vegan-sticky-toffee-pudding

Treat your family and friends to this moist sticky toffee pudding for a Christmas in July, or as a dinner party dessert. You’d think you need butter and sugar for a really moreish sticky toffee pudding, but we put this vegan version to the test, and it’s a definite crowd pleaser! It’s topped with an amazing rich toffee sauce, which is almost too easy to make.

Ingredients:

  • 2 C Dried Pitted Dates
  • 1 ½ C Brewed Coffee
  • 2 Tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 1 C Cashew Butter (find here how to make your own)
  • 2 Tsp Vanilla Essence
  • 2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 C Coconut Flour
  • 1/2 C Corn Starch
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  •  

    Toffee Sauce

  • 1/2 C Dates
  • 1 C Coconut Milk
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Essence
  •  

    Directions:

    Stir bicarb of soda into the coffee, and pour over the dates. The bicarb of soda creates a richer sweeter flavour of the dates, giving a deeper caramel flavour to the cake, so it’s worth adding it! Leave to soak for 30 minutes, then add the mixture to the OmniBlend jug.

    Preheat the oven to 180C.

    Add the cashew butter, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla to the jug with the date coffee mixture. Blend briefly to make sure you keep some texture in the dates.

    Add the coconut flour, corn starch, and salt. Blend while using the tamper through the lid to combine all ingredients.

    Transfer to an oiled cake pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until the centre feels firm to the touch.

    Remove from the oven, cool for 10-15 minutes, and then remove from the pan.

    For the toffee sauce, add all ingredients to the jug of your OmniBlend, and blend until super smooth. Pour the sauce of the pudding right before serving.

    Enjoy!

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

    banana-sweet-potato-smoothie

    For the perfect sweet and creamy smoothie, you need to add frozen banana. That’s what most of us are used to, right? Banana is the key ingredient to most smoothies, and bananas are not everyone’s favourite. Even though we love banana, and the texture that it creates for a smoothie, we were keen to shake it up a little. We wondered what else could give the same (or even better?) results in our office smoothies and found the perfect substitute: sweet potato!

    If there’s one root vegetable that deserves the spotlight, it’s sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a powerhouse when it comes to nutrition: they are a great source of potassium, vitamin C, B6, fibre, and this in combination with healthy complex carbs manages blood sugar levels and adds substance without adding extra sugar. Sweet potatoes are also just as inexpensive as bananas. The table below breaks down how they compare.

     nutrition-sweet-potato

    But we get it: nutrients are important, however at the end of the day it’s about flavour and texture! To test this, we compared bananas to sweet potatoes using a fruitless recipe, with cauliflower and carob powder giving it an extra creamy chocolate taste. The result? The sweet potato smoothie was thicker, creamier and had a lovely velvety texture with just the right amount of sweetness. We also found that it was more filling compared to the banana smoothie.

    Bananas are obviously easy to peel and freeze for use in your smoothie later. Sweet potatoes aren’t that much different: all you have to do is peel them, cut them into slices then boil them for 8-10 minutes until just cooked and still firm. Allow to cool and then freeze in an airtight container, ready for a quick smoothie. Try our creamy carob smoothie, to experience the rich thick texture that frozen sweet potato creates. The warm flavours make it a great recipe for breakfast, a nutrient dense snack. Also a great way to get the kids to eat their veggies!

     

    How to substitute:

    1 Cup of sweet potato = 1 Banana

     

    Creamy Carob Smoothie

    (1 big, or 2 smaller portions)

    Ingredients:

    • 1 ½ C Milk 
    • 1 C Sweet Potato
    • 1 C Cauliflower
    • 1 Tbsp Carob Powder
    • 4 Dried Dates
    • 2 Tbsp Peanut Butter
    • ½ Tsp Cinnamon

     Directions:

    Prepare your sweet potato ahead to have it ready any time you need it.

    Peel and cut the sweet potato into slices, then steam or boil them for 8-10 minutes until soft, not mushy. Allow to cool before freezing in an airtight container.

     

    Now to make your smoothie:

    Add all the ingredients to your OmniBlend jug. Blend from low-to-high for 45 to 60 seconds or use the 60 second timer of the OmniBlend V.

     

    Cashew nut butter is a great ingredient for creamy smoothies, or simply on toast or drizzled over a smoothie bowl. With an OmniBlend blender it's easy to blend your own butter from scratch, making sure you always have a fresh butter ready for use, without any additives and preservatives.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 C Cashew Nuts
    • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
    • Pinch of salt (to taste)

     

    Directions:

    Roast the cashews on 180C for about 5 minutes, until lightly toasted. Leave to cool down, and then transfer to the OmniBlend jug. The 2 liter jug works best for blending nut butters, as it has a narrow base. 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, and add salt to taste.

    walnut-naartjie-biscuit-recipe

    These scrumptious cookies were inspired by the traditional pecan sandies, light, delicate and crisp! Grinding up nuts has never been this easy, just a few pulses and you've got a fine walnut flour. The biscuits are perfect for tea time, with an utterly irresistible nutty flavour and a hint of naartjie, yum! 

