Category Archives: Coconut oil

Healthy Date, Walnut and Seed Truffles

I’ve been using various combinations of ingredients for these little sweet morsels, trying to keep the little girl’s mind on healthy treats.   And with Valentine’s Day at the end of the week, they also make a lovely gift for the one I love. 

healthy truffles

These are sugar-free, the dates gives them their super sweetness and the cocoa that soft chocolatey taste, the seeds and nuts are blitzed finely (or hidden in the case of the toddler) and the coconut oil makes these truffles silky smooth.   For children I would roll in a smoother coating such as ground almonds or coconut rather than chopped nuts.

Healthy Date, Walnut and Seed Truffles

Prep TIme:  30 minutes
Chilling Time:  20 minutes
Makes 20-24

 Ingredients

125g dates
50g walnuts
50g mix of sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, flaxseeds
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon coconut oil
100g fresh blueberries

To finish: flaxseeds, cocoa, chopped or ground almonds,
chopped hazelnuts, coconut

Method

Soak the dates in warm water for a few minutes to soften, then blitz the dates, walnuts and seed mixture in a food processor until smooth.

Add the cocoa powder, coconut oil and blueberries and gently pulse until well combined. Place the mixture in the fridge for an hour to firm up a little.

Form into small balls and roll in coatings of your choice, see above for suggestions.

These truffles will keep in the fridge for a week, not that I’ve ever had to test out that theory!

Quick Nutritional Info:

Dates are rich in Polyphenols, a plant antioxidant that has a higher capacity to reduce oxidative stress.  An excellent source of Potassium, Calcium and magnesium, with a good balance of manganese, zinc, copper, iron and selenium.  Vitamin K and B complex.

Walnuts:  Good source of Potassium, iron and magnesium, plus B6  and omega 3 fats.

Cocoa Powder (unsweetened):  Phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium, flavenoids.

Linking up with

Eat Your Veg
Bangers & Mash

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Coconut Almond Fruit Loaf

I am slightly obsessed with coconut oil, I’ve been using it in cooking and baking , in place of butter on my toast and the little girl loves it straight from the spoon!  

Coconuts contain trace amounts of some micronutrients, vitamins E & K plus a little iron.  Coconut oil is high in lauric acid, a saturated fat that enhances the immune system through its antiviral and antibacterial effects.  It is mostly made up of  MCFA’s (medium chain fatty acids) and is said to speed up metabolism and be good for your joints.  It is a stable oil when used at high temperatures and easily digested.  There are studies that show that lauric acid can increase your HDL (healthy) cholesterol and lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol.

I’ve been experimenting a little with adding coconut oil into my baking, it really is a great addition.  I made some muffins the other day using only coconut oil for the fat but although they were all scoffed down quickly by the family it made the muffins a little dense and heavy.  My Coconut Almond Fruit Loaf has butter and coconut oil and it is a great combination as the loaf turned out superbly and along with the buttermilk content, made a wonderfully moist cake.  I wanted to use coconut sugar instead of regular caster sugar but couldn’t find it, the 3 year old has probably relocated it to her kiddy kitchen!

coconut cake Collage

Coconut Almond Fruit Loaf

Makes: 8-10 slices (plus 2 end wedges!)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Baking Time: 1 hour

Pre-heat your oven to 160C, gas 4 & grease and line a large loaf tin

Ingredients

75g unsalted butter, softened
20g organic virgin coconut oil, softened
zest of 1 lemon
1tsp vanilla extract
85g golden caster sugar
2 large organic eggs, lightly beaten
200g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
70g shredded/dessicated coconut
50g ground almonds
200ml buttermilk
150g raisins, apricots, sultanas
(or whatever your favourite mix is)

Method

Beat the butter and coconut oil with the sugar until creamy.  Add the lemon zest and vanilla extract with the eggs and gradually beat in.

Sift in the flour and baking powder and lightly fold into the butter/coconut/egg mixture.

Add the coconut, ground almonds, buttermilk and dried fruit and fold in until well combined.

Pour into the prepared loaf tin and bake for around 1 hour or until baked through (check with a piece of dried spaghetti, it should come out clean when ready) and golden brown.

