Pumpkin Spice Balls

We are well into October, but here in Bristol, we are being spoiled by beautiful weather this weekend. Walking around was so perfect and it certainly doesn’t feel like winter will be here soon. Taking advantage of the nice weather, I went to Zero Green in Bedminster, one of Bristol’s many plastic free shops. You bring your own containers, weigh, fill, then weigh again. The oats, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, date/raisins, and pulp are from this shop. They also feature almond, cashew, and oat mylk in glass bottles from a lovely company called O!Mylk. They often leave leftover nut pulp for customers to take for free! So I took about a cups worth and decided to make these Pumpkin Spice Balls. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup almond pulp (or desiccated almonds if you don’t have pulp)
  • 1/4 cup porridge oats
  • 1/4 cup raisins and/or chopped dates
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter (or nut butter of your choice)
  • 5-6 tablespoons puréed pumpkin
  • Pumpkin seeds to coat

Place the pulp, oats, dates & raisins, chia seeds, and pumpkin spice in a bowl. The pulp is moist, so I found it best to mix together with a fork, working all the ingredients together as much as possible.

Once mixed, it should look a bit crumbly, as seen above.

Next, add the honey, nut butter, and pumpkin. Really stir it through so that all dry ingredients are well incorporated. If the mixture is too dry and not holding, you can add a bit more pumpkin. If it’s turned out too wet, just sprinkle on a bit more oats.

After rolling into a ball, I squished pumpkin seeds onto the outside. You really have to press them in as they don’t stick easily. Alternatively, you can drizzle the balls in chocolate or icing, then put the seeds on.

And there you have it, Pumpkin Spice Balls! They were super easy to make and would be a fun activity for little ones. There are also a lot of ways to adapt this recipe to your liking. You can always use maple syrup or golden syrup instead of honey. And if you like them sweeter, add more honey and slightly less pumpkin to bind. I think toasted pecans or chocolate chips would work really well in these treats. However you make them, this is a great way to create a healthy snack without producing much waste.

Enjoy the sunshine while it lasts! Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Wild Fruit Crumble

This cooler weather has been so nice and comfortable. It’s the perfect temperature for running and cycling, and for foraging wild fruit on the way.

I loaded up on these berries and apples during a bike ride, and the most obvious thing to make was a warm and filling crumble. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 3 small apples
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 cup porridge oats
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup raisins or sultanas
  • 1/3 cup almond milk

First wash the fruit very well, then peel and chop the apples into chunks. Put all the fruit into your baking dish.

Pour the sugar and flour over the fruit, and mix it around trying to coat the chunks as much as possible.

Next you will prepare the topping, which is essentially a bowl of porridge. Put the oats, cinnamon, almonds, raisins, and almond milk together. Let it sit for about 5 minutes so the oats absorb as much of the liquid as possible.

Spread the topping over the fruit. Make sure it’s as even as possible.

Place in the oven at 180 C / 350 F for 35 – 40 minutes, depending on your oven. It’s done when the fruit is soft and the topping is golden brown.

And there, you have it, Wild Fruit Crumble! You can pretty much use any fruit you want. Damson, blueberries, and red plums work well too! And the topping is on the healthy side compared to traditional crumble which often has a lot of butter and sugar. As I’m training for the Bristol Half Marathon, this is definitely a dessert I can get behind! And you can even have it for breakfast! It is part of your five a day and a lovely way to fuel your morning workout. Give this recipe a try and you can start by picking some wild fruit. Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Oat and Banana Energy Bites

Today is bank holiday Monday and it is absolutely gorgeous! I had a fantastic run this morning and decided to make this recipe as a post workout treat. And although I do enjoy running as a hobby, this time it’s in training for the Bristol 10k. I also decided to raise funds for the Bristol city centre hospital charity, Above and Beyond, which does some really great things for so many patients. If you would like to make a donation towards my fundraising goal, you can donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/candice-cole

And if you’d like to make these delicious energy bites, here is what you’ll need:

  • 3 cups oats (270 g)
  • 4 tablespoons milled linseed or flaxseed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 small bananas
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup (170g)
  • 1 cup peanut butter or nut blend (225g)

Go ahead and mix up the oats, linseed, and cinnamon. Put aside.

Next, mash the bananas. Make sure your bananas are ripe. This ensures they are soft which makes it a lot easier to mash into a smooth purée.