    Ingredients:

  • 2 C Walnuts
  • 1/2 C Light Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 C Icing Sugar
  • 1 1/2 C Cake Flour
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 170g / 3/4 C Butter (softened at room temperature)
  • 1 Egg yolk
  • 2 Tsp Naartjie Zest

  • Directions:

    Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Pick out about 30 walnuts from the two cups and set aside. Toast the rest of the walnuts 8-10 minutes until fragrant and browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.

    Place the toasted walnuts, brown sugar and icing sugar (make your own icing/powdered sugar by blending granulated sugar) in your OmniBlend jug and pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add the flour and salt and process to combine. 

    In a bowl mix the butter, naartjie zest and egg yolk, then add the dry mix and fold in until combined.

    Cut a long piece of cling wrap and transfer half the dough onto the cling wrap roll into a log shape, roll up to seal in the cling wrap. Repeat the same with the remaining dough. Place the dough into the refrigerator and chill until firm.

    Line two baking sheets with baking paper. Remove the dough from the cling wrap, and slice 1 cm slices, place the round slices onto the baking sheet. Gently press the walnuts into the center of each biscuit.

    Bake for 10-12 minutes until browned and crisp. Allow the biscuits to cool, store in an airtight container or enjoy immediately!

    For this recipe we used the OmniBlend I - 2ltr Pro. The 2 liter jug is the recommended jug for grinding dry ingredients, and the OmniBlend I allows for variable speed control with the turn dial.

    One of the things we love about our business, is hearing what the OmniBlend is going to be used for. While most of our blenders find their way into coffee shops and restaurants for blending smoothies, milkshakes and cocktails, others are joining completely new business ventures.

    my-lunchbuddyMy Lunchbuddy is such a new business concept that was launched in Cape Town last month, with a unique offer: delivering healthy lunch packs to schools to take the stress away for busy parents who want to feed their kids nutritious meals. My Lunchbuddy packs freshly prepared school lunches and snacks, and delivers them at the school. And it doesn’t stop there: parents who sign up for a meal plan for their child(ren), make sure that another child doesn’t have to attend school on an empty tummy either. For every child My Lunchbuddy donates one healthy meal to a food-insecure child in the area through partner organisation The Lunchbox Fund.

    For just R70 a day, parents have a stress-free morning without meal prepping of school lunches, while their kids receive healthy meals and snacks, and another child is supported too. The box is packed with a nutritious mid-morning snack, mixed fresh fruit, and a balanced main lunch, keeping your child fuelled for learning & play time. Parents can choose from an omnivore or vegetarian menu, and add a healthy smoothie for a vitamin boost. We were truly impressed with this concept!

    my-lunchbuddy-pack

    The feedback from parents, kids and teachers at the selected schools in Cape Town has been overwhelmingly positive, and if you think your (child’s) school should be added too, get in touch to use their launch offer (contact My Lunchbuddy for details)!

    My Lunchbuddy is committed to using local ingredients sourced from sustainable suppliers, and guarantees only natural, unprocessed ingredients without refined sugar. Meals are prepared fresh in the early morning, and you can select from a balanced and nutritionist-approved menu that changes every week. Find out more on their page, and check whether your kids’ school is already listed.

    My Lunchbuddy is using the OmniBlend I, and opted for the combo package with a 2ltr jug and wide 1.5ltr jug for food prepping and blending nutritious smoothies.

    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

     

    no-bake-chocolate-blueberry-layered-bar

    Nourishing quick treat, and perfect for breakfast or in-between snack! If you’re a fan of the traditional jam squares then you’ll love this fool-proof recipe with no baking involved. Perfect for Sunday night meal-prepping to have healthy snacks ready to go for the week.

    Ingredients (makes 8-10 squares):

    Base layer
  • 1 C Oats
  • 1 C Dried Pitted Dates (soaked for 10 minutes)
  • ½ C Coconut Flakes
  • 1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Honey (or Maple Syrup as vegan alternative)
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Middle layer
  • 80g Chocolate Slab
  • Topping (Chia Seed Blueberry Jam)
  • 1 ½ C Blueberries (frozen blueberries work well)
  • 3 Tbsp Chia Seeds
  • 2 Tbsp Honey/ Maple syrup
  •  

    Directions:

    First thaw the blueberries when using frozen. Frozen berries are easily blended, however the mixture will be crumbly and as you don't want to add further liquid you'll want the berries to release their moisture. Add the blueberries, honey and chia seeds to your jug and pulse until just blended. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to set (the chia will absorb the moisture and create a thick jam). 

