Best Ever Healthy Banana Bread

Wholemeal spelt banana bread

Healthy Banana Bread

This is such an easy loaf to make and is perfect for a new year treat that won’t send your sugar levels soaring. I used my husband and children to do the ‘taste test-drive’ on this. They are huge fans of my usual butter & sugar laden version, so this recipe needed their approval. Their opinions are easily swayed so I decided not to tell them them I had changed the recipe. It got the thumbs up from all with an added quip from my other half about how light it was. Perfect, there is now no going back to my usual recipe unless of course my cholesterol levels drop dangerously low!! Fat chance of that happening…..

It is very straight forward to make, uses maple syrup to sweeten instead of sugar and wholemeal spelt instead of white flour. It will make a great addition to our healthy lunch box tomorrow for the start of the new school term.

Ingredients:

3 medium ripe bananas (the riper the better!!)

2  organic eggs beaten

4 tablespoons of melted coconut oil or you could use a good quality cold pressed oil such as vegetable (neutral taste) or olive (more savoury flavour).

6 tablespoons of maple syrup (runny honey will also do)

250g Wholemeal Spelt Flour

1 tsp of baking soda

1 tsp of vanilla extract

1/2 tsp of cinnamon

60ml of water

A good pinch of salt.

 

Method:

Preheat your over to 165degrees celsius or 325 degrees fahrenheit.

Grease an line a 9 x 5 ” loaf tin.

In a large bowl, add the spelt flour and baking soda.

In a separate pot melt the coconut oil. Once melted turn off the heat and add the maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Now pour in the water and mix.

In a separate bowl add the beaten egg. Mash up the bananas until they are almost liquid. Add theses to the egg and mix well together.

The next step is to add the wet ingredients to the dry and fold the mixture carefully until everything is just combined and has formed a batter. There is no need to over mix this mixture.

Now pour into your tin, lightly dust with cinnamon  and place in the middle of the oven for 55 mins. Leave it to cool for a while in the tin before turning out.

This banana bread is wonderfully moist and should keep for up to 3 days in a bread bin, 3 days or so longer if kept in the fridge. It freezes well and should keep for up to 3 months.

Enjoy with a hot cup of tea! 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wholemeal Spelt Raspberry & Lemon Scones 

FullSizeRender (1)Spelt is my ‘go-to’ flour for baking. It is wholesome, lower in gluten than regular flour and wholemeal spelt has a delicious nutty texture that works so well with cookies and scones. If you want a delicious, nutritious scone that is free from sugar (I use honey, cinnamon and vanilla to sweeten) then you will love this incredibly quick recipe.

Ingredients:

500g wholemeal spelt

2 tsp baking powder

85g butter cut into small cubes

200g raspberries ( fresh or frozen)

Zest of 1 small lemon

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp honey

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup of milk

A handful of jumbo oats

Method:

Heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius (350 fahrenheit) and grease and dust a large baking tray  with flour.

Combine the flour, baking powder and butter and rub between your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. You can also stick it into your food processor and allow it to do the work for you just ensure you give it a good stir when your transfer it from your processor to the bowl. Now add the lemon zest and the raspberries and mix well. Frozen raspberries do not need to be defrosted fully just add and mix through. I prefer frozen fruit as the mixture is quite wet and the frozen fruit can make it easier to manage.

In a separate bowl add the milk, honey, lemon juice, cinnamon and vanilla extract and whisk together.

Making a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, combine the liquid mixture until it comes together and shape into a circle.  Now sprinkle the oats onto a board and press the scone mixture on top of the oats. Now turn onto the other side and cut into 8 equal sized triangles. Place on the baking tray and place in the middle of the oven.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the scones are a gorgeous golden colour.

Cool and enjoy with butter and raspberry jam.

