Courgetti. Is it a suitable replacement for pasta/noodles in my opinion? Well, yes and no. It tastes amazing depending what you do with it, the novelty is fun, it’s super-quick, and its much lighter on the stomach- but I also don’t want you all to be cutting out carbs in place of courgetti for every meal.
However, with that out of the way, I am a fan. I bought a hand-held spiralizer about a week ago now, and it’s my new favourite gadget. So far I’ve spiralized courgettes, carrots, and my finger (accidently)- but I hear that sweet potatoes are also possible to spiralize.
This is my favourite recipe yet- anything with peanut butter is amazing, and having the peanut butter here means that there’s some added protein.
You can add in Quorn, chunks of tofu, prawns, and even some cooked chicken if you like- this is a versatile dish, so you have many options open to you. I do recommend adding in one of these meats/meat substitutes though, as you need this meal to fill you up. I opted for the Quorn, but prawns are next on the list.
Ingredients (serves one, but feel free to double it for an extra big bowlful)
1 medium- large courgette
1/2 medium carrot, sliced into rounds
1/2 red chilli, finely chopped
1 large Portobello mushroom, sliced
1 small handful of mangetout, chopped in half
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1tbsp chunky peanut butter – I used Meridian
Chinese five spice, to taste
2tbsp boiling water
Start by making the courgetti, according to your device’s instructions; set to one side.
Into a pan add your chilli, carrot, and bell pepper, stir frying for 1-2 minutes. After this, add in the mushrooms and mangetout, and allow to cook for 1 minute more, until softened.
Throw in your soy sauce, and your five spice, along with the courgetti. Toss together, and leave over a medium heat.
In a mug, whisk together the peanut butter and boiling water, adding a little at a time, until the consistency is smooth. Pour over the vegetables, and toss together so that the sauce coats the courgetti.
Leave over the heat until the courgetti has warmed through, and then serve. Top with black pepper and more slices of chilli, if desired.
First up: I cannot take full credit for these bars. The recipe I used as a base (swapping brown rice syrup for honey, and chucking in vanilla and cinnamon) can be found right here: http://thebigmansworld.com/2015/09/23/healthy-3-ingredient-rice-crispy-treats/ . This blog is AMAZING for recipe inspiration, and I encourage you all to head over and have a good rummage around. Other ways I thought I could change up these bars is by adding some dried raspberries, blueberries, dates, or cranberries- or dipping them in dark chocolate. Keep your eyes peeled for that.
Fun fact: someone commented on the instagram picture said that in New Zealand they call these bubble cakes instead of rice crispie buns (when in bun form). I had my family try these bars, and though my brother was at first disgusted that I had added peanut butter to a “classic”, it didn’t stop him eating one or two. We used to make these bars in bun form with my dad, this being the only “baking” he could actually handle. And pans with burnt marshmallow and golden syrup welded onto them say that even this “baking” was a bit of a stretch. If you want, pile this mixture into bun cases instead of making bars, to really get that childhood treat back. I have to admit, I do want to see these encased in brightly coloured bun cases some time soon.
- 2 cups rice crispies (I used the Kallo wholegrain puffed rice cereal)
- 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
- 1/2 cup runny honey
- 1tsp vanilla
- OPTIONAL: 1/2tsp cinnamon
- In a large bowl combine the rice crispies with the honey, vanilla, and cinnamon (if using).
- Place the peanut butter into a microwavable bowl, and melt slightly in the microwave; add this to the crispies too.
- Stir until well combined, and then press into a lined baking tray, before chilling for at least 1 hour. These keep well in the fridge, and are good to go for around 3-4 days.
Today I have for you a simple breakfast alternative to plain old overnight oats or porridge (which are both brilliant, but sometimes it’s good to shake it up a little). This recipe is vegetarian and vegan suitable, and should also satisfy your inner peanut butter monster (because I know I have one that needs to be fed daily)…
- 1/4 cup oats
- 1tbsp chia seeds
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/4tsp cinnamon
- 2tsp cacao or cocoa
- 1 medium banana
- 1tbsp peanut butter
- In a large bowl mix everything but the banana and peanut butter together.
- Mash 1/2 of your banana until smooth, and throw it into the bowl along with the ingredients you have already mixed.
- Pop your peanut butter into a microwavable bowl, and heat until melted (approx. 10 seconds). This will make it easier to mix into your chia pudding- which is what you’ll be doing now.
- Take some of your remaining banana, and chop it into chunks, then fold it into your pudding.
- Pour the mixture into a glass, and top with the last bit of banana, and a little more peanut butter if desired, before chilling in the fridge overnight.
- In the morning simply lift it out, grab a spoon, and enjoy…
THE reason to get out of bed on a Monday morning…
This Monday morning I have a super fast breakfast (or even snack) for you to try out, which could really brighten the beginning of your week. A chocolate and peanut butter “milkshake” (it’s actually a smoothie, I know, but that super creamy and indulgent taste is just too “milkshake” to ignore). That is actually good for you. Which is great, because much as I love berry smoothies, I feel that they’re more summer appropriate- I’m still in winter mode, where chocolate and nuts are required. But I still want those chocolate and nuts to be good for me.
