Healthy Dinner Party + Chocolate Peanut Butter and Jelly Slice dessert

It was my birthday the other week (Happy Birthday to me!) and as such I had family and a few friends over for dinner.  In typical Jane style the menu for my birthday dinner was of course going to be a healthy something.  Especially due to August being the Kettlebells and Cookies ‘Junk Food Free August’ challenge – all the more reason to serve something that fits within these guidelines.

For my family and friends this is no surprise and they are well used to my ‘made healthier’ versions of pretty much everything.  I did feel a bit bad for the guys (eg: Laura’s boyfriend) – he had no idea what he was getting himself in for!   That said with a bit of allowance for ‘boy foods’ I think both him and the rest of the guys went away feeling more than satisfied.

I know a lot of others struggle with what to eat or serve while trying to change their nutrition for the better – I thought by sharing this I could help out a wee bit with that.

With the help of my fabulous flatmate who pretty much did everything (thanks Kirsty!), on the menu for my birthday dinner was:

DINNER:

  • Magic mince (the recipe for this is a bit secret, but basically mince, onion, Worchester sauce, can of tomatoes, tomato relish and anything else you wish to add)
  • Zoodles (zuchinni noodles)
  • Salad
  • Pasta (for the guys, or girls who wanted it!)
  • Parmesan cheese to top

DESSERT:

  • Dr Libby’s Brain balls
  • Dr Libby’s citrus cheesecake (both from her ‘real food’ cookbook)
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter and Jelly Slice.

Wait – what does that last one say?!  That’s right ‘Chocolate Peanut Butter and Jelly Slice’!!!!!!!!

The reason for all the exclamations is this is beyond my usual level of excitement – this slice is next level of delicious-amazingness.  It was made by my flatmate and inspired by Dr Libby (and yes Kirsty you should be on MKR!!!).

Note: Yes this is a healthy dessert. It has no sugar, grains or other nasties.  But, it is still a SOMETIMES food. As good as it tastes, if you eat 10 pieces in one sitting, that is not healthy (be careful, it is easy to do!).

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY SLICE: 

INGREDIENTS:

For the base:

  • 1 cup of nuts (we used cashew and macadamia)
  • ½ cup of coconut
  • ¼ cup of cocoa
  • ¼ cup of cacao nibs
  • 5 fresh dates
  • 2-3 tablespoons of coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 TBSP water

For the filling and top:

  • 1 cup raspberries
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 3 TBSP nut butter (we used peanut butter and almond butter)
  • ¼ cup cocoa

HOW TO MAKE:

  1. ‘Zizz’ up all the dry ingredients and dates for the base, add the water and coconut oil and press into a large greased tray to set.
  2. Melt raspberries and mash till like a jam and spread on top of base.
  3. Melt coconut oil and add nut butter, cocoa and vanilla. Pour on top of slice.  Place in freezer till set.
  4. Serve frozen or leave at room temperature to melt slightly.

 

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Press the choc nut mixture into a tray

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Spread the raspberries on top of the base

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Mix up the choc topping

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Spread the chocolate on top

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Out of the freezer and can be left to defrost or eat frozen 🙂

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Cut into pieces and serve!

 

And, here is a wee recipe card you can save to your computer or phone to make later 🙂

 

Save this to make me later!

Save this to make me later!

 

Enjoy!!

Love Jane and Laura xx

Junk Food Free Super Simple Snacks

WOW where has the first week of August gone?!

I am so excited and rapt to report the first week of August has flown by without a square of chocolate, crumb of biscuit or lick of ice cream. The Kettlebells and Cookies Junk Food Free August challenge so far has shown me that although I dont eat junk food often, I probably ate it far more frequently than I thought I did because I’m feeling fantastic and sleeping a lot better. It’s also shown how readily available junk food is at work/home as I have turned down offers of sugar laden treats daily since the 1st August. Others Kettlebells and Cookies team members have experienced reduced cravings, more energy, looser pants and other euphoric symptoms since cutting out junk food.

So as we approach the 1 week milestone of the challenge I recon it’s about time we start to look at some clean, lean, real food alternatives to nasty sugar filled, processed junk food.

I have asked the gorgeous, real food guru Emma Kay to prepare a few tasty, nutritional treats for us. She is the creator for the famous Snicker Balls and other glorious morsels Jane and I regularly make when we need something simple and sweet. Head over to her website Embracing It to find plenty of inspiration for healthy meals and delicious snacks. All of her recipes are SUPER easy to throw together and use only a few ingredients most of you will already have in your cupboard.

Take it away Emma x
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Put down that spoonful of sugar

We all crave sugar, why?! Because it’s a quick energy booster and sweet things tastes soooo damn good. But if we want to look after our bodies, we need to ease back on our intake!

I for one favour sweet foods, especially dessert on a cold winter evening. Did you know that when you eat sugar it stimulates the release of dopamine in your brain, which makes you feel pleasure. The brain recognises and likes this feeling and begins to crave more, as dopamine is one of the neurotransmitters involved in reward seeking behaviour. In fact, morphine and sugar stimulate the same receptors in your brain and the dangers aren’t just to your waistline. Part of the problem with sugar is that the satiety centre in your brain isn’t activated so you just keep eating it (source: Dr. Libby). I’m evidence of this, as often when I have one piece of something sweet, I can’t stop. Which is what I’m focusing on conquering throughout this challenge!

