Breakfast Beauty.

IMG_4772Can we all just take a moment to appreciate how attractive my breakfast looked this morning. Blackberries, bananas, almonds, almond-hazelnut butter, rolled oats with vanilla soy milk. I think I’m in love.

Eating a well-balanced breakfast will help you recharge your brain and make it easier for you to maintain a healthy weight, so I urge you all to never ever skip breakfast! If you’re a busy body and don’t have enough time in the mornings (Which I don’t believe by the way. You always can make time to nourish your body with good foods!), try baking these healthy cookies on a Sunday night and store them in a bag to grab-n-go throughout the week. ‘Cookies for breakfast? No way!’ Yes, friends, dreams do come true.

Hope you all have a lovely Sunday!

Love,

Amy

7 Ingredient Cacao-Banana-Nut Butter-Oatmeal Cookies.

Alone, banana and chocolate are superb. But, when paired together, it’s like the interlocking of fingers between two soul mates… in food form.

IMG_4740Today I made these chocolate-banana-peanut butter-gluten free-oatmeal cookies. I know, quite a mouthful to say, but ridiculously simple to make and undeniably delicious. I seriously can’t believe I made these using only 7 ingredients! None of which, might I add, are butter, sugar, or eggs! The absence of refined sugars and reduction of saturated fats in these nutritious cookies makes me feel less guilty indulging in more than just one.

IMG_4714I initially didn’t know what I was going to make; it could’ve been bread, scones, granola… I really just wanted to bake something using the ingredients I had on hand. Little did I know that I was going to make some super delicious, moist mini cookies! This just goes to show how flexible baking can be and it also reminds us to be creative and willing to experiment with recipes.

IMG_4754IMG_4758Sure, these might not look like your traditional cookie, but I can vouch that they are equally as delicious as any chocolatey, sugary, buttery cookie out there! The texture of these are very reminiscent of banana bread. The outer shell is firm and the insides are plush, moist, and bursting with flavour.

IMG_4727As always, I used dates as my sweetener instead of refined sugar. I cannot stress how great incorporating dates into your recipes is. Per 100 grams, dates have 105 less calories, 8% less carbs, and 32% more dietary fibre than white sugar. If that’s not reason enough to switch to using dates instead of refined sugars, I don’t know what is!

IMG_4721Rather than my usual almond butter, I grabbed the almond-hazelnut butter last week at the grocery store and my oh my, this stuff is life-changing. I kid you not, almond-hazelnut butter tastes like liquified Ferrero Rocher!!! Though, I guess it makes sense since Ferrero Rocher is a hazelnut cream-filled chocolate. But you guys need to try it! It adds something different to the cookie rather than just strictly using peanut butter.

Ingredients:

(Yields ~ 40 cookies)

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1-2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup almond-hazelnut butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. Place oats in a blender and pulse until milled into a fine, flour-like texture. It’s perfectly fine if there are a few larger pieces of unground oats- it will give the cookies more texture. Place ground oats in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Soak dates in 1/2 cup of warm water. After 5 minutes of soaking, transfer the dates with the water to the blender and blend until the no large chunks of date are visible and the consistency of the mixture is like a thick paste. Transfer paste into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Peel the bananas and mash them in the bowl with the date paste. Keep mashing until no large chunks of banana are visible.
  5. Add the peanut butter and almond-hazelnut butter into the banana-date mixture. If you can’t get your hands on hazelnut-almond butter, feel free to substitute with equal parts of almond butter or more peanut butter. Once the nut butters are added, mix until everything is well incorporated.
  6. Add the cacao powder and baking powder to the mixture and slowly add the ground oats. Keep mixing and adding more oats a little at a time until all the oats are incorporated and everything is well mixed.
  7. Spoon the cookies onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. These cookies don’t spread out as they bake, so you can get away with arranging the cookies closer together/fitting more into one baking sheet.
  8. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Once they’re finished baking, let them cool for 5-10 minutes, then they’re ready to enjoy!

IMG_4766 I couldn’t be more happy about the way these turned out. I even put them to the test with my anti-health food friends (friends who think anything I make is made out of grass) and they really enjoyed them! They were surprised at how sweet they were despite not using any sugar. They also made a note that these would make a great on-the-go breakfast. The nut butters definitely gives you the protein you need and the oatmeal provides the bulk that’ll make you feel full!

IMG_4733Baking these was such a great way to spend my Saturday evening! I hope you guys give these a try and please let me know if you do! Anyway, hope you’re making the best of your weekend and I’ll talk to you soon!

Love,

Amy

 

Nostalgia of London, UK

IMG_9804-2When I think back to backpacking across Europe last summer, one thing that always comes to mind was how unprepared I was for the London weather. I mean, I’ve heard people talk about the constant rain and cloudy skies, but I guess I refused to believe that London was anything less than a perfect city filled with wizardry & witchcraft, high fashion, and sexy British men with compelling accents and intense quiffs.

