Cook this: Vanilla raspberry protein loaf (lactose, sugar & gluten free)

I actually really enjoy baking with protein powder, and think it can be a bit of an underrated ingredient in the kitchen. If you can find one with a good flavor (I love a strong vanilla), it’s a great addition; it’s also a convenient way to pass off treats as “healthy”  ; )

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Anyway, when I saw this recipe on my blog roll a few weeks ago, I saved it to make later, and I finally got around to it this week. It’s a great one for those with special diets (you can substitute flour for more nut meal or GF flour if you’re coeliac), there’s no refined sugar unless you want to add some (but I find the sweetness from the berries good enough for me), you can use oil instead of butter if you prefer, and you can use any milk you want if you need a lactose free version. While the original recipe uses raspberries (and used them too because they’re my favourites), you can really use any frozen berries.

Also, it’s Friday – and if you want to treat yourself without totally eating crap, you may as well 🙂 Here’s my version of the protein berry loaf, inspired by Healthy with Anja’s recipe.

 

Ingredients:
– ½ rolled oats
– ½ cup plain flour, sifted
– ½ cup almond meal
– 2 scoops protein powder (I like vanilla Vital protein, which also happens to be vegan and dairy/soy free)
– 1 tsp baking powder
– ¼ heaped cup shredded coconut
– 2 large eggs, whisked
– 25g butter, melted and cooled
– ½ cup milk
– 1 heaped tbsp plain Greek yoghurt
– 1 cup frozen raspberries

Method:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC and line a loaf tin with non-stick baking paper.

2. Combine the oats, flour, almond meal, protein powder, baking powder and coconut in a large mixing bowl.

3. Use a wooden spoon to mix in the eggs until completely combined, then add in the butter, again mixing until completely combined.

4. Stir in the milk next, a bit at a time (you may not need it all) until it comes together in a good cake-batter consistency.

5. Pour half the batter into the prepared tin and spread about two thirds of the raspberries over it. Cover the raspberries with the rest of the batter, and sprinkle the remaining berries over the top.

6. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove from the oven and cover with foil; bake for another 15 – 20 minutes, until cooked through.

 

 

** Note – this is definitely more of a loaf than a cake in terms of sweetness, so if you want it a bit sweeter, add a tablespoon or two of caster sugar in with the dry ingredients **

Cook this: fluffy chocolate protein & almond meal pancakes (low FODMAP). AKA dust yourself off & try again (& again) breaky.

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One step forward, two steps back.
Fall seven times, stand up eight.
If plan A doesn’t work, there are still 25 letters to go through.
If at first you don’t succeed…
And so on and so forth.

Fair warning – this isn’t just a recipe post, it’s also a bit of a it’s-my-blog-and-I-need-to-get-some-shit-off-my-chest-because-writing -is-my-outlet post. Feel free to scroll to the bottom if you’re just here for the recipe; it’s so delicious I won’t be offended!

Anyway, let’s not sugar coat it; it’s been a rough few weeks. I’ve been slowly but surely sliding back into that deep, black hole. I’ve been anxious and skittish and completely on edge. I’ve spent nights crying my eyes out, nights with no sleep, nights forcing myself to throw up everything I’ve just binged on, nights panicking and heart fluttering. And then, after maybe 4 or 5 hours of very broken sleep, dragging my ass out of bed at 5:30am to exercise for an hour before going to work and trying to keep my mask intact and my shit together  until I can go home and briefly let my guard down again. But not too much and not for too long, because I’ve got too much to do. That’s one of my go-to coping mechanisms; the more I feel myself slipping, the more I commit and over commit to. I try to keep myself too busy to actually stop and think about what’s going on, to stop and acknowledge that I’m struggling and to deal with it. I’m not saying that’s the right thing to do, because each time this happens I inevitably crash and burn and breakdown. But until then, I just keep going.

I know that inevitable crash and burn is coming; I can feel it. But it’s kinda hard to stop and acknowledge the problems and to deal with it all before we get back to breaking point – I just don’t have time for it! Dealing with this stuff isn’t something you can just do on a Saturday afternoon and bounce back by Sunday so you’re ready to go back to work on Monday, and I can’t just take a week off work while I cry and panic and seek professional help to get my shit back together! So until I can come up with a better plan, as a temporary measure, I’m trying to at least slow things down a little more on my weekends.