Enjoy with a hot, steaming cup of tea.

I’ll be tweaking this one a little more to perfect the bake but pretty pleased with it so far!

 

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Crafts on Sea

Mixed Berry Oatmeal Yoghurt Bars

We love yoghurt, I love the way that Miss ND gets the giant tub out of the fridge each morning and spoons some into a bowl and just eats it, no sweeteners, just plain yoghurt, it’s like an appetiser before her main breakfast.  I am so pleased I have managed (so far) to keep her taste buds on the less sweet side, she is used to my baking with less sugar!

I usually have around a quarter of a tub left when I feel I need a fresh tub so have been looking at recipes to include yoghurt and have been compiling a folder of things to try.  We use Total Greek Yoghurt, it’s so thick and lush, we like the full fat kind, but you could use the 0% or 2% in any of the recipes.   I find a lot of recipes that use yoghurt only use a small amount, this recipe uses a good dollop!

Total Greek Yoghurt have a challenge going on Twitter at the moment, I’m not on Twitter nearly enough so have just found it, so today I am making their Mixed Berry Oatmeal Bars which I am hoping will be a healthy lunchbox favourite with Miss ND and maybe a little treat with my tea.  You can find the recipe on their extensive recipe site here where they have a week’s worth of recipes using yoghurt, I shall be cherry picking my way through them!

oatbar Collage

The oats in the recipe provide fibre and if using raisins, a good source of iron.  I’ve only made a couple of  tweaks, one to reduce the sugar and the other to substitute the sunflower oil for coconut oil, our oil (along with olive oil) of choice.  Pleased to see an egg white in the recipe too, always have an egg white or 6 hanging about in the fridge or freezer (I freeze them labelling the amount on the bag, makes it easy to whip however many I need for a recipe), this also adds to the protein content of the bars along with the yoghurt content.

oatbar

 

Mixed Berry Oatmeal Bars were very easy to pull together and really delicious and filling too, I think the little girl is going to like these!

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Roasted Vine-ripened Tomato and Red Pepper Soup

I still have fond memories of a steaming hot bowl of tomato soup and a buttered roll after a long walk or run in the freezing cold.  These days the amount of soup choices are many and varied but sometimes I just have to go back to Tomato soup. 

 

I like to use a mix of cherry tomatoes and larger vine-ripened tomatoes but will go with whatever is in the fridge and needs to be used.  Also because I am not a huge fan of red peppers my recipe is more tomato based, but you can, of course, double or triple the amount of red peppers to your own taste.  The soup can be made a couple of days in advance and can be frozen.

Both Tomatoes and Red Peppers provide a healthy serving of immunity boosting nutrients.  They are a fantastic source of anti-oxidants especially beta-carotene and vitamin C, both are especially high in lycopene, which gives them their vivid red colour.

Prep time:  15 minutes
Cooking time:  40 minutes
Serves: 2 and a tiddler 

Pre-heat your oven to 220°C, 200° fan, gas 7

Ingredients

600g Tomatoes
1 large red pepper, halved and de-seeded
1 red or white onion, finely chopped
1-2 tablespoons of tomato purée*
1 litre of homemade vegetable stock
Seasoning

*I use Sainsburys Tomato and Vegetable purée

Arrange the red peppers and tomatoes in an oiled roasting tin and give a good swirl in the oil coating them all.  Season with a little salt and pepper.  Roast for around 20-25 minutes until soft.

Gently fry the onion until soft then stir in the tomato purée and combine well.  Add the roasted peppers and tomatoes, then add the stock.  Bring to the boil then simmer for 15 minutes.  Leave to cool before blending until smooth, season as necessary.

Lovely served with Seeded Thins spread thinly with coconut oil, my favourite oil!

Nutritional Info:

Tomatoes – Vitamins A, B3, B5, B6, Biotin, Folic Acid, C, E, K, beta-carotene, Lycopene, Calcium, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Molybdenum, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc.

Red Peppers – Vitamins B3, B6, Biotin, Folic Acid, C, E, K, beta-carotene, Lycopene, Calcium, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc.

