Cookie dough Twix cheesecake chunks

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Surely that title has got your mouth watering already?! Yes, these aren’t healthy but baking unhealthy treats and desserts is definitely part of my happy pace.

If you’ve got a real sweet tooth then you’re about to fall in love, as these chunks pretty much incorporate everything you could want in a dessert. I’ve called them chunks because despite the fact that these were meant to be ‘bites’, it’s just not possible to have one small bite, I need a big handful per portion!

You will need:
To make the cookie dough:
– 226g unsalted butter
– 220g brown sugar
– 2 eggs
– 1 tsp vanilla essence
– 260g plain flour
– 2 packets of chocolate chips
– 9 mini Twix bars (or another biscuit based chocolate bar of your choice)
To make the cheesecake layer:
– 225g soft cream cheese
– 65g granulated sugar
– 1 egg
– 1sp vanilla essence

To make:
-Start by lining a baking tin with foil so that there is an overhang on each side. Grease the foil with a little bit of butter and set the pan to one side. Preheat the oven to about 180 degrees.
– First, we need to make the cookie dough layer. Either in the microwave or over a pan of hot water, melt the butter in a bowl and then put to one side to cool slightly. Next, add the brown sugar to the melted butter and mix together. Add in the egg and vanilla before slowly adding the flour and then mix well to combine. To finish, add the chocolate chips and mix well. Take half of the mixture and spread a layer into the bottom of the foil lined baking tray. Leave the rest of the mixture in the bowl for later.

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-Next, line your Twix bars on top of the cookie dough mixture that’s already in the baking tray.
– To make the cheesecake layer, grab a separate bowl and add all of the ingredients before mixing/beating well until it’s of a smooth consistency.
– Spoon the cheesecake mix on top of the Twix bars before adding the rest of cookie dough mixture on top.
– Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes and then leave in the dish on a wire wrack to cool. Once completely cool, use the foil overhang to get the cake out of the dish and then cut in to big, hearty chunks! Keep them in the fridge…if you don’t eat them all in one go!

img_0165Enjoy 🙂

Nutty chocolate squares

Warning: This recipe is definitely not healthy BUT it is delicious!

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Ok, so these might not be one of the so-called clean bakes I like to create but they are so yummy and perfect if you fancy a treat or if you’ve got friends/family coming over – and who doesn’t like chocolatey treats!?

I made these for my mum who had to take some sweet treats into work for a cake sale.  I also made a batch for the whole family to devour and we all loved them. The recipe is actually one from my Grandma so I can’t take credit for this creation but I guarantee you won’t be left disappointed if you do give them a try!

You will need:
– 2 medium sized eggs
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 2 tsp vanilla essence
– 1 1/2 cups pecan nuts, chopped
– 1/2 cup plain flour
– 1/4 cup caster sugar
– 1/2 cup golden syrup
– 3oz plain chocolate, finely chopped
– 3 tbsp butter
– pecan nuts to decorate

Mixing together the sugar and golden syrup

Mixing together the sugar and golden syrup

To make:
– Start by whisking the eggs, vanilla and salt together.
– In a separate bowl mix the chopped nuts and flour.
– In a pan bring the sugar and golden syrup to the boil gradually then remove from the heat. Keep stirring so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
– Once removed from the heat stir in the chocolate and the butter which should all melt in. Gradually mix in the egg, vanilla and salt mixture before folding in the pecan and flour mix.
– Pour the mixture into a greased baking tin and bake for about 35 minutes on 180 degrees.
– Once ready (you can check the squares are ready by inserting a knife into the middle of the bake & if it comes out clean, they’re ready!) decorate each square with a nut on top and drizzle with chocolate before cutting up in to squares!

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Tag me in your creations using #hannahshappypace on Twitter (@HannahBryan91) or Instagram (@HBryan91)

Avocado & raw chocolate mousse

You don’t know that you’re eating avocado but it’s a nice surprise to know that you are!

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This mousse has been on my list of creations for a long time now so I’m really excited to have finally made it!

Yes, this is made with avocado but spooning it into your mouth you’d never know that. It’s totally clean too so even though it feels like an indulgent and somewhat naughty pudding it’s actually packed full of goodness. I guarantee you’ll be able to trick your friends and family the next time you cook them dinner.