    For the base, add oats, dates, coconut flakes, chia seeds, honey and salt to the jug, and blend/pulse a few times until well combined. 

    Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Transfer oat layer to loaf pan and press down into an even layer. Set aside.

    In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate in 30 second intervals until melted and smooth. Pour over top the oat layer and spread out evenly.

    Pour the chia seed blueberry jam mixture on top of the chocolate layer and spread out evenly. Freeze for about 2 hours until firm.

    Let it defrost for about 10 minutes after removing it from the freezer and then cut into small squares. Leftovers should be kept in the freezer.

    Mostly wholesome ingredients, and oh so delicious!

    For this recipe we used the OmniBlend V - 2ltr Pro. This model has a pulse function, and for dry ingredients and spreads like this jam, the narrow base of the 2 litre jug works best.

    Lemon-Pie-Cake-recipe

    This Lemon Cake is easy as pie … You basically blend the ingredients to a smooth batter in your OmniBlend, roll out the shortbread crust in your pie pan, and pour the filling in the crust. Bake and you’re ready to serve! Perfect as a tea time treat or dessert.

    Normally castor sugar is used for baking as it is finer than granulated sugar, so it dissolves easier. That’s the only difference between castor sugar and granulated sugar, so you save when you just grind granulated sugar (which is much cheaper than castor sugar) in the OmniBlend jug to the coarseness of castor sugar. This only takes a few pulses (both the OmniBlend V and OmniBlend I models have a pulse function). For grinding dry ingredients always use the 1.5ltr narrow base jug, or the 2ltr jug which has a narrow base too.

    Ingredients:

    • 4 Large Eggs
    • 1/2 C Butter, melted
    • 1 Lemon (medium-sized)
    • 2 C Castor Sugar (or grind White Granulated Sugar in your OmniBlend)
    • 1 Tbsp Vanilla Essence
    • 1 Roll ready-made Shortbread Crust
    • Powdered sugar and lemon slices for garnish 

    Directions:

    Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. If using granulated sugar, grind the sugar first to a finer consistency. Zest the lemon and add zest to the OmniBlend jug. Peel & remove white pith, then cut it into sections & remove seeds. Add the lemon to the jug, along with the other ingredients.

    Blend until very smooth, for about 90 seconds.

    Unroll shortbread crust and press into a 24cm pie pan. Pour filling into the pie crust. Bake for 45 minutes or until set. Dust with powdered sugar and garnish with lemon slices. Serve warm or chilled.

    For this recipe we used the OmniBlend V – 2ltr Pro, which you can find here. Looking for more information? You can browse more delicious pastry recipes here.

    To be able to participate in an endurance event, the first thing that comes to mind is a training programme to prepare the body for the physical performance. Nutrition it appears, is least as important as this cardio and muscular training aspect. A nutritional plan plays a key role in developing and maintaining metabolic efficiency: being able to burn fat for longer. After discussing how the metabolic efficiency can be developed, we’re looking at protein as it plays such a key role in performance. 

    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.

     

    To see where I could improve my running efficiency, I first had to establish my baseline. My Fat Max test revealed that I’m on the right track: I’m able to burn a relative high ratio of fat versus carbohydrates up to relatively high intensities. It basically means that my crossover point lies at a relatively high intensity, where consumption of carbs for fuel (vs fat) to dominate. My food log however revealed that I was not consuming sufficient protein.

    As women, I think we view protein mostly as essential for guys, or for women heavily into fitness and body building. That appears to be a misconception. Registered dietician Adrian Penzhorn reviewed my food log and pointed out that as part of my training program I should be consuming 1.6 grams of protein per kg of body weight per day. The bare minimum intake for a sedentary woman is 0.8 gper kg of body weight.  So an inactive woman weighing 65kg would have to consume 52 grams of protein per day, and an active woman with the same weight requires 104 grams.

