Rasberry Banana Ombre Layered Smoothie

For the first time, I am posting a "recipe" while at uni! I think this calls for celebration. Oh wait - I already celebrated... By drinking this smoothie!

This is not really a recipe (just being honest here), but with the warm weather coming (hopefully), I hope this inspires you to embrace a healthy, balanced lifestyle and experiment with your own creations! This smoothie is absolutely delicious, creamy, cold, refreshing and downright gorgeous! Do you not agree?

What's better than sipping on a sweet, yet tart smoothie that just screams sunshine? Nothing? Yup, that's right! And not only does it look good, it'll make you feel you and it's good for you! It just needs a few simple ingredients, a tiny bit of planning ahead (to freeze the fruit!) and a blender or food processor!

Freezing the fruit is almost a must for this recipe, as it's what lends the dessert-y, ice-cream-like texture. And as a personal preference, I need my smoothies ice cold, so... Freeze the fruit!

1 ripe frozen banana (peeled, sliced into chunks and frozen)
1/2-2/3 cup frozen raspberries
1/4-1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup greek yogurt (make sure to use greek as it's much thicker than regular!)
drizzle of honey (optional)

Place the milk and frozen banana (and honey) in your blender and blend away until smooth and dreamy. Grab your smoothie glass, jar, jug or mug and fill it till it's 1/3 full.

In the blender jug with the remaining banana mixture, add in half of the raspberries and half the greek yogurt. Blend again until smooth. Grab your smoothie "vessel" and pour the new light pink mixture in until your glass is 2/3 full.

Head back to the blender, add in the remaining raspberries and greek yogurt and blend once again. Pour the final stunning pink deliciousness into your glass until it is full! If there's any leftover in your blender jug, sneak sips/spoonfuls right away or pour into another, smaller glass to enjoy as well!

Grab a straw and drink up! Enjoy!


Hint-of-Almond Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies

And just like that, five weeks are over. Five whole weeks. I'm off to university tomorrow after a winter break filled with endless laughs, smiles, a bit of work here and there, lots of good food, quality time with family, a white Christmas and much more. As much as I'm sad that the holidays are over, I'm really looking forward to being back. This term is going to be crazy busy, but it's the good kind of busy! The kind that motivates me, pushes me to be more productive and that's fun (most of the time!).
Yesterday, the baking pangs hit, and cookies were looking like the item of the day! They last long, are great anytime of day, healthy and small enough to eat a few a day and outright delicious. I mean, who doesn't like cookies and milk (or tea or coffee)? I certainly do! In fact, I just had one (and maybe a bit more...) of these cookies dunked in a cold glass of milk.
They're oat-y, crisp-y and slightly chew-y, chocolate-y, subtly almond-y and yumm-y! If you've been inspecting the pictures closely, you'll notice the chocolate chips are two different colors. It's because I ran out of dark chocolate chips and only had a new one of milk. The combo was delish! Any type of chocolate chips would work, and feel free to throw in some toasted, chopped nuts if you fancy!

2 1/2 cup oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2/3 cup raw sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil, solid
1/4 cup creamy almond butter
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips (milk, semi-sweet, dark or even white)

Preheat the oven to 175 C. Line a cookie sheet with baking paper and set aside.

Take the oats and grind them in a food processor until they resemble a fine flour.

In a medium bowl, stir together the oat flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar.

In a large bowl, beat the coconut oil and almond butter until creamy. Add in the egg and beat again. Finally add in the extracts and beat once more.

Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and stir until it forms a dough. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Shape dough into balls and flatten slightly with your hands before placing on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake cookies for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown and slightly crispy to the touch. If you like softer cookies, reduce baking time by 2-3 minutes. If you like extra crisp cookies, bake for an additional 2-3 minutes (but don't let them burn!).



Beautiful Bircher Muesli

I've been putting off this post waayyy too long. How long, you ask? Sorry. No can tell.

Just take it as my Christmas gift to you! It's better than that, really. It's the most gorgeous, deliciously healthy, super simple and elegant breakfast that you could ever imagine. Going back to Christmas, happy holidays to all! I hope you've been spending the festive season laughing with loved ones and indulging on yummy (and nutritious!) food. 

