Protein vs Vegan Cookies

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I’ve gone 14 days without chocolate…. 14!! Can you believe it?! I should probably clarify that by chocolate I mean Lindt 70% coco (I know some would argue to even call it chocolate) but it really works in taking away that sweet tooth craving I get!

It was becoming a bit of a habit and it had got to the stage where I was having at least two squares a day with a green tea… You know that afternoon ‘dip’, where you are unsure if you will make it through the last few hours at work and just need a little pick me up! Of course dark chocolate is not the WORST snack to turn to, as it does have some health benefits, but there is that old saying of “Too much of a good thing can be bad for you”, so with that in mind I cut it out completely!

I’m coming into week 3 of no chocolate, the same week I also decided to up my training and cut out any complex carbs during the weekdays, so it is fair to say my afternoon “dip” is starting to feel more like torture… Not helped by the fact I am SO hungry all the time at the moment!

Knowing it would only get worse through the week, I thought it was best that I bake myself some healthy treats to get me through! The raw carrot sticks just weren’t doing it! (Will they ever?)

So I got my baking head on and came up with a couple of different cookie recipes, using the same base for each but adding whey isolate protein to one batch (for all you gym heads) and leaving the second batch completely Vegan. Both batches are sweetened with banana and agave honey, are completely dairy free and equally as tasty!

What you will need for the base of the cookies:

  • 2 medium sized, ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup of coconut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon of raw peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons of Agave honey (can use usual honey if not Vegan)
  • 2 tablespoons of natural, sugar free coconut or almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon of Flax seeds to 2 of water

For Protein cookies:

  • Add one scoop of Whey Protein Isolate to the mixture
  • 1/4 cup of dark choc chips (optional)

For Vegan/Paleo versions:

  • Add quarter cup of dessicated coconut
  • 3 Dates

Get yo bake on!

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees. Combine the dry ingredients in one bowl (add protein powder and choc chips at this stage if following the Protein Cookies recipe!) and blend together the peanut butter, honey of choice, milk, flax mixture in a separate bowl.
  2. Add wet mixture to dry mixture to form a dough. You may want to add more milk if you feel necessary, mixture should be dough like so not sloppy.
  3. Roll the mixture into small balls (makes around 10-12), place on lightly greased (with coconut oil) baking tray or baking sheet and flatten gently to form cookies with the back of a spoon.
  4. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool before storing but highly recommended to eat straight out the oven! (Maybe I am just too inpatient)

*Tip : I sprinkles dessicated coconut on top of my vegan cookies right before baking to add a little crunch!
Sadly I only got to eat one cookie out of this batch as my friends/colleagues had claimed them before I even got a look in! Looks like I will be baking more again tonight! Not that I need an excuse!

Peace out cookie monsters and please don’t forget to tag me in any Instagram posts if you bake them yourselves!

@cookeatsquatrepeat

J xx

 

 

 

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Paleo Sweet Potato & Spinach Gnocchi

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What do you get when you put a sweet potato loving (slightly hungover) Italian girl in the kitchen…?? Sweet Potato and Spinach Gnocchi of course!

I’ve had this recipe on my mind for quite some time, it was simple really, I love gnocchi and I love sweet potato, so why not create a way to love them together?! What makes these babies even better is they are totally gluten and dairy free!

Before we go any further, I wanted to clear one thing up. I’m sure a lot of you may be wondering why I never cook with normal white potatoes, but the truth is (nutritional reasons aside) I just prefer the taste of sweet potatoes. Even when I order fries at a restaurant, I always go for the sweet kind! This is not only because I stick to eating complex carbs, but also because white potatoes often leave me feeling bloated and uncomfortable. So I guess it is just personal preference!

Now back to the recipe; I feel I need to warn you before we go any further (especially If you haven’t tried gnocchi before) to prepare yourself for the carb coma you will experience after a bowl (or three). It is one of those dishes that has you coming back for more, no matter how full you feel and it WILL have you feeling like you have committed carbocide! But I promise you it is totaaaally worth it!

This was quite a nostalgic dish for me to cook as I have fond memories of eating gnocchi as a child growing up. I remember helping my parents make the gnocchi, it was always so messy and took forever! I’d help roll and chop the dough, I got flour everywhere, and It always felt like I was waiting around for hours to be fed! With that in mind I was quite surprised when this whole meal only took me 30 minutes to make from start to finish… Result!

What are you waiting for? Have a go for yourselves!

What you will need for the Gnocchi:

  • 1 large sized sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 handfuls of spinach leafs, sauteed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

Get cooking!

