Easy Banana Protein Pancakes

(which actually taste good- because we all know they usually don’t!)

As the weather gets warmer, I sometimes find myself not wanting porridge for breakfast. I feel such a traitor saying that, but it is undeniably true. And so about a week ago I began a search for some breakfast alternatives. Overnight oats are a great option (loads of recipes on this blog), I tried a breakfast trifle using lucuma , omelettes are nice and light, shredded wheat is good- but then came these pancakes, and I am now converted. IMG_20170531_083814_327

I’ve tried egg and banana pancakes before and they were -quite frankly- absolutely shite. In no way can you simply mix banana and egg together and magically have that give birth to a pancake. I also found they didn’t fill me up at all. These pancakes do use a base of banana and egg, but we’re adding in oats to keep you full, protein powder to also up the satiety level and help build those muscles (I need them to carry several 1kg tubs of PB home from Holland & Barratt’s, and according to Spark Nutrition’s recipe calculator, for the recipe as it is above you’ll be getting 24g of protein) , some baking powder for fluffiness, and  “cinnamon” for some more sweet dessert-like taste.

Okay, they aren’t your momma’s pancakes, but I have been making these at least three times a week with different combinations of toppings (see recipe), and I’m sure you’ll be hooked too (they taste way better than the classic egg-and-banana sin of a pancake). They’re quick, can be made ahead and reheated, and are a lovely, less stodgy alternative on a lazy summer’s morning. Be sure to pile on some toppings and tag me in you IG pictures…

 

Ingredients

  • 1 large, ripe banana
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1 heaped tbsp. protein powder (I use the Pulsin Pea Protein, and this is approx. 10g of the product)
  • 1/2tsp baking powder
  • Cinnamon, to taste
  • Cooking spray

Continue reading “Easy Banana Protein Pancakes”

Egg, Asparagus, Broccoli & Pepper Couscous (fast, easy, and healthy!)

IMG_20170516_212211_450The past few weeks have been a bit busy for me, what with my final essays for third year being handed in tomorrow, and completing my poetry portfolio to hand in a couple of weeks ago- something I’ve spent nearly a year working on and had to be pried away from me. I know that this time of year us students tend to just pick up food as we go, and though I am always ready to indulge my love of food, it can become a little bit expensive. It can become a LOT expensive. And since I’ve been spending a lot of time in a local cake shop recently, and I would rather spend my money on cake (its really good cake), this was becoming a bit of a problem. This is the kind of lunch that provides a solution: its fast, its pretty no-brain-power-required, it tastes great, and it will make you feel good. You can also then spend more money on cake.

Swap in whatever veggies you want/have. Here I’ve used broccoli (I always have that in), pepper (I was finishing up a three pack), and asparagus (on offer in the market, and coincidentally one of my favourite vegetables, so I was using up a massive bunch of the stuff). The idea is to keep this cheap, so don’t go buy mega-expensive ingredients. Couscous is something I feel like every student should have in, as are eggs. Both are things you can make multiple meals out of, and so are invaluable.

Continue reading “Egg, Asparagus, Broccoli & Pepper Couscous (fast, easy, and healthy!)”

Cheat’s Chilli Ramen



Not so long ago now, I went to Wagamama’s for the first time. I know; the first time. And since then, ramen (which I have had before) has been something I crave frequently. But I don’t usually have the time to make fancy ramen like Wagamama’s. Which is where this cheat’s ramen comes in. So called as it only has a few ingredients- which you can play around with depending what’s in your fridge.

 I went for tofu, but feel free to add in prawns or shredded chicken. When it comes to adding the tofu, you can either add it all at once, or stir half into the soup, and then use the rest to top (my preference, as I like to see my tofu, and the stock helps to warm it slightly). Also, I used vegetable stock, but switch it up with beef or chicken if you have a preference.

