Lemon Poppyseed Muffins – Celebrations & A Giveaway!

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins – Celebrations & A Giveaway!

We’re turning one! A little over a year ago this food blog was born. It all started with an idea that it would be so much more fun to cook, photograph and blog about the food I cook in my own kitchen and the type of food I recommend to my clients. Getting a brand new website built last year brought it’s own challenges but has it been worth it? Oh yes. And I hope you think so too.

I’m delighted to have so many people stopping by here each month, a few 1000 of yous now (!) And even more people over on Instagram. Heading for 10K now. This time there was about 500. How things change. So many things has happen this year. So many opportunities opening up. Guest blogging, cooking demos, online programmes (in the pipeline) and new friends. I’m so grateful.

Anyway. To celebrate Straightforward Nutrition’s blog first blogiversary I have teamed up with Waifair.co.uk to give one lucky reader here the opportunity participate in a Giveaway on the blog.

If you want to be in the draw to be given a £150 voucher to spend on kitchen appliances over on their site, this is what you need to do:

I believe sharing is caring and that we can all learn from each other to lead healthier and happier lives, so to be in the draw Leave a comment below, on this post, about the ONE Change you have made to help you live a healthier life. This could be anything from a change in habit or mindset to making shopping lists /menu plans or what ever it is that you have changed in order to live a healthier life and that you found made a profound difference.

I can’t wait to hear what brilliant changes you have all made! Please note the draw will close on Nov 20th. So do drop us a line before then.

**N.B Unfortunately this competition is only open to Irish & UK residents. I hope I will get an opportunity to run another giveaway in the future for the rest of you.**

straightforward nutritionPaleo muffins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was tossing with the idea of making something savory as to celebrate with but somehow I just felt it would look a little weird sticking a small flag on a slice of pizza… Maybe next year!

These little lemony paleo muffins were actually featured as the recipe of the month on my old website, a long way back. And there wasn’t a pretty picture to go with it then either  so what better excuse to make them again. If you like lemons, poppy seeds and want to bake something Paleo and gluten free, chances are you will like these muffins.

As far as gluten free go and baking with almond flour these are very easy and does not have an ingredients list the length of your arm, which is so often the case with gluten free baking. Gluten free baking is an art in itself, and I with confidence, hold my hand up, declaring it’s one I have yet to master. You really need to know what you are doing and, cooks like me which often just “add a little of this” and “a little of that” do better when strictly adhering to someone elses tried and tested recipe.

Almonds are a great source of potassium, magnesium, calcium, zinc and vitamin E. They are also a good source of unsaturated fatty acids as well as protein. If you make your own almond meal from whole almonds, leaving the skin on, you will get plenty of fibre too.

 

 

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Makes 8 small muffins (they are seriously filling so no need to stuff yourself)

2 eggs

1/4 cup of oil of your choice – I normally use a nice fruity olive oil but I’d imagine melted coconut oil would work well too.

3 tbsp of clear runny honey – Local & Organic preferably

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/2 tbsp of lemon juice

2 1/2 cups of almond flour – 250g of whole almonds will yield this amount when ground

2 tsp poppyseeds

1/2 tsp of baking powder

A pinch of salt

Lemon zest of one lemon, finely grated

Preheat your oven to 180C. Place eight small muffin cases in a muffin tray. Or use an ordinary baking tray if you don’t have one.

Start by separating the egg yolks from the egg whites. Leave the yolks in one bowl and the egg whites in another one. In the bowl with the egg yolks, add honey, lemon juice, oil and vanilla extract and mix together well. Add in your dry ingredients and mix until you have a stiff batter.

Now proceed to whisk your egg whites until stiff peaks are formed. I normally do this by hand as it is such a small amount. Try using a large bowl so you can get plenty of air in . Or use electric whisks and spare yourself a work out. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter. Taking care to make sure it gets well blended but try not to be too heavy handed as the air from the egg whites is what will make your muffins nice and fluffy.

Spoon the batter into the muffin cases, filling them to about 2/3. Bake for about 20 min in the oven. After 10 min place a sheet of tinfoil loosely on top to prevent the muffins from burning while they finish baking. They are ready once a scewer comes out clean. Keep a close eye as they get too dry very easily if left in for too long.

