Pumpkin Spice Muffins

It feels like forever since I actually had time to sit down and write down a blog post… mainly due to the fact that our lives have changed a little bit and we are now expecting the arrival of our 2nd daughter (due next month) meaning that I am exhausted by the end of each day and weekends are pretty much about catching my breath. Add to this a very heavy work load including a lot more travel than before, PLUS HIM’s change in employment status (starting up his own bespoke bookbinding business – which means photography free time has been spent on his books and not on food/recipes).

I actually made these muffins in autumn last year and it was my first time using tinned pumpkin (!?!), having found the recipe in a magazine booklet called “Pumpkin everything”.

I have to admit that I was somewhat hesitant using a canned vegetable product – but they were truly delicious and I would happily remake them again! (In fact, I reckon that they would be great as a cake topped with cream cheese icing… Mmmm)

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

1 and half cups white granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 can pumpkin puree
3/4 cup Greek yoghurt
1 and half teaspoons vanilla extract
3 and half cups of cake flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • In a large bowl, beat together both sugars, oil and eggs
  • Add pumpkin, yoghurt and vanilla and beat to combine
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients
  • With a mixer on a slow speed, gradually add dry ingredients to sugar mixture and beat until smooth
  • Divide batter amongst greased muffin tin tray
  • Bake for 30min at 180C

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Ombré Berry Pancakes

Do you ever look at images on Pinterest or Instagram and marvel at the beauty of things that others can create? I do… particularly at the food images and I pretty much drool over my mobile phone screen as I like & scroll through the different feeds.

When I saw the Ombré Berry Pancakes from Wife Mama Foodie… I fell in love! Her pictures were so beautiful and I somehow convinced myself that if I made the same recipe, mine “could” look like hers… HA HA…

In reality, mine were a lot more grainy/spotty (maybe I should have put the berry puree through a sieve?)… but I can attest to the fact that they were so easy to make and absolutely delicious, that I would happily make them again!

Ombré Berry Pancakes

1 & 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
3 teaspoons of flour
a few pinches of salt
1 & 1/2 Tablespoons of sugar
1 & 1/2 Tablespoons of butter (melted)
1 & 1/4 cups of milk
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 cup of mashed blueberries (and/or blackberries)

  • Take 3 medium mixing bowls and within each bowl place: 1/2 cup flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 Tablespoon sugar, 1/2 Tablespoon butter
  • Leave the 1st bowl plain. In the 2nd bowl, add 1 heaped Tablespoon of the berry puree and add the remaining berry puree to the 3rd bowl.
  • Into the first bowl, add 1/2 cup of milk and mix until JUST combined (pourable batter)
  • Into the 2nd bowl, add 1/3 cup of milk and 1/4 teaspoon of vinegar and mix until JUST combined
  • Into the 3rd bowl, add 1/4 cup of milk and 1/4 teaspoon of vinegar and mix until JUST combined. You might need to add a little bit more milk to keep the consistency of all 3 bowls the same.
  • Ladle 1/4 cup of batter onto a non-stick pan over a medium heat. Flip over when the bubbles begin to appear on the surface. Repeat until all the batter is used up

Coconut and condensed milk Cake

For HIM’s birthday in October, I wanted to make something different as a celebration cake… I know that he has a sweet tooth and likes coconut (desiccated)… so I searched within the world of Google and found this recipe on Manus Menu.

It was very easy to make and did last a fair amount of time – but my only negative would be that the cake is quite dense and heavy… but otherwise very tasty.

Coconut and Condensed Milk Cake

250g tin of condensed milk
4 eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
50g butter (melted)
150ml coconut milk
30g desiccated coconut
2 Tablespoons sugar

  • Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl with an electric mixer
  • Pour batter into a greased spring form baking tin
  • Bake for 40-50minutes at 180C
  • Once cooled, dust with icing sugar

Introducing Madn77

The lovely Naina of Madn77 contacted me about testing out one of her tea boxes and I am so glad that I did!!!

