Magic Bullet; Four Fun Recipes

Happy Thursday guys! I’ve been busy this week experimenting with recipes using my new Magic Bullet, so I thought I’d share some of my favourite creations on here with you.  After shopping around online I found this Magic Bullet blender, mixer and food processor on Amazon for just £34.99, a fraction of the price you’d pay for a NutriBullet. It comes with all the essential extras including small and large blender cups, a stay fresh lid, a steamer lid and a flip top lid for on the go. All of the parts are easily washable and its sleek, compact design makes this the perfect counter top utensil.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe set also came with a handy recipe guide full of useful tips and tricks for making the most of this versatile machine. I was excited to learn you can even make cocktails with it! Anyway, here are some of my own creations for some healthy food inspo.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStarting with the most basic of recipes I have tried so far, I decided to make my own almond butter from scratch. The principle is simple: roast a bag of plain unsalted almonds, pour into the processor and blend until a nut butter consistency is formed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow this does take some time and patience, so I would allow about 10-15 minutes of processing and every so often opening the cup to combine all of the almonds. It’s very satisfying when the butter does finally come together and seeing the consistency progress until a super creamy almond butter is formed.

Edit00013You can see from this series of photos as the texture changed – the more you blend it, the more creamy and smooth it becomes. It is however important to note that the Magic Bullet did seem to get very hot during this whole process, so do make sure to take regular breaks for it to cool down.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was surprised at how well this turned out and the amount it made from just 200 grams of almonds. You can of course try this method to make any kind of nut butter and perhaps experiment adding some flavourings such as salt or honey to enhance the taste. This is such a pure and wholesome home made alternative to store brought nut butters, which often come packed with unnecessary sugars and oils.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy next recipe is another simple 3 ingredient store cupboard staple useful for breakfasts or a sweet snack anytime of day. Rawnola is a stripped back healthy take on granola using only dates, oats and coconut. For a single serve I just used 2 medjool dates, half a cup of rolled oats and a quarter of a cup of desiccated coconut.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlitz the dates a few times before adding the other ingredients, then just a few more 10 second pulses and the rawnola is formed. Be careful not to over blend it though as it will become too dusty, whereas the desired consistency is little clusters like a granola. Believe it or not, this actually tastes like cookie dough!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe original creator of this recipe, Loni Jane, became an Instagram sensation with her creation back in 2012 and ever since people have gone mad for this nutritious delicious snack. Whilst I enjoy using rawnola in a cereal bowl soaked in coconut milk and topped with plenty of fruit, the possibilities don’t end there. Try rolling the mixture into bliss balls, enjoy sprinkled on top of smoothie bowls, bake in the oven for a crunch or even add chocolate for an extra sweet treat.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARawnola can be made in single batches as I have done here, or alternatively multiply the ingredients to make a larger batch which can be stored in a jar for up to a week in the fridge. No additives, no preservatives or artificial flavours, just a pure wholesome snack which will have you reaching for more!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith summer heating up here in England, my go-to recipe with the Magic Bullet has definitely been smoothie bowls. There are numerous combinations and flavours to try with smoothies and with just a few simple tips, you’re sure to have a super thick bowlful every time. Frozen banana, ice cubes and of course the work of the Magic Bullet will provide you with the basis for a perfect consistency whatever combo you opt for.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrozen fruits are preferable and I’ve even tried adding a little bit of frozen cauliflower to fluff up my smoothies, which actually worked really well and added volume to my bowl. Serve in a coconut for those tropical aesthetic vibes and don’t skimp on those toppings, particularly the rawnola!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFinally, moving onto a savoury recipe, I decided to make a roasted butternut squash and carrot puree. This is another useful one for meal prep, as the mixture can be stored in a jar and kept in the fridge for a ready made sauce or even just a dip.

Edit00030Once again this is a super simple process using minimal ingredients. For 1 jar full, cut about half of a butternut squash and 1 carrot for roasting. Bake for around 20 minutes, then place in the food processor along with garlic powder, salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and a dash of almond milk. Begin to blend and gradually add a little water to loosen the mixture until a thick puree is formed. Taste and adjust seasoning as required, perhaps adding more nutritional yeast if you would like a cheesy sauce.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI used a tablespoon of this batch straight away for a creamy pasta and stored the rest in a jar for the week. Again, I would encourage you to get creative with this idea as you could use many other combinations of vegetables and seasonings, such as sweet potato and chipotle or cauliflower and cheese.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUpon review of the Magic Bullet, I am extremely impressed with the diversity of ways in which you can utilise it’s functions. Having one small and compact device which blends, mixes and processes food all in one makes food prep quick, easy and fuss free. I can’t wait to try some of the suggested recipes in the booklet and I know those handy on the go lids will come in useful when I finally return to work.

