Step aside Nutella ... this Carob Almond Butter is the perfect substitute for those decadent chocolate cravings! Free from the notorious refined sugars that are the downside of the scrumptious hazelnut paste, this nutbutter is sweetened with just a little maple syrup.

If you have a sweet tooth, this refined sugar-free will still hit the spot (yes, we tested it!). This nut butter is delicious for on toast, drizzled over your smoothie bowl, or for even eating straight from the jar with a spoon - need we say more?

Carob adds sweetness, as well as essential vitamins and minerals. Both carob and cacao are high in antioxidants, and you could replace carob by cacao or cocoa in this recipe for a more intense chocolate flavour. Play around with the different ingredients to your liking, as you'll find this spread will become an essential on your breakfast table!

Ingredients:

  • 2 C Almonds, sliced or whole
  • 3 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 C Carob Powder 
  • 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Essence
  • 1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • Pinch Salt

  • Directions:
    Preheat your oven to 180C, and roast the nuts for about 5 minutes (when sliced, or 8-10 minutes when whole), until lightly toasted. Leave to cool down, and then transfer to the OmniBlend jug.

    Add the oil and start blending, increasing the speed to high, and use the tamper (through the lid) to push the nuts into the blades. Blend until you've reached a creamy butter.

    Then add the carob powder, cinnamon, vanilla essence, maple syrup, and salt and blend to combine. Store in a jar at room temperature.

    Protein is a key nutrient as part of overall health and wellbeing as many body functions on a cell level rely on the availability of amino acids. Some of these the body can produce itself, and for others it relies on food. A balanced meal contains sufficient protein providing these essential amino acids. Protein also enhances a meal’s substance (making you feel full), reducing the craving for carbs. By balancing the ratio of protein and carbs, the body is supported in developing the previously discussed metabolic efficiency (being able to burn fat for fuel). So how to start the day with sufficient protein? 

    lisa-omniblend

     

    Lisa is OmniBlend’s Sales & Marketing manager, and avid runner. In this series she’s sharing what she learned about training for an endurance event, specifically in terms of nutrition.

     

    Starting the day with sufficient protein helps to prevent cravings later in the day. Protein also supports maintaining and building muscle, and other important body functions. All the more important to start the day well with a good breakfast, aiming to incorporate a minimum of 20 grams of protein. Typical breakfast options from the list of good protein sources include:

    • 1 egg – 6 grams
    • 1 bacon strip – 3 grams
    • 100 ml plain yoghurt – 5 grams
    • 1 cup cooked oats – 6 grams

    A little less obvious for breakfast, although also great sources of protein:

    • 1 cup broccoli – 5 grams
    • ½ cup green peas - 4.2 grams
    • 1 cup soy milk – 7.5 grams
    • 1 tablespoon nut butter – 8 grams
    • 1 tablespoon chia seeds – 3.3 grams

    I found that as part of my training programme it was a lot easier to blend a nutritious and tasty smoothie, than to pile up proteins on a plate. Also, I guess I’m not alone when I say I can’t really stomach the idea of steamed peas and broccoli for breakfast, but in a smoothie they work great! Smoothies make it a lot easier to add variety to breakfast, which goes back to the point that as part of health it’s also important to consider the package in which the protein is served. So using different ingredients helps to add essential vitamins and minerals to your breakfast.

    The model that The Performance Kitchen developed works well to blend your own recipes, as it explains step by step how to build the perfect smoothie.

     how-to-build-perfect-smoothie

     

    Typical smoothies for me were:

    The Hulk

    • 1 cup soy milk
    • 1 frozen banana
    • ½ cup frozen green peas
    • ¼ cup oats
    • 1 tbsp chia
    • 1 tbsp peanut butter
    • 1 tsp cinnamon

     Summer Sweetness

    • 200ml yoghurt
    • 1 cup frozen mango
    • ¾ cup frozen broccoli
    • ½ cup frozen cauliflower
    • 1 tbsp chia
    • 1 tbsp almond butter
    • 1 tsp honey

    Some water for the right consistency (making it either a smoothie bowl, or smoothie)

    The nutrients in both smoothies make it a meal, not a snack, with a 2:1 carb/protein ratio, so suited for the heavier training days.