The box itself provides a fabulous opportunity to mix your own blend based on your individual needs (and wants) – a mix & match combination as you are provided with

  • 1 bamboo spoon for easy measuring
  • 1 glass jar with bamboo lid to put your tea (or blend) into
  • 2x 50g teas (I got Rooibos (my favourite) and Chamomile)
  • 3x 35g blends (Fennel Seeds/Cardamom/Cumin and Lemon peel/Cardamom and Liquorice Root/Lemon Balm/Cardamom)
  • 25 non-toxic, biodegradable single use teabags
  • a sheet with some Tips & Tricks

This means that your combinations are only limited by your own imagination.

There are multiple types of boxes available – essentially broken down into 3 categories

  1. Teas / Elixirs
  2. Chai
  3. Coffee

And within these categories – different box offerings!

Where can you find them? Directly from the website www.madn77.com or if you are in the Brussels Area on Deliveroo or even through their partnership with Cecile (which was previously known as Brussels Breakfast Delivery)

Happy Sipping!

If you haven’t already started to think about Christmas gifts… this is something to add to list (and if you are quick – you can still make use of their 10% off special off the 77 Boxes using the code 77Boxes10%)

They even have a Sinterklaas box where you can add Chocolate!!! Hello ?!?

Carrot Cake

Everyone has a few handwritten recipes handed down from friends and family members, which makes referencing the recipe back to an original source pretty difficult…. This is one of those recipes.

Carrot cake must be one of the most under-rated cakes in my books. I don’t normally think of it first when I think of baking a cake, but in reality, it is one of the easiest, moist and delicious cakes out there! (Ask my mom… it is her favourite.)

And this one is no exception! A definite make again

Carrot Cake

half a tin of pineapple pieces (drained and roughly chopped)
3 eggs
175ml sunflower or canola oil
200g sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
225g self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
50g desiccated coconut
60g walnuts (roughly chopped)
200g carrot (grated)

  • Whisk together eggs, oil and sugar until creamy
  • sift cinnamon, flour, baking powder & bicarb into the egg mixture
  • fold in coconut, walnuts, carrot and pineapple pieces
  • spoon into a greased baking tin and bake for 45min at 180C
  • I topped mine with a cream cheese icing (300g cream cheese with 50g icing sugar) and some roughly chopped nuts (pistachio & walnut)

 

Oat Pancakes

As mentioned in my Banana Pancake recipe posted last week => I used the BodyBoss Method for exercise and meal plan for inspiration over the last few months.

I love making pancakes on a Sunday morning, as we normally only go to church around 11/11.30am and there is no other rush on a Sunday morning except family breakfast time. I found this recipe in the BodyBoss weeks 7-12 notebook and couldn’t believe how little ingredients it needed! For me the mixture was a little thin, but all in all, they turned out pretty good!

OAT PANCAKES

115g cottage cheese
40g rolled oats
3 eggs
honey

  • Blend all the ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth
  • lightly oil a frying pan and heat over a medium heat
  • Cook spoonfuls of batter onto the pan and cook for 2-3minutes on each side (or until golden brown)

Banana Pancakes

At the beginning of the year, I decided to make a few small changes in my eating habits – nothing drastic (as if I could actually give up on all good food things ;)) and started walking each day. 6months done the track, I had lost 7kg and had signed up for the SleekGeek online community and their 8week challenge PLUS I purchased the plan from BodyBoss for added motivation (both exercise and meal plan ideas). 8months down the track and 11kg was gone… *poof*

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love food and Sunday pancakes are pretty much a monthly event in our household – which is why I started to try out different pancake recipes from the BodyBoss meal plan booklet.

I call these Banana pancakes … while they call it “berry me in pancakes”… whatever it is called – they are delicious!!

BANANA PANCAKES

1 cup of flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1 large banana (mashed)

  • Mix flour and bicarb of soda in one bowl
  • In another bowel, mix together the banana, milk and vanilla extract
  • Carefully add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and lightly mix together (don’t!! overmix!!)
  • lightly wipe a non-stick frying pan with oil
  • Spoon mixture onto frying pan and cook over a medium heat
  • cook on both sides, until golden
  • Serve as you wish (I added some homemade strawberry jam and a handful of berries to mine)

Frozen berry and coconut biscuit yoghurt dessert

Coming back from holiday means that desserts still need to be tasty but obviously more healthy and if possible, lower in calories…. right??

