15 minute healthy burger sliders

Homemade burgers not only taste 100x better than fast food chain alternatives, they are also so much better for you and you can make them just how you like! These burgers are so easy to make, delicious, juicy, flavorful, and high in fiber- what’s not to love?

For 6 large burgers or 12 mini ones:

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Ingredients 

  • 1 pound fresh greens e.g. spinach/ chard/ turnip greens
  • 1 pound ground meat e.g. chicken/ turkey/ beef/ lamb
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups cooked grains e.g. steel-cut oats/ whole-wheat couscous/ bulglar wheat
  • 1-2 small sweet/ white potatoes cut into 1cm rounds

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Method: 

  • Preheat oven to 400F/ 200C and put oil on a baking tray
  • Put potato slices on tray and bake- about 30 minutes (keep a eye on them and turn over once or twice)
  • Meanwhile, steam or boil greens for 30 seconds. Drain and plunge into ice water.
  • Drain again, squeezing to dry, then roughly chop.
  • Put greens into a large bowl.
  • Add in the ground meat, onion, garlic, cumin, and cayenne.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper if you like.
  • Add egg and grains.
  • Mix with your hands until well combined.
  • Shape into burgers.
  • Grill on medium heat for about four minutes per side. Or, bake in the oven on the potato tray (400F/ 200C) until firm and browned (about 20 minutes)
  • Put burger (or burgers if you have made small ones!) then add your favorite toppings- we loved them with guacamole and salad!
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Banoffee slices – Vegan/ GF/ DF

If you are anything like me then pretty much anything banana related sounds good! I particularly love the sticky gooeyness of banoffee pie. But, traditional versions are jaw-achingly sweet and probably are not the best for you- certainly not something that you should have everyday. So, I wanted to make something that had all the great aspects of a banoffee pie- sweet, bananaey, gooey, crisp and delicious, but also still left me feeling good and kept me healthy.

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These banoffee slices are a great mid-morning snack, pre workout munch or a perfect pudding after a meal.

Makes about 8 slices, and takes 45 minutes to prepare and cook.

Ingredients:

Crust-

  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil, softened
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water, or as much as you need for a moist dough

Date toffee-

  • 1 1/2 cups pitted Medjool dates
  • 3 tablespoons smooth almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeded or 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Banana layer-

  • 2 or 3 large ripe bananas, sliced into “coins”

Directions:

FOR THE CRUST

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (375F)
  2. Grease and line an 8-10 inch tart pan to prevent the crust from sticking
  3. Add almonds into a food processor and process until a coarse crumb.
  4. Add in the oats, cinnamon, and salt and process again until the mixture looks like coarse sand.
  5. Add the oil, maple syrup, and water and process until the mixture comes together. (The dough should be sticky enough to stay together when pressed between your fingers, but it shouldn’t be so sticky that it doesn’t come off of your fingers). If it’s too dry, add another teaspoon of water and processing again.
  6. Crumble the dough over the base of the tart pan in an even layer. It is best to starting in the middle of the pan and to press the dough into the pan with your fingers. You can keep the base flat, or press it up the sides if you are going to add coconut cream!
  7. With a fork, poke the base of the tart about 20 times to allow the air to escape while baking.
  8. Bake the tart at 180C (375F) for around 10-15 minutes until lightly golden.
  9. Place the tart pan on a cooling rack for about 15 minutes. The crust will firm up as it cools.

FOR THE DATE TOFFEE LAYER

  1. Add pitted dates into a bowl and pour boiling water over top. Let sit for 5-10 minutes
  2. Drain the dates well and add to food processor along with the almond butter, lemon juice, salt, and vanilla.
  3. Process until very smooth.
  4. When the crust has cooled, spread the over the base.image (9)
  5. Slice the bananas and place half of the banana slices on top of the caramel, pressing down lightly to adhere.
  6. If you are adding the coconut cream layer then add that now and finish with the rest of the banana slices!