    By adding broccoli and cauliflower to the Summer Sweetness smoothie, about 6 grams of protein was added, and the green peas in The Hulk added 4.2 grams. Protein powders make it easier to add more protein, and work great in smoothies as you can pick your flavour to taste. Blend a chocolate, berry or coffee smoothie or pick a more neutral version that goes into any smoothie (find more smoothie recipes here). These are some protein powders that offer different benefits:

     

    Wazoogles Superfood Protein Blend 

    The Wazoogles range of protein blends is available in different flavours, making it easier to create variety for breakfast. Most importantly the Superfood Protein Blend  packs a whole lot more nutrients into a serving than just (plantbased) protein. Magnesium for example, which is important for the functioning of the mitochondria (that play a key role in improving your fat burning metabolism). The blends are free from refined sugars, preservatives, colourants, flavourants or additives and the flavours are built up by natural flavours of nutrient-dense plants. Each serving adds 12 grams of protein, making it a great booster for your breakfast smoothie.

     

    Farmer Angus Hydrolysed Collagen

    A specific protein that delivers 8 of the 9 essential amino acids. Collagen is referred to as the protein that improves skin elasticity, and reduces wrinkles. It’s also indicated that it can support reducing joint pain. Both joints and skin (long hours under the South African sun) need support as part of endurance training, and this particular product is 100% clean. Farmer Angus is known for his regenerative farming methods, and stocks this very pure product imported from Brazil. It contains 17kJ per gram, no sugar or carbs, and delivers 92% protein per serving.

     

    FRY’S KASHA

    This product is specifically designed to blend into your smoothies, and adds 7.9 grams of vegan protein to your breakfast. It’s available in 2 classic flavours, Vanilla & Chia, and Cacao and creates a creamy texture. Containing oats, soy, buckwheat and chia it’s a good source of energy, making it easy for use in a post workout smoothie too. Simply add some spinach, fruit, and nuts. Fry’s has developed a fantastic recipe book to create a different KASHA breakfast every morning.

    Play around with the different wholefoods and protein powders that work for you, using the steps as a guide to create a balanced smoothie that powers your day. Smoothies can also be included as part of the meal plans offered by The Performance Kitchen.

    Next post:

    The Wildrun - an experience beyond a 3-day Wild Coast adventure

    Previous posts:

    What I didn't know about training for an endurance event

    The role of nutrition in endurance sports

    The Fat Max Test and relevance of keeping a food diary

    5 best sources of protein and why they are important for everyone

     

    toppings-cream-cheese-bagel

    This plant-based cream cheese is going to be a favourite, whether you’re vegan or not. Many of us are looking for ways to change towards a more plant-based diet, and cheese always seems a kind of stumbling block.

    vegan-bagel

    Of course we’re lucky in South Africa, with vegan cheese suppliers (Irene’s Gourmet, Urban Vegan, and Fauxmage to name a few) that are flourishing and offer a wide range. At the same time, it’s easy to get creative in the kitchen, and make your own fresh cream cheese, completely dairy free.

    cashew-cream-cheese

    Cashews are fantastic for creating a subtle nutty flavour and creamy texture. It creates the perfect base for a variety of toppings on your bagels to create a festive breakfast or lunch table.

    ingredients-vegan-cream-cheese

    The narrow base of the 2 litre jug that is used here works perfect for blending this type of recipes (spreads, hummus, nut butter, etc), creating a smooth texture. The silicon spatula is a super handy tool to scoop everything out of the jug into the jar, no wonder we’ve listed is as one of our favourite accessories!  

