Choc Chip Banana Bread Muffins

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Muffins that are seriously delicious, easy to make, and just happen to be free of gluten, dairy and refined sugars! Read on so you can make your own!

So, after browsing on Instagram, and seeing so many phenomenal banana bread posts (like those from @amandafitlife and @rachelmansfield), I was inspired to give it a go myself!

As most of the banana bread recipes I came across contained eggs, refined sugars, dairy, grains, gluten or a mixture of all of these things, I wanted to try and come up with a recipe that was free of all of them!

This recipe is not only super simple but also requires very few ingredients. This is always important to me because when I want to bake I don’t want to have to go out and spend loads on getting the things that I need.

Anyway, this is the recipe that I came up with….

This recipe will make 10 mini muffins. If you want to make bigger muffins then go ahead, but remember that you may only be able to make around 4-5- if you want more, or want to make a large loaf then I would suggest that you double the ingredients. Happy Baking!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large ripe banana mashed
  • 2 tbsp + 2 tsp nut or seed butter of choice (I used Meridian smooth almond butter in mine)
  • 1 vegan egg (I used the egg substitute mix from NEAT foods)
  • 1 tsp liquid sweetener (Optional- I didn’t use any in my mini muffins)
  • 1 tsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp coconut flour (I used Sukrin coconut flour)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp + 2tsp chocolate chips or chocolate chunks (I made chocolate chunks with Eating EVOLVED dark choc bar)
  • 2 tbsp seeds/ dried fruit etc (I used pumpkin seeds)

To make the muffins all you need to do is combine all of the ingredients (ensure well combined!) Then place a spoonful into muffin cases and put into a muffin tray.

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Once ready, bake your mini muffins for about 20 minutes, or until golden.

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Then devour!!

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GoMacro Mini Bars: A Review

GoMacro started on a small organic family farm in 2004, and since then, GoMacro has become a nationally distributed natural foods company that believes in the pursuit of deliberate food choices and clean eating.

This farm is where it all started:

GoMacro sources only the highest quality plant-based ingredients from the top organic and non-GMO certified growers, and has maintained a steadfast commitment the company’s roots in farm, family, and ingredients.

GoMacro Bars are pretty awesome because not only are they tasty, but they are also 100% vegan, USDA certified organic, certified non-GMO, Gluten-Free, and made from mostly raw ingredients!

The bars come in two sizes- normal size and mini. We tried out the mini bars- and there are loads of different flavors!

bars

I mean just take a look at the variety of bars you can buy: https://gomacro.com/shop/product/macrobar-minis/ 

Mini_Box_Assorted

Here are all of the flavors you can get (they are available in normal size and in mini size):

  1. Protein Pleasure – Peanut butter chocolate chip
  2. Sweet Rejuvenation – Cashew Butter
  3. Protein Replenishment – Peanut Butter
  4. Prolonged Power – Banana + Almond Butter
  5. Protein Purity – Sunflower butter + Chocolate
  6. Wholehearted Heaven – Almond Butter + Carob
  7. Balanced Goodness – Granola + Coconut
  8. Sweet Revival – Sesame Butter + Dates
  9. Sunny Uplift – Cherries + Berries
  10. Protein Paradise – Cashew Caramel
  11. Morning Harvest – Apples + Walnuts

GoMacro MacroBar mini’s are ideal on the go, as a sweet end to your lunch, or as toppers to your favorite nicecream or smoothie bowl creations. I loved sandwiching two of the bars with crunchy nut butter and munching on it as easy post training snack.

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This here is the peanut butter choc chip bar which I was more than happy to eat straight from the packet- pretty unheard of for me as I usually like to add lots of toppings to my snacks!

Head to the GoMacro site for your bars now! They have given us a one-time only 40% off PROMO code for you, our lovely readers. Simply type in BLOGGER at the check out (https://gomacro.com/shop/) to redeem the code!

