Pack a punch – Almond cocoa energy squares

Almond cocoa energy squares
My ankle (which has been out of order on and off this whole year) is finally healing a little bit. Which means I can start running again. And even though I haven’t done more than 20 minutes on the treadmill and I’m not allowed to jump yet (I know. It’s catastrophic) I can make energy bars. These delicious little squares will satisfy your morning sweet tooth while giving you a full energy boost; they’re made of oats, which are a great source of slow-release energy and fiber.  Almonds, your classic super food (is there any body system they’re not good for?). Raisins, full of the good kinds of sugar to give you an up and which also help absorb vitamins and proteins, along with promoting a healthy digestive system. Flaxseed, also for great digestion but adding omega-3 and tons of other good side-effects such as fighting liver disease and lowering cholesterol. Cocoa powder, which is suspected of boosting endorphins and serotonin (aka, make you happy!) apart from being highly antioxidant. Wrap all of these up with some honey (which has, apart from all it’s other properties, been proven to increase athletic performance and reduce recovery time) and you get ultra healthy, sugar free bites of delicious fitness. I cut up mine small because I like bite-sized things, but feel free to turn these into bars to take on the go, or to add some protein powder! Read more for the recipe.

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Post monday – Greek yogurt chocolate banana muffins

Greek yogurt chocolate banana muffins

Some things are just universally loved. Like finding money in your pockets or banana muffins for breakfast. Other things are universally hated, like smashing your little toe against a table, or mondays. Most people find mondays truly horrible; it’s the day they have to get up early again, go to work, and accept the fact that there are five more days of the same before the weekend comes again. I, on the other hand,  happen to be a complete lunatic and absolutely love mondays. And don’t get me wrong, I love weekends as well… but they just take a huge toll on my doing-things-I-love-on-my-own schedule. For example, I can never have the discipline to work out on weekends. Or to walk my dogs, or read, or try out new recipes, or start a new work project, or finish another one I had at the back of my mind. I also get tons of ideas during weekends for cooking, or drawing or designing or just in general things I’d like to do, and I invariably forget them after a night out with friends. Which are absolutely worth it… but they make me crave monday morning the same as I crave banana muffins any other morning. There’s an incredibly good feeling when you don’t hit the snooze button and get to walk outside with the sunrise that carries on throughout the day, making those five days till friday actually really great. Almost as great as waking up to the smell of freshly baked muffins – which is what happens at my house when I don’t get to work out because of a bad ankle. I just bake instead. In this case, greek yogurt, chocolate chip, oat and ultra banana-ish banana muffins. They’re the perfect consistency, so smooshy from bananas you might even think there’s no flour instead. And not overly sweet, which means you won’t feel like you’re having cake for breakfast. (on monday! Asolute no-no. That’s ok on saturdays only) Not too much butter in them either, so have one after lunch as well. And since even sharing you can’t possibly eat all 12 in one day, have some post-monday. Read more for the recipe!

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For a spotty friend – Almond and chocolate scones

Almond chocolate scones

I’m a huge Dr. House fan. I’m also a huge scone fan. And how might these two relate? (apart from Hugh Laurie being british) Well, I was watching an episode about two weeks ago in which a family went scuba diving to an old shipwreck and got infected with what appeared to be smallpox. Which was eradicated quite a bit ago. and as I was watching the show, I was also getting a few spotty-faced snapchats from a friend who’d been infected with…wait for it…..chicken pox! Which is almost eradicated even in little kids…so how she got it was also a mystery worthy of House. And so while watching the family slowly die in isolation, I thought up these scones to bring to my friend who was also in isolation (though thankfully not dying, just quite itchy) and who, like me, also finds solace in crumbly pastries which you can have for breakfast, lunch or dinner. (because scones are just awesome like that). So if you have a friend in need, or just want a snack to munch on while you watch House re-runs, go read more for the recipe. Continue reading