     

    INGREDIENTS :

    • 1 ½ cups raw cashews
    • 2 Tbsp coconut yoghurt (optional)
    • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
    • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
    • 3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted

    Optional :

    • 1 tsp onion powder
    • 1 tsp chopped chives

     

    METHOD :

    1. Soak the cashew for 4+ hours in cold water or 1 hour in boiling water.
    2. Drain the water and transfer the cashews to the blender and add the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth and add more salt or nutritional yeast if needed.
    3. Scoop the cream cheese into a jar and store in the fridge for up to a week.

    Enjoy with bagels (try this Vegan Paleo Bagel recipe to make your own!), crudités and sandwiches.

     

    This recipe was made with the OmniBlend I - 2ltr Pro.

    pumpkin-seed-butter-recipe

    Pumpkin seed butter is increasingly popular as an excellent source of plant-based protein that helps you to avoid nut allergens. This seed butter is a great alternative for those who suffer from nut allergies and anyone who loves to mix things up a bit! Use in your smoothies, drizzle on your bowls, or simply spread on toast or a rice cake.

    Seed butters are a growing trend in terms of natural foods, especially with the growing demand for plant-based protein. Pumpkin seeds for example, are one of the best plant-food sources of iron, a great source of zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, healthy fats, protein and fiber. Two tablespoons of pumpkin butter can provide up to 10 grams of protein. Best part about turning your seeds into a butter is that it makes the nutrients easier for your body to absorb.

    Pumpkin seed butter is buttery, nut-free and super easy to make yourself. All you need is a high-speed blender to handle all the work. It’s great for blending into smoothies, thicken savory plant-based soups or just to spread on a cracker.

    Ingredients:

  • 2 C Pumpkin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil
  • Any flavorings you love!
  •  

    Directions:

    Add the pumpkin seeds and half of the olive oil to your Omniblend jug. The 2ltr jug works best for butters, as it has a narrow base.

    Secure the lid and remove the cap from the lid, to insert the tamper. Start blending from low to high. Use the tamper to push into the corners to move the seeds into the blades, and continue to blend, scraping the sides of the container with the tamper from time to time. Blend at high speed so that the motor can do the work for you.

    Blend until the pumpkin seed butter is mostly smooth, then slowly add the remaining olive oil a little at a time to reach your desired consistency.

    Pulse in your favorite flavorings like salt, honey or cacao at this stage if you want to spruce up your butter. Use a spatula to transfer the pumpkin seed butter to a glass container. Seal and store in your pantry or fridge.

    Try our Sunflower Seed Butter too! 

    healty-protein-bar-recipe

    These Chocolate Chia Energy Bars are great to fuel a busy day, or as a lunch box or pre-workout snack. Packed with slow releasing carbohydrates, fiber, healthy fats, and minerals you’re granted of a pick-me-up just when you need it most. We’ve sneaked in little dark chocolate on top of the cocoa, boosting brain function, immunity and mood. Just what you need on a stressful day!

    These bars are a nutritious way to take care of those chocolate cravings, satisfying and energizing! Aside from the small amount of the chocolate, these bars don’t contain refined sugars. The dates and cranberries provide natural sweetness. The healthy fats and protein in the chia seeds, coconut and walnuts really help to keep you full for longer.

    Walnuts are one of the main ingredients of these bars, and did you know that walnuts are little power houses? They’re packed with antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acid, E and B vitamins and essential minerals. They’re said to decrease inflammation and promoting a healthy gut. Each portion of these bars contains your recommended daily intake of walnuts, as part of a balanced diet.

    The best part about these bars is there’s no baking required and they allow for a whole lot of creativity, substitute with your favorite ingredients or finish off with a peanut butter drizzle. We added just a pinch of salt which lifts the chocolate flavor, however you could leave it out completely if you’re looking to avoid salt completely.

    These make more or less 10 bars depending on how you cut them.

    Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ C Dried Pitted Dates
  • ½ C Dried Cranberries
  • 1 C Raw Walnuts
  • ½ C Chopped Dark Chocolate
  • ½ C Cocoa 
  • ½ C Whole Chia Seeds
  • ½ C Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
  • ½ C Rolled Oats
  • Pinch of course salt (1/4 tsp)
  •  

    Directions:

    The 2 liter jug works best for this recipe. Add the cocoa powder, chia seeds and chocolate chunks to the jug, and pulse about 3 times to combine and rough chop the chocolate, it'll blend more later.