Also, it is worth just taking a look at GoMacro’s website as it is really cool and well designed! (https://gomacro.com/). And don’t forget that you can always keep in touch with GoMacro, and keep up with their competitions and giveaways by linking with them on social media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/gomacro/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gomacro
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/gomacro/
Instagram: https://instagram.com/gomacro/

One of the things that GoMacro is currently involved with is the Carlsbad Classic! They are the presenting sponsor of the Carlsbad Classic 2015 – a WTA 125k Series Event during Thanksgiving week 2015. Carlsbad, California is home to the GoMacro sales and marketing satellite office and they are really thrilled to support the local community and women’s tennis through this sponsorship.

How to Prevent GI distress whilst competing

The last thing you want whilst competing is to have to stop to use the toilet- especially if there aren’t any! But, all runners, even elite ones, can suffer with GI problems, and most do at some point in their running career.

Being vegetarian or vegan can put your GI tract under more stress and can increase the risk of GI complications because of the high fiber intake- which is unavoidable due to caloric demands of training. To offset this issue and to make sure that the GI tract is cleaned out before the gun goes off!

This is also true for all athletes- so make sure that breakfast is finished at least 2 1/2 hours before your race start time. This means that even if it means that you have to get up at 4 a.m. for a 7am race! When you have to get up that early for your pre race breakfast you will need to prepare your GI tract for it so, make sure that both the night before and two days before the race, you have a 10 hour transit time between dinner and breakfast. In other words, finish eating by 6 p.m. on both nights if you are getting up to eat at 4 on race day. Even though you may not be getting up in the middle of the night two days prior to the race, this will allow your dinner to properly digest and eliminate early the next morning.

There are a number of foods you should avoid in order to help reduce the risk of GI distress whilst racing. Ensure you cut out, or at least cut back on fatty, fibrous and processed foods because these will come back to haunt you mid-race! Ensure you avoid these items in the 24 hours before the gun goes off:

  • Cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts)
  • High-fat cheese
  • Bran cereals
  • Sugar-free or “diet” snacks and beverages which contain lots of sweeteners that can play havoc with your stomach
  • Deep-fried foods
  • Fatty meats e.g. lamb

GI problem prevention meal plan for a 5-10km race (but the same guidelines apply for longer races- just be sure to up your calorie intake):

Higher intensity short races can increase the risk of GI problems. To avoid GI distress, reach for a breakfast that’s easy on your belly- so your pre-race meal should be low in protein and fat and include low-fiber carbs.

After the race, make sure to eat in order to recover- opt for a combination of carbohydrates and protein with a small amount of fat- orange slices, bananas, bagels and chocolate milk are all great options.

  • Lunch (20 hours pre-race): Turkey sandwich with avocado (or vegetarian alternative e.g. cheese or tofu), carrots dipped in hummus, a small apple and water
  • Snack (16 hours pre-race): Trail mix and water
  • Dinner (12 hours pre-race): Grilled white fish (or vegetarian alternative e.g. veggie burger), brown rice or sweet potato wedges, steamed vegetables and water
  • Snack (10 hours pre-race): Air-popped popcorn or a small bowl of cereal
  • Breakfast (90 minutes pre-race): Banana with 1/2 tbsp. nut butter or a smoothie and 16 oz. water or sports drink

Key pre-race points to prevent GI distress: 

  • Reduce high fiber food intake like legumes and bean the day before the race.
  • On race morning, do not eat granola or a large amount of nuts which are high in fat and protein and so are hard to digest.
  • Do not drink more than your normal amount of coffee or other caffeinated drinks.
  • Do not drink extra fluid replacement drink the day before the race- it usually contains sweeteners which can affect your gut. Your body will retain the necessary electrolytes from your normal daily diet and a reduction in your training.

Sweet Potato Toast

When you are in need of a fast and satisfying meal, look no further than sweet potato toast topped with smashed avocado and white bean hummus! This nutritious mix of healthy fats, protein and carbs is an ideal plant powered meal to see you through your day!