Place the muffins on a wire rack and allow too cool completely before tucking in. Any leftover muffins will keep for up to a week if kept in a cool dry place in an airtight container.

straightforward nutritionLemon poppyseed paleo muffins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t forget to leave a comment below about The One Change you have made to make it easier to live a healthier life, to be in the draw for £150 to spend on some useful kitchen appliances to make you cooking easier!

And thank you for stopping by over the past 12 months 🙂

 

Easy Peasy Raw Peanut Butter Chocolate

Easy Peasy Raw Peanut Butter Chocolate

Have you ever tried raw chocolate or even better still, tried to make our own? It isn’t half as difficult as you may think.

I can still remember a few years ago when I ordered my first ever bag of raw cacao powder from the internet. I was soooo excited! Because I have a seriously sweet tooth and I love chocolate. I couldn’t wait to open the bag and taste this amazing, super nutritious stuff.

And then… Disappointment. It was so bitter. Of course it was. It was raw cacao powder, on its own. Not paired up with a whole load of sugar, cacao butter and other stuff. I don’t really know what I was expecting. Seriously. It kind of shows how hardwired our taste expectations are too, doesn’t it? Have you ever had a similar experience? Our taste buds seems to so be closely connected to our sense of smell, and any previous taste experiences are safely stored for future reference in out memory.

Perhaps this was once a form of protection, essential to survival? I do remember reading somewhere that taste is strongly linked to an innate recognition of the safety of eating plants growing wild in nature. If something doesn’t taste pleasant we are less likely to swallow it. We are much more likely to spit it out instead. Which comes in very handy if the food is actually a poisonous one!

I often hear people say “I don’t like this”. ” I don’t like that, it’s too bitter (or not sweet enough!)”. The thing is, our taste buds are a bit like the rest of our body, they can change and develop with practice. There’s lots of foods I didn’t like a few years ago but which are now clear favourites. Things like ginger, beetroot and tahini where not exactly love at first sight for me. Instead the flavor-relationship with these foods have gradually evolved and deepened over time. You really need to persist and keep trying things for a good few times before you completely dismiss a new food. Practice. Patience. Persistence. Like with so many other things in life.

raw peanut butter chocolatestraightforward nutrition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This recipe is a creation I came up with after a little conversation and inspiration on Instagram. I have experimented with raw chocolate for a few months and some experiments has been less than successful. Others a little better. I came across the stunning feed of Ditte Ingemann (@ditsen) and she has by far one of my favourite Instagram accounts. She also has a lovely website, in Danish. Anyway, one day Ditte posted this gorgeous picture of some raw chocolate which she had adapted from another recipe. She kindly gave me the bones of the recipe and her ingredients and I took it from there, using what I happened to have to hand.

If you are trying to cut down on sugar but not on flavour, then this chocolate might be for you. I have found maple syrup to work best when you make raw chocolate like this. It gives the cacao a lovely sweetness without being overpowering and integrates quiet easily with the fats. The ingredients for making raw chocolate at home, may not be the cheapest but on the upside, you’ll get something that is so jam-packed with flavour that a little goes a long way really.

We are using a combination of coconut oil and cacao butter here. This will give you a less snappy chocolate than if you are using cacao butter alone. For a cheaper alternative you can of course use coconut oil on its own. However you will end up with a very soft end product and since it will melt rather fast you will need to store it in the freezer rather than the fridge. This chocolate will be way too soft if you leave the it hanging around for too long at room temperature. Somehow, I doubt this will be a problem though…

 

Easy Peasy Peanut Butter Chocolate

Makes about 30 squares

50g cacao butter

2 heaped tbsp coconut oil – raw & cold pressed

1 heaped tbsp crunchy peanut butter – swap for any other nut butter if you want

2 heaped tbsp raw cacao powder

2-3 tbsp maple syrup – depending on desired sweetness

A tiny pinch of sea salt or Himalayan pink salt

Melt the coconut oil, peanut butter and cacao butter in a bowl over a pan hot water. Once the fats are fully melted and liquid add in the maple syrup and the raw cacao powder. Stir for a minute or two until you have a really smooth cacao mix. Taste and add a little more maple syrup if you still think it is too bitter. Add in the pinch of salt. Remove the bowl from the stove and pour it all on to a tray lined with parchment paper. Let the mix cool slightly before transferring it to the fridge to set. After a few hours take the tray out and cut your chocolate into small-ish squares.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Your raw chocolate will keep for a few days in the fridge. Probably longer in the freezer.

