Healthy Rice Crispy Buns

I made this recipe for my food demo at Cork Vegfest recently so here’s the recipe.  They’re our favourite treat at the moment, though the kids keep giving out to me because I keep eating too many.  But they’re so quick to make that I can just whip up another batch when I eat them all!  They’re really yummy but I can’t eat just one.

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Rice crispy buns were always my favourite thing to make for parties, because they’re so quick and easy to make.  These are a healthier version but taste just as good (or better) in my opinion.  I like to store them in the freezer so me and the kids have a quick snack any time we feel like it.  They’d be really handy to have in the freezer for if your kids have friends over or something.

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They’re made with wholegrain puffed rice, peanut butter (I use Meridian brand which is 100% peanuts), cacao powder and are naturally sweetened, so are really healthy.  They also have some extra healthy stuff added, so I know the kids are getting a lot of goodness from them.

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You could make different variations of them, use a different kind of nut butter if you don’t like peanut butter (hazelnut butter makes a nutella flavour rice crispy bun!), or sunflower seed butter if you’re allergic to nuts, you could leave out the cacao to just have a peanut buttery version, or add in different extra ingredients like chia seeds, chopped nuts, etc.  I think vegan mini marshmallows are delicious in this recipe!

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Ingredients:

Makes about 15 buns

1 cup of peanut butter (preferably no added sugar or salt)

1/4 cup of cacao powder

1/4 cup of agave syrup (or other vegan liquid sweetener)

3 cups of wholegrain puffed rice cereal

Optional extras: I used 2 tbsp ground flax seeds, a small handful of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and raisins

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How they’re made:

Add the peanut butter, cacao powder and agave syrup to a food processor or large bowl and mix thoroughly.  (If the peanut butter you use is a little dry then you might need to add some extra agave syrup to make the mixture easy enough to mix.  A food processor helps for this recipe but isn’t necessary.)

Stir in the wholegrain puffed rice cereal by hand, and the optional extras, until well combined with the chocolatey sauce.

Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases and put in the freezer for 30 minutes or more.  I like to eat these straight from the freezer, though you can store them in the fridge too (they’ll be more sticky if stored in the fridge).

Warning, these are quite messy for toddlers to eat!

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Chocolate Orange Energy Bites

I used to always make these kind of energy bites or energy bars before until my food processor broke.  I used the food processor almost every day so was so sad!  I got by with just a small smoothie maker for some things, but it can’t blend up dates and nuts.  I kept meaning to replace the food processor and finally did recently, so I can make a lot more healthy treats like these!  (My food processor is a Kenwood Multipro Compact which I love, but I think you could make these in any kind of food processor.)

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Oran has been a bit sick for a few days, just a bit of a fever and cough.  He’s still eating plenty but I wanted to make something to give him plenty of energy, and a nice treat for him.  And something to distract me from eating the kids’ leftover Easter eggs!  (They got bored of chocolate when they finished their white chocolate eggs, so there’s still dark chocolate ones.)

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These are really easy and quick to make, but taste great.  It’s easy to make different variations, and you can use different nuts or oats.  People usually use 1 cup of pitted dates to 1 cup of nuts/oats, then add whatever else you want to flavour it or add more goodness.  So it’s easy to remember that, and as long as you don’t add too much liquid ingredients then you can’t go wrong.  This time I made chocolate orange flavour.

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I made these with a mixture of walnuts and oats, and the dates, with some cocoa powder, orange zest, orange juice and ground flaxseeds.  The walnuts and flaxseeds provide omega 3, and I’m trying to eat more walnuts because I never remember to include them in my diet.  I think I like making this with a mixture of nuts and oats best, it gives them a nice texture and provides plenty of protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates.  So they’re very healthy and good to give you energy quickly, but also a nice sweet treat.  They’re also handy for kids’ lunch boxes (if the school is nut free, make them with just oats or try seeds like pumpkin and sunflower seeds).  They’re the perfect size for little toddler hands to hold, and are a good snack for baby led weaning too!