Avo on toast

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I love making sandwiches out of these sweet potato creations, making a great to go snack or lunch when I am pressed for time!

Try them out and let us know what you think!!

Sweet potato sandwich

Banana and Oat Cookies

These uber healthy, super easy, gluten free, vegan and amazingly tasty cookies are such a great way to use up left over bananas! They are also the perfect fuel for training, racing or just to help you get over that inevitable afternoon slump at work or school!

Oat cookie tray

This recipe will make around 6 pretty big cookies, or 8 smaller ones. If you want to make more, simply double the ingredients!

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 2 cups of oat flour (I ground old fashioned oats in my nutribullet)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup raisins (you could use any other dried fruit or even choc chips)

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 375 F/ 190 C
  • Grease and line a baking tray or use a non stick baking sheet
  • Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices)
  • In a food processor or blender blitz the bananas and apple juice until smooth and creamy
  • Slowly add the dry ingredients to the blender and blitz util combined
  • Pour the mixture back into your mixing bowl and mix in the raisins
  • Dollop spoonfuls of the mixture onto your baking tray
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden on the base (they may look underdone, but they will harden as they cool)

I love these cookies sandwiched together with a thick dollop of Barney butter (or any other nut butter of your choice) and a scoop of mashed banana. Just divine! I bet they would also be great as sandwiches for banana ice cream, or even smores.

Oat cookies 2

If you want to change things up a bit why not try adding some chopped nuts, or different spices? See where your imagination takes you!

Banana Bread: Ultimate in Deliciousness

Because banana bread is amazing we just had to make some, and post the recipe up here on T&C!

This banana bread is a perfect way to use up left over ripe banana’s. It is so easy to make and it is the best banana bread that I have ever tried. So what’s stopping you? Make it this weekend- you know you want to!

Banana bread slices

This recipe will make one large loaf, which should serve about 6-8 and it gives perfect results every time! – Just make sure to use the right sized tin (20cmx12.5cm/ 8inx 5in loaf tin).

Banana bread whole

Ingredients:

  • 285g /10oZ plain (multipurpose) flour
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 110g/ 4oZ butter (plus a little extra for greasing the tin)
  • 225g/ 8oZ light brown soft sugar
  • 2 free range eggs
  • 3 or 4 ripe bananas, mashed (the browner the better!)
  • 85ml/ 3fl oZ butter milk (or normal milk mixed with 1tsp lemon juice)
  • 1tsp natural vanilla extract

For a Vegan friendly banana bread use the following ingredients:

  • 285g /10oZ plain (multipurpose) flour or gluten free alternative
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 130g apple sauce
  • 225g/ 8oZ light brown soft sugar or coconut sugar
  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed (the browner the better!)
  • 1/2 cup of non dairy milk- almond milk works well
  • 1tsp natural vanilla extract

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Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4
  • Combine the flour, bicarb and salt in a big mixing bowl
  • In another bowl cream together the butter and sugar until they become light and fluffy
  • Fold the wet and dry mixtures together until well combined

(For the vegan alternative, simply combine all the ingredients!)

  • Grease your loaf tin and then pour the cake mixture in
  • Put the cake into the preheated oven and bake until well risen and golden (takes between 45mins and 1hour- just keep checking)
  • Remove from the oven when cooked, and leave to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire rack for complete cooling (if you can wait that long before eating it!)

Banana bread tin

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.

bannoffee

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

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.

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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!

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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.

Quest 3

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!!

4 High Protein Breakfasts That You Can’t Refuse

Stop having a boring bowl of mushy cereal and try these filling, tasty and protein packed breakfasts that will make you want to get up in the morning, and will help fuel you until your next meal.

