Sain et DΓ©licieux Toasts FranΓ§ais (aka Healthy & Delicious French Toast)

Bonjour!

Parlez-vous français ?

Okay, I’ll stop pretending I know French now πŸ˜‰ because honestly, I’m a born and bred English speaker and I hardly know beyond the basics of most languages. However, I do have some very exciting news to share that will change that dramatically – in fact, it is changing my whole life dramatically!

One week ago, I booked a one way flight to London. I leave on a plane in 6 months time to go backpacking around the world for as long as I want and can. I have made no other plans and I am going by myself. I may seem calm when I write these sentences so plainly, but words cannot describe the excitement, exhilaration, freedom and anticipation I feel at doing something so amazing in my life!! It’s something I have always wanted to do and I had a big chat to myself several months ago and decided that next year was my year to do it.

And so on that note, I urge ALL of you to give yourself what you want most in life. I don’t want to preach and tell you how to live your life, but think about this: you have exactly one life in which to do everything you’ll ever do – act accordingly.

For me, this really hit home. I almost decided not to go ahead with it because I felt like I should start working next year (since I finish uni this year) and start setting myself up for life. But the key word was should in that sentence. I almost chose to do it because I felt like it it was what I should do. But it’s not what I want to do. I want to live a life doing the things I love and for me, travel brings me happiness. Another saying I found that really helped me make this decision was “don’t be afraid to give yourself everything you’ve ever wanted in life.” And so at 22 years of age, I will be getting on that plane and living the life I want. I will be living in incredible places, spending my days doing amazing things and meeting people I would have never met if I had decided to stay at home and work. I have the rest of my life to work and settle down, but right now I am care-free and young and I intend to live it up as much as I can! I know that this will be something I can look back on as an old lady and reminisce about it as the best time of my life. Not sitting there regretting the choices I didn’t make.

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Anyway, enough about me and my ramblings! I’m just so excited to be going that I can’t help it! πŸ™‚

Today I decided to treat myself to a scrumptious breakfast. I’m currently 1/3 of the way through my end-of-year-very-exhausting-and-full-on prac for my teaching degree and I’ve hardly had any time for myself. My every thought and action revolves around this prac at the moment and I know that if I keep going this way I will become very run down, exhausted and start to resent it. So I took some time out this Saturday morning to have some ‘me time’ – this time is incredibly important so that I can reset myself, get in a better head space and generally just de-stress. My morning involved no alarm clock (although I still woke up early because of that body clock of mine!), lying in bed after I woke up for as long as I wanted, going for a run along the river and then coming back home and making myself a cup of chai tea and a yummy brekkie!

I watched a movie last night and one of the meals they ate during it was French Toast and I got hit with a massive craving for it! But of course, I needed to make it healthy πŸ™‚ normal french toast is covered in sugar and made with white bread, so it is very simple to make clean and healthy.

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French Toast

Ingredients

  • 2 slices of wholemeal bread (no preservatives or added sugar – 100% wholemeal flour!)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 cup of Lite/Skim Milk (or soy/almond etc)
  • Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon

Method

  1. Whisk egg, milk, nutmeg and cinnamon in a bowl.
  2. Place bread in mixture and coat on both sides (don’t soak the bread until it’s soggy – it just needs to be coated)
  3. Place bread in a non stick frying pan on medium-low heat (this heat allows the bread to be cooked without burning the outside)
  4. Cook until bread is firm and golden brown, flipping the bread over to ensure it cooks evenly.
  5. Serve while warm with an extra sprinkle of cinnamon on top!

I ate mine with fresh fruit and greek yogurt – Strawberries are so cheap in Perth at the moment (3 large punnets for $3!) so I had fresh strawberries, banana and I even had a side of fresh mango too – we are very fortunate to have a mango tree in our backyard and the windy weather last night dropped several on the ground. Yum, yum and yum!

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You can of course vary your toppings – you may want to drizzle honey or maple syrup on top. I’m just sweet enough already that I didn’t feel the need πŸ˜‰

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Bon appΓ©tit !

Mediterranean Frittata

As I mentioned earlier, I’m looking after my parents house for a few weeks so that I can look after the numerous items that need taking care of including our dog, Caddie, and the four chickens that my parents also own. I love that my parents have chickens because nothing beats fresh, free range eggs! Here’s a photo from a year or so ago showing the mansion that they live in, designed and hand built by my dad! They really do live a luxurious life, no wonder their eggs are so yummy!

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However, the problem I’ve recently been experiencing is that there is only one of me here and four chickens. Each chicken lays one egg a day. This would not normally be a problem if a full household lived here. But one person eating maximum two eggs a day (if that!) is resulting in a surplus of eggs. 4 eggs laid – 2 being eaten = 2 extra eggs per day = several dozen eggs in the fridge.

