Dark Chocolate & Apricot Oat Balls

Snack

Oat balls are perfect for a healthy snack on the go, they are made for outdoor adventures or lunchbox treats.

These balls are a no bake version so you never have to worry about them falling apart or sticking to the baking tray, so a real winner in my eyes.

Dark chocolate gives you an antioxidant boost whilst the dried apricot adds an all important sugar kick. I have used almond butter in this recipe but your nut butter of preference would be perfect.

I love to have these as a snack on the way to training and matches or as a sweet treat in the late evenings.

The inspiration came for these from one of my favourite food bloggers Gina Matsoukas who blogs at Running To The Kitchen so be sure to check out her site.

Makes 12.IMG_7451 (1)-01.jpeg

  • 30g dried apricots
  • 20g raisins
  • 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • zest of 1/2 small orange
  • 2 tbsp coconut chips
  • 3 tbsp milled linseed
  • 100g jumbo oats
  • 50g dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 75g almond butter
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Method:

  1. Roughly chop the apricots and place in a bowl with the raisins, orange juice and zest. Mix together and allow the apricots soak up the juice.
  2. Place all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and add the apricots and raisins.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond butter, honey and vanilla essence until smooth.
  4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry either with your hands or a fork until well coated.
  5. Dampen your hands and roll 1 tablespoon at a time of the mixture into ball shapes. Place on a tray lined with parchment. Repeat with the remaining mixture.
  6. Place the tray flat in a freezer for at least 20 minutes to set. Once set, you can transfer to a resealable box or bag and store in your freezer or fridge.
  7. When eating them from your freezer, allow them to defrost for 5 minutes before eating.

Fruit & Nut Yoghurt Bowl

Breakfast, Snack

I don’t know about you but I love waking up just to have breakfast. It really is my favourite meal if the day! 

Breakfast needn’t take forever to prepare and this is one of the quickest recipes to ensure you get plenty of your 5-a-day in terms of fruit in whilst the yoghurt, nuts and seeds provide protein and all important essential minerals.

Serves 1.

Fruit, Nut, Yoghurt, Breakfast, Delalicious

  • 1/2 large apple
  • 1 kiwi, peeled
  • 2 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower or as you like)
  • 2 tbsp chopped nuts (almonds, pecans, cashews or as you like)
  1. Chop the fruit into chunks and place in a bowl.
  2. Spoon over the yoghurt.
  3. Sprinkle the seeds and nuts on top.

Banana & Nut Overnight Oats

Breakfast, Snack

Recovery is an essential part of exercising, to increase muscle size or power there must be breakdown in muscle fibres to result in regeneration and development. Without adequate recovery, muscle development will be inadequate or not occur at all. Recovery combines many facets including rest, rehydration and refueling. The refueling gold standard combines a mix of protein and carbohydrate and is consumed within 30 minutes of ceasing exercise.

Overnight oats combines both carbohydrates (oats) and protein (milk) and is a great option to have ready in the fridge for a recovery meal at any time of day. I have posted a number of previous flavours but this recipe came about with the presence of a bunch of very overripe bananas.

My other favourites are: Spring Bircher MuesliApple & Cinnamon Bircher Muesli . Quinoa is another great option as it’s bursting with protein Stewed Apple & Poached Plum Quinoa Porridge. Or when you are really short on time, my Berry & Oat Recharger is the one for you. 

Serves 1.

  • 3 tbsp oats
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp nut butter/tahini
  • 1 overripe banana
  • 100ml milk
  1. Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl or jar.
  2. Chop in the banana.
  3. Mix all the ingredients together with the nut butter and milk until well combined.
  4. Store overnight or for at least 5 hours in the fridge.
  5. Serve with some chopped banana, nuts/berries, a drizzle of nut butter and a dollop of Greek yoghurt.

Avocado & Tomato Loaded Garlic Bread

Lunch, Snack

This recipe takes only minutes to make and is a great option for brunch, lunch, as a starter or an easy snack option at any time of the day. The quality of bread used will make a huge difference so try to use homemade or locally produced where possible and wholemeal or sourdough would be my preference. This recipe was made whilst staying in Cabo Polonio, Uruguay where I stayed in a Rancho – basically a hut shared with it’s owners and other guests amongst the sand dunes hence the rustic and possibly sandy looking backgrounds.