This recipe is versatile so you can have fun with it! I like to have the slices as snacks so I often just make a flat base and spread the toffee on top. I then add whatever fruit I have- usually sticking with banana’s. I then top the slices with almond butter and raisins for an awesome gooey treat!

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If you want to make something more akin to a traditional banoffee pie then you could add a whipped coconut cream layer. To do this you would:

  • Chill a couple of 14-ounce cans full-fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight.
  • Open the cans and carefully scoop off the white cream from the top (you don’t need the coconut water for this recipe, so put to one side and use in other recipes later).
  • Add the coconut cream into a medium bowl and with a whisk or electric beater beat the cream until smooth and fluffy.
  • Spread the coconut cream on top of the banana slices in an even layer and garnish with shaved chocolate.
 coconut cream

Granola bars

These are not normal, run of the mill granola bars. They are better! They are vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, oil-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free and 100% delicious.

These soft bars are full of wholesome and nutritious ingredients like chia, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds which keep you going because they pack a hefty amount of protein, fibre, and omega fatty acids. These bars are naturally sweetened with date paste instead of sugar- so no nasty energy slumps to worry about because of these bars.

These bars are ideal as a mid morning snack, with breakfast, or as fuel before training. These are great for those with nut allergies, you’ll be happy to know these are totally nut-free! These bars are not crunchy like a traditional granola bar, but instead they are very soft and chewy, a little like an ultra dense, sweet, doughy bread.

I love these bars sandwiched with some almond butter, but they are equally great plain.

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Makes about 10 bars

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats, ground into a flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup packed pitted Medjool dates (Soak for 30 minutes if they are a bit firm or your blender has a hard time blending dates smooth) 
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped (or other dried fruit of choice) 
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to medium heat 160C (325F) and line a 9-inch square pan with parchment/ baking paper.
  2. Add rolled oats into a high-speed blender and blitz until a fine flour forms. Put this oat flour into a large bowl.
  3. Add water and pitted dates into blender. Blend the dates and water until super smooth.
  4. Put all ingredients in the bowl and stir well until combined.
  5. Scoop the mixture into the baking dish and spread it out with a spatula to make it as flat and even as possible.
  6. image (3)Bake at 160C (325F) for about 20-25 minutes, or until firm to the touch. (It only took 15 minutes for mine to become firm- so keep an eye on your bars!)
  7. image (4)Let the bars cool in the baking dish for 5 minutes and then lift it out and transfer it to a cooling rack for another 5-10 minutes.
  8. Slice and enjoy!

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Freeze any leftovers to ensure the bars are super fresh for you to enjoy.

Date and Nut Energy Bites

I love energy balls as they are easy to make and require no-baking. Energy balls are also an awesome provider of long-lasting energy for before or after training, or just to fuel you through busy days. These balls are also a great way to satisfy hunger pangs between meals.

So why not make these sweet treats, and tuck a few in your bag before you leave for the day so that you have a great healthy and portable emergency snack for when your tummy starts to grumble.

Makes about 15 small balls, or 5 bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole raw almonds, or other nut or seed of choice 
  • 2/3 cup pitted Medjool dates
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 3-4 tbsp dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup raw pecans
  • 1 or 2 pinches fine sea salt, to taste

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This recipe is really versatile, so you could also add in or swap around the ingredients. Great optional extras are shredded unsweetened coconut, vanilla extract, chopped raisins, or spices like cinnamon.

I recently made and enjoyed a cinnamon and raisin variety of these balls.