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Ingredients:

Makes about 10 energy bites

1 cup of pitted dates

1/2 cup of walnuts

1/2 cup of oats

2 tbsp cocoa powder

2 tbsp ground flaxseeds (optional)

Zest of half an orange

Juice of 1/4-1/2 an orange

How it’s made:

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend.  I used the juice of half an orange but start off with adding the juice of a quarter and add more until the mixtures comes together so that you can roll it into balls, but so that it’s not too wet.

Form the mixture into balls with your hands and store in the fridge.

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Healthy Vegan Protein Pancakes

I love pancakes for breakfast.  It always feels like a treat and the kids always eat them, even when they’re really healthy!  I like to try to make them as healthy as possible, not too much sugar, and lots of nutritious stuff added.  I’ve seen a lot of people making “protein pancakes”, and wanted to make a healthier and vegan version!

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I’m not usually a fan of regular protein powders.  I think we can usually get enough protein from our food.  But I do love adding seeds and nuts to food to provide more protein and healthy fats.  That Protein sent me some of their pumpkin and chia seed protein powder to try out, and I was very happy to see it was simply made of pumpkin seed protein powder and whole chia seeds.  To make the pumpkin seed protein powder, they cold-press pumpkin seeds to partially remove the fat, but keep some fat to provide omega 3, then they grind them up.  The chia seeds are whole and are also a great vegan source of omega 3.  Pumpkin seeds also contain all the essential amino acids.  So this sounded like a really healthy product that I would be happy to eat, and seemed really handy to use to add to meals or smoothies.  I decided to try it out in these protein pancakes and it worked really well.  It added a lovely slightly nutty taste.  I also tried it in smoothies, and it tasted great and didn’t give that powdery texture that some protein powders can have.

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You could also simply grind up your own seeds for this recipe if you like.  I would use pumpkin seeds, a little flax seed, and some chia, whatever else you like too.  I used nut butter or tahini in the recipe to add some extra protein and healthy fat too.  I added a little maple syrup to sweeten these, but not too much, so you can add extra maple syrup as a topping afterwards if they’re not sweet enough.  I add some maple syrup to my portion but not for the kids and they are happy to eat them without it.  The oats make them extra healthy, as well as some banana, and coconut oil is a healthier oil to fry with.  You could use wholegrain, spelt or gluten free flour (and oats) if you like.

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Ingredients:

1 cup of oats

1 cup of self raising flour

1/4 cup of vegan protein powder or ground seeds (chia, pumpkin, flax seeds, etc.)

1 mashed banana

1 tbsp. nut butter or tahini

2 tbsp. maple syrup

2 cups of unsweetened soy milk (or other plant milk)

Coconut oil (for frying)

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How it’s made:

Grind the oats using a food processor (or use oat flour, a bit less than a cup)

Mix the ground oats, flour and protein powder/ground seeds in a large bowl.

Add the mashed banana, nut butter/tahini, maple syrup and milk and whisk until combined.

Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and oil it lightly with coconut oil before frying each batch of pancakes.

Pour 1/4 cup of the batter onto the frying pan for each pancake.

Fry each pancake for a few minutes either side, until lightly brown on either side.

Serve with fruit, maple syrup, nut butter, etc.

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Raspberry and Almond Crumble Squares

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These raspberry and almond crumble squares are like really nice fancy flapjacks, but pretty healthy.  They have no oil,  no refined sugar, contain loads of goodness in the raspberries, bananas, almonds and oats, and are very much mini-vegan approved and mammy approved.  Me and the kids had to test lots of them for the blog, and the rest keep disappearing from the fridge now!

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They are also handy for baby led weaning, and the raspberries make them wonderfully messy!  They’re a great treat for toddlers, and good for picnics or lunchboxes.  We eat them for breakfast or as a snack or even dessert.

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This can also easily be made gluten free by using a gluten-free flour mix (I used Dove’s Farm gluten free plain flour) and gluten free oats.  Or you can use normal wheat flour or a mix of white and wholegrain flour would be lovely.