Nourish Bowls; Zero Waste Dinners

When it comes to minimising food waste and making the most of your weekly grocery shop, the key is to have some basic store cupboard essentials as well as a little imagination. Using different herbs, spices, dressings and dips can turn the simplest of meals into something super tasty. Here are a few ideas for how you could create some healthy dinners packed with wholesome ingredients.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA simple vegetable dahl is a great way of using up those veggies and can easily be adapted according to what you have in stock. I used curry powder, a few chilli flakes and coconut milk to flavour the sautéed vegetables before adding the cooked lentils. Alternatively, you could easily swap those spices for any curry paste you may have leftover and replace the coconut milk for any kind of milk or plain yoghurt for an equally creamy consistency.

Edit00001My favourite nourishing bowl which always leaves me full and satisfied is a take on the classic buddha bowl. Choose a grain of choice for your base along with a generous mountain of salad greens, then top with your herby roasted veggies and sprinkle with seeds. I also finished this bowl with my current go-to dressing of hummus mixed with lemon juice and a splash of water. Any kind of creamy dressing you have to hand would work well on this too as well as those extra goodies like nuts, seeds or even a soft boiled egg for some extra protein.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you’re looking to vamp up your vegetables or perhaps win over that person who doesn’t usually enjoy them, making a simple batter or coating them in breadcrumbs and then baking, can turn veggies into something far more indulgent and appealing. I recently discovered the wonder of buffalo cauliflower wings (recipe on my blog – https://danianeka.wordpress.com/2020/05/19/recipe-buffalo-cauli-wings/) from which the batter made of flour and milk could also be used to coat any thickly sliced vegetable before roasting. Breadcrumbs mixed with parmesan or nutritional yeast if you’re vegan, is another way of adding a decedent crunch to your veg, particularly good on courgette chips.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHaving a well stocked pantry with the essentials is the secret to always having the means to throw together a balanced meal with whatever is going in the fridge. Know what your preferred herbs and spices are as these change the entire flavour of a dish. My current go-to ones would be garlic powder, herbs de provence (a mix of Italian herbs), paprika, curry powder and chilli flakes as well as the standard salt and pepper. In regards to a carb source I usually opt for couscous, quinoa, lentils, beans, chickpeas, pasta or noodles, again the typical store cupboard basics.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd finally, I am a condiment queen so I rarely have a meal without some kind of dressing or dip. Balsamic vinegar, hot sauce, ketchup and bbq sauce are my essentials, as well as chutneys and pickles which you will always find in my fridge. Whilst it’s good to use up fresh condiments such as hummus first, having some long life sauces are super handy for that finishing touch on your bowl of goodness. If your veggies are really on the turn, you could even make your own pickles, chutneys and reserves from scratch. These are just some tips and tricks on how you could make your groceries last longer and create delicious nutritious dinners from ingredients that may have otherwise gone to waste.

Slow Morning Oatmeal

Happy bank holiday Monday 🙂 I can’t quite believe it’s the end of the month already, where has May gone? As we dive into summertime and dawn breaks earlier and earlier, I find it harder to sleep in as late as usual. This has helped me get back into a better morning routine of working out first thing, making my bed, getting dressed and enjoying a hearty breakfast to kick start my day.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe weather may be warming up, but I still love to make my favourite oatmeal topped with fresh fruits and creamy peanut butter. I often add apple slices to thicken the oatmeal and with it being berry season, juicy red strawberries and warmed blueberry compote are my current toppings of choice.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis breakfast is so satisfying and keeps me full until the afternoon. Balanced with carbs, fats and natural sugars, my oatmeal bowl replenishes my body after a workout whilst helping to build muscle too.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAServed in an aesthetic coconut bowl complete with a wooden spoon, this reminds me of the beautiful acai bowls we had almost everyday in Bali. Simply warming the blueberries in a splash of water creates that dreamy pool of purple jam to sweeten the oatmeal without artificial sugars.

Edit 6The simple pleasure of taking the time to sit down and enjoy my delicious brekkie is definitely something I will miss when I return to work. I take this moment to plan my objectives for the day and have a browse of my favourite blogs for inspiration and ideas. I’ve really tried to use this period of lockdown as an opportunity to be innovative and learn some new skills too, because sometimes I think it takes a little slower pace in life to reignite that passion for learning and creating.

