Breakfast: Healthy chocolate and blueberry muffins!

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Ingredients:

3 large eggs

1 medium banana

25g butter cubed

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda

1 teaspoon lemon juice

200g ground almonds

20g cocoa powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

125g blueberries

Method

  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees C or 180 degrees C for fan assisted ovens.
  • In a large mixing bowl break banana into chunks. Add the chopped butter and mash together with the back of a fork.
  • Add eggs, maple syrup, bicarbonate soda, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Whisk thoroughly ideally using an electric whisk.
  • Add ground almonds and cocoa powder. Whisk thoroughly for a second time.
  • Add the blueberries to the mixture and gently fold in with a large spoon.

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  • Grease a cupcake tin ideally with low cal spray and distribute the mixture between the cupcake moulds. (With this mixture you can usually make 9 large muffins or 12 medium depending on how you would like to distribute your mixture.)
  • **Top Tip: Try not to add too many blueberries to the one muffin cup as this will make the muffin very moist and more likely to fall apart.**
  • Put the muffins in the oven and cook for 20mins. You should know they are done if you touch then and they spring back slightly. If they still seem too squishy and moist leave them in for an additional couple of minutes.
  • Leave the muffins to cool and then gently remove from muffin tin and enjoy!

I created this recipe basing it on an earlier banana bread recipe I had shared with you guys. I really wanted something tasty and filling to start off my day. The canteen in my work does these amazing blueberry scones that are just soooo hard to resist. Therefore I set about to make a healthy alternative that also tastes amazing and here we are! I cant help but feel a little smug in the office knowing that my colleagues are munching away on these scones which have twice as many calories as the yummy muffins that I am eating (just kidding… sort of hehe). I make a batch of the muffins at the start of the week and keep them in the fridge for each day. Mind you they are so tasty they don’t last long at all in our house. Let me know if you get a chance to try them yourself and what you think!

Happy cooking!

Xx

 

Comfort Food: Healthy Shepherds Pie

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Ingredients:

400g lean minced beef

2 medium onions, chopped

2 celery sticks, finely sliced

2 medium carrots, diced

400g can of chopped tomatoes

2tbsp tomato purée

500ml beef stock, made with 1 beef Stock cube

1tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1tsp dried mixed herbs

4tsp cornflour

1tbsp cold water

Flaked sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

For the leeky potato topping:

750g floury potatoes

2tsp sunflower oil

2 slender leeks, trimmed and cut into 1cm slices

150g half-fat crème fraiche

flaked sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

ingredients

Method:

  • Place a large non-stick saucepan over a medium heat. Add the mince and cook it with the onions, celery and carrots for 10 minutes until lightly browned.

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  • Stir in the tomatoes, tomato purée, beef stock, Worcestershire sauce and mixed herbs. Season with a good pinch of salt and black pepper.
  • Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover loosely and simmer gently for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • About 20 minutes before the meat is ready, make the potato topping. Peel the potatoes and cut them into rough 4cm chunks. Put them in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat slightly and simmer for 18–20 minutes or until the potatoes are very tender.
  • Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry the leeks for 5 minutes until softened but not coloured, stirring often.

leeks

  • Drain the potatoes, then tip them back into the pan, season to taste and mash with the crème fraiche until smooth. Stir in the sautéed leeks and set aside.

mash-in-pot

  • Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°C/Gas Mark 7. When the beef has been simmering for 40 minutes, mix the cornflour with the cold water to make a smooth paste. Stir this into the beef and cook for another 1–2 minutes or until the sauce is thickened, stirring often.
  • Pour the beef mixture into a 2-litre shallow ovenproof dish. Using a large spoon, top the beef with the mashed potatoes and leeks. Spoon the mixture all around the edge of the dish before heading into the middle, then fluff up with a fork.
  • Bake for 30 minutes until the topping is golden and the filling is bubbling. If making this ahead of time, let the pie cool, then cover and put in the fridge.

Well I promised you lot some comfort food recipes and trust me this first one does not disappoint! My favourite meal when I go home to my mum and dads house (apart from a Sunday roast) is my mums shepherds pie. It really is the ultimate comfort food and perfect for cosy nights in with the heating on catching up on your favourite shows. So I decided to look into a healthier alternative that we could all still enjoy. I experimented with a few recipes and this one is by far my favourite. I love the leeks in the mash it really does make it extra tasty and the whole dish is just filled with lovely homely flavours. Lean beef cooked without fat also reduces the calories. I made a big batch that can be kept in the fridge and used throughout the week or alternatively frozen to be eaten later (very handy when you come in out of the cold after a hard days work and just want to relax). This one would also be great for dinner parties. I would even go as far as to say that your guests probably won’t be able to tell that it is on the more healthy side. If you do try this recipe I would love to know what you think or even send me pictures of your creations.

Happy cooking!

Xx