    Add the other ingredients, blend until a thick paste forms. Use the tamper through the lid to push the ingredients into the blades.

    Line a rectangle or square pan with baking paper. Scrape the dough out of the jug with a silicon spatula into the pan. Firmly press the mixture into the pan, pressing tightly into all the corners.

    Place in the freezer for an hour. Lift out of the pan and cut into bars.

    Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. 

    For this recipe we used the OmniBlend I - 2ltr Pro, and you could also use the OmniBlend V - 2ltr Pro

    sunflower-seed-butter-recipe

    Sunflower seed butter is a super tasty nut butter alternative for those suffering from tree nut allergy. It's easy to make, and packed with nutrients. It's high in fiber, magnesium, niacin, vitamin E, and healthy fats.

    Of the 16 grams fat in a 2 tablespoon portion, 14 grams are unsaturated fat. Unsaturated fat has positive effects on cholesterol levels, raising high-density lipoprotein (the "good" cholesterol) and lowering low-density lipoprotein (the "bad" cholesterol). So this is the type of fat you want to add to your diet. 

    Blending your own is always a good choice as you can keep it completely natural and avoid additives. You can also play around by adding different seeds and spices according to your taste and preferences.

    Ingredients:

  • 3 C Sunflower Seeds
  • 2 Tbsp Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
  • Pinch Sea Salt
  •  

    Directions:

    Create an even layer of seeds on a large baking tray, and roast on 175C degrees for 15 minutes. Leave to cool down for at least 10 minutes, giving it a good stir.

    Add the seeds to the OmniBlend jug with the other ingredients, and start blending on low speed, increasing to high. Use the tamper through the lid to push the seeds into the blades.

    You can add cinnamon or honey and play around with flavours, or vary by adding pumpkin, hemp or chia seeds for additional nutritional value.

    pumpkin-pie-smoothie-recipe

    It’s the season where recipes seem a bit upside down, since Halloween recipes are inspired by the Northern hemisphere, where warm autumn flavours are appropriate. But who can resist pumpkin pie, even when temperatures are starting to rise?

    Don’t let the delicious warm and creamy flavours fool you: we’re using the most nutritious ingredients and all macronutrients, to make this a well-balanced meal, and not a guilty treat that will leave you with a sugar rush. We’ve added whey protein to sustain you longer, and you can use a vegan alternative to make this drink fully vegan.

    Pumpkin Pie spice does what the name suggests: it spices up the deep flavours of the pumpkin and coconut, and gives it the unique flavour. It’s easy to make your own Pumpkin Pie spice mix, following Martha Stewart’s recipe, simply mixing all spices together:

    • 1 Tbsp Ground Cinnamon
    • 2 Tsp Ground Ginger
    • 1 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
    • 1 Tsp Ground Allspice
    • 1/2 Tsp Ground Cloves
    It’s delicious in this smoothie, and you can use it in a Pumpkin Pie Latte, and cakes (try it in a carrot cake, instead of just cinnamon).

    We’ve added some spinach to this smoothie too. Not that you’ll find this in an actual Pumpkin Pie, but because it adds to the nutritional value of the meal. This little addition of greens not only adds minerals, it gives you your full dose of vitamin A and K!

    Ingredients:

  • 1 Frozen Banana
  • ½ C Pumpkin Puree
  • ½ C Coconut Milk
  • ¼ C Water
  • ¼ C Frozen Spinach
  • 1 Tbsp Raw Cashews
  • 1 Tbsp Whey Protein Powder (or vegan protein)
  • 1 Tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 4 Ice Cubes
  •  

    Directions:

    Add all ingredients to your OmniBlend jug, and blend for 1 minute, starting at low, increasing to high speed. Serve with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

    Happy Halloween!