Finally, this is perfect if you’re a student: the noodles are cheap, the stock is cheap, you can use up all of those leftovers- and it both tastes better,and is better for you, than a pot noodle. It’s comfort food at its finest. So, chopsticks at the ready…

Ingredients

  • 1 nest of wholemeal rice vermicelli noodles (I use the ‘Mama Instant Vermicelli Wholemeal Noodles’, and got mine at Morrison’s; you immerse them in hot water and, like healthy instant noodles, they are ready in 4 minutes)
  • 100g firm tofu
  • 1/2 vegetable stock cube, made up with 500ml freshly boiled water
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 4-5 mushrooms. sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced
  • 1 large handful of curly kale
  • 1/2 large red chilli, sliced
  • 1 large pinch Chinese 5 spice
  • Black and white pepper to taste.



Method

  • Into a large pan throw your garlic, and your chilli- begin to lightly fry over a medium heat.
  • After a minute or so add in the carrot, before pouring in the stock and turning the heat down to medium-low. Add in the 5 spice, and stir, before allowing to simmer for 3-5 minutes.
  • Throw in the mushrooms and the kale, and continue cooking for 2 minutes, before adding in the noodles. Simmer for 4 minutes, and then add in half of the tofu.
  • Transfer everything into a bowl, being careful not to smush the tofu up, and then top with the rest of the tofu, and some black and white pepper…

Satay-Style Courgetti

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
  • 1tsp soy sauce

Method
  • 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.

Shakshuka (Eggs in Hell)

I’ve only made sashuka a few times, but this week just gone by I developed a massive craving for it- owing to seeing it on a food diary video on YouTube. Until that point I had always known it as “Eggs in Hell”, due to the spicy tomato sauce. You can eat it for breakfast, brunch, and lunch- and although its great in summer, its even better when the weather turns cold in winter.

This dish takes a little longer than my recipes usually do (around 45 minutes start to finish), but it looks after itself; the time is taken up by the sauce cooking down to a tomato and chilli flavoured goodness. And if the time it takes to cook is off-putting, then just remember: you have less washing up to do, as this is eaten from the pan. See? Perfect student food.

I like to keep my sauce fairly chunky, but if that isn’t for you then simply chop your vegetables into smaller chunks, and add in some more canned tomatoes- this will take longer to reduce though, and you will need to play around with how much chilli you add.

Ingredients (serves one)

  • 1/2 can chopped tomatoes (roughly 200g)
  • 1/2  bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 -1 medium red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed and finely chopped
  • 1 handful of kale
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • Pinch of each: cayenne, cumin, turmeric, smoked paprika (this is a recipe you can really tailor to your own tastes, but make sure that you have more smoked paprika here proportionately)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • TO SERVE: Toast, if desired

Method
  • Into a frying pan place your garlic and chilli. Cook for around 1 minute, on a medium heat, until softened. Now throw in the onion; sauté over the same heat until golden.
  • Throw in the pepper, the kale, and the chopped tomatoes, along with all of your spices, salt, and pepper. Reduce the heat to low, add 1/4 cup of the boiling water, and allow to simmer gently for 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes, return to your pan and give it a stir, adding in the final 1/4 cup of water, and allowing to simmer for 15 minutes more.
  • Once you return to the pan the sauce will have thickened, and cooked down nicely. Make two small wells in the mixture, crack in the eggs, and turn the heat up to medium. Allow the eggs to fry, keeping an eye on them to prevent burning. If the bottoms of the eggs have cooked, but the tops are still too raw, then place a baking tray or a lid over the pan (my pan has no lid, hence the baking tray), to direct the heat rising from the pan, back down to the eggs.
  • After 5- 10 minutes- depending how runny you like your yolks- remove the pan from the heat, and add some more black pepper. If you have fresh basil hanging around then tear some up to top your sashuka with.
  • No need for a plate- dig in straight from the pan.