 

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Almond Breeze Almond Milk – Competition

I have been using nut milks for some time as I have an allergy to cow’s milk, they are a great alternative for people who are also lactose intolerant and are vegetarians or vegans.  Almond milk can be used just like normal milk, in your hot drinks, on your cereal and is excellent in smoothies. 

Almond Breeze® is lactose free, dairy free and soya free and has no added sugars. It’s made using all natural ingredients, is a source of calcium and low in saturated fat.  When I saw the Almond Breeze® advert on TV (love the narrator’s soothing voice) I was pleased to see an unsweetened version for myself and the usual Original version for toddler ND. 


Almonds are rich in dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals and are packed with numerous health promoting phyto-chemicals, they are an excellent source of vitamin E, B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, and folic acid.  They are also an amazing source of minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, manganese and selenium.

Smoothies are a fabulous opportunity to infuse more nutrition into our children and ourselves too!  So many exciting combinations of fruits, vegetables (yes hidden vegetables!), nuts and seeds.  I also love a nightcap with warmed almond milk and cocoa for a seamless, soothing night’s sleep. The possibilities are seemingly endless! 

Some days a smoothie is all I want for breakfast, especially if I’m running late or on a fast day when I need breakfast to last until dinner! The unsweetened version of Almond Breeze®
has a mere 29 calories per 200ml and as I am still on the 5:2 diet with 11lbs lost and kept off simply by fasting twice a week I am keen to keep it up – a supercharged, supernutritious, superfood smoothie fits the brief!

Some days the toddler ND likes to copy mummy and drink her breakfast too, who am I to argue, have you tried arguing with a 2 year old, huh?

Smoothies are easy to put together and can be ready in record time.  I never get anything in especially, all the ingredients in my smoothies are in my store-cupboard and fridge.  The addition of Chia, Linseeds, superfruits, Avocado and Coconut oil bumps up the nutritional value significantly – healthy fats and concentrated nutrition.

Foodies100 and Almond Breeze® are teaming up with a competition to challenge us to come up with a super breakfast smoothie for a great way to start the day.  Here is one of mine plus an extra one for my child.

Healthier is a Breeze….. Goodness is now gorgeous!

Almond Breeze® Superfood Smoothie


Ingredients


200ml Almond Breeze® Unsweetened Almond Milk
1 tablespoon Chia seeds – see info below
1 tablespoon Golden Linseeds – rich in Omega 3
a good dollop of 0% Natural Greek Yogurt (for extra protein)
1 generous teaspoon of Coconut oil – see info below
half a small Avocado – see info below
Blueberries and Strawberries -antioxidant rich

half teaspoon Cinnamon – lowers blood sugar levels
Almond milk ice cubes

Add all of the ingredients except the ice to a smoothie maker or blender and whizz up for a couple of minutes till smooth.  The Chia and Linseeds will thicken in the glass if left but this does have the benefit of keeping you fuller for longer.  Chill in the fridge for a few minutes then add the Almond milk ice cubes.  Drink slowly and enjoy the health benefits!


Fruitful Almond Breeze® Smoothie Goodness – for toddler ND

Ingredients

100ml Almond Breeze®  Original Almond Milk
1 tablespoon Oatmeal
Blueberries/Raspberries/Strawberries
1 tablespoon (or so) Avocado
half a teaspoon coconut oil

As before, whizz up in blender or smoothie maker, add a splash more Almond Milk as necessary to adjust consistency, serve in plastic beaker with a straw! 

Quick Nutritional Info:

Avocado rich in monounsaturated (good) fats, vitamin A, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, E, Folic Acid and Potassium.  Phytonutrient compounds found in avocados, such as polyphenols and flavonoids have also been found to have anti-inflammatory properties. 
Chia seeds twice the protein of any other seed or grain, the protein is a complete protein with all 8 essential amino acids and 5 times the calcium of milk plus boron.  With more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon, a wealth of antioxidants – four times higher ORAC value than blueberries and 3 times more iron than spinach.
Coconut oil contains lauric acid and medium-chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs), it is thermogenic which helps to burn more calories to speed up metabolism and aid weight loss amongst other health benefits!

*I did not receive any free samples of Almond Breeze®, both cartons were purchased by myself.