Recipe; Buffalo Cauli Wings

Another week down and I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen yet again, this time trying a savoury snack I’ve seen popping up on my social feeds. One of my favourite vegetables is definitely cauliflower, so when I saw this pimped up version with a spicy twist, I had to try it for myself!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe ingredients are actually pretty simple and the sort of things you may have in your kitchen cupboard at home. The spicy dipping sauce is just maple syrup (or I used golden syrup) mixed with hot sauce, then for the cauliflower batter you need:

1 cup of flour, 1 cup of soya milk (or any milk of preference), 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon of paprika, salt and pepper to taste and 1 head of cauliflower cut into large florets.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMake sure to pre-heat the oven to approximately 180 degrees (fan assisted) and line a tray with baking paper beforehand as things get messy from here! In a large mixing bowl whisk the flour, milk, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper until combined, before dipping each floret of cauliflower into the mixture. They must be fully covered but not dripping too much.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce all of the cauliflower is coated and ready on the baking tray, oven cook for 25 minutes, flipping halfway through. Meanwhile, whisk together the syrup and hot sauce to taste, ready to drizzle over the finished wings as well as saving some extra for dipping.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI plated mine up with some spring onions and coriander to garnish. These turned out to be super tasty and perfect wing texture with that crispy batter crunch coating the tender cauliflower florets. Being so spicy, I would definitely serve these with a cooling yoghurt or tatziki style dip next time along with some more fresh salad too.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese would be perfect finger food for a party and are even relatively cheap and easy to make, not to mention a whole lot healthier than your usual buffalo wings. I love finding these awesome recipe hacks which mean we can enjoy some healthier alternatives to those more indulgent treats.

Recipe; Raw Brownie Treats

Happy Monday! The weather hasn’t been quite as glorious over the past week here in England, so I’ve found myself buzzing about the kitchen trying more new recipes. I got inspired to try these healthy brownies after seeing my favourite blogger Janni Deler make them on her YouTube channel.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe recipe is super simple, you just need medjool dates, walnuts (although I used plain mixed nuts as that’s what we had in stock) and cacao powder. Start by blending the nuts then adding the medjool dates and finally cacao powder until a thick sticky batter is formed. Spoon out the mixture into a lined baking tin and use your hands to smooth out the batter to the desired thickness for your brownies. This bit can be quite messy so roll up those sleeves and don’t wear white!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor the topping simply melt coconut oil, honey and more cacao powder on the hob until a liquid consistency, before pouring over the brownies making sure to cover all of the top. I chose to sprinkle coconut chips on mine at this point (optional addition) and then left the brownies to set in the fridge for at least an hour.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce set, cut into bitesize chunks as big or small as you like. These are super rich and gooey, so store in the fridge and take out 15 minutes or so before serving. You can experiment using different nuts in the mixture and whatever toppings you prefer, but the essential basis to these are just 3 wholesome ingredients and require very little effort to make. Simple, indulgent and believe it or not, healthy brownie treats! Let me know if you try these and what you think – enjoy 🙂

Whipped Coffee Creations

As TikTok continues to grow and provide us with endless entertainment from friends, family and celebs, it’s also become the number one platform for sharing current trends and creative ideas in quarantine. One of the recipes originally made on a TikTok which I soon saw all over my social media, was homemade whipped coffee, officially known at Dalgona Coffee.

Edit 1I was intrigued to try this sweet treat for myself and pleasantly surprised at the simple list of ingredients required. Taking the above recipe which I found on Instagram, I swapped the sugar for stevia sweetener and opted for soya milk.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt certainly takes a good 10 minutes of whisking if done by hand, but be patient and soon your coffee will form a creamy butterscotch foam. As I prefer a less milky coffee, a short tumbler glass with large ice cubes is my favourite way to enjoy this beverage.

Edit 3This is of course a treat and takes a little more time to make than your usual coffee. However with so much time on our hands at the moment everyone has jumped on the whipped coffee band wagon!

Edit 2I’d be keen to try experimenting with flavours for the creamy whipped topping, perhaps cinnamon or even coco powder like a Frappuccino . Enjoyed in the sunshine whilst reading my book makes for the perfect morning routine or afternoon pick me up.