Garlic Chickpeas, Spring Greens, and Mushrooms on Toast

Student meals. They can either be fabulous, or not so great- or downright grim. Don’t get me wrong, some nights I just open some soup, or have baked beans and a jacket potato with scrambled eggs. And that’s fine- but the days I want a quick meal that also has a little more…pzazz? Enter this take on a meal which is popular with one of my flatmates and myself…

Two of us in the flat are very much into mushrooms. Lucy once bought 2lbs of them, because they were 50p per lb. and “too good to resist”, though she didn’t quite realise how much 1lb was. Which meant we  lived off of mushrooms for a little while (I didn’t get the frantic text telling me not to buy mushrooms until it was too late). And the easiest dish (other than stir frys, soup, and pasta sauces) was garlic mushrooms and spinach on toast. Which is fine for a light meal, but I am starving by the time I get in on an evening.

This meal is quick, simple, takes under 10 minutes, contains vegetarian protein sources (yes, I’ve combined two LBV sources so that we get everything we need- look this up if you didn’t do A-Level Food Tech/ are a biology nerd), and it uses cheap ingredients. Spring greens work as a more flavoursome alternative to spinach, and at the moment they’re coming into season, so make the most of them while they’re cheap…

Ingredients

  • 2 slices wholegrain bread (I opted for a sourdough, as the texture is the best you’ll find in the Waitrose bargain bin- which is where I head when I’m feeling fancy)
  • 5-6 mushrooms
  • 1/2 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed (approx. 120g: you can use the others in a salad, or mash with 1/2 avocado and curry powder before dolloping onto a jacket potato)
  • 1 good handful of spring greens (supermarkets sell them with the spinach, kale, and salad leaves usually)
  • Black and white pepper, to taste
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • OPTIONAL: 1 good pinch of mixed herbs; 1 heaped tsp. wholegrain mustard (use whatever you like, but I do recommend adding this, and I prefer wholegrain for flavour), 1/4 lemon to dress

Method

  • First things first: slice the garlic cloves thinly (use a press if you have one; I don’t), and add to the pan, with a little cooking spray or oil. Turn the pan to a medium heat, and cook gently.
  • Now slice the mushrooms in to thick slices, and add them to the pan too. Once beginning to soften, add the spring greens, and a little splash of water in order to steam them. Throw in the black and white pepper, and the herbs if using.
  • Add in the chickpeas, and stir. Leave over a low heat while you toast the bread.
  • Once your bread is transformed into toast, spread each slice with a little mustard, and then whack the chickpea mixture on top. Add more pepper and a bit of lemon if desired.
  • Dig in…