This drink contains frozen banana (you wont really taste it; it just adds sweetness and ice cream-like texture when blended) for one of your ‘5 a Day’, potassium, fibre, and they’re also a source of tryptophan, which is a mood boosting hormone. Cacao is rich in antioxidants, having undergone less of a refining process than cocoa. However, if you cant get hold of this, then no worries! Just use a really good unsweetened dark cocoa. Cinnamon: it helps to boost the metabolism and also balance blood sugar. And finally, peanut butter…healthy fats, fibre, protein, and just the most amazing nutty flavour. What more does your Monday need?
- 1 cup plant based milk (as always, I used my coconut-rice milk; feel free to use any milk you have. Yes, that includes cows milk, although I find that when I’m using milk in large quantities, say, in a drink, plant milk lies less heavily on my stomach)
- 1 frozen banana (chop it into chunks and whack it in the freezer overnight)
- Dash of cinnamon
- 1tbsp cacao
- 1 tbsp. smooth peanut butter (I used the Meridian peanut butter)
- 2-3tbsp ice cold water
- Chuck everything into the blender, and blend. Pulse the blender at first to break everything up, and then for longer periods to smooth it all out.
- Pour it into a glass, add a straw, and sip away. Alternatively, if you have my level of finesse, then gulp it down in less than five minutes.
Tip! To make your smoothie with minimum Monday morning struggles: put the liquid ingredients in FIRST, closer to the blades, and then add in the solids and blend. The liquids lubricate everything, making the blending process easier.
Just LOOK at that gooey banana-peanut-maple goodness…imagine waking up to that. Well, I can’t make you breakfast in bed (that would be a bit creepy), but I can give you the instructions as to how to make yourself breakfast in bed.
This recipe is super simple (as usual), and you can pick up the ingredients easily. Chia seeds are now available in Tescos, Asda- even Home Bargins. I got a massive bag for about £2 from the latter. You can omit them, but they swell up and give a really great cookie-dough-esque texture when combined with the banana. In baked oatmeal banana is amazing for adding sweetness and moisture, as well as providing one of your 5 a day, a bunch of potassium, and being crammed full of fibre. Combined with the oats, also rich in fibre, this breakfast will keep you full all morning long. Creamy peanut butter adds in a great source of fat, and the maple syrup acts as a wonderful background flavour to bring out the nuttiness. Delicious and down right good for you.
Have I managed to convince you to give this a go? Well, if I have keep on reading…
Ingredients (serves one)
1 ripe banana (you want to have little brown freckles all over the skin, and no green), cut into slices
1/2 cup oats
1tbsp peanut butter (smooth OR crunchy, either will work well. I always use Meridian, because its my die-hard favourite)
1tbsp pure maple syrup (I used Clarkes, because I stole it from my brother’s pancake making stock, and that’s his favourite)
1/2tsp baking powder
1/2-1tsp cinnamon (I used 1tsp, but use a lot of cinnamon in my cooking. If you aren’t used to adding this in then go for 1/2tsp)
1/2 cup plant based milk (I opted for a coconut-rice milk as its my favourite, but feel free to use almond, cashew, oat, straight up rice milk- even cows milk if that’s what you have. I mean, use unicorn milk if you can get it)
1tsp chia seeds (or, if omitting this, reduce the milk by 1-2tbsp)
- Preheat the oven to 190*c (that’s for a fan oven; for a normal oven heat it to 200*c), and grease an ovenproof dish (I used some cooking spray to do this, as its what we have a home)
- In a bowl combine all but half of the banana, and mix together thoroughly. Mash the banana a little, but make sure you leave some decent chunkage. Pour into the oven proof dish.
- Use the remaining banana slices to decorate the top of your oatmeal; this caramelises slightly in the heat of the oven, and makes this oatmeal taste just that bit better. Plus the fact, it looks, y’know, fancy.
- Whack it into the oven for 25 minutes, until risen and golden brown, before removing from the oven and allowing to cool for 3-5 minutes, thus avoiding any burnt-mouth disasters. Enjoy!
One super easy breakfast idea for you guys, using two of my favourite staple ingredients: banana and peanut butter. Plus the addition of some chia seeds for all of you health nuts out there, and some maple syrup for anyone with a little bit of a sweet tooth, but wanting a more natural alternative…
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1/2 cup Greek yoghurt (I used Total because it’s so thick)
- 1/4 cup plant based milk (I used Alpro coconut, as usual)
- 1tbsp chia seeds
- 1 medium banana
- 3tsp chunky peanut butter (I used Meridian)
- Dash of cinnamon
- 1/2tsp maple syrup
- In a bowl mash half of the banana until creamy and smooth.
- To this add the oats, milk, chia seeds, cinnamon to taste, and Greek yoghurt, before giving everything a good stir. Add 2tsp of chunky peanut butter to the mix and whisk this in too, along with the maple syrup.
- Slice the remaining banana up, reserving three coins for decoration, and then fold into the pudding. Empty the mixture into a smaller bowl, top with the remaining banana coins and peanut butter, then place into the fridge overnight.
In the morning simply grab and go!