Friday, 27 July 2012

Saturday morning in my kitchen : )

Good morning everyone and welcome to the weekend!

Here in Sydney, the weather looks amazing outside! Fine, sunny and.. 14 degrees with some very chilly winds. Becoming more desperate every day for the coming summer when I can return to wearing shorts, singlets and dresses and basking in the sun!

I have to report that I made some amazing spelt flour and oat pancakes for breakfast but was so hungry that I couldn't pause for long enough to take a photo that looks good enough to post! They tasted delicious though and since I have a new habit of making different pancake concoctions on the weekends, I will post a recipe for them very soon.

What I DID take the time to take many photos of was my Oat and apple power cookies! These are adapted from a number of recipes by Teresa Cutter - The Healthy Chef. Teresa could quite well be the reason behind the development of my love of cooking healthy food. On the very first day we met, my now amazing boyfriend sent me to work with one of Teresa's Muesli Muffins, that he had made. The rest is history - my love for him and healthy cooking grew from that day forward : ). I definitely recommend that anybody interested in healthy cooking and eating should check out her page and test out some of her recipes.

The biggest difference between this recipe and the one that inspired me is the lack of banana. I LOVE bananas but I have had a number of people ask for a healthy cookie or muffin recipe without the use of bananas - so here it is!!

Oat and Apple power cookies


100g wholegrain oats
20g pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
55g sultanas
5g flaxseeds
3 tbs apple sauce
1tsp cinnamon

Healthy facts about these cookies

- Oats are a great source of complex carbohydrates which are linked to a myriad of other health benefits which include lowering cholesterol and regulating blood sugar and hence reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes. While carbohydrates are often tagged as the enemy when it comes to weight loss, foods like oats are heavily linked to aiding weight loss when consumed regularly. One of the reasons they are linked to weight loss is that they keep you feeling fuller for longer and reduce the likelihood of snacking. This is why a great breakfast choice is a steaming hot bowl of porridge! : )
- Pepitas and flaxseeds are a great source of healthy (monounsaturated) fats and protein both of which should be included in every meal we eat. The fats contained within these little seeds are linked to a reduction in the risk of heart disease through lowering LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and increasing HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). This HDL cholesterol is "good" because it is believed to aid in the removal of fatty build up (atherosclerosis) on the inside of our arteries and cells and transport it to the liver for processing and removal from the body. Cholesterol is not the enemy as long as you're eating it from the right sources. Good sources of HDL cholesterol include; egg yolks, avocado, fish (salmon and sardines are wonderful), nuts (natural, raw), pepitas and flaxseeds, among others.
- Apple Sauce is something that I commonly use in baking these days as a replacement for a part or all of the oil called for in a recipe. It acts as a great binding agent which adds moisture and also sweetness to any dish, reducing the need for any added sweeteners!
- Cinnamon is commonly incorporated into most things I make. I find that it adds some sweetness and a nice flavour but aside from that, cinnamon is strongly linked to reducing blood glucose levels and improving insulin sensitivity by consuming as little as half a teaspoon per day! To contribute to the notion of cinnamon being (in my own words - ha) a super-spice, one teaspoon alone contains 28mg of Calcium making it a great diet inclusion for those who are dairy-free or suffer from osteoporosis! 


Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius
To construct these cookies, simply combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and thoroughly combine! Use hands to mould them into 5 round balls and flatten slightly before placing them on a baking tray with baking paper.

Place in the preheated oven for 25 minutes! If they're left in any longer than this, the sultanas are likely to burn. For this reason, I also tried to place the majority of the sultanas closer to the bottom of the cookies and only leave a few on top : ).


Nutrition per serve (1 cookie)

Energy: 600.6kj/143 cal
Protein: 4g
Fat: 4g
Saturated fat: 0g
Carbohydrates: 22g
Sugar: 9g*
Sodium: 5mg

*note: sources of sugar are apple sauce and sultanas which are both good for use as natural sweeteners.