This recipe serves two people so double up on ingredients if you’re catering for more.

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You will need:
– 1 large, ripe avocado
– 40g raw cacao powder
– 1/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk
– 2 tsp of agave nectar
– 1 tsp natural vanilla extract
– Raspberries to decorate

To make:
– Mash the avocado until smooth. This can be done either with a fork in a bowl or in a food processor.
– In a separate bowl mix the cacao powder and almond milk until well combined – this does take some mixing.
– Stir in the agave nectar and vanilla extract and then any chopped raspberries you want in there as well.
– Pour in to individual bowls/ramekins and pop in the fridge until ready to serve.
– You can decorate the mousse with whatever you fancy from a few raspberries on top to a dollop of nut butter or crunchy granola or chopped nuts!

Enjoy 🙂

Tag me in your creations on Instagram and Twitter using #hannahshappypace

Super easy, clean chocolate mug cake

If you’re looking for a quick, easy and healthy pudding then look no further because this chocolate mug cake hits all the right spots.

With just a handful of ingredients and made in less than five minutes it’s the ideal healthy pudding when you fancy something sweet or want a chocolatey dessert.

It’s paleo as well!

We added a cheeky Cadbury’s Creme Egg which is not so paleo/clean but Easter is fast approaching after all!

Check out this video below of how to make it.

Hope you enjoy it & make sure to tag #Hannahshappypace in your creations on Twitter & Instagram! Enjoy 🙂

 

Nutella cheesecake bites

WARNING: if you’re counting calories look away now!  

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You may have noticed that most of my recipes posted on this site are paleo or have low sugar content but not these. Hannah’s Happy Pace is all about finding that balance and trust me, these are the perfect solution for when you crave a sweet treat.

You will need:

For the base:                                                                                                            `
300g biscuits – we used chocolate chip Hobnobs
100g butter

For the topping:
4 heaped tablespoons of Nutella
100g Icing sugar
400g Cream cheese

To make:

-Put the biscuits into a sandwich bag and tie tightly making sure you’ve squeezed the air out. Then take a rolling pin or something similar and bash the biscuits up until they’re really crumbly.
– Melt the butter either in a pan on the hob or in the microwave and tip in to a mixing bowl along with the biscuits and stir until well combined.
– Get a cupcake baking tray and line with cake cases. Put about 1 tbsp of the biscuit and butter base into each case, pressing down to form a firm cheesecake base.
– Refrigerate for about one hour or until firm.
– To make the Nutella topping combine the cream cheese, Nutella and icing sugar in to a mixing bowl and stir well. (It was at this point that I almost forgot about the biscuit base entirely and just began spooning the mixture in to my mouth! If you thought Nutella was good, wait until cream cheese is added to it!!)
– Add about 1 heaped tsp on to the biscuit base and then pop back into the fridge for about 40 minutes to set. Once set, remove from the cake cases and voila – mini Nutella cheesecake bites, it’s as simple as that!

To make it different, why not use Oreos as the base? Or even crumble some Reese’s peanut butter cups in to it as well. Or add some Nutella to the base mixture if you’re really a chocolate fan.

Tag #Hannahshappypace on Twitter and Instagram if you make them – I want to see your creations! 🙂

Enjoy.

Banana, pecan & choc chip loaf

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We all need a little treat from time to time and that’s a fact.

Despite being an advocate of clean eating I am aware that this can sometimes become an obsession rather than a lifestyle choice. When we find ourselves saying no to birthday cake in the office or a festive mince pie at a family bash it’s time that we took a step back and re-evaluated our eating attitudes.

My opinion is that balance is key and by not denying yourself treats you can still maintain a healthy body and a great figure whilst maintaining a healthy mind at the same time.

This is where my banana loaf recipe comes in. I am a massive fan of banana loaf and although you can make Paleo banana cake it was a real banana cake that I wanted. Another reason why I wanted to bake a “real” cake was because baking is not my strong point and I don’t like to be defeated. I was thrilled with how this one turned out and I will definitely be making another in the future.