So all of you amazing people participating in Kettlebells and Cookies Junk Food Free August are doing wonders for your overall health and waistline by significantly reducing your intake. Even if it does make you a grumpier and sadder person to start with. Don’t worry these feelings won’t last, by staying strong and practicing self-control you will come out the other end with more energy, as you won’t be relying on sugar to get through the day.

Times will be tough though, you’ll want that fix. But luckily, there are healthier sweet treats that you can turn when those cravings hit. Today I’m sharing with you 8 easy clean sweet treats.
Raw brownie balls

Raw brownie balls

Raw brownie balls

Ingredients

  • ½ cup of cashew nuts
  • ½ cup of walnuts
  • ½ cup of hazelnuts
  • 1 cup of dates (soaked for 10minutes)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 1/3 cup of cacao/cocoa powder

Method

  1. Blend nuts in food processor (not too fine)
  2. Add dates and cocoa
  3. Roll into small balls and leave in refrigerator to set (this will take 2-3 hours)
  4. Keep in an air tight container in the fridge.

 

Chia seed pudding

This stuff is actually amazing and super easy to make!!!

2 chia seed 2

Chia Seed Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup desiccated or shredded coconut
  • 4 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Method

  1. You mix it all in a glass bowl/jar and leave in the fridge overnight! All ready for you to add some fresh fruit in the morning.

 

Orange and almond chia seed muffins

Orange almond cake

Orange Almond Cake/ Muffins

Ingredients

  • 4 large mandarins (peeled)
  • 1 and ½ cups of almond flour
  • ½ cup of LSA
  • ¼ cup of chia seeds
  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup of honey/maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda

Method

  1. Mix ingredients in your food processor and bake at 180 for 30-35 minutes.
  2. Serve upside down with a spoonful of fresh yoghurt.

 

Clean banana ice cream

Clean banana ice cream

Clean banana ice cream

Ingredients

  • 3 Bananas, large, ripe, peeled and sliced
  • ¼ cup of thick Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence/extract
  • 2 tablespoons of honey (optional)

Method

  1. Place bananas in a dish lined with baking paper and freeze overnight or at least 8 hours until frozen hard.
  2. Thaw bananas for 5 minutes (this will make it easier to blitz) and place in food processor with yoghurt, vanilla and honey. Process until smooth and the consistency of ice-cream.
  3. Serve immediately or return to freezer until ready to serve.

 

Protein mug cake

Protein Mug Cake

Protein Mug Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 serving of protein powder (I use nuzest chocolate flavour)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/cup of water
  • Generous spoon of peanut butter

Method

  1. Mix all ingredients together and microwave for 2 minutes.

 

Peanut butter and apple

Super simple – Slice a fresh apple and spread peanut butter on each piece.

PB and Apple

PB and Apple

Berry jam

Thaw frozen berries in the microwave for a few minutes and place a piece of Vogel’s toast (not white) in the toaster. When the berries are warm they’ll be of a perfect consistency to mash on the toast – just like jam!!

Berry Jam

Berry Jam

On the go snacks

On the go snacks

On the go snacks

  • Baby food!!! I know you’re thinking whaaaat? But once you’ve tried it and had the convenience, you will never go back. Only Organic have a great range of flavours and don’t add sugar. Be warned, you may receive some strange looks from your friends and colleagues.
  • Raw nuts, seeds and dried fruit. I make up my own with a selection from the pick and mix section at the supermarket. By doing this I can have exactly what I can want and don’t go overboard on the dried fruit (as this can be high in sugar).

I have lots of other great free from refined sugar recipes on my blog, including home-made protein bars, protein pancakes, clean fruit crumble, clean cookies and much more so be sure to check it out for ideas.

My best piece of advice is if you know you want something sweet mid-afternoon or for dessert, have these healthier ‘go to’ snacks on hand so that you don’t reach for chocolate or a bag of lollies. It’s easy to keep a few frozen bananas in your freezer!

By the end of this challenge, your cravings will diminish and you won’t be missing sugar at all! Especially when you can turn to these easy to make clean sweet treats!!

Love your body by fuelling it with the good stuff.

Em x

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I’m so glad I found you

Dear Laura,

I am so glad I found you. I’ve been waiting for this day, the day that we finally met. You didn’t know this till now but I was made for you.

I promise to support you over the next 14 weeks, through rain and shine, wind and snow. Whenever you need to de-stress, forget about a tough day or simply have some time out, come and get me and I will be there. You don’t need your phone or your ipod, just me and no excuses.

I cant wait to run the New York Marathon with you. I cant wait to cross the finish line with you. The race will be hard and tough on both of us but it will all be worth it. We will be spending many many hours together over the next 3 months. Your body, your head and your heart will be challenged. You need to be committed to training, eating well and managing injuries because I cant carry you on the day. But we can do this – we WILL do this together.

I am so glad you picked me because I was made for you.

Brooks

Brooks

Brooks

(My new running shoes)