Back to this Bircher muesli. This post is so aptly timed, to be honest. I just returned from a week-long getaway to Switzerland, the home of Bircher muesli! This muesli is so unpretentious and unassuming that you'll wonder how something that's seemingly so mainstream can be this good. It's overnight oats dressed up. It's creamy, chewy, sweet, nutty, fruity and just oh-so-perfect! Just remember one thing: it needs to be soaked the night before you want to eat it!

My version uses freshly grated apple, chopped dates, a homemade berry sauce and a light drizzle of honey for sweetness. None of those pre-packaged fruit yogurts that are often loaded with added sugars. Don't get me wrong - they're not bad, they're just not ideal. Whenever possible, use unsweetened yogurt and sweeten it yourself however you wish just so you can control how much extra sugar is going in to what you eat. 

The berry sauce truly is optional. If you get the chance, please do make it! It does take the muesli to a whole new level and looks so pretty as well! But of you're short on time, don't have berries, didn't plan ahead or simply can't be bothered, just don't make it.

Although I've specified a "berry" sauce, any fruit compote will be wonderful - think peaches, cherries, applesauce or even simple sliced bananas! My favorite nuts to use are either pecans or almonds, but once again, whatever tickles your fancy is the way to go! Same with apple - red, green, pink lady, granny smith - all work (my favorite is granny smith because of its sweet yet tartness).

Serves 2
6-8 heaped tbsp whole rolled oats
1/2 cup milk
pinch of freshly grated orange zest (lemon or grapefruit will do the trick too)
2 large dates, each chopped into 10-12 bite-sized chunks
1 tbsp honey
2/3 granny smith apple, grated coarsely
2 tbsp pecans (or nuts of choice), roasted and chopped
3-4 tbsp unsweetened greek yogurt
berry sauce (optional)

The night before, put the oats, milk, zest, dates and honey in a bowl. Stir gently and place in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, mix in the grated apple, nuts and greek yogurt. Split between two serving glasses/bowls and layer with the berry sauce. If you don't have taller serving glasses like I've shown, simply put it in in a bowl and pour over the berry sauce.

Ta-da! It's as simple as that. Enjoy!


Pear Spice Loaf with a Crunchy Oat Topping

Pears, spice and everything nice. My new winter motto? I think so!
This pear spice loaf exceeded my expectations by leaps and bounds. Let me be honest: I knew when I was pouring the batter into the loaf tin itself that it was going to be good. But did I know how good? Most definitely not!

Rustic and nutty from the whole wheat flour. Winter-y and warming from the cinnamon and nutmeg. Subtle sunny undertones from the coconut oil. Gooey sweetness from ripe pear chunks. Crunchy sugary goodness from the oat topping.

I'm going to keep this post short and sweet, because you should stop staring at your screen and start baking (and subsequently eating!) this amazing, super delicious, wholesome, healthy, yummy (do you get the gist yet?) loaf cake!
For loaf:
1 cup plain flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
2 ripe but still firm pears*, chopped into chunks (size is up to you!)
1/3 cup coconut oil, softened
2/3 cup raw sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1/3 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
*Feel free to peel the pears if you wish, but I didn't!

For the (not-so) optional crunchy oat topping:
1/3 cup whole rolled oats
3 tsp raw sugar
1 tbsp coconut oil

Preheat oven to 175 C. Line a loaf tin with baking paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Toss in chopped pear until each pear chunks is fully coated in flour mixture. If you feel that your pear is slightly soft and might mash easily, don't mix the fruit into the flour yet.

Mix maple syrup and Greek yoghurt in a small bowl until combined.

In a separate mixing bowl, beat coconut oil and sugar. Add in the vanilla and eggs and beat until just combined. Finally, add in the milk, and once again, beat until just combined.

Using a large spoon to fold the ingredients together, add egg mixture and Greek yoghurt/maple syrup mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Don't over mix! If at this point, you haven't yet added the pear, now is the time to do so - simply stir the pear chunks into the batter.

Pour/spoon into prepared tin and gently smooth the top.

Stir together the ingredients for the oat topping and sprinkle the mixture on top of the batter.

Bake for 50 minutes or a toothpick inserted comes out clean and top is slightly crisp and a light golden brown.

Cool in tin for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.