  1. Boil/bake/microwave your sweet potato until it is soft and can be mashed. I microwaved mine to reduce any chance of sloppiness!
  2. While the potato is cooking saute your spinach with garlic. Then mix the coconut flour, egg, salt, and olive oil in a large bowl.
  3. Once cooked, peel the the sweet potato then mash it in a separate bowl. Once mashed add it to the bowl with the flour, egg, salt and olive oil then mix in the sauteed spinach.
  4. Use your hands to kneed the ingredients into a dough, gradually sprinkling in the cornstarch into the mixture.
  5. Now form the gnocchi balls by using your hands (I used the back of a teaspoon to measure mine so they were all roughly the same size! This helps when cooking as they should all be ready around the same time!)
  6. Cook the gnocchi in a big pan of already boiling water for no more than 2-3 minutes or until they pop up to the top. As these are not made with regular potato and flour they will seem a lot more soggy than usual gnocchi so I finished them off by throwing them in a saute pan for 1-2 minutes. Make sure to the stir the balls continuously or shake the pan by the handle to keep the balls from burning.

OK so now I have given you the recipe for possibly the yummiest Paleo friendly sweet potato gnocchi EVER (I am biased I know). Its time to decide on what sauce to enjoy them with… Oh the choices!

I would usually advise you to go for something light, like a plain tomato pasta sauce or a arrabiata sauce, but that would make me extremely hypocrytical as I had mine with a tomato and Italian sausage sauce! Mmmmm! I also may, or may not, of had a generous serving of fresh parmesan on top… Please don’t judge me, It was cheat day!

SO if you are feeling a little adventurous and fancy a bit of meat to go with these little balls of heaven, why not try the sauce for yourself?

Here is what you will need:

  • 4 Italian sausages
  • 1 tin of organic chopped tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • fresh basil and oregano to season
  • Tablespoon of balsamic vinegar (Would be lush with red wine but unfortunately I live in Dubai and wine isn’t that easy to buy!)

How to make the sauce:

  • Chop the sausages into small chunks and cook in some olive oil on a medium heat with the garlic and onion
  • Once browned add the chopped tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and herbs then simmer for  5-10 minutes.

The sauce will always be tastier the longer it is left so it is advisable to make it before anything else! Although I made mine very last minute and it was still delish!

Cue the carb coma!

J xx

 

 

 

Banana and Date Vegan Doughnuts topped with Crunchy Peanut Butter

imageSo I got a bad case of FOMD today (Fear Of Missing Doughnuts). They had like a HUNDRED Krispy Kremes delivered to work and everywhere I looked all I saw was doughnuts, doughnuts, doughnuts! The smell of sugar was overwhelming, so much so, I very almost gave in to one…. ALMOST! I saw one sat all alone in the box when I went to the canteen on lunch and kinda felt sorry for it, I wondered why nobody was eating it? I decided it must of been coffee flavour or something (urgh).

Anyway I got home, went to the gym but still couldn’t shift this urge for wanting a doughnut… Then it got got me thinking, I have NEVER attempted to make a healthy alternative to doughnuts! How crazy is that?! And so I set myself a challenge, surely it couldn’t be that difficult right?

I had some very ripe, spotty bananas which meant these doughnuts were destined to be banana flavour! The rest I kind of made up as I went along, which can always be hit and miss, but luckily they turned out great! It seems my throwing together of ingredients resulted in some delicious Banana and Date doughnuts, and guess what? They are totes VEGAN friendly! I know, it almost sounds to good to be true doesn’t it?!

What you will need:

  • 2 cups of mashed bananas (measured once mashed)
  • 2 cups of coconut flour (Would work with almond too)
  • 1 cup of pitted dates
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil melted
  • 2 tbsp of Almond Milk or milk of choice (Dairy Free)
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup agave honey
  • 1 and 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons of Stevia OR 1 tbsp more of Agave honey
  • optional: chopped walnuts, or shredded coconut ( I used 1/4 cup of shredded coconut)

Get baking!

  1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees.
  2. Combine dry ingredients, and mix well.( Do not over mix!)
  3. In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients and mix into dry. This should create a dough like mix. If you have a doughnut pan, grease and spoon in batter. I doughnut have one so I used my hands to mould these into doughnuts! (See what I did there!)
  4. Cook for 25-30 minutes.

Bingo! You should now be faced with the smell of freshly baked, tasty doughnuts! I spread some Raw crunchy Peanut butter on top of each of mine which compliments the banana and date taste just perfectly!

They last 2-3 days if kept in a sealed container and they can be frozen… However once my friends got wind of these they weren’t lying about for long!! Mmmmmm Doughnuts (Homer Simpson voice)

Bon appetite!

J xx