayed that everything would go well. It had been on the blink for a while now, but as I only wanted a basic smoothie, surely it would be able to cope? I watched as it spluttered and choked on the contents and, before I knew it, I was racing out the back door with said blender smoking. Into the bin went the charred remains. I’ve never had much luck with blenders but to be fair, it’s my own fault…this is what is to be expected when you buy a cheap one and then test it beyond its limits. As for food processors, my impatience means I dislike cleaning them and changing the blades to suit whatever I’m making. I came to the conclusion that I finally needed a blender that could cope with my exacting kitchen requirements.
Easy Potato And Seafood Chowder Pie. This seafood medley is simple to make and tasty for all the family. Fish, prawns, mussels and squid topped with potato.
Well, this Easy Potato And Seafood Chowder Pie takes me right back to my school days, when we were taught how to make a basic cheese potato pie in Home Economics. I remember it well, because in this particular lesson my class unleashed mayhem! There were a couple of tearaways that the teacher just couldn’t control, who were throwing potato peel around the classroom and talking back at her. Not that I was an angel, but Home Economics was a subject that I enjoyed and always paid attention in. Luckily, the potato pie was simple to make and tasty, or I doubt we’d have ever gotten through that lesson!
Buckwheat Banana Nut Bread. In one hour you could make this easy and deliciously nutty banana bread, which includes flaked almonds and banana chips.
I’ve been greedy this week, having devoured quite a few test batches of my creme egg muffins, despite sending Neil off to work with a box or two. It’s ok though, because it’s coming up to Easter and we’re allowed to treat ourselves (I keep telling myself). It’s not easy being a food blogger, I’m sure I have put on weight and there’s an endless mountain of dishes to be done, but hey, I love it! I enjoy experimenting in the kitchen, writing it all down and sharing it with you.
A yummy Easter treat: Creme Egg Double Chocolate Muffins.
Last week Neil and I went to Scotland for a couple of days to visit my Sister and Brother-in-law. It was the first time in years that we got to go over, so we were very excited to see their new house and celebrate my Brother-in-law’s special birthday. Walking around Glasgow, the streets appeared familiar yet different; new shops had opened and some places we liked are sadly now closed. This story is a bit like the Cadbury’s Creme Egg; the recipe has changed, but somehow it’s still the same old familiar egg we recognise from past Easters as kids. Back then, I had a super sweet tooth like most kids, and had quite the collection of Disney stickers stuck on my school books from trips to the Dentist!
Chicken, Prawn and Mango Curry
Buckled up in the backseat, the journey would be a long one, or so it would seem to me as a child. I used to look forward to these visits down to my Grandfather’s house. He lived by the sea in a little town called Killough, near Downpatrick, where my Mother grew up. Over the years I’ve heard many stories from her youth and the places associated with them. I know the steep path she and her Sister used to climb to visit my Great-granny. I know the street where my Dad first clocked eyes at my Mum crossing the road to go to the cinema where she worked (41 years on and it’s still there) and of course, where Saint Patrick is buried. My Grandfather used to be a Fisherman and the one memory that stands out to me is eating the fresh prawns that he had caught. I’ve always loved prawns from then and anytime I cook with them, I’m taken back to that little seaside town.