Saturday mornings so far this year have involved husband getting up early and jetting off to coach his footy team, while I get up at the same time and hit the gym, followed by breaky and getting on with my day. But with footy season finally over, the Melbourne spring sun shining, and the end of a really rough week all through which my man stepped up (yet again) and had my back without hesitation, I figured Saturday morning was the perfect morning to finally slow things down a little and sit out in the sunshine with some pancakes 🙂

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OK, recipe time now. We’re both a bit obsessed with NuZest’s chocolate protein, as you may have noticed in some of my other recipes, so I thought I’d look for a recipe I could make using protein powder. A ton of recipes involved mashed bananas (*gag*), so I kept scrolling – I eventually came across this one at Move, Nourish, Believe, but I didn’t totally love it… I screwed around with it a little and nailed the ultimate light and fluffy protein pancake! And the best part? Still low FODMAP! So happy!!

What you’ll need for pancakes for 2:
– ⅔ cup plain flour (use gluten free if needed)
– ¼ cup almond meal
– ¼ cup protein flour
– 1 tsp baking powder
– ½ cup milk (I like almond)
– 2 eggs
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 2 tbsp maple syrup
– 2 tbsp vegetable oil
– a little butter or oil of choice to cook with

Cook ’em up…
1. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, almond meal, protein powder and baking powder) in a large bowl.

2. In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (milk, eggs, vanilla, maple syrup and vegetable oil).

3. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry. If it’s too runny, add a little more flour; if it’s too dry, add more milk.

4. Heat a non-stick fry pan over medium heat, and add a little oil or butter to coat the pan. Add about a quarter cup of batter at a time to the pan, and cook for a few minutes – until bubbles start to form.

5. Once you see bubbles, flip your pancakes and cook for another minute or so, until both sides are golden. Serve up with your choice of toppings – we went with some plain yoghurt, toasted cacao nibs, goji berries, shredded coconut, fresh berries, maple syrup and homemade lemon curd (husband’s favourite).

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So the pancakes were absolutely delicious, and the sun just kept on shining over the weekend (yes, Melbourne!) 🙂 This week is going to be a testing one, but before it all kicked off this morning I was lucky enough to spend a fantastic weekend with the husband, hanging around some of my favourite areas like Collingwood and the little city laneways I love so much, discovering some new shops and street art, and enjoying (actually enjoying) some really good food (disordered eating challenge for the weekend was eating at some of our favourite spots without it spiraling out of control into a binge/throw up/starve myself cycle). Pop back again later this week for more on the favourites we re-visited over the weekend and food porn to go with it; until then, thanks for stopping by and listening to my vent, I feel much better now and am all ready to face the first big challenge of the week tonight – stay tuned, more on that tomorrow!

Cook this: quick & healthy – coconut, cacao & raisin bliss balls

Let me preface this post with the following statement: I hate the term “bliss balls.” I hate the idea of only eating “clean.” I hate that there are people out there who think a protein ball or a bowl of blended frozen banana is a proper substitution for a chocolate chip cookie. I think people who refuse to eat carbs or fat or chocolate or burgers are complete lunatics. Not saying that I’ve got my shit completely together, especially when it comes to food (working in the health and fitness industry for 10 years has messed me up more than I ever thought possible and left me an anxious and disordered eater). All that said, I didn’t know what else to call these little balls, and apparently the correct term is a “bliss ball,” so that’s why we’re here.

