Nut-free Granola Cookies

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Wow! I can’t believe it’s been so long since the last time that I posted something. I have been so immersed in writing my dissertation that I had kind of forgotten that I have a life!

Whenever I am feeling very stressed, I tend to follow a “ritual” to keep myself sane. In the mornings I like to drink a warm cup of water with natural lemon juice just after waking up. You need to think that you have been sleeping for at least 8 hours so your body is feeling pretty dehydrated at this point. Lemon also contains vitamin C so it’s a great way to start your day!

After this, I try to do at least an hour of exercise in the morning before I start doing any kind of work. It helps me to clear my mind, relaxes my muscles, gets rid of any tensions that I might have and makes me feel so much better for the rest of the day.

At the moment, I am really enjoying doing some workout videos by Keaira Lashae, The Fitness Marshall and Rebecca-Louise. If you haven’t heard of them, I recommend that you go and check them out. They are so much fun, they will get you fit and you’ll sweat like nothing else! Another alternative is to go for a walk, do Pilates, running or swimming. They are some of my favourite sports anyway!

When you have so much work to do, it is also important to eat a balance and healthy diet. If you tend to nibble a lot when you get stressed, try to have healthy snacks nearby. I made these cookies for breakfast the other day and they were a huge success! You can have one accompanied by a glass of soya milk for breakfast. They are so yummy! These cookies are also nut free so if anyone in your family is allergic to nuts, then this is a great option. Here is the recipe:

Ingredients: 

  • 50 grams of low-fat margarine or butter
  • 50 grams of caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp of Manuka honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 50 grams of wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 80 grams of porridge oats
  • 25 grams of dried cranberries
  • 25 grams of raisins
  • 20 grams of sesame seeds
  • 20 grams of pumpkin seeds

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Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 C (fan assisted – if not make it 180 C) / gas mark 4.
  2. Grab a bowl and use it to mix the margarine, sugar and honey together. I used an electric whisk but if you don’t own one, a big wooden spoon will work too. It’ll just take a bit longer!
  3. Add the egg and ground cinnamon. Mix everything together thoroughly.
  4. Grab another bowl and mix together the flour, baking powder, oats, raisins, cranberries, sesame & pumpkin seeds. Once you are done, add this mix to the margarine and sugar mixture and stir to form the cookie dough.
  5. Grease a large baking tray. Drop heaped dessertspoonfuls of the cookie dough onto the baking tray. They will approximately doubly in size, so leave enough space between them. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are lightly golden.  Don’t overcook or the cookies will become dark brown and very tough.
  6. Remove the cookies from the oven. They should still be a tiny bit soft to the touch. Leave them on the tray for a minute to settle, then transfer them to a wire cooling tray until completely cooled down.
  7. Enjoy!  But remember to keep any left over in an air-tight container so they stay fresh.

I would like to find a substitute for the sugar in this recipe to make it even healthier so if you have any suggestions, please leave a comment on this post. I’d love to hear from you!

R x

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New cooking books

I am a big fan of Waterstones. I could get lost in that store for hours! I recently visited one of their biggest shops in Piccadilly Circus and purchased two cooking books that I now A-B-S-O-L-U-T-E-L-Y adore!

Let’s start with the famous blogger Madeleine Shaw. I have been following her website and using her recipes for a while. She has always been a source of inspiration for me as I had issues with my body weight and eating habits pretty much since I was in high school. I love her ideas on healthy eating!

The blog is full of amazing tips where you can learn how to improve your lifestyle and change your nutrition habits. Her most recent book Ready, Steady, Glow is very affordable. I found it in Waterstones for £14.00 but you can purchase it on Amazon for £8.99. It is full of nourishing recipes and includes a meal plan for those who, like me, struggle to get themselves organised in the kitchen during the week.

I love the fact that this book holds a healthy fast food section. Sometimes I get so busy that I don´t even have time to think about what I am going to eat when I get home in the evening. That is where the danger resides… when you get home without an eating plan and you start nibbling anything you find like a voracious rat.

Naughty!

This is one of the reasons why this book comes in so handy for me. In the 30-minute mains section you will find a wide range of delightful healthy recipes. They are very easy to prepare and the variety of ingredients is wonderful: couscous, quinoa, prawns, beetroot, salmon, coconut oil, kale, you name it! And all in 30 minutes… or there about. It sometimes takes me a bit longer (I’m not going on Masterchef any time soon), but they are quick and easy recipes that always turn out delicious.

There is also a yoga section towards the end with exercises that you can attempt to do at home. I was scared to try these by myself as I am not a yogi and my knowledge of this discipline is very limited. I am more of a Pilates fan. But hey, I decided to give these a go and found out that they were quite approachable!

A few years ago I started to suffer from lower back pains so stretching has become a crucial part in my daily routine workouts. These exercises are very simple and will leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. I usually practise them in the garden after I have woken up so I can hear the sound of the birds and feel the morning dew. It is a great way to start your day.

The other book that I have recently found was designed by the wonderful Lorraine Pascale. This costs £20.00 in Waterstones but can be found on Amazon for £7.00. It is a fantastic alternative for those indulgent and extra cheeky recipes which I love but are not allowed in my weekly diet…. basically because I would turn into a big walking balloon…!

Anyway, here you will find a wide range of breads, cakes, puddings and some savoury recipes. One thing that I like a lot about this book is that she shows the comparisons of both the original recipe and her own version with the amount of calories, fat, salt, protein and sugar.

When I was reading her introduction, I remember how she mentioned that she struggled to reduce the amount of sugar and fat. I am not a nutrition expert (so your comments here are more than welcome!), but one product that I have recently included in my diet to avoid using sugar and still maintain the sweet touch is the Agave nectar syrup. I usually get this from Holland & Barrett but it can also be found at Sainsbury´s for £2.50. You only need a tiny amount so, if you are sensible, it will last you for a long time 🙂

I was very sad when I noticed back in 2014 that Lorraine had closed down her bakery the Cupcake Bakehouse in Covent Garden. Her career is truly impressive. She did modelling for Versace and Donna Karan, met celebrities like Kate Moss or Naomi Campbell and had her own cooking show at the BBC. I think her most recent book is called Eating Well Made Easy: Deliciously Healthy Recipes for Everyone, Every day and can be found in Amazon for  £9.00. I will let you know what I think of it once I have finished reading it.

Have a lovely weekend!

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