 

Finding a New Normal

Needless to say, the past few months have been extremely peculiar not just here in England, but for the entire world. Having just posted the adventures of my holiday to Aus and Bali back in January, I must count my lucky stars that I was able to complete my trip with no disruption as I flew back to the UK as planned at the beginning of February. Soon enough the effects of this pandemic hit home shores, so by mid March I was put on ‘Furlough’ from work and we watched on as the country went into almost full lockdown.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis will certainly be one of the most unique periods of life for our generation, as we learn to accept social distancing measures for an extended period of time. In the UK the lockdown has allowed us to get outside once a day for exercise and as we welcome in a particularly sunny springtime, it’s a blessing that we can still enjoy the gorgeous weather and boost our mood with some vitamin D.

Edit 3Being on ‘Furlough’ from my job has given me the gift of time, so it’s been a great opportunity to get on with my ‘To Do’ list and finally see to those longer term projects which I’ve always wanted to do (more on this in a later post!). I’ve also been able to spend more time looking after my wellbeing as I get rested and can priorities those things which matter most to me; staying fit with home workouts, brushing up on my dance skills in the garden, cooking yummy creations in the kitchen, reading books, taking photos and of course, writing my own blog 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACooking has always been one of my favourite hobbies too, so I’ve been experimenting with a few new recipes and even tried some baking. The popular quarantine sweet treat which everyone has been making is banana bread and being my first time, I was impressed with my creation pictured above. With the sun shining over the past few weeks, I’ve also been making a lot of delicious fresh summer dishes, including this easy Greek salad.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMaintaining sanity during this time has pulled family, friends and community together as we all find ourselves in the same position. Our extended family now have a weekly ‘Zoom’ quiz every Sunday evening and my work colleagues organise regular drinks via video conference too. Creativity is key also as my Dad decided to host a neighbourhood quarantine disco from our back garden last weekend! Having posted fliers around our surrounding neighbourhood to notify them of the party and to text in with song requests, my Dad setup his sound system in the garden ready for two hours of music from 7-9pm on Saturday.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith the BBQ lit and the bubbles flowing, before we knew it requests for songs were flooding in! At 7pm on the dot we heard cheers from the neighbours in their gardens as we got the music pumping. By the end of the set, we counted over 70 messages from neighbours sending their song choices and thanking us for the disco. Being such a success, our plan is to do the next one to raise money for the NHS which I’m sure our neighbours will appreciate.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo as we continue forward in this period of uncertainty and apprehension, I remember how incredibly fortunate I am to be in my position during this pandemic. With my job secured, a comfortable home to reside in a lovely village and most of all a healthy family, I’m optimistic that my life will go back to normal once this all blows over. In the meantime, I hope this pause on our busy lifestyles will help us all slow down, appreciate the simple things and build a stronger relationship with loved ones as well as ourselves.

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My 25th Birthday Down Under

Having stayed an extra few days in Bali to chill out and relax following our blow out week exploring Canggu, it was time to fly back over to Aus for my final week down under. It was a special opportunity to go back to Sydney whilst on the other side of the world and celebrate another birthday with my Aussie friends and family.

Edit 1Being my 3rd year in a row celebrating in Aus, it’s always a big one as coincidently my birthday falls on Australia Day – the anniversary of when the first fleet of British ships arrived on the shores of Australia. Although a controversial national holiday given the impact white man had on the indigenous Aboriginal people of the land, it’s an excuse to get out the BBQ and join together with friends to soak up the peak of summertime.

Edit 2This year I found myself back down in the Southern Highlands with my closest friends from my time in Aus. It was also another friend’s birthday that weekend, so the guys pulled out all the stops for a fantastic party including delicious food, good old Aussie garden games and even a coffee cocktail cart!

Edit 7One of my old housemates comes from a Portuguese family of foodies, so produce is super fresh and nothing done in half measures. I was very happy with the array of cocktails on offer, including my favourite Espresso Martinis made with the best Australian roasted coffee. The night previous I also got involved prepping homemade hummus and even fermenting sauerkraut and kimchi. However the star of the show was the Hog Roast which got going on the spit from 9am to be ready for the afternoon.

Edit 6After such a feast and plenty of beers down, we spent the arvo basking in the sunshine and listening to Triple J Radio top 100, before going out into the field at sundown for an obligatory game of Cricket. It just wouldn’t be an Australia Day if we didn’t play Cricket and it’s become a tradition to do so on my birthday… along with the need for VB Beers to keep me smiling of course!

Edit 5As golden hour glowed and the sunset, I was so happy to have spent another fabulous birthday in the land down under. I’m very lucky to have made such special friends during my time living in Sydney and I don’t doubt we will be partying together again in the very near future. Cheers for the beers and awesome times Straya!