So, what to do with all these eggs? A friends mum the other day suggested a frittata! Excellent idea. Frittatas are also great because you can put basically whatever you want in them and you’ve got yourself a delicious meal! Great for using up vegetables and also great for leftovers to take as an easy lunch to work/school/uni etc. So based on what I had in the fridge, I made myself a Mediterranean inspired frittata for lunch! But like I said, you can put anything in these things!

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Mediterranean Frittata
Serves 8

Ingredients
8 eggs
2 tbsp lite milk
Spinach (I used frozen spinach I found in the freezer coz its easier to stir in)
Eggplant (fresh from the vege patch my parents have!)
Black olives
Mushroom
Garlic
Tomato
Red capsicum
Parmesan cheese (I just used up what I had left which was literally less than the size of my thumb)
Oregano (or other herbs of your choice)
Pepper

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Chop the eggplant and mushroom into slices and fry off with some EVOO to cook it a little bit before going in the oven. I cooked these in a clove of garlic.
  3. Whisk together the eggs, milk, herbs and pepper.
  4. Chop up all the other vegetables and mix ALL the veges in the egg mixture.
  5. Pour the mixture into a greased glass dish.
  6. Cook in the oven for anywhere between 20 – 50 minutes, or until there is no liquid left. Mine took about 40 minutes.
  7. Let it sit for 5 or so minutes and serve!

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Perfect as a side to meal if you cut it into 8 portions, otherwise you could also eat it as meal! I had mine with a salad and it tasted perfecto! You can freeze the other portions and reheat later when you’re short on time for a meal. Easy peasy!

I’ll leave you with a picture of Caddie, the day she decided to break into the chook pen to get the scraps and she let all the chickens out.. How can you get angry at that face?? xo

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Apple & Berry Crumble

Hello again!

I’ve been house sitting my parents house down in mandurah for the past week and a half while they’re in the US (lucky ducks! Can’t wait until that’s me next year!) and I think the winter weather plus being back in my family home has got me craving classic winter desserts! When I used to live here and I didn’t live the clean eating lifestyle, I used to always eat the Nanna’s Apple Pies with ice cream during the winter months for dessert and being back here is making me crave it!

So, to satisfy my cravings without resorting to the packaged pies I know are sitting in the freezer, I decided to whip up my own yummy dessert! Instead of a pie, I’ve made a crumble but I’m happy with that coz I’m a sucker for those types of desserts (warm pies and crumbles are seriously my dessert weakness – give me them over cakes and brownies any day!).

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I looked to a few recipes online for guidance, but in the end I winged it and created my own recipe! They’re pretty easy things to make your own so you can change it up as you please, especially with the topping. You can add chopped nuts and dried fruit, use maple syrup or honey and the list goes on! Add more syrup to make it sweeter. The possibilities are endless! πŸ˜‰ so without further ado, my version of clean eating …

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Apple & Berry Crumble
Serves 2

Ingredients
1 apple, chopped
1/2 cup mixed berries
2 tsp organic agave syrup
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 tbsp wholemeal flour
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp desiccated coconut
1 tsp cinnamon

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Add apple and berries in a medium pan with enough water for them to stew in.
  3. Simmer apple and berries for 5 or so minutes, or until soft.
  4. Mix together the oats, flour, coconut, oil and cinnamon with your fingers until it becomes crumble like in texture.
  5. Pour apple and berry mixture into a ramekin dish (you may want to grease it but mine was fine).
  6. Drizzle agave syrup over the mixture.
  7. Spoon crumble mixture over the top. Sprinkle with more cinnamon if desired πŸ˜‰
  8. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden on top.
  9. Serve while hot with a side of plain Greek yogurt (as a substitute for ice cream, otherwise it tastes great on its own!).

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Enjoy your classic winter comfort dessert, minus the guilt! I’m eating mine wrapped up in a blanket watching masterchef which is what generally makes me crave yummy food! At least I have my own tonight and don’t have to sit here drooling πŸ˜›

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xo

Girls Night Part III: Warm Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Last but not least, a warm vege packed dip that I served in a wholemeal Vienna loaf. My friend Amanda made this when I was in Sydney so I asked for the recipe coz it was super yummy! I changed it a wee bit coz the original had mayo in it but I substituted it for Greek yogurt instead πŸ™‚ it’s got a fair bit of cheese in it but as long as it doesn’t have any preservatives or additives I’m okay with that – its a dip that would serve about 15 people so for a party or entertaining its fine!