*NB. This chocolate has a very short list of ingredients. Check how many your usual bar has next time you are temped to buy one…

P.S Our firs Blogiversary is coming up next month so there is sure to be more chocolate involved then 🙂 Oh and there will be a great give away too!! I can’t wait to celebrate with you all.

raw peanut butter chocolateMake your own raw chocolate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raw Lemon “Cheese” Cake – with Summer Berries

Raw Lemon “Cheese” Cake – with Summer Berries

 

This raw cake is surprisingly easy to make, tastes amazing and is naturally gluten, dairy  and refined sugar free. I kind of wish I could take credit for the recipe, but at least the pictures are all mine. Which of course means I had the pleasure of both cooking and eating it! Lucky me.

A while back I was contacted by two lovely ladies, who asked me if I (Straightforward Nutrition) would like to be part of their up coming giveaway competition, to win a fancy Ninja Blender, over on Instagram. I thought it sounded like lots of fun as well as a great opportunity to connect with other like-minded souls so I said, yes of course. Influxr is a website and an online community which is about connecting and inspiring each other to keep going on the journey to health, fitness and happiness. Inspiring, encouraging, motivating and empowering people to take control over their own health is very much part of what I do as a Nutritional Therapist, so being part of this competition was really a no-brainer. And the truth is we can not really achieve greatness all by ourselves. We need someone who got our back from time to time.

Who inspires you? Did you ever take some time and think about who YOUR everyday heroes are? There are so many things and people who inspires me every day to keep moving forward, to pick myself up when things are tough and who helps me grow and develop into an even better version of myself. I am blessed to have some amazing friends (you know who you are) but I have also found a lot of inspiration, particularly foodie and health related inspiration through various food blogs. You will find a selection of them here.

 

raw lemon cheese cakeraw lemon cheese cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having positive people in your life is another source of inspiration and something I am constantly consciously aspiring to be one of those. Why? Simply because positive people have more fun! It makes sense, doesn’t it? And the word to focus on here is consciously. You will at some point have to CONSCIOUSLY decide what it is you want (whatever that is). So go get it 🙂

Anyway, back to the recipe. If you have never tried a raw cake before, I urge you to give this one a try. They are incredible easy to make and taste great. No white sugar involved either. Or white flour for that matter, so this makes a perfect dessert for all your “free from” friends. Paleo friendly, coeliac approved and raw, vegan. Just don’t invite someone with a nut allergy though and you will be sorted.

 

raw lemon cheese cake

This giveaway competition was run over on Instagram, over the course of a week. Each day the contestants where given one main ingredient to create a dish around. The winning recipe was based using lemons as the star of the show. The lovely @orsomethingsweet came up with this winning combination. It’s a super simple wholesome cake recipe, just as we like it here on Straightforward Nutrition. A perfect way to celebrate that Spring has finally sprung. I’ve made some slight alterations to the original recipe, but very modest ones.

When styling and shooting this blog post I really realised that I want a cake stand.It would make for a way better photo along with my vintage cake knife, which I currently have put in a safe place – Out of sight, out of mind kind of a place, it seams…

 

raw lemon cheeese cake

 

Raw Lemon ‘Cheese’ Cake with Summer Berries

Serves 6-8 comfortably

Crust:

1 cup raw walnuts

1/4 cup dessicated coconut

6 medajool dates, pitted

Filling:

2 cups (200g) raw cashew nuts, soaked overnight

3 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp vanilla extract

juice of two medium sized lemons + zest of 1 lemon

4 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Make the crust first by placing walnuts, dessicated coconut and dates in your food processor. Blend until you have a sticky dough. To make this process a little easier, give the walnuts a whirl first on their own so they are crumbly before you add in dates and coconut. Line your cake tin with some cling film at the bottom. Take out the dough and press it firmly into your spring form.  Set aside.