Add the vanilla, honey, and nut butter to the bananas, stirring very well.

Add the wet ingredients to the oat mixture, and mix very well. Once thoroughly incorporated, let sit for about 10 minutes for the oats to absorb some of the banana mixture.

At this point, roll into balls and place on a piece of parchment or baking paper. If the dough is still a bit wet, you can add a bit more linseed, or roll with something like coarse coconut flour, chopped nuts, or mini chocolate chips.

Place in the freezer for an hour to set.

And there you have it, Oat & Banana Energy Bites! They are the perfect pre-workout, post-workout, or sitting on the couch snack! You can even have these for breakfast or an afternoon pick me up. It’s also tasty to try different nut butters like a coconut peanut butter, as I did in mine. Next time I’ll experiment with different bits to roll in it, although the coconut is delicious! However you make them, I hope you savour these healthy treats! Enjoy the good weather and if you’re around on Sunday May 13th, cheer on all of us running the Bristol 10k in the city centre. Remember your sunscreen, thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Porridge Pancakes

It’s pancake day! After a post holiday break, I decided to post a simple recipe for Shrove Tuesday, otherwise known as “Pancake Day” here in the UK. This is a great recipe for those who love pancakes, but would rather not have traditional flour. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup (125 g) oat flour
  • 3/4 cup (70 g) porridge oats
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (215 g) almond milk (or milk of your choice)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 eggs

If you don’t have oat flour, you can just put 1 cup of porridge oats into a blender and blend until it becomes fine.

Combine, the oat flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

Next, add the coconut oil, milk, eggs, and vanilla. If you’re wondering, I made my own vanilla. Back in October, I put 750 ml of vodka in a bottle with 4 vanilla pods cut in half and split down the middle. Let it mature for a few months, and there you go!

Mix well, and pour onto a greased pan. Once it starts to bubble, flip it over. This recipe makes about 4 large pancakes.

And there you go! Porridge pancakes for Pancake Day 2018! Delicious, hearty, and full of fiber. It’s a great option for anyone wanting something a bit thicker and filling. And of course, the toppings are up to you! I went for traditional with maple syrup from Cracker Barrel. My other half went for raisins and almonds. Whatever you choose, enjoy your pancakes, thanks for reading, and Happy Eating!

Gloomy Day Buns with Cinnamon and Oats

What crazy weather we’ve been having eh? I thought I was going to blow away Monday afternoon! I definitely made an effort to get home as quickly as possible. Then I made these gems which lightened up the gloomy day. Here is what you’ll need:

1 cup warm water

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 1/4 tablespoons yeast
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup sultanas (or raisins)
  • 1/3 cup candied citrus peel

First, in a large bowl, prep the yeast by adding a cup of warm water and a tablespoon of sugar, making sure it is completely dissolved. Then add the yeast, give it a quick stir, and let it sit for about 10 minutes. It will be ready when there are lots of foam and bubbles.

To the yeast liquid, you will then add one egg, honey, and olive oil. Mix until it is evenly distributed.

To this, you will add the flour, oats, salt, cinnamon, sultanas, and citrus peel. Stir it up until all dry ingredients are incorporated.

Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic like. Place it in an oiled bowl and allow it to rise in a warm place for 2 hours, or until it doubles in size. I’m not sure why it takes so darn long, but my guess is that because of the oats, sultanas, and peel, maybe it has to work a bit harder to form air bubbles.

When ready, punch down the dough and divide into 16 balls. Cover these with plastic, or a large plastic bag, and let them rise again for another hour. Once they’ve achieved that, bake for 15 minutes at 200 C / 450 F. Yes, with all that work and time it takes to rise, they only spend 15 damn minutes in the oven! Metaphor for life, eh?

And there you have it! A super batch of soft, cinnamon buns bursting with sultanas. These came out soooo good and really added a nice lift to an otherwise gloomy day. They taste a lot like hot cross buns, but a bit heartier thanks to the oats. But beware, you definitely need at least 3 1/2 hours of your life set aside in order to bake these. It is worth it, but just don’t make any plans until they’re done. I hope you enjoy making these as they are truly tops on my favourite recipe list. Although first place still goes to my Apple Cider Caramel Cake, these buns still rate quite high. Stay warm out there Bristol! Spring will be here soon, but until then, thanks for reading and Happy Eating!