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Travelling to London was very special for me. It was the first stop on our backpacking adventure and my first time ever being in Europe, so I was a little overwhelmed with excitement to say the least. Like I said, I was not prepared for the weather at all. I was expecting light showers for a portion of the day, but it was more like drizzling for half the day, heavy rain for a few hours, and a peak of clear skies for 3 seconds. But despite the rain, this beautiful city filled with art, impeccable architecture and rich history, was absolutely magical.

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The five days I spent in London consisted of endless hours of walking, tube-riding, tourist photo-taking, museum visiting, and architecture appreciating. We tried our best to cover all the major attractions/landmarks, but we only scratched the surface within our stay. There’s just so much to see, it was impossible to get to everything! But that’s what I loved about this city- every corner you turned, you’d discover something magnificent. There was always an awesome bridge, a rad local market, a classic red telephone booth (which might not excite some, but I still love them!), or a strikingly beautiful building within my view and I can still remember that exhilarating thrill I had taking it all in.

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My favourite museum was definitely the British Museum (Photo above!). Not only was the historical content rich and beautifully displayed, but walking through the doors and seeing the grand Round Reading Room attached to the unique and stunning glass roof was breathtaking. Everything about this museum was grand and elegant and I couldn’t help but stand there for a good 15 minutes admiring the construction of it all. We ended up spending about 2-3 hours roaming through the rooms since we were short on time, but I would love to go back one day and just spend days here. I just love museums- so much learning within these walls, it’s ridiculous!

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St. Paul’s Cathedral was such a beautiful sanctuary. It’s probably the second grandest Church we visited on our entire trip, after St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Take a look at the dome of the church in the photo above; all of the art was painted to look 3-dimensional! If the audio guide didn’t tell me so, I would’ve thought those were sculptures on the dome, not a painting! All of the illustrations on the arches and pillars told stories of saints and angels and their spiritual encounters, which all came together so harmoniously. The top of the dome also had a great panoramic view of the city (photos below!), so if you’re ever in London, I highly recommend visiting St. Paul’s. Also, it’s where Princess Diana and Prince Charles got married- wouldn’t you want to step foot into the place where there was a royal wedding?!

IMG_9490IMG_9486(View atop St. Paul’s Cathedral)

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Look! It’s the bridge the death eaters destroyed in the Half Blood Prince! Except, it’s still fully intact and very pretty, haha. The Millennium Bridge is a pedestrian bridge that crosses River Thames. I really love how its modern and innovative design contrasts the classic architecture of St. Paul’s Cathedral behind it. The mix between contemporary and classic architecture throughout this city is a perfect balance. Seriously, writing this makes me want to go back to London right now!

IMG_9822-2(No tourist trip to London is complete without a photo of Big Ben! I was lucky enough to snap a shot of this beauty in clear skies!) 

IMG_9681-2(‘At your service, your Majesty!’ Unfortunately I didn’t see anything exciting whilst at Buckingham Palace. Why didn’t you come and greet me Queen Elizabeth, why!!!)

I have no idea what compelled me to write about this adventure that happened last summer, but there’s so much more that I want share with you about London! Though if I wanted to say it all, I’d be coming close to writing a novel. So let’s just end this off by saying I seriously recommend you taking a trip to London. The copious amounts of history and art to take in is incredibly remarkable and an experience you cannot mimic anywhere else. I hope to be back some day soon! And next time, I’ll definitely remember to bring my Hunter boots and a sturdy umbrella.

Love,

Amy

Always Look Forward to Weekend Lunches.

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This was lunch today- baked lemon ginger salmon with balsamic vinegar salad and a side of guacamole. It was freaking fantastic; just thinking about it now makes me smile, haha.

Monday to Friday lunches usually consist of a salad and sweet potato, which I enjoy very much, but I do like to switch it up on the weekends to make sure my tastebuds don’t get bored.

Salmon is packed full of Omega-3 fatty acids, which has been proven to reduce risk of coronary heart disease, and tastes great, so I try to add it into my meals on the weekends! It’s also super simple to prepare- I just marinate the salmon with the juice of a lemon, 1tbsp of grated ginger, cilantro, 3 cloves of garlic, 2tbsp of olive oil, and some salt & pepper in a Ziplock bag for an hour in the fridge then bake it in the oven at 350°F for 30 minutes and voila! Your perfectly cooked, flakey, moist, flavourful salmon is ready to eat.

If you’re in a diet rut and are looking to add something new to your meals, give salmon a try. Many people shy away from fish because they think it’s difficult to prepare and whatnot, but I promise you, it’s easier than you think! There are plenty of amazing salmon recipes out there and I urge you to try them out! Incorporating this healthy fish into your diet will  provide you with a plethora of nutrition without sacrificing taste/flavour.

To anyone who actually reads this, I hope you’re having a lovely Saturday and enjoy the rest of your weekend! And go eat some salmon!!!

Love,

Amy