To make the cashew nut filling, simply place all the ingredients in your food processor. If you have a strong blender, like a Vitamix, then use that instead for a smoother finish. But it will work OK in your food processor too. Blend and keep scraping down the sides as you go along. Once you have a smooth creamy mixture, it’s done. Add the cream to your base and then place the whole thing in the freezer for a few hours to set.

Remove the cake from the freezer about 30 min before serving and decorate with berries of your choice. I went for some carmelised lemons, strawberries and raspberries, but you can use anything you have to hand really. Serve with more berries if you wish. Store any leftovers in the freezer. That is if you have any left…

N.B. I used an 8″ spring form here. If you use a larger form or want a thicker cake, increase the quantities of the ingredients.

 

raw lemon cheese cakeraw lemon cheese cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekday Chickpea Super Salad

Weekday Chickpea Super Salad

What about a quick nourishing meal that doesn’t take time or effort to make? Or cost the earth? This dish is one of my all time favourites. If it wasn’t for the simple fact that my body seem to crave the odd bit of meat, I could easily and happily eat this kind of food everyday. One of the main challenges when you switch from a diet heavily influenced by convenience food to natural wholesome goodness, is that it actually has to be prepared and cooked… In the beginning this seems like such hard work.

You come home from work after a long day at work. Bloodsugar levels are at an all time low, your mood and energy levels likewise, and you are ready to eat anything that is remotely edible. Or if you’re like me, eat the head of someone else!

Being prepared is key. There is no getting away from this simple fact. You also need to arm yourself with some basic kitchen gadgets and cooking skills. But basic really is all you need. Think; a good sharp knife, a couple of good sauce pans, a frying pan and a hand blender. I’m a lazy cook. I always tell my clients this fact. If I can do it. You can too. Cook, well more like assembly, tasty nourishing meals.

I always loved vegetables and fruit. Due to my inherent sweet tooth, the fruit consumption can often surpass the veggie one though. So it can be tough to get all the recommended amount of portions in. The other day my friend told me that WHO is now recommending 17 (!) portions of vegetables incl. some fruit for our diets to be disease preventable. Wow. That’s a lot of eating… To get to that level, juicing will have to be part of it. Impossible otherwise I would think.

Spelt grains

 

Believe it or not, there was a time when I use to come home from work, open the fridge or the pantry and stare at all the lovely stuff, ravenous, just to state the fact that I had plenty of food. But it had to be cooked into something! These days through perseverance, I have learnt some simple ways around this frustrating situation. No, the answer it is not having a frozen pizza in the freezer. Even though it was one of mine in the past… It’s all about being prepared. And having a little knowledge. Batch cooking is key. For cheap, wholesome meals, legumes are your friend. Keep a few tins in your store cupboards at all times and you are ready to go in minutes. If you cook them from dry, you can cook larger batches and freeze some. The same with wholegrain rice or wholegrain spelt which I have used here. Your cooked grains and legumes will keep for a few days in the fridge too, so no panic if your freezer is very small, or non existent.

I prefer warm food when the weather is cold. So if I have a raw salad I need to combine it with something warm. Sometimes that could be roasted veg with some green leafy lettuce leaves. Or it could be a mixed salad with an omelette. Equally simple. If you have some pre-cooked grains in your fridge or freezer, coupled with some legumes all you need to do is to toss them in a hot pan with some of your favourite vegetables. Simple as, and you have a wholesome meal in minutes! If you make enough, you can even enjoy the leftovers for lunch the following day.

 

KaleChickpeas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whole grains are a great source of stress-busting B-Vitamins. When the grain is consumed whole and totally unrefined as with these spelt grains, they are actually fairly high in protein too. Sometimes even as high as 16%. Chickpeas are an excellent source of plant based protein too. The classic vegetarian way of combining grains with pulses, ensure that all 20 amino acids are covered. The few which are missing in the grain is in abundance in your pulses, so cleverly you will get a complete source of protein.