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Warm Cheesy Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Ingredients
400gm can of artichokes in water
250 – 300 gm frozen spinach (thawed)
1/4 cup spring onion (I just used one spring onion), chopped
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup low fat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup light sour cream
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (don’t buy the pre shredded stuff – they add preservatives to it to keep it like that!)
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese (again, buy a block and grate it yourself!) – the amount of cheese is up to you depending on how cheesy you like it πŸ™‚
1 wholemeal cob loaf (or Vienna loaf in my case coz they didn’t have wholemeal cob)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees
  2. In a food processor, chop up the artichokes, garlic, spring onion and spinach
  3. Combine the rest of ingredients in a bowl
  4. Place in an oven proof dish (I sprayed mine with olive oil just to be safe) and bake for 20-25 mins until hot and cheese is melted.
  5. Cut a whole in the middle of the bread and rip up the bread into bite size pieces – place the bits around the loaf and put in the oven for the last 5 minutes so make the bread crispy and warm.
  6. Spoon the dip into the middle of the bread and serve immediately!

To make it gluten free, obviously serve it with gluten free bread or in a separate bowl with crackers, carrot sticks and so on!

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Delicious! Here’s a photo of me looking super proud as I serve it up hehe πŸ˜‰

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Now I’m off to enjoy my last day of freedom with 2 of my best friends and goddaughter in Freo! I start my teaching prac on Monday for the whole of term 3! So hopefully ill be posting some more but it will be a pretty full on 8 weeks so see how I go! Wish me luck πŸ™‚

Girls Night Part II: Peanut Butter & Choc Chip Cookies

And dessert number two from Saturday night was Peanut Butter & Choc Chip Cookies – but they’re not your average cookie… To make them gluten free, the dough is actually made from… Wait for it – CHICKPEAS! You’re mind blown right? I didn’t believe they would work and actually taste okay, but better than that they tasted AMAZING! Some of the girls said they were even better than normal cookies… Maybe even the best cookies they’ve ever had! So another winner right here. A really fun thing to do is actually get a person to take a bite first and once they’re saying ‘oh my gosh this is amazing!’ to actually tell them the main ingredient πŸ˜‰

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[Chickpea] Peanut Butter & Choc Chip Cookies
Makes 12 – 15 depending on size

Ingredients
400gm can of chickpeas (no added salt) – you’ll need to just dry them on some paper towel
1/2 cup NATURAL peanut butter (100% peanuts)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 cup honey
Drizzle of olive oil (I used extra virgin and maybe only used a teaspoon or so)
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (you can use more if you wish but I didn’t use so much because the only chocolate chips I could find weren’t more than 70% which means more sugar the lower the percent!)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray with baking paper (I sprayed it lightly with olive oil too)
  2. Make sure chick peas are dried off and purΓ©e in a food processor until the ‘dough’ is completely smooth
  3. Add all the remaining ingredients (except the chocolate chips) and purΓ©e some more
  4. Pour into a bowl and mix in the Choc chips
  5. Spoon out the dough onto the parchment – dont even try to flatten them or make them into perfect cookie shapes – it’s pretty sticky and you’ll just end up getting frustrated πŸ˜‰ who needs perfect circles anyway? That’s boring πŸ˜›
  6. Bake for about 13 – 15 mins.
  7. Leave them to sit for 5 minutes or so as they harden up a bit once they cool – otherwise they’re pretty mushy and you can’t pick them up πŸ™‚

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Another healthy hit! So good for kids (what kids don’t love making and eating cookies?) but a group of 20 something girls loved them too πŸ˜‰

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Girls Night Part I: Banana & Walnut Fudge

I know, I know! It’s been a verrrrry long time since I’ve posted! I do apologise but sometimes life gets busy – but I’m making up for it by giving you not one, not two but THREE new recipes today. And you are in for a treat too – not tooting my own horn but they tasted amazing! So hopefully I will be forgiven for my disappearance on the blog scene πŸ˜‰

I cooked up a culinary storm last night because my roommates and I decided to throw a girls wine, cheese & dessert night with some friends. It was a night of indulging but at least the desserts I put together were guilt free (and gluten free for my coeliac roommate who will now love me forever!). So whilst i wait for the the other girls who are still sleeping (my body clock loves to wake me up no matter what day it is or how late I went to bed) I’m going to share with you the first dessert – Banana and Walnut Fudge. Super easy to prepare and was the winner of the night! Found the recipe on thegraciouspantry.com

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Banana & Walnut Fudge
Makes about 24 pieces (depending how you cut it)

Ingredients
1/2 cup coconut oil
2/3 cup pure and unsweetened cocoa powder
1 medium ripe banana
10 dates
1 tsp vanilla extract
Walnuts (optional)