    I’ve become a so-called flexitarian a few years ago, when I decided to cut out meat a few days a week, and only consume free-range meat. I’ve been oblivious about what that meant in terms of my protein intake. Probably also because I’ve never fully grasped the importance of protein as part of all body functions, not only the muscles. Protein is one of the so called ‘macronutrients’ along with carbohydrates and fat. Aside from building muscle, different types of proteins play a key role in the body’s:

    • Digestive system
    • Immune system
    • Cell regulation
    • Muscle contractions
    • Body structure (connective tissues)
    • Hormone production
    • Oxygen transportation

    Once you delve into these levels of understanding your body’s functioning you truly appreciate the intrinsic complexities! It made it clear to me that protein is so important not just for building muscle, but for overall well-being and long-term health. We usually talk about vitamins and minerals for maintaining good health, and it was an eye-opener for me to consider protein too. For this health aspect, it’s believed that it’s not just the quantity, but the package in which proteins are delivered to the body that is important. Some foods are good sources of protein, however are high in sodium too, or they’re a good source of protein, but very high in fat. On the extreme side of the spectrum, a high protein powder or supplement shake may miss out on other important micronutrients. So it’s worthwhile understanding which wholefoods are good sources of protein, not just for performance, but for overall health too.

    With my activity levels being high, Adrian recommends me to consume about 100 grams of protein a day, spread over the 3 main meals: “It’s beneficial to add equal amounts of protein to breakfast, lunch and dinner versus leaning on dinner mostly. You want to give each meal enough substance as it makes sure you feel full for longer, and prevents that you start snacking in between. It also helps to maintain and build muscle.”

    Adrian’s take on healthy nutrition is everything in moderation, and mostly plants to avoid high rates of saturated fat. The body can create 11 amino acids itself, and  needs to get the other 9 from food. Protein from animal food sources are complete proteins (meaning that they contain all of the 9 amino acids that the body cant produce itself). Only some plant proteins are complete (like buckwheat, soy, and quinoa), however eating a variety of plant-based proteins delivers all different amino acids that the body uses to create the complete package it needs. Aside from protein, plants also add fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are essential in a diet.

    Adrian recommends the following top 5 for protein:

    1. Dairy
    2. Lean meat and fish (chicken, salmon, tuna)
    3. Egg
    4. Beans and legumes (Edamame beans, lentils, chickpeas, broccoli, spinach)
    5. Nuts and seeds (chia, hemp seeds, almonds, peanuts)

    For the meal plans that Adrian develops for The Performance Kitchen, it’s these sources of protein (depending on dietary preferences) that are combined with sources of carbohydrates in the right ratio for the stage of the training plan and personal goals (with the aim to improve metabolic efficiency for health & performance). The Performance Kitchen really offers the perfect and convenient ready-made meal package for athletes:

    • freshly cooked using quality ingredients
    • customised for your training programme and dietary requirements
    • lunch and/or dinner Monday to Friday
    • optional breakfast & snacks
    • delivery to your home/work address 3x a week
    • using durable & reusable containers to avoid plastic waste
    • nifty app to track & monitor intake and progress, with meal menu
    • additional coaching & nutrition planning and monitoring via the app

    Breakfast can be a tricky meal to add sufficient protein. A poached egg served with smoked salmon and spinach is sadly not on my menu every day, and even though a bowl of yoghurt, granola and fruit is nutritious, it still adds only about 12 grams of protein. I took Adrian’s advice on optimising my breakfast smoothies, creating balanced and filling smoothies, as post- or pre-workout meal, typically aiming for a minimum 20 grams of protein per meal.

     Next: How to build the perfect protein breakfast smoothie

    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

     

    banana-oats-flapjacks-honey

    These delicious and gluten-free Banana Oats Flapjacks are great as a lazy Sunday morning breakfast and  a post workout snack the like. They’re super easy to prepare, and you can top them with honey, maple syrup, berry coulis, or drizzle with chocolate sauce.

    Blitz the oats in your OmniBlend to grind a fine oat flour. The narrow base of the 2 litre and 1.5 litre narrow base jugs are perfect for grinding nuts and oats, allowing you to bake flourless and gluten free.

    To make these flapjacks vegan/lactose-free, substitute the buttermilk for oat milk mixed with apple cider vinegar. You make your own oat milk by blending 1 cup oats with 3 cups water, and then strain using a nutmilk bag. 

    Ingredients (makes 5 flapjacks):

    • ¾ C Oat Flour (grind rolled or quick cooking oats in your OmniBlend to make your own oat meal)
    • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
    • 1 Ripe Banana
    • ½ C Buttermilk (or substitute for vegan: mix ½ cup oat milk with ½ tbsp apple cider vinegar and set aside for a few minutes)

     Directions:

    Mix the oat flour with baking powder. In a separate bowl, mash the banana with a fork and add the buttermilk (or non-dairy milk mixture). Stir to combine, and then add the flour. Fold in until combined, don’t overmix. Heat a skillet and grease with some coconut oil. Bake the flapjacks, and serve warm.

    Enjoy!

    Browse more breakfast recipes here.