You will need:  (makes one big loaf)
100g soft butter (and a little for greasing)
140g caster sugar
140g plain flour
1 egg – beaten
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp Vanilla essence
4 ripe bananas
85g pecans
35g dark choc chips

To make:
– Preheat the oven to about 180 degrees and grease a loaf tin with a small amount of butter ready for the mixture.
– Begin by mixing together the sugar, butter and egg before slowly stirring in the flour and baking powder.
– Next, mash the bananas in a separate bowl before adding it to the main mixture along with the vanilla essence, pecans and chocolate chips before stirring well.
– Pour the mixture into the tin (it was at this point that more mixture went into my mouth rather than the actual tin, whoops!) and bake for about an hour. Test that the cake is ready by putting a knife or a skewer in and if it comes out clean then the cake is done.
– Leave to cool on a wire rack before slicing and then keep fresh in foil.

This is such a simple cake to make and other nuts or dried fruit can be added depending on what you fancy. Enjoy with a cup of tea as a post workout treat or just as a treat in general! 🙂

Race report: Guy Fawkes 10

Jim Coldwell is a City of Hull AC runner and a member of CrossFit Hull.
You can follow him on Twitter @J_Coldwell

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Remember, remember, six Yorkie bars, four KitKats, an Aero and a Milky Bar wait for you at the finish.

The build up

I had heard the Guy Fawkes 10 was a tough, hilly, we-don’t-have-hills-like-these-in-Hull kind of race – ideal for my first competitive race back from injury then.

Or maybe not.

This was my first race representing City of Hull AC (CoH) since joining the club a few months before. Training with CoH as well as attending weekly track sessions had an instant impact on my running – I ran a PB at the Vale of York half marathon by four and a half minutes.

The evident improvements made the frustration of being struck down with tendonitis just the week after even more frustrating. As any runner would tell you, putting your feet up for a few weeks is as challenging as completing a race, irrespective of distance. But, reluctantly, rest I did and I was fit and raring to go on race day.

Anyway, with it starting and finishing in Ripley, North Yorkshire – just a stone’s throw away from my hometown of Knaresborough – and safe in the knowledge that there would be the mother’s Sunday roast waiting for me after, I would have been hard pressed to convince myself to withdraw even if the injury hadn’t subsided.

The race

I am definitely a runner that enjoys the smaller, club organised races compared to the larger, more commercial, mass participation ones – not to say there is anything wrong with those, of course. But, you get the feeling the former are organised by people who care about runners’ experiences, not just the state of their cheque book.

Guy Fawkes 10, organised by Nidd Valley Road Runners, is the epitome of this. For a measly entry of £12, you get an extremely organised event from start to finish – ample parking, efficient race number collection, a well marshalled course, two drinks stations and every runner’s real reason for racing, a well-stocked goodie bag and a t-shirt!

And the positives don’t stop there.

The start is in the shadow of the stunning Ripley Castle, the finish in the courtyard of the castle, the three climbs are quirkily named – Birstwith Brute, Swincliffe Swine and For Fawkes Sake (enter and you’ll find this is aptly named) and the scenery along the route is stunning.

So, what’s the course like?

It’s hilly, very hilly.

The first mile and a half is slow as the route is narrow and mix of Tarmac and trail. Once this part has been safely negotiated, the race opens out.

A couple of steady climbs takes you to Burnt Yates before dropping down Clint Hill into Birstwith. Around mile four, the first of the three main climbs falls. Birstwith Brute is a steep ascent but relatively short, around 300m.

The remainder of the first half of the race is a steady descent, a perfect chance to recover from the Brute!

The respite doesn’t last long though as, around mile seven, you are faced with Swincliffe Swine. Again, not a long climb but sharp and breath-taking.

Recovery this time isn’t as easy as your legs tire, although the stretch through Hampsthwaite and over the river helps to take your mind off that.

Now, the finish line is in sight, just over another hill!

At mile eight, For Fawkes Sake kicks in. For me, the toughest of the climbs. Winding up a narrow country road for around 400m, the name couldn’t sum up every runner’s feelings better.

After conquering the final main climb, it’s time to release the handbrake and let the legs take you where they want – you’ll have no choice, trust me.

From the outset, the Guy Fawkes 10 felt like a proper runner’s race. And the finish emphasised just that. With just 200m to go, one last challenge awaits – a sharp 100m climb right to the tape.

If you didn’t enjoy running, if you didn’t understand the challenges that every runner faces in each race, irrespective of distance, and if all that went before you at this race wasn’t to the standard it was, you could be forgiven for thinking this was a cheap shot from the organisers. However, despite my legs being ridden with lactic acid, it brought an approving smile to my face!