    For this recipe we used the OmniBlend I - 2ltr Pro.

    banting-poppy-seed-muffin

    There’s something special about picking your own fruit, especially as this is our first harvest ever! We planted the lemon tree last year, and have patiently waited for the first fruits to ripen. So this week we picked the first one, before our little puppy would consider it another toy!

    in-season-lemon

    We used the lemon to make Banting-friendly Poppy Seed Muffins, using the Banting Blvd premix, which made it super easy. The recipe on the pack calls for 10ml Vanilla, and 10 ml Lemon Juice, but we were looking to really make our first lemon feature, so we reduced the Vanilla to 1 teaspoon (5ml), and added 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, plus the rind. The lemon flavour complements the coconut in the premix very well, and gives the muffins a zesty taste.

    lemon-rind-muffin

    We used the OmniBlend 1.5ltr jug for mixing the wet ingredients, however the 2ltr jug would work fine too. If you’d want to make the dry ingredients from scratch, you could do so grinding the nuts and coconut in the 2ltr jug.

    ingredients-banting-blvd-premix

    Ingredients (yield: 12 muffins):

     

  • 1 pack Banting Blvd Poppy Seed Muffin Premix
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 4 Free-range Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 2tsp Lemon Rind

  • Directions:

    Prepare a muffin pan, and preheat the oven at 180C. Add the milk, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, and rind to the OmniBlend, and blend on low, for about 1 minute for a fluffy pale mixture. Add the Poppy Seed premix to a large bowl, and add the milk mixture. Fold in the milk mixture until well combined. Initially the batter will seem too runny, and as you’re folding in it will start to thicken. Divide the mixture over the 12 muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a tester comes out dry.

    banting-lemon-poppy-seed-muffin

    The muffins will be quite small, and don’t be tempted to make fewer, larger muffins. It’ll defeat the purpose of portion size control. These muffins stay fresh for a few days, so you can bake them for breakfast, and store as an on the go snack to sustain you during the day.

    ostrich-burger

    Ever tried to make a real South African burger? This ostrich burger is the one to try, not only for the juicy flavours, but also because it’s the most guilt-free burger. Ostrich fillet is a great source of protein (22 gram per 100 gram), and very low in fat (0.6 gram).

    Mincing the meat in your OmniBlend takes seconds, and is best done in the 2 liter jug, using the tamper to press the meat into the blades.

    ostrich-burger-mince

    Ingredients:

    For the mince

  • 500 gram Ostrich fillet
  • 1.5 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1.5 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 egg
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  •  

    For the patties:

  • 2/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped 
  •  

    To serve:

  • 4 rolls
  • crisp lettuce
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • cheese, sliced
  • red onion rings
  • ketchup 
  •  

    Ruvimbo shows how it’s done!

     omniblend-recipe-muffin-chocolate

    When it comes to food, peanut butter, chocolate, and banana have something irresistible. Perhaps banana a bit less, but that’s the secret ingredient of these muffins that makes them moist and sweet. Thanks to the bananas, these muffins aren’t sugar-loaded, and therefore a great snack for kids lunch boxes, a hike, or just a long day in the office.

    They’re super easy to prepare, as you simply add all the ingredients to the jug of your OmniBlend, blend it for about 45 seconds, and you’re ready to bake!

    ingredients-muffin-recipe-chocolate

    Ingredients:

    • 2 large bananas 
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 cup sugar free peanut butter
    • 3/4 cup oats
    • 1/3 cup raw honey
    • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
    • 1 tsp vanilla (optional)
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • pinch salt (to taste)

     

    For the topping:

    • chocolate chips

     

    Directions:

    Preheat the oven at 175C degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper cups. 

    Add all muffin ingredients to the jug (start with the eggs, so that the dry ingredients don't stick to the bottom of the jug), and blend from low to high until well mixed and smooth.

    Decant the batter into a bowl, to make it easier filling the muffin cups. Now fill the muffin cups, about 2/3rd of the way. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top, and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

    Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before removing from the muffin tin.

    Enjoy!

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