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Directions: 

  • In a food processor, process the almonds (or your nuts/ seeds of choice) until finely chopped. Do not pulverize it into a flour as you want some texture- so it is OK if some bigger pieces remain!
  • Take out 1/3 cup of the processed almonds and set aside for the final step.
  • Now, out the pitted dates and dried cherries into the blender and process until finely chopped and sticky. A dough ball will start to form.
  • Next, add in the chocolate chips and pecans and process until they are chopped- again make sure to leave some texture in the mix.
  • Add salt to taste (optional) and pulse the mixture.
  • Finally, pulse in the reserved 1/3 cup almonds. If the dough is too dry to roll into ball, add water, a teaspoon at a time, until the dough comes together. (Be sure not to add too much water too quickly or the balls will not stay together)
  • Scoop the dough out of the blender by heaping tablespoons, then roll each scoop between your hands to form balls.
  • Put the balls on a baking sheet and place in the freezer for about an hour to firm up.
  • Then place the balls into a container or a plastic bag and store in the fridge or freezer until needed.

Homemade Protein Bars

If you have ever tried a quest bar, you will know how gloriously sweet and sticky they are! You will also know how oozy they become once baked in the oven or microwaved. Well, did you ever think it was possible to make a similar bar yourself? No? Well think again.

Thanks to IMO- a sweet prebiotic fiber that can be used as a binding agent- you can make your own low carb, and low sugar protein bars that are similar in texture and flavor to your favorite quest bars.

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Making these bars at home is also a lot cheaper than buying pre-made bars, and you can adapt the flavor and texture to just how you like it. You will also know exactly what you put in to your bars!

To make my bars I used VitaFiber syrup, but I am sure there are other brands that produce IMO syrups that would work equally well. You could also use an IMO powder but if you do, you will need to also add a binding agent such as honey or agave syrup to ensure your bars stick together.

vitafiber

Basic recipe:

  • 2 tbsp VitaFiber syrup,
  • 1/4 cup of protein powder (can be any type/ flavor)
  • 2 tsp almond meal (just ground up whole almonds)

Using this recipe, the nutritional facts for the final bar are approximately (depending on which protein powder you use): 180 kcal, 25g protein, 25g carbohydrate, 1g sugar, 2g fat, 22g fiber.

I have tried a few different flavor combinations for my bars. My favorites are:

  • Cookie dough- I used vanilla whey, and added a square of dark chocolate chopped up. (The chocolate melts in the microwave which is delish!)

Quest 1

  • Banana nut muffin- I used banana whey, and added a couple of freeze dried banana pieces and a couple of walnuts, both chopped up.
  • Berry cheesecake- I used strawberry whey, and added a few wild blueberries, and 1tsp of cashew nut butter.

Quest 4

Other flavors you could try are chocolate peanut butter (chocolate protein powder and 1tsp of PB), PB and J (peanut butter protein powder and a couple of freeze dried strawberries) or AB and J, or apple pie (vanilla protein powder, a couple of freeze dried apple rings and 1tsp of cinnamon). Just mix things up and see what you like best!

apple

Making the bars is really easy. Like really really easy! Here is how:

If you are wanting to make a bar very similar in texture to a quest bar (i.e. sticky and pretty solid) then I would suggest you follow this:

  • Heat up the liquid IMO in a pan until it bubbles,
  • Take off the heat and immediately mix in your protein power and almond meal.
  • As the mixture cools it will come together into a sticky dough.
  • Mold it into a bar shape with your hands
  • Put in the fridge to set if you want to eat it later, or put on a plate and microwave for 10 seconds to make it oozy and delicious.

I prefer making a softer bar as it is a little cakier and melts quicker in the microwave, so I do not heat up the IMO before mixing it with the other ingredients. Instead I:

  • Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl,
  • Mold it into a bar shape (it is a bit sticky to the touch)
  • Microwave for about 20 seconds, or until it starts to expand in size.

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The above is a pic of my berry cheesecake bar, and just look at the texture of the bar post microwaving! I love how the blueberries release their juices and give the bar little pockets of taste explosions!

Quest 2

I enjoy having my bars alongside other toppings once they have been microwaved. Yogurt, PB and apple sauce are winners for me at the moment. Find your favorite sides!

Have fun making your bars!!