Crossing the line in a time of 1:13:20 and with a negative split of just over three minutes was a pleasant surprise given the lack of training leading up to the race. To be honest, this was probably more pleasing a result than the half-marathon PB a month or so before.

The race was over but the event…far from it.

The goodie bags handed out at the castle were filled with Nestle, one of the race sponsors, chocolate – six Yorkie bars; four KitKats; an Aero and a Milky Bar. A great haul!

The next job was to collect a finisher’s t-shirt before cracking open the complimentary bottle of water and taking in the picturesque surroundings and walking back through the village to the car park.

This was my first experience of the Guy Fawkes 10 but it definitely won’t be the last.

Remember, remember, the first Sunday in November.

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Food cravings: what they really mean

Whether it’s that chocolate bar during the post lunch slump or the urge for a cool glass of Pinot on a Friday night, we all get cravings.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t give in to our cravings but it’s all about balance and it wouldn’t be healthy to give in to them every single day.

I decided to write this post after I began craving some odd things. When I started CrossFit for example, all I wanted to eat for breakfast lunch and dinner was pineapple. After a quick internet search I learnt that my body was craving pineapple because my muscles were inflamed. They weren’t used to being worked in the way that CrossFit was working them and that craving was the result.

Ever since then I have been fascinated to learn about what particular food cravings mean. Often when we crave chocolate or something salty our body doesn’t actually need these things, it needs something else.

Research conducted by vouchercodespro.co.uk found that there are more nutritious ways to satisfy these cravings. For example, you might be interested to learn that when you think you’re craving a bar of chocolate your body actually needs magnesium which can be satisfied with a small handful of nuts. Similarly, when you fancy a glass of wine that craving can be satisfied with a serving of protein.

Check out their helpful infographic below:

Research from vouchercodespro.co.uk

Research from vouchercodespro.co.uk

Now that’s not to say that every time you crave something you should reach for an alternative but if you’re craving the same thing every day it might be a good idea to see if you are lacking in certain nutrients. A sign of low iron for example is when you are craving a good steak or any kind of red meat.

Aside from that, here are five of my tips to tackle unhealthy food cravings:

  1. Distract yourself – When we have food cravings it can often be because we are bored. If you find yourself craving something, start doing something else. Keep yourself busy and I guarantee that with your mind on other things it will soon pass.
  2. Have a drink – Often when we think we are hungry it’s actually because we are thirsty. When a craving hits, head to the kitchen for a glass of water or juice instead.
  3. Pay attention to what you’ve recently eaten – I always find that if I eat something sweet I then start craving other sweet foods for the rest of the day. Make a note of when cravings hit and you’ll soon start to see a pattern.
  4. Have healthy alternatives on hand – Keep nuts, fruit or carrot/celery sticks at work so that when you start feeling like you want to give in to a craving you’ve got healthy alternatives on hand.
  5. That said, giving in to a craving is fine – Why not try just having a quarter of what you would usually have though. If it is chocolate you really want, have a couple of squares of dark chocolate rather than a whole bar.

Healthy peanut butter cookies

Yes, you did read that title correctly – these flourless peanut butter and choc chip cookies really are a guilt free treat.

These cookies are soft, gooey and packed full of energy – not to mention so tasty they may well become your new go-to treat.

I am a massive peanut butter addict and I’ve wanted to try cooking some guilt free treats with smooth peanut butter for ages and this seemed like the perfect recipe.

Not only that, but these cookies are gluten free as well.

You will need:
-8oz smooth organic peanut butter (preferably organic)
-3oz of organic natural honey (you can add more or less depending on how much of a sweet tooth you have)
-1 egg (flax egg if you like)
-1/2tsp baking powder
-pinch salt
-dairy free choc chips

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To make:
These really are so easy to make which is yet another reason to love them.
-Mix the peanut butter, honey, baking powder and egg in a bowl.
-Stir in the choc chips then put cookie sized dollops on to a baking tray lined with grease proof paper.

Place in the oven at gas mark 4 for about 12 mins/until the cookies start to turn brown.

The cookies may still look gooey but as soon as they start to brown take them out and leave them to cool. They will firm up but still retain that amazing soft gooey texture inside.

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