Snack Attack: 30 + Snack Ideas

    1. Boiled eggs (You can prep these and keep them in the fridge for times of need)
    2. Shredded wheat with hot milk and fruit, (actually one of my favourite night-time snacks because its so comforting) or…
    3. Mini shredded wheats (I can eat these like crisps, but they’re really good dipped in nut butter, or yoghurt mixed with honey. You can also add them to snack number 7, for a larger snack, or great breakfast)
    4. Hummus with veggie sticks/ wholemeal pitta (or both)
    5. Dark chocolate (go for 75% and above)
    6. Dark chocolate coffee beans (wonderful before an afternoon workout for a bit of a caffeine hit)
    7. Yoghurt + nut butter + honey + berries (mix up the first three ingredients in a ratio of 100g:1tbsp:2tsp, and throw in your chosen berries. Wonderful as a dessert as well- especially if you use frozen berries, and throw in some cacao, or cocoa)
    8. Smoothie (there are plenty of recipes on the blog, simply type head over to the “Drinks” section)
    9. Medjool dates, straight up, or…
    10. Dates stuffed with nut butter (use 1/2tsp of almond or peanut butter per date), or…
    11. Dates stuffed with nut butter and dark chocolate (simply add a small square of dark chocolate to each date. This also makes for a great dessert)
    12. Dried apple rings (Holland and Barratt’s Apple Snaffle is wonderful- chewy and marshmallowy in texture, with a strong apple flavour, but no added sugar. You can also make them yourself using this recipe: http://ecstaticallyem.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/easy-chewy-apple-rings.html ).
    13. Fresh fruit (pick your favourite and dig in; I opt for pears, apples, plums, berries, and bananas above all else)
    14. Baked banana (Peel most of the banana, leaving some of the peel along the sides and on the bottom. Sprinkle with cinnamon, wrap loosely in foil, and bake for 15-20 minutes in an oven preheated to 180*c. Alternatively, if you aren’t sick of nut butter or chocolate, and want to turn this into dessert, then go for this peanut butter and chocolate baked banana: http://ecstaticallyem.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/peanut-butter-chocolate-baked-banana.html)
    15. Energy balls (type this into the blogs search bar, and choose from snickers, bakewell tart, chocolate mint, and better than bounty)
    16. Sweet potato wedges (chop a small-medium sweet potato into wedges, add a little salt, pepper, and smoked paprika, and microwave until tender. Serve as it is, or with condiments. My choices would be ketchup, salsa, guacamole, or mustard. If you want something fancier, and have a griddle pan or grill, then check out my tiger wedges: http://ecstaticallyem.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/tiger-wedges-creamy-avocado-dip-with.html)
    17. Banana bread (Recipe for a chocolate, hazelnut and banana bread can be found right here: http://ecstaticallyem.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/hunky-monkey-banana-bread.html )
    18. Pumpkin bread (Why wait for autumn? This recipe can be made all year around, which is perfect for pumpkin addicts like myself: http://ecstaticallyem.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/the-easiest-tastiest-pumpkin-bread.html)
    19. Cappuccinos (Okay, so it isn’t a snack snack. But when I want something, but I’m not quite sure what, and it needs to be quick and warm and wake me up, then its a semi skimmed naked cappuccino I go for, and I usually have a banana on the side. This is actually one of my go-to pre gym snacks.)
    20. Banana Nice-cream (One for the veggies and vegans and lactose intolerant/ allergic people. Slice up and freeze one ripe banana- or keep a stock of chopped banana in bags in freezer- and then blend until smooth and creamy. You can add in cocoa powder and honey, peanut or almond butter, berries, chocolate chips…and you end up with a cheap and healthy ice- cream substitute) 
    21. Tofu sticks (Season 100g tofu, cut into chunks, with your choices of herbs and spices, then place into an oven preheated to 190*c for 10-20 minutes, tossing half way through. This can be stored in the fridge too for up to two days, and so can be picked up on the go)
    22. Nakd bars (For days you want it really quick and easy. I love the bakewell tart, gingerbread, and chocolate orange. They’re also amazing when microwaved for literally a few seconds, until gooey)
    23. Baked chickpeas (You can by these at health food stores, but can also make them at home- recipe coming soon!)
    24. Rice cakes + nut butter + banana (I spread three rice cakes with my chosen nut butter, top with sliced banana, and add some cinnamon)

 

  • Rice cakes + jam + nut butter (Like a PB&J, but with more crunch)

 

 

  • Rice cakes + avocado (Mash up 1/3 of an avocado, and spread over three rice cakes. Add salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon- you can also add tomato)
  • Rice cakes + cottage cheese, tomato, and black pepper (dollop of cottage cheese, sliced tomato, and add black pepper. Easy.)
  • Chia pudding (I have a couple of recipes here on the blog, simply type ‘chia pudding’ into the search bar)
  • Oatcakes (thick ones are the only way to go. I opt for straight up, ginger, or black pepper)
  • Homemade granola with yoghurt (Check out a granola recipe by typing it into the search bar, or simply add a handful of your favourite to a good dollop of yoghurt)
  • Toast + Topping (this is one of my more substantial snacks: toast 1-2 slices bread of choice- I usually opt for sourdough, which I buy and then freeze to save money- and top with 1/4 avocado, or a little butter, or cottage cheese, or jam, or nut butter…)
  • Mini Ploughmans (whack 50g cottage cheese into a little dish, chop up an small apple, grab 2 oatcakes, some grapes, and form a filling mini-meal)
  • Salted Popcorn (I tend to go for Metcalf’s salted version; if you don’t go for the toffee, chocolate etc. flavours, and keep it simple, popcorn is a really great snack. It’s rich in fibre, and takes on flavour well, so add some cinnamon, or another spice blend if you fancy.)