I was making my favourite beef stew for sunday lunch and I needed something sweet to serve afterwards… so back to my trusty pile of food magazines and lo and behold… I found this recipe in the BBC Good Food Magazine (July 2018 issue) for “Frozen berry & gingernut yoghurt pots”… except I didn’t have gingernut biscuits, so I substituted them with coconut biscuits (Tennis biscuits that I had brought back from South Africa) and I used paper ice-cream cups as the basis.

Frozen Berry and coconut biscuit yoghurt dessert

100g tennis biscuits
387g condensed milk
250g red berries (raspberries and strawberries)
250g purple berries (blueberries and blackberries)
500g Greek yoghurt

  • Place biscuits into a food processor and blitz into crumbs
  • Add 2 tablespoons of condensed milk and blend to make crumbs
  • Divide biscuit crumbs between 8 paper cups, pressing down with a back of a spoon
  • Put half the yoghurt and condensed milk with the red berries into the food processor and blend until smooth
  • divide between the 8 cups (on top of the biscuit base)
  • Put the remaining yoghurt and condensed milk with the purple berries into the food processor and blend until smooth
  • divide between the 8 cups (on top of the red berry mixture)
  • Freeze for at least 4hours before serving

Coconut Chocolate Brownies

I love my chocolate brownie recipe but in all fairness – it isn’t actually a brownie but more of a moist chocolate cake version….so I was in search of a TRUE brownie.

I have had Alida Ryder’s Simply Delicious cook for ages (probably since she launched it), but this was the first time that I actually made her Chocolate brownies with coconut. She claims that they are the best brownies ever… and you know what? They might just actually be!

 

I didn’t feel the need to make the chocolate sauce for the top as these were already so rich with half a kilogram of sugar, otherwise I kept the recipe pretty much “as is” and it was easy to make and delicious to eat (in fact, my colleagues are STILL talking about it!)

brownies 3

COCONUT CHOCOLATE BROWNIES (makes 12-16)

250g butter
500g sugar
100g cocoa powder
4 large eggs
100g flour
50g desiccated coconut
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
100g walnuts, roughly chopped

  • In a large pot, combine the butter cocoa powder and sugar and allow to melt over a medium heat
  • Remove from heat, allowing to cool slightly before beating in the eggs, one at a time (Alida suggests using a hand mixer… so I did)
  • Mix in the flour, desiccated coconut, baking powder, vanilla and finally the nuts
  • Pour batter into a greased baking dish (batter should be 2-4cm from the bottom of the dish)
  • Bake for 20-30minutes at 180C coming out of the oven firm but still squidgy (I found that mine took almost 40minutes and still remained moist and squidgy in the middle)

Yoghurt and Mixed Berry Muffins

I have tried to change my eating habits over the last 5months but that doesn’t mean that I have lived on celery sticks – it just means that I have tried to make smarter choices, get more active and limit my portion sizes.

Through the SleekGeek community and their 8week challenge (this being the last week of my particular heat) as well as with the help of the BodyBoss Method (which has provided some meal plans, recipes as well as a great 12week workout plan) – I have managed to shed 9kg in 22weeks. I am now half way to my goal weight but already I feel so much more energetic and full of life. Compliments have started to surface in the recent days from colleagues and this is probably more down to the fact that I am making more of an effort with my appearance than trying to hide in black, black and more black. (Don’t get me wrong – 80% of my wardrobe is black, but now I am wearing items of clothing with a splash more colour and slightly more fitted).

One thing that I want to point out is that I have not starved myself. I still eat carbs. I have still gone out to restaurants. I have even had a few alcoholic beverages. Not to mention the fact that I have still baked some delicious treats! This particular recipe is from the BodyBoss recipe book and the only difference is that I used sunflower oil instead of nut oil. It makes 6 delicious muffins and works out to 190 calories per muffin.

Yoghurt and Mixed Berry Muffins

1 cup of whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
85g greek yoghurt
1 Tablespoon nut oil (or sunflower oil)
1/2 cup honey
1 cup mixed berries
1 Tablespoon flour (for the berries)

  • In a medium bowl, mix flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, yoghurt, honey and oil
  • Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until just combined
  • Cover the berries with the tablespoon of flour and gently fold into mixture
  • Place into 6 greased muffin cups
  • Bake for 20minutes at 190C