We all want to find something tasty for breakfast, that is easy to make and is good for our bodies. A high protein breakfast is the way forward, as not only will it fuel your muscles it will keep you satisfied for longer than traditional low nutrient, high carb, high sugar options.

cereal

Many people may think that a protein shake is the only high quality high protein option out there, but this is not true! There are other ways forward, and you don’t need to get rid of your favorite powder. Instead just change your approach, switch things up and find other great recipes!

Give these protein packed breakfasts a go. You won’t look back!

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup water or milk
  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (optional)
  • 1 tsp chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans work well)
  • 1 tsp chopped raisins or dates

Method:

Cook oats as normal- i.e. combine the oats and liquid and put in the microwave or cook on the stove. Once cooked to your desired consistency, take off the heat and stir in the pumpkin, protein powder, spices and syrup. Top with nuts and raisins. I also like to add a dollop of nut butter – but that is just because I am obsessed with it!

Pumpkins

Brownie batter overnight oatmeal

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup milk or non sweetened milk alternative
  • 1/4 cup of yogurt/ mashed banana/ pumpkin
  • 1 tsp of unsweetened cocoa (add more or less to taste)
  • 1-2 packets of stevia (optional)
  • 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder

Method:

Combine the oats with 1/2- 1 cup of water in a microwave safe bowl. Pop in the microwave for about two minutes- depends on how strong your microwave is! Then, in a small bowl, mix together all of the other ingredients, and stir in your cooked oats. Depending on how hungry you are, this recipe will either feed one or two. If you are serving two, then divide the mix between two small bowls, mugs, or mason jars. Cover and refrigerate overnight so that the oats soften and absorb the liquid.Top with chopped nuts or any other toppings of choice! You can enjoy this cold or for a more brownie like taste/ texture, microwave your oats for 30-60 seconds to enjoy warm!

brownie

Banana protein muffins

Muffins were a childhood breakfast staple for us, but once we realized that chocolate muffins were not the best way to start the day, we changed our habit. However, with this healthy recipe, you can have your cake and eat it- I mean who does’t love a warm and sumptuous cake to wake up to in the morning?

Ingredients:

  • 1 large banana
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup of egg whites
  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 2 scoops of vanilla (or your favorite flavor) protein powder
  • 1/2 tsp Stevia (add more to taste) (optional)

Method:

Preheat oven to 180 Celsius (350 F). Put all ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth. Put 12 cases into a muffin tray and divide the mixture evenly. Bake for 20 minutes, and enjoy!

Vanilla and Banana Protein Pancakes 

Ingredients (pancakes):

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 tsp natural vanilla extract

Ingredients (topping/ filling):

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1- 2 tbsp nut butter
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp honey (optional)

Method:

Put all of the pancake ingredients into a blended and blitz for 30 seconds until well combined and smooth. If its too thick add milk or water 1 tbsp at a time until you reach a thick but pourable consistency. Cook the pancakes in coconut oil for about 30 seconds each side in a preheated pan. Top or fill your pancakes with your yogurt mix and sprinkle on your favorite nuts or dried fruits.

banana

Review: Team Sky Breakfast Porridge and Smoothies


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Team SKY have teamed up with CNP Nutrition to create a highly nutrition protein packed breakfast including porridge’s and smoothies. Both these are individually packaged and perfect for a quick, easy and portable breakfast or snack.

High Protein Smoothies

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These smoothies are a perfect on-the-go snack packed with 26g protein, low fat and under 200 calories. The flavours on offer include:

Blueberry & Raspberry

Orange & Mango

Pineapple & Coconut

The RRP is £2.75

 

 

High Protein Porridge

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The two delicious flavours that Team Sky have are:photo 2 (7)

            Fig & Honey

            Super Fruits.

The RRP for these porridge is £3 and i would say that this price is extremely suitable and worth it providing a healthy and filling breakfast perfect for before or after a workout.

 

 

 

Baked Super Fruits Porridge

This was a great alternative to the average porridge. Try baking your porridge topping it with bananas and adding extra fruits for an equally filling delicious and nutritious breakfast.

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