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Ingredients:

2 cups plain flour

2 cups oats plus a handful for the crumble

1 cup ground almonds

4 bananas

4 tbsp. agave syrup (maple syrup or date syrup will work too)

125g raspberries

A handful of flaked almonds

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How it’s made:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Line a square cake tin with greaseproof paper or use a non-stick tin.

In a large bowl mix the flour, 2 cups of oats, and ground almonds.

Mash or blend the bananas until fairly smooth.  Mix the banana and agave syrup into the flour mixture.  I find it easiest to mix it with my hands to really smoosh it all together.

Press the mixture into the cake tin and press down on it using your fingers or the back of a spoon.

Sprinkle the raspberries on top.  Slightly press them into the mixture so they stick.

Bake for 10 minutes until the oven.

After the 10 minutes, sprinkle a handful of oats and flaked almonds on top and return to the oven for 10 more minutes until the almonds are toasted, keeping an eye on it so the almonds don’t burn.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  Then slice it into squares and take out of the tin.

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Peanut Butter and Banana Waffles

So many people told me they liked my blueberry waffle recipe so I thought I’d post another one of my favourites, peanut butter and banana waffles.  I’m loving anything peanut butter and banana flavour recently, and this recipe is especially good.  The waffles have no added sugar, but have sweetness from the banana, so are great for kids.  I add maple syrup to my portion afterwards, but the kids like them without syrup.  The peanut butter adds protein and healthy fat to the waffles, and the banana adds fibre and vitamins, and makes them more filling.  Feel free to replace some of the flour with oats or oat flour if you like, like in my blueberry waffle recipe, it’s nice either way.  Try to use a peanut butter without added salt and sugar to make it as healthy as possible.  I like Meridian brand peanut butter, which is made with 100% roasted peanuts and is so so delicious!

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Ingredients:

(Makes about 12 waffles)

2 bananas

2 tbsp. peanut butter

2.5 cups of unsweetened soy milk (or other plant milk)

2.5 cups of self-raising flour

Extra peanut butter and banana to serve

Maple syrup to serve (optional)

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How it’s made:

Blend up the bananas, peanut butter and plant milk in a blender or food processor.

Whisk together the banana/peanut butter/milk mixture with the flour in a large bowl.

Cook in a waffle maker according to manufacturer’s instructions (they take about 5 minutes).

Serve with sliced banana, a dollop of peanut butter and a drizzle of maple syrup if you like.

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Healthy Blueberry Waffles

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These waffles taste great and also make a really nutritious breakfast, snack or dessert.  They’re really quick to make and have only five ingredients.  They have loads of goodness from the oats, bananas and blueberries, and contain no added sugar or oil.  I don’t even add any natural sweeteners to the batter.  The bananas make them sweet enough for my kids even without any maple syrup on top, but I do like maple syrup on mine!

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Ingredients:

(Serves 4)

1 cup of oats

1.5 cups of self-raising flour

2 bananas

2 cups of unsweetened soy milk (or other plant milk)

100g blueberries

Maple syrup to serve

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How it’s made:

Grind the oats in a food processor or blender until they form a powder.  Or alternatively you can leave them whole.

Add the flour and oats to a large mixing bowl.

Mash the bananas or blend up in a food processor.

Add the bananas and soy milk to the bowl and whisk everything together.

Add the blueberries to the bowl and mix in.

Cook in a waffle maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Serve with maple syrup if you like.  For kids you can serve them without the syrup if you want them to have less sugar.

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Pineapple, Mango and Coconut Nice-Cream

My 3 year old kept asking me for ice-cream this morning so I made this.  His verdict was, “mmmmm mmmmm too nice!”

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Ingredients:

1 cup of frozen chopped pineapple

1 cup of frozen chopped mango

1/4 cup of desiccated coconut (small coconut flakes)

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How it’s made:

Put all the ingredients in a food processor or through a sorbet maker and blend together.  Stir to mix well, and serve immediately.  Alternatively you can sprinkle the coconut on top, but I like the texture of it in the ice-cream.