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Bali Eats; Health Food Heaven

When it comes to cafe culture and healthy eating, you can’t go wrong in Bali. I found it hard to go a day without trying another stunning smoothie bowl abundant with local fresh fruits and delicious toppings, perfect brekky in such a hot climate. Being next door to Nalu Bowls we treated ourselves to one or two of these irresistible bowls of goodness.

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With such a huge choice of recommended cafes and restaurants to try, it was a challenge to choose where to go to next! Thank fully we’d done our research and had a number of places in mind where we definitely wanted to check out. Arriving in the middle of the night, our first meal was actually in our hotel the next morning. Included in our room was a complimentary breakfast from the hotel’s Green Spot cafe serving up a variety of healthy brekky and lunch options. Day one I was drawn to the dragonfruit bowl beautifully presented with banana coins, fresh mango and crunchy coconut on top.

Edit00001One of the places high on my list to try in Canggu was Give Cafe, sister to the famous Kynd Cafe in Ubud. This colourful little eatery with its pretty interiors gives all of its profits to charity, so at the end of your visit you pop your token into one of the charity boxes that they support to choose where your money goes. A fully vegan menu includes local dishes such as the Balinese curry which I opted for, as well as nutritious salad bowls and meat free alternatives which could be mistaken for the real thing – those satay skewers were just like chicken!

Edit00004Another awesome cafe we were keen to hit up was Cinta Cafe which overlooks a rice paddy. This makes for a picture perfect lunch setting in the heart of Bali, especially when enjoyed sitting back and sipping on a coconut.

Edit00008Next we tried Shady Shack for dinner as we’d heard great things about this hidden gem nestled in the trees just off the main drag in Canggu. Sat on wooden benches amongst the foliage glistening with fairy lights, it makes for an intimate dinner setting with friends or a partner. I was overwhelmed with the extensive choice of salad bowls and vegan dishes, but finally settled on the green bowl including zucchini noodles, broccoli heads and lettuce drizzled in a creamy peanut sauce and topped with a sweet almond brittle. Everything was so fresh and portions were certainly generous without compromise on flavour; this was my favourite dinner spot as I can’t resist a loaded salad bowl.

Edit00013Back to brekky, I had my eye on the acai bowls I’d seen on Instagram from The Loft. A little on the pricier side given its reputation, I couldn’t fault the presentation of this perfectly formed bowl which even came with a cute pineapple gold spoon for me to scrape every last bit from the coconut. Located on one of the main strips in Canggu, I sat out on the terrace and savoured by sweet acai bowl whilst watching the madness of Bali scooters racing by.

Edit00015Given our short trip, we weren’t in Bali long enough to sample all of the fabulous places I’ve seen scrolling through Instagram. We did however cover a lot of Canggu and on the most part everywhere was reasonable and eating out was relatively cheap, with the total cost of dinner and drinks typically about half what you’d pay in England! Whilst I didn’t manage to photograph every place we went – I was enjoying myself too much 😉 – below is a list of some of the best cafes, restaurants and bars we did visit and would highly recommend trying for yourself:

  • La Brisa
  • Cinta Cafe
  • Deus Ex Machina
  • Give Cafe
  • Krate Cafe
  • The Lawn
  • The Loft
  • Luigi’s Pizza
  • Mason
  • Nalu Bowls
  • Old Man’s
  • Penny Lane
  • Pretty Poison
  • Sand Bar
  • Shady Shack

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Sydney Eats; Porch and Parlour

Whether it’s meeting a friend for a lazy weekend brunch, or gathering with mates to sip cocktails at sundown, Porch and Parlour embodies the social culture of dining in Sydney’s famous Bondi neighbourhood. Situated at the top end of North Bondi away from the main crowds of the area, this café is a local favourite and attracts the trendiest of clientele.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStopping by for a late brunch we got seated on an outdoor bench and table overlooking the golden stretch of Bondi beach. Having been out for a few wines the night before, I was ready for some clean food and kick of good coffee to fuel my afternoon, so I opted for the bircher muesli topped with crunchy granola, yoghurt and heaps of fresh berries.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was however a little envious of my friend’s choice to have the french toast which was made with a deep fried croissant instead of bread. Basically a desert for breakfast, but we weren’t mad about it and I was more than happy to help her finish it off!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter devouring our delicious breakfast we sat and sipped our coffee watching the hustle of Bondi pass by as we soaked up the afternoon sun. I was particularly chuffed with my purchase from the day too – a Stanton bucket hat. I’d wanted a bucket hat for ages so when I saw this one at the street market in Bondi, I couldn’t resist. Happy days 🙂

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