Serves 2.

  • 4 slices of bread
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 medium-sized tomato, sliced
  1. Mix together the garlic, oil and herbs in a small bowl. Spread the oil mix over one side of the bread.20170126_154215.jpg
  2. Place a frying pan over a medium heat and once heated, place two bread slices oil side down on the pan. Grill for 5 minutes until the garlic crisps. Remove from pan and set aside. Repeat with remaining bread.wp-image-1660133219jpg.jpg
  3. Top the bread with the sliced avocado and tomato.

Crunchy Banana & Nut Bites

Snack, Treats

These are my go-to options for keep me fueled whilst travelling to an away match or commuting to a training session – inspired by Derval O’Rourke‘s recipe. Bananas are a great source of essential magnesium and energy sources, whilst the granola provides slow release carbohydrates and the nut butter provides some essential flavour and protein. Prepare these in advance and keep fresh in the fridge or else freeze. They also work great sliced with some berries and yoghurt as a morning treat. For more great healthy snack ideas check out from my Top 5 Healthy Snacks.

  • 1 tbsp nut butter
  • 1 tsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tbsp granola
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 banana
  1. Mix together the nut butter and oil in a little bowl.
  2. On a plate, mix together the granola and cinnamon.
  3. Peel the banana and cut width ways in half.
  4. Place the banana on a fork and coat in the nut butter before rolling in the granola.
  5. Repeat with the remaining banana and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Stewed Apple & Poached Plum Quinoa Porridge

Breakfast, Snack

It’s so tough getting up these winter mornings, from the darkness that your body still thinks it’s nighttime to the frosty chill the minute you put a toe outside the covers. That’s why you need something warm and filling to get your warmed up quick whilst also keeping your energy levels maintained for the day ahead. Stewed apples are pure comfort food to me, they are perfect at any time of the day as a quick dessert with a scoop of yoghurt or ice-cream. Likewise the poached plums are great topped with some granola and yoghurt as a simple dessert or breakfast option. Both can be prepared well in advance and will keep fresh in your fridge for at least one week or can be frozen. Stewing and poaching fruit is also a great way to use up fruit a little past it’s best, just remove the gone off bits and you’ll still be left be plenty of fruit to work with.

Serves 4.

  • 5 small apples, peeled, de-cored, quartered
  • 4 plums, halved, de-stoned
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 4 x portions of Quinoa Porridge
  • 4 tsp nut butter
  1. Place the apples and plums in two separate saucepans.
  2. Add the vanilla essence to the plums.
  3. Cover both the apples and plums with just enough water, you don’t want them fully submerged.
  4. Bring the saucepans to the boil and then reduce to a gentle simmer with the lid on.
  5. Continue to cook until the apples are fully broken down into a nice stew. Keep an eye on the plums as you want them cooked through but still to retain their shape.
  6. Remove from the heat and if your using immediately add to whatever dish you like otherwise allow to cool in the saucepan.
  7. Once fully cool, transfer to a resealable container and store in the fridge or freezer.
  8. Prepare the Quinoa Porridge, divide amongst four bowls, top with 2 tablespoons of stewed apple and 1 plum, drizzle over some of the plum syrup and finish with a teaspoon of nut butter.

Berry & Oat Recharger

Breakfast, Juice, Snack

Recovery after tough exercise is vital for our muscles to repair and develop. A simple mix of both protein and carbohydrates within 30 minutes is backed by evidence to provide the necessary nutrients to our bodies. This smoothie is light and easy to digest whilst being super quick to prepare. If I’m traveling some distance to training, I will blend up the fruit and oats with a little water at home and simply buy some milk after training to mix through so that the milk doesn’t sour in my gear bag. I’ve used blackcurrants here but any berry combination would be perfect!

  • 3 tbsp oats
  • 2 tbsp blackcurrants
  • 1/2 medium apple
  • 300ml milk
  1. Place all the ingredients in a blender or tall jar if using a handheld blender.
  2. Blend until smooth, add some more milk or water if you find the consistency too thick.