NOW, food. I came to make these little guys because:
a) my stomach hates me and is allergic to goodness only knows what these days
b) I had some left over vanilla protein powder that has a bit of lactose in it, so it’s no longer good for use every day in my morning oats and chia puddings, so I’ve started to use it in baked good, like these cookies.
c) they’re healthy, so I can have more than one
d) they’re a great little quick nibble when I need something between getting home from work and dinner time to stop the grumbling stomach and hold me over, or after dinner with a cup of tea when I’m still a bit hungry but don’t actually need a heap more food
e) they can easily adapt to special diets – gluten free, lactose free, refined sugar free, low FODMAPS, easy!
f) they’re actually really delicious

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You’ll need (makes around 25 of them):
– 200g golden raisins
– 1 tbsp golden or maple syrup
– 2 tsp vanilla extract
– ½ cup rolled oats
– ½ cup shredded coconut, cashews, almonds, or any nuts you prefer, really
– ¼ cup vanilla protein powder
– 2 – 3 tbsp toasted cocoa nibs
– vanilla protein powder and/or cocoa powder to roll the balls in

 

And then:
1. Place the raisins in a bowl and cover with very hot (almost boiling) water. Leave them to soak for 5 minutes, then drain them and pat them dry with paper towel.

2. Put the raisins, syrup and vanilla extract into a food processor, and process until the raisins start to break down a little.

3. Add the oats, coconut and protein powder, and process until they all come together into a sticky ball.

4. Take the mixture out of the food processor and place it into a bowl with the cocoa nibs and mix together well.

5. Roll teaspoons of mixture into balls, and then roll in the protein powder/cocoa powder to coat.

6. Place the balls on a baking paper covered plate/tray and rest in the freezer for 5 – 10 minutes, then transfer to a plastic tub and keep in the fridge for up to a week (if they last that long).

 

Cook this: vanilla, chocolate & orange cookies 

I’ve been trying to work out what exactly it is that’s been making me so sick lately; so far, we know that lactose is out, I can’t stomach large amounts of gluten too well, onions and garlic are no longer my friends, and for some bizarre reason, quinoa and beetroot have become mortal enemies! That sucks. Throughout the investigations, I’ve also discovered that I really don’t get enough protein in my diet, so I’ve started adding some protein powder to my morning oats and afternoon chia pudding (in lieu of regular yoghurt, I’m making an almond milk and berry chia pudding, which is actually amazing and a little addictive!). My beautiful baby sister recommended the Musashi SLM protein, which I loved the taste of, but was still causing my stomach problems because of the lactose in it. I switched it up to the Amazonia raw protein isolate, which isn’t as sweet and delicious, but a hell of a lot better for me; it’s got a lot more protein, a lot less sugar, and my stomach is a LOT happier with it!

Anyway, I’ve still got a bit of the Musashi stuff left, and with my Nonnas in my head (these ladies do not waste a THING), I thought I’d use it to boost some cookies I was baking – I figured that I’m always going to want a cookie to go with my cup of tea before I go to sleep because I’m a 20-something year old nanna and it’s how I roll, and if I’m going to eat a cookie anyway, I may as well get some extra protein in there! I also figured that a little bit of lactose spread out over a batch of cookies wouldn’t be too bad, and I had a win there too – happy days! They’re not too horrible for you if you’re watching yourself around the treats, coming in at around ___kJ per cookie, and they can be manipulated into whatever you want them to be, too – replace the cacao nibs and orange with cashews, sunflower seeds, caramel chips, dried berries, whatever you feel like!

 

Ingredients:
– 100g butter, softened
– 30g honey, warmed up for 10 – 15 seconds in the microwave
– 20g brown sugar
– 1 tbsp vanilla extract
– 1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
– 50g protein powder (I used the vanilla Musashi SLM)
– 100g plain flour
– finely grated rind of one orange
¼ to ½ toasted cacao nibs (depends on how many you want in there!)

Method:
This is pretty much the same as the cacao, walnut and whiskey biscuits

1. Preheat the oven to 150°C and line two oven trays with baking paper.

2. Use electric beaters to cream the butter, honey, sugar, vanilla and OJ for 5 – 6 minutes, until it’s very pale and creamy.

3. Gently fold in the flour and protein powder, then the orange rind and cacao nibs – we’re trying not to knock out too much of the airiness from the electric beaters here!

4. Roll heaped teaspoons of dough into balls, flattening them slightly as you place them on the oven trays and bake for 25 minutes, until they start to turn a light golden colour around the edges.

5. Let them cool completely on the tray – they’ll store well for around 5 days in an air-tight container.