Really Easy Vegan Blueberry Cheesecakes

There’s something special about cheesecake. It’s a decedent dessert that cleverly combines crunchy and creamy into one opulent dish that is hard to resist. As an avid lover of all things cheesecake related, I have tried a number of different types, from baked New York style to a toffee and walnut chilled cheesecake.

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But, I know traditional cheesecakes aren’t the healthiest or most nutritious of dessert choices and they also are not suitable for many who are on special diets. So I wanted to see if I could come up with an alternative, but equally delicious recipe. Yesterday I thought I would give it a go, and to my surprise my trial and error cheesecake making session was a success.

These blueberry and almond butter cheesecakes are not only delicious but they are also healthy, nutritious, raw and suitable for vegan and gluten free diets.

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Ingredients 

To make 12 mini cheesecakes

For the crust all you need is two ingredients- almonds and dates!

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup dates (pre-soaked in warm water for 10 minutes, and drained)

For the topping all you need is 5 ingredients!

  • 1.5 cups of cashews (pre-soaked for 2 hours in cold water, or quick soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes, and drained)
  • 1/4 cup of melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 lemon juiced (equivalent to about 1/4 cup of juice)
  • 1/2 tsp of stevia (alternatively you could use 1/2 cup of agave nectar or maple syrup)

I decided to opt for almond butter and blueberry as my flavour combo and so I also added a tsp of almond butter to the filling mix and swirled 1/4 cup of blueberries into the top of the cheesecakes.

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Method 

Before you start preparing the cheesecakes, get the cake tin ready. To make it easier to get the cheesecakes out of the tin I cut out strips of tin foil (you could also use parchment paper) and folded the strips length ways to make tabs that I could pull. It worked perfectly, and made it so easy to pop the little guys out of the tin without any stress!

NB. I used a Nutribullet for this recipe, but a normal quality blender would work fine.

For the crust:

  • First whiz up the dates until they are in small bits and are gooey. Aim to have them looking like this:
  • datesNext whiz up the almonds to produce a meal (leave some larger bits of almond for a crunch). Then combine the almond meal and dates together slowly in the blender to form a ball. The mixture should stick together when you press it between your fingers. If it is too sticky add some more almond meal, if too dry add more dates.
  • Then pop 1 tbsp of the crust mix into each hole in the cake tin. Press down the mixture with your fingers or with a glass (if the mixture sticks put some cling film or parchment paper over the bottom of the glass).

base

  • Put the cake tin in the freezer for at least 10 minutes to allow the bases to firm up.

For the topping:

  • Put all the ingredients into your blender (cashews, lemon juice, coconut milk, coconut oil and sweetener- if you are going for the nut butter flavour also add the nut butter in now).

cashews and milk

  • Blitz until the mixture is very smooth and creamy. It should not have any lumps.

cream

  • Taste the mixture once it is smooth, and add extra sweetener or lemon juice as required.
  • Next get the bases from the freezer and dollop a spoonful of the topping mixture on top of each base. Keep filling the cake tin until all of the topping mix is gone.

pre freezer

  • If you are using blueberries (you could use crushed raspberries when in season), then swirl a few into each cheesecake.

almost done

  • Pop the cheesecakes into the freezer to set for about 3-4 hours.

finished cheese

  • To serve, remove the cheesecakes from the freezer and allow to defrost slightly for 5 minutes. Serve along side fresh fruit/ coulis, extra nut butter, coconut whipped cream or even with banana nice cream.

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I enjoyed the cheesecakes on their own, with extra nut butter and one of my personal fav ways of eating them was with a side of fresh banana with yogurt, apple sauce, and toppings!

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BetterBody Foods- PBfit

It is so true that better foods make better bodies.

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BetterBody Foods sell a range of products that can help us all to be better. BetterBody Foods, believe in helping people to make better food choices because they believe that it contributes to a happier and healthier life. BetterBody Foods are committed to providing the best organic and natural foods for cooking, baking, health and wellness.