Method

  1. In a small sauce pot, melt the oil.
  2. Whisk in the cocoa powder while the oil is still warm
  3. In a food processor, blend the banana, dates and vanilla extract. (I had to use the stick blender towards the end to get a really smooth consistency)
  4. Add the chocolate to the processor and blend until smooth and well combined.
  5. Pour into a small, parchment lined baking dish and place dish in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. I used a spatula (the thing you use to scrape bowls with?) to press it down and smooth it around the tray and it was super easy!
  6. Cut into 24 pieces (a pizza cutter works great)

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Hands down favourite of the night by all of the girls and I’m lucky there’s still some left in the fridge for dessert tonight πŸ˜‰ I forgot to get a photo of the fudge cut up so here is one of me looking very pleased with myself holding a plate of it and also the dessert that features in Part II of the girls night!

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Bircher Muesli

Hi everyone!

Sorry it’s been so long between posts! I went to Sydney a few weeks ago (has it already been two weeks?? Time flies..) and the day after I got back I went into a two week prac for my teaching degree so I’ve been very busy preparing lessons and school work (not to mention working on assignments that were due at the same time)! My first real taste of teaching life since I started so all of that definitely became a priority during the week which meant all my creativity and spare time has gone into that! However, today is the last of this prac (I’m a bit sad actually, I’ve really come to love my class) so last night while I made muffins for the staff room I also put together my breakfast for this morning.

Now you’re probably thinking “but why Bircher museli? It’s so cold in the mornings and Bircher is such a summer breakfast!” And you would be correct – porridge would definitely be more comforting to eat when it’s currently three degrees and still dark outside. But there is a story behind it all which has made me perfect this recipe over the past two weeks and put it as a must have recipe for this summer! (Which will be here before I know it if this year continues to fly by like it has, yikes!).

The story is that when I stayed with my close friend Amanda in Sydney recently, on a beautiful Sunday morning she took me down to her local area of Cronulla to show me the best bits. First pit stop was infamous Grind Coffee which I do have to agree, lived up to the hype – I’m not a huge coffee drinker but that latte was pretty darn good! We then walked with our coffees down to the beach area and stumbled across an awesome breakfast bar which has no tables, just one bar that overlooks the beach. We decided to try the Bircher after seeing someone walking by with it and OH my goodness – it was heaven. Literally, the best Bircher muesli I’ve ever had. I don’t know what made it so good (I relaxed my clean eating a bit since I was on holiday and its hard to eat completely clean when you eat out) but I made sure I savoured every mouthful. The view was amazing since Sydney decided to give me some amazing weather while I was there and I was so content with life at that moment in time, sitting with one of my best friends and chatting about the good things in life.

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So, there’s my pretty simple story as to why I’m eating cold Bircher on a freezing cold morning, but I finally perfected my clean eating Bircher and maybe if I close my eyes I can imagine I’m back on Cronulla beach with the sun shining on my face… Hehe. It’s obviously not the same as that marvellous creation at Barefoot on the Beach cafe but I think it’s pretty good if I do say so myself and it will be my staple during the warmer months!

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I used a pre made muesli mix (but its the Woolworths Macro Organics Raw Muesli with Coconut so there’s no nasties to be found – check your ingredients before you buy as so many of the pre made mixes add sugar and preservatives) but you can make your own using oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruits etc. It was just quicker and cheaper for me to grab this one. Some examples of what to include are almonds, walnuts, sultanas, sunflower kernels and coconut but there is no way it’s limited to this – be creative!

Bircher Muesli

Preparation time: 5 minutes.
Cooking time: leave in the fridge overnight

Ingredients
– 1/4 cup Macro Raw Muesli with Coconut
– 1 tbsp black chia seeds
– 1 tsp cinnamon
– 1/8 cup low fat milk/milk alternative
– 1/4 cup chobani Greek yogurt
– 1/4 of a grated green apple

Method

  1. Mix together the muesli, cinnamon and chia seeds in a bowl
  2. Add the milk, yogurt and apple.
  3. Stir together to mix it well.
  4. Cover with cling wrap and put in the fridge over night.

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Serve with a sprinkle of cinnamon, half a cup of thawed berries (I warmed mine up!) and the other 1/4 of the apple. Or any other topping you’d like including banana, pear, nuts and so on.

It’s that simple (another reason why it’s such a good recipe – super quick breakfast in the morning with hardly any prep time!).

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I do have another hectic couple of weeks coming up, but I do hope to post some more yummy and creative clean eating dishes for you all! Thanks for your patience and have a great weekend (woohoo it’s Friday!)

xo