Quick and yummy – Lime and black sesame cream cake

Black sesame and lime cream cake

Let me let you in on a little secret: my aunt makes the meanest margaritas out there. Her recipe, involving almost equal parts tequila, cointreau and sugar  is extremely popular with all guests, young and old, male and female. They’re incredibly yummy, and as I’ve already told you the alcohol ratio you might have guessed, also incredibly fun. So my mom had the brilliant idea to serve tons of margaritas during the wedding weekend and so proceeded to buy 35 kilos of limes. I’m not joking. Or exaggerating. She actually had 35 kilos of limes. Limes pack a punch. And so there’s absolutely no way she could’ve used all 35 kilos in three days… which means that we still have a fridge full of limes, even though I’ve had a party (in which I of course served margaritas) and baked two cakes involving limes since then. There’s just no way to go through them all! So I’m sharing with you one of the recipes that’s helping me put a dent in the never ending supply of limes around here: Lime and black sesame cream cake. It’s yummy, quick and not so heavy.  A dense texture but a light flavor, the sort that you use your fork to get together all the last crumbs in your plate. Topped with a simple lime-icing sugar glaze, it manages to use a grand total of 9 limes! (Which means if I bake about 55 of these I might finally finish the job before they go sour).  If you like sightly less sweet or for a more simple go-with-your-coffee look and taste, skip the icing and just dust it with a bit of icing sugar. Read more for the recipe, or if you’d like to suggest stuff I can do with limes, leave me a comment!

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Settle back in – Meatballs with quinoa and yogurt kale sauce

quinoameatballsyogurtkalesauce

My life’s been hectic as of the last three weeks. Tons of things have changed. For starters I’ve quit my job! (I would love to insert those whatsapp monkey emojis here) And then my sister got married! (Clapping hands emoji?) Ok I’ll stop with the emojis in lieu of actually describing stuff. The wedding was awesome but it took about two full weeks of my life in which I did nothing that wasn’t related to the event. Between helping out with the invitations, organizing a junk food/pastry buffet table, and managing to survive bridezilla and my mom fighting 20/7 and the ensuing roller-coaster of emotions, I’ve hardly had time to deal with my professional life. Let alone cook! But I’m a full time freelance designer again… and that means that while I find my footing again  I can get back in the kitchen as often as I please. (And as you all know full well, baking cookies pleases me a lot. And so do brownies and nutella and bread). But I’ll get back on the horse with a quite healthy recipe which looks like a lot of trouble but actually isn’t! And which tastes like you’re having something super rich but is actually quite light! It’s meatballs, over quinoa, over zucchini, covered in a yogurt-kale sauce. (I know, quite the hipster combo of ingredients. Just don’t go drinking beer along with it). While the yogurt-meatball combo doesn’t sound so appealing, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it! They actually compliment each other incredibly well, turning usually heavy meatballs into something way lighter. Interested? Read more for the recipe! Continue reading

Indulge every morning – Chocolate rye bread

chocolateryebread

Second warning of the day: This might be the best bread I’ve ever baked. And I know bread is one of those things (like cookies) which you can’t say there’s an absolute winner, because that choice will always depend on what you’re eating it with, whether it’ll be eaten cold or warm, what time of the day you’re having it, etcetera, etcetera. But this recipe turned out to be so rich in flavor, with a slightly bitter bite from the rye and cocoa, balanced out with sweetness of the cranberries and raisins, and soft and fluffy on the inside but crusty on the outside. What more could you ask for?? Nothing I say. Plus, you can bake it as a sandwich loaf, as baguettes, as diner rolls, whichever way you like! Because the dough is so easy to manipulate once kneaded, you don’t have to struggle a lot to get it to stay perfectly shaped.
And then once you bake it, you can have a thick slice with gouda, spinach, and a poached egg on top. And if you cover that with creamy mustard sauce, then you might just forget it’s monday and that you have to hurry up to get to work on time.
Read more for the recipe!

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