You can use any grains with any pulses really. Once you have upped your kitchen confidence, then stretch your imagination and use a different kind of grain with a different kind of bean or lentil. And then simply toss in any veg, which is lurking in your fridge! Heat in pan, season & tuck in!

 

Weekday Chickpea Salad

Serves 2

1 cup of chickpeas, cooked

1 cup of spelt grains, cooked

3 cups of kale, washed, chopped with stems removed

3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 small red chilli, chopped – remove seeds if you want it less hot or use a pinch of dry chilli flakes

7-8 cherry tomatoes, washed & halved – Optional but delicious  **I forgot to add mine this time when making it for the photographs!**

Olive oil

Sea salt & freshly ground pepper, to season

Parmesan, Pecorino or Machego, grated on top before serving

Heat your pan, then add the a good splash of olive oil. Quickly add your chopped garlic and chilli. Stir until soften but not burnt. Add in the kale and sauté until it start looking slightly wilted. Add your chickpeas and spelt grains. Keep stirring until heated through. 

Serve in two bowls with some grated cheese on top. If you intend to have some cold the following day, leave the cheese out and add just before eating. The cheese isn’t integral to the dish but do give a different flavour dimension. I don’t tend to feel well with dairy but can tolerate sheep’s cheese so hence the Pecorino or Manchego.

 

Chickpea saladChickpea Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Banana Pancakes – for Pancake Tuesday

Banana Pancakes – for Pancake Tuesday

It’s Pancake Tuesday! Finally. What more do I have to say. Pancakes are really good any time of year, especially on a lazy Sunday morning. For the past few years I’ve had friends over to my house for Pancake Tuesday. It’s great to cook and share a meal with your best friends.

The Irish tradition is to serve them with some lemon juice and sugar. Or with Nutella. I used to be a eating-nutella-with-a-spoon-straight-out-of-the-jar kind of girl. These days I prefer to make my own hazelnut spread though. Then you can be sure that it only has wholesome goodness ingredients. No funny E-numbers or cheap vegetable oils.

Last year I made lovely spelt pancakes with butter milk and fried in butter. Super tasty, and really great if you can tolerate dairy. My body seems to be happier without dairy products though, so I have made these pancakes with Koko coconut milk, but use any plant milk you prefer. Keeping with the “free from” theme, I used brown rice flour. Rice seems to be the grain best tolerated by most people with sensitive digestive systems. It is actually possible to have nice pancakes without both wheat and dairy. I did add an egg, hence they are not egg free, or vegan. Personally I find to hard to achieve that proper pancake consistency without eggs, but if you have a great egg free pancake recipe, please share. I would love to hear about it 🙂

 

Banana pancakesRice flour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bananas add a lovely body to the batter and a subtle sweet flavour. No need for any extra sugar. To keep it really simple I mixed all ingredients with my hand blender, so no whisking.

I hope you and your family will enjoy them as much as we did in my house. No need to miss out on Pancake Tuesday, just because you are on a gluten and/or dairy free diet! If you prefer more crêpe style pancakes then these buckwheat crêpes may be what you are looking for.

 

Banana Pancakes

Banana Pancakes

Makes about 10 pancakes

3 medium sized bananas, chopped – Preferably organic

1 egg – free range, preferably organic

5 heaped tbsp brown rice flour

80 ml plant milk of your choice

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder, gluten free

coconut oil, to cook pancakes in

50g dark chocolate, melted, to serve

200g fresh raspberries, to serve

Add all ingredients to you your blender and blend until smooth. Let the batter rest for about 20 min. Heat your frying pan. Add some coconut oil to the pan and then add a small soup ladle of batter. Cook on medium heat. Keep an eye on this as you need the batter to set on top before you can flip it over, but you don’t want the pancake burnt in the process. Once the batter has just set on top, flip over and cook on the other side until golden. Repeat with the next ladle of batter.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over some hot water. To serve, mash a couple of raspberries and smear out between each layer of pancakes. Drizzle the melted chocolate on top. Serve immediately, while still warm. 

Happy Pancake Tuesday!

 

DSC_0718Banana Pancake