 

 

 

 

No trick just treat: Sugar free, fat free ‘barn brack’ for Halloween

I make this great ‘Irish Barnbrack‘ otherwise known as my Mother’s healthy Halloween fruit cake. Barnbrack is a traditional Irish fruit cake made at Halloween however I rarely wait for Halloween on this one. I make it all year round. It’s free of sugar and butter and instead uses lots of dried fruit and a trick or two to give you a scrumptious healthy fruit cake that isn’t just for Halloween.

Healthy Halloween

No Trick Just Treat Healthy Halloween Brack

It is my Mother’s recipe. My Mother is the original ‘Green Bee’. By that I mean she appears to be a respectable middle class housewife but she is in fact an Eco minded hippie to her core….but she doesn’t know it. She always cooks from scratch and passed those skills on to me. Why eat something from a jar or a packet when you can make a more delicious version yourself for a fraction of the cost?? Well, the answer is because invariably convenience food is just that, it’s very convenient and saves time but there is a price to pay. Taste and nutritional value are lost. My mother thought, ‘then I must find the simplest and quickest ways to cook as time costs money’!
When I was a small child she was making her own muesli. In Dublin in the 1970’s, muesli eaters were a rare enough breed so to be making your own was so akin to being just plain odd. My Mother didn’t shout about it but quietly made large vats of the stuff which we (the kids) occasionally ate when the cornflakes or Weetabix were running low. All meals and desserts were made from scratch apart from the occasional Angel Delight . Tissue and wrapping paper was ironed and re-used. Vegetables and herbs were grown in the garden and we never took the car if we could walk or cycle. To be fair, my Mum couldn’t drive so the car was only driven when my Dad came home from work. My Parent’s are a product of the 2nd world war where rationing was part of every day life. Factory farming hadn’t reared it’s ugly head and to cap it all Ireland in the 1950’s was gripped by a deep and dark depression. Even those who had money had a different approach to consumption. Never throw something away that can be fixed or re-used and if you want rid of something re-home it instead of sending it to landfill. I am a great fan of websites that are dedicated to this; Jumbletown. is my favourite one and there are also plenty of Facebook pages that offer a similar service.

In the spirit of all things traditional give this recipe a go. It couldn’t be easier and how pleased will my Mother be!?!

Healthy Halloween Barn Brack


Healthy Halloween

Coin revealed

Healthy Halloween

Wrapped and ready

Healthy Halloween Brack   

Ingredients:
12 oz Dried fruit (califiornian raisins, cranberries, dried figs,
sultatnans are my favourite mix but it’s your choice)                   
1 Mug of Tea in which the fruit is steeped overnight (soak in a herbal fruit tea for added flavour)
8 ozs of sifted Self Raising Flour (wholemeal also works well with 1 teaspoon of baking powder)
1 Egg, lightly beaten with a fork
2 teaspoons mixed spice plus 1 teaspoon of n/meg or cinnamon
Method:
Soak the dried fruit in the tea overnight (8 hours)
Place in a mixing bowl and add the sifted flour, spices, egg and mix well
Fill the loaf tin with the mixture and add 3 good sized coins (a Euro or 2 Euro coin are perfect) wrapped well in greaeproof paper and hide within the mixture. This is a great Halloween Tradition and makes eating Brack even more exciting!
Place in the middle of the oven.
Cook for 1 hour at 180 degrees in a greased 10″ x 5′ Loaf tin.
Gently remove from the tin and allow to cool fully before slicing.

Prawn & vegetable Ramen: A meal of a soup

October has arrived and despite our brief Indian Summer the temperatures are slowly dropping. I’m keen to move my away from our Summer fodder and start moving towards something more on the ‘hearty’ side but I need to gently coax the children to join me on a healthy comfort eating odyssey. If we go straight to stews I’ll lose them so I need a go-between that will spike their curiosity & get them excited about our new Autumn dishes.

So, my first solution to this problem is Ramen. The younger two aren’t very adventurous so the reality of eating soggy noodles needs to be presented  carefully.  For them, I hold back on the miso soup when I’m serving but for the rest of us it really is a steamy, delicious bowl of heaven. It’s more than a soup and substantial enough for an evening meal but the greatest thing about this dish is that it is very quick to prepare and is extremely nutritious.