BetterBody Foods recently sent us some PBfit to try. As lovers of all things PB, how could we resit?!

pbfit

PBfit is pretty awesome stuff. It is a delicious, low fat powdered peanut butter that BBF’s makes from roasted peanuts. To make the powder, BBF’s extract most of the oil (about 85%) from the peanuts and then they grind them to form a powder. Once ground, they add a pinch of sugar and a dash of salt to create a delicious powder that is chock full of flavor- and they aren’t lying.

I tried PBfit for the first time recently, and it is so easy to use! All you have to do is add a splash of water to a tbsp or so of the powder for a healthy peanut butter spread that is one third the calories and 85% less fat than traditional peanut butter. Not bad! Just take a look at the label:

pb fit

But, PBfit doesn’t just have to be a spread. Because you easily change the runnyiness of the PB, it makes a great dip that you can use for apples, bananas, celery or pretzels.

apple and pb

Or you can add a scoop or two into smoothies, yogurt, nice creams, or why not even use it in place of flour in your favorite bakes. It is great as a snack when used as a topping on sweet potato!

sweet potato and pb

Here I added a couple of scoops of PBfit into my apple and blueberry smoothie bowl. It. WAS. AMAZING!!!

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I made some pretty awesome PB pancakes with the PBfit that I was sent and not only were they full of protein, but they were also so delish! I also love topping my oatmeal with PBfit as I can make it just how I like it!

Raw Rev Glo Bars- Review

If you are wanting a whole food, high protein, gluten-free bar that’ll give you a boost, then look no further than Raw Revolution! Their newly released Raw Rev Glo bars are high in protein, full of micro-nutrients, choc full of tasty ingredients and are vegan!

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Raw Revolution is an an all-woman owned, organic food company that offers a range of whole food and high protein bars that are nutritionally pretty awesome! The bars they offer are made from minimally processed plant based ingredients, raw and organic super foods and are packed full of antioxidants! Just take a look at the label….

ingredients

The bars that we were sent came in 3 flavors- creamy peanut butter and sea salt, mixed nuts, caramel and sea salt and my personal favorite- peanut butter, dark chocolate and sea salt.

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All three bars contained over 10g of protein that came from nut, pea and hemp sources. The bars were also organic, raw, full of nutritious ingredients, and contained less than 4g of sugar.

Additionally, unlike most other bars out there, Raw Rev has managed to balance the macro nutrient content of their glo bars brilliantly meaning that these bars are high in protein, low in carbohydrate, and full of fibre so not only do they keep you feeling fuller for longer, but they wont give you a sugar crash 10 minutes after you finish one- leaving you feeling radiant from the inside out.

I honestly loved these bars so much, not only because of their nutrient content but also because of their flavor and texture. The bars are both chewy and soft, and also had a bit of a crunch from the nuts. They were also perfectly sweet despite the lack of sweetener.

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I would thoroughly recommend giving these bars a go. My favorite way to enjoy them was warmed in the microwave, topped with extra nut butter, with a side of fresh fruit and yogurt. Honestly, the combination is hard to beat! But you could also try them as a topping to nice cream or as a grab and go snack.

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Do you need a gym in order to stay fit and healthy?

SO, lifting weights has scientific evidence that it works and helps to create a fit and lean body. But doesn’t this mean that you have to have a gym membership in order to stay fit?! Yes, lifting weights in the gym and having machines helps however it is not the only way! At home and in the outdoors there are so many natural objects equipments you can use to get a good workout in!

Bodyweight HIIT workouts need no equipment and can be done anywhere! All you have to do is 5 rounds of 4 exercises (jump squats, jump lunges, high knees, mountain climbers) 30 seconds on, 30 seconds rest and you’re done. Your metabolism will be on fire and your heart has been worked! You fat will melt and do this 3/4 times a week along with a clean balanced diet and you will get LEAN!

Personally, although I love to go to the gym and I love to get my lifting sessions in, if I am doing cardio like cycling or running I prefer to do this outside. not only does it get you out of the gym, into the fresh air but it makes the workout much easier!