 

Cheesey Bruschetta Pesto Toasts

Lunch, Snack

I’m not the biggest eater of bread but when I am going to eat some, my general rules are homemade or else locally produced sourdough. Sourdough is possibly the purest bread of all with only three ingredients (water, flour & time). If you fancy making your own, I would recommend trying Riot Rye‘s foolproof method, time & patience is required but you will be well rewarded for your efforts I promise! Bruschetta is a great option when in a hurry or simply have very little in the fridge. The pesto should last for 1-2 weeks in a jar in the fridge. Simply add your favourite toppings & enjoy!

 Coriander Pesto:

  • 50g cashews
  • 50g walnuts
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 50g coriander include the stalks
  • 25g parmesan
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Bruschetta:

  • 2 slices fresh sourdough bread
  • 4 tbsp cottage cheese
  • toppings of your choice: sliced cherry tomatoes, olives, sauteed mushrooms with butter & garlic, parma ham, smoked salmon
  1. For the pesto: simply add all the ingredients with half the oil into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Add the remaining oil little by little until you get a suitable texture, taste as you go. 
  2. For the bruschetta: heat the grill, spread 1 tbsp of pesto on each slice of bread and place under the grill until lightly toasted. Top with the cottage cheese & the toppings of choice. Return to the grill for 2-3 minutes.

 

Charred Baby Gem with Tahini & Dukkah

Dinner, Salad, Snack

Food waste is a major sin in my mind so this recipe is great to use up lettuce or type of cabbage before it goes off. I used a grill pan but these would work well on the BBQ too just make sure to oil the lettuce first and stand over the BBQ to make sure they don’t blacken on you!! If you don’t have tahini or Dukkah (find it in your local health food shop or large supermarket; I make my own using Ottolenghi’s recipe), sprinkle some balsamic vinegar or a spoon full of your favourite herb/spice/chopped nuts on top.

Serves 2.

  • 2 baby gem lettuce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tsp Dukkah
  1. Remove the stalk of the lettuce and cut lengthways in half. 
  2. Bring a dry grill pan to smoking point, reduce the heat a little, roll the lettuce in olive oil and place onto the grill with a sizzle.
  3. Flip over once nicely charred on one side.
  4. Remove from the pan and sprinkle the tahini and Dukkah on top.

Beetroot, Black Bean & Feta Burgers

Dinner, Lunch, Snack

Until about two years ago, beetroot was a vegetable I never ate and barely contemplated tasted. Beetroot and pickle came to mind and the thought of a pickled food sent a shiver down my spine after experiencing a pickled gherkin inside a McDonald’s Happy Meal burger, back in the day when a Happy Meal was the ultimate treat. Thankfully my concept of a treat has evolved along with my taste buds and now beetroot is a weekly fixture on my food shopping list, I simply can’t get enough of it! As a sportsperson, beetroot packs a serious nutritional punch as a source of calcium, vitamins A and C, magnesium, folic acid & iron with some research highlighting the benefits of beetroot juice on blood pressure regulation thanks to its nitrate content. These burgers are bursting with flavour, goodness and just try not to eat them all in one go once you’ve tasted. Serve with a leafy green salad or stuff in a toasted pitta with some Greek yoghurt and avocado. They freeze very well too.

Makes 8 medium sized burgers.

  • 140g walnuts
  • 500g cooked beetroot
  • 100g feta
  • 6 scallions
  • 1 fistful fresh/frozen mint leaves
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tin black beans
  1. Pre-heat an oven to 180C.
  2. Roast the walnuts for 8 minutes until they soften and begin to crisp.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, coarsely grate the beetroot, finely slice the scallions, cube the feta cheese, de-stalk and finely chop the mint leaves and roughly chop the walnuts. 
  4. Drain and rinse the black beans before gently mashing or pulsing with a stick blender or food processor.
  5. Add the black beans and lemon juice to the other ingredients and gently mix together until well combined.
  6. Increase the oven temperature to 200°C and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  7. Moisten your hands with water before taking a tbsp of the beetroot mix in your hands and mould into burgers of whatever size you like.
  8. Add each burger to the baking trays and gently press down with the back of a spoon. 
  9. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, flipping the burgers half way through.