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South Indian style spicy vegetable curry

Vegetable curry

South Indian Style Spicy Vegeatable Curry

This is my own recipe and is intended to be an easy and nutritious vegan meal inspired by my holiday in India many years ago. It is not trying to be an authentic Indian curry but it is delicious none the less and it’s healthy.   Continue reading

Healthy Breakfast Granola Recipe

I’ve been slack.
Super Slack with a capital S this month with regards to writing and posting. I’m not going to apologise.
As someone very kindly pointed out today, Life happens and until I get myself sorted here is something to be getting on……..

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Good Granola costs an arm and a leg but here is a simple recipe that is quick and costs surprisingly little even when you use very fine ingredients. It cuts back on packaging so is not only simple and quick to make but is eco-friendly too. I make enough in one go to last me a week and it takes minutes.
For Christmas this year, everyone nearest and dearest to me got a jar.  It is made without sugar and uses the ‘oil du jour’, coconut oil. It is my favourite healthy breakfast.

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Wintery Red Split Lentils and Turnip Soup

imageMy youngest child is fascinated with turnips (!) so we set about finding a suitable recipe that would meet his expectations. He chose this delicious winter soup recipe from Stovetop Story that is fast becoming my ‘go-to’ site for recipe inspiration. in our house it has been renamed as Oscar’s French soup in honour of my youngest and Julie the wonderful French blogger who devised this recipe.
You will never look at a turnip in the same way again. Bon Apetit!

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recettebilingue

Another cold day, another warm soup! I realize that I posted a soup recipe last week already but to be perfectly honest with you, soups constitute about 50% of my diet as soon as the temperature drops. The other half is noodles, and even then I usually find a way to combine the two into noodle soup.

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Smokey Bonfire Soup

Halloween is almost here. Tomorrow in fact and my children are already at fever pitch at the prospect of dressing up, staying up late and collecting and consuming enough treats to keep a small nation on a sugar high for weeks.

Trying to approach this celebration in a meaningful eco-minded way has been a challenge. My children are making their own costumes with my help and the contents of our dressing-up box and my cosmetics bag. Another issue for me as a Mother is trying to get something wholesome into them on the big day itself to counteract (a little) the amount of junk they will consume and to keep them warm as they trudge out into the Winter’s night Trick or Treating.

This year I have adapted my kids favourite sauce that I created for them few years ago into a delicious heart warming  soup that is full of great tasting things like butternut squash, smoked paprika and the life enhancing coconut milk. I call it  ‘My Smokey Bonfire Soup’. Obviously this is pumpkin season so it can happily be substituted for butternut squash.

My Smokey Bonfire Soup 

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Ingredients:

1 medium butternut squash ( pumpkin can be easily substituted) cut into small chunks

1 red onion diced

1 stick of Celery finely sliced

1/2 yellow pepper diced

1/2 medium sweet potato cut into small chunks

200g  of tinned peeled plum tomatoes

1/5 teaspoon of smoked paprika.

200g of full fat coconut milk

A good glug of olive oil, black pepper & salt to taste and 1 teaspoon of dried mixed herbs

1 litre of homemade or good quality vegetable stock such as Marigold’s Swiss Bouillon.

Method

Fry the onion, celery & garlic gently in a heavy bottomed pot with the olive oil ensuring nothing browns. Add the butternut squash and cook for a further 5 minutes stirring regularly. Now add the pepper and sweet potato, again stirring regularly to avoid sticking to the bottom of  the pot. Once the vegetables begin to soften add the tomatoes and herbs.

Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes on a low to medium heat.  Now add the stock and simmer for a further 30 minutes. Once the vegetables have completely softened add the coconut milk and the smoked paprika. Be careful not to exceed the amount of smoked paprika as it has quite a powerful flavour.

Now heat thoroughly before blending and season to taste.

Enjoy. A meal in itself.