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)

Paleo mini muffins with peanut butter frosting

Peanut butter muffins that aren’t bad for me…I’ll take 10 please!

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I love baking and I also love turning my favourite treats in to clean bakes. However baking is not my forte, especially clean baking but these were a huge success!

When I’ve previously tried to create some ‘clean’ cakes I’ve used coconut flour and found that it’s a pretty hard ingredient and consistency to work with often leaving the cake too dry and crumbly. Never fear though for I have found the perfect ingredient to make your clean bakes as light and fluffy as a ‘regular’ cake should be! All hail almond flour.

Almond flour is a little more expensive than coconut flour but I’d say it’s definitely worth it if you’re someone who does a lot of baking and will use it regularly.

These muffins are possibly my biggest clean baking success yet and I’m putting it down to the almond flour.

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You will need: (makes 12 muffins)
For the muffins…
– 2 cups of almond flour
– 20 dates, chopped
– 6 eggs
– 4 tbsp maple syrup or natural honey
– 1/2 tsp baking powder
For the frosting…
– 4 heaped tbsp of smooth peanut butter – I used Meridian’s which I find is best for this icing
– 4 tbsp of icing sugar
– 1 tbsp maple syrup or natural honey
– raw cacao nibs for decorating

To make:
– Start by pre-heating the oven to 250 degrees. Then either using a hand blender or a smoothie maker mix the almond flour, chopped dates, eggs and maple syrup/honey together.
– Once the muffin batter is thoroughly mixed transfer to some muffin cases and bake in the pre-heated oven for about 12 minutes. NOTE: check on them after about six minutes as mine cooked super quickly!
– Take the muffins out of the oven when cooked and leave to cool. To check if the muffins are ready insert a knife in to one and if it comes out clean then they are cooked.
– To make the frosting put the peanut butter, icing sugar and maple syrup/honey in a bowl and mix together. You may need to add more peanut butter or icing sugar if it isn’t the same consistency that regular frosting would be.
– Once the muffins have cooled spread the frosting on top and decorate with a few raw cacao nibs and enjoy!

Let me know if you make these and tag me in your creations on Twitter and Instagram using #hannahshappypace. My Twitter is @hannahbryan91

🙂

How to eat clean while travelling 

 This post is coming to you from a sun drenched beach in Ischia, one of Italy’s most beautiful islands. I’m fast approaching the end of a two week trip of a lifetime around Italy which started in Venice and will finish in Florence. 

I’m having the most amazing time. The weather has been spectacular as has the food, scenery and activities. I’ve been lucky enough to see some of the most historical and breathtaking landmarks Italy has to offer as well as sample some of the tastiest meals of my life so far.

  
It’s the amazing food which leads me nicely to the topic of this post. I’ll also just add that there will be plenty more in-depth food posts to come on each area I’ve visited so far as well. 

As I’m sure any girl will tell you, when you go on holiday you want to be looking your best and I’m no different. 

That said, here I am a couple of kilos heavier and abs gone but I’m still lying on the beach in a bikini. The best way to be bikini ready is to just put one on and rock it.  Job done and I couldn’t agree more. 

The food here is out of this world and was a major factor when thinking about where we wanted to go so it was only inevitable that I’d get a little fluffier on this trip. 

I know many people get worried about this when they go on holiday so I thought I’d write something about how it is still possible to eat clean and make healthy choices while abroad. 

That said, remember you are on holiday and it’s a time to enjoy yourself! It’s a time to try new things, experience the local cuisine and treat yourself. I don’t regret a single gelato, pasta dish, pizza or bread basket I’ve devoured because it’s all part of the experience and it has been incredible! 

As soon as you get to the airport it’s easy to enter holiday mode; a croissant with your coffee, a beer with your breakfast or a super-size snack from duty free. That’s fine but if you’re conscious of staying healthy on holiday here are a few ways to navigate the airport junk food traps: 

1) Snacks – At most airports there’s usually a Boots or a little shop/cafe where you can buy nuts, carrot batons or pieces of fruit which are all great healthy snack choices. Avoid salted nuts though if possible.

2) Take your own- If you know you’re likely to get hungry before you fly then pack your own snacks to eat before going through customs. This will mean there’s no need to cave in and buy something unhealthy. Some ideas include bananas, nuts, kale chips, protein bars, homemade energy balls or carrot/cucumber/celery sticks. 

3) Meal prep – This is more applicable  to long haul flights but taking your own prepped food on the plane is an option. Fruit, vegetables and solid foods can go in hand luggage but foods with sauces or with a high liquid content need to go in those little transparent bags you get before going through security, or just use sandwich bags. Make sure you check online or the airport website for quantities allowed and for any other restrictions. It’s also worth noting that these days you can usually buy a basic side salad in cafés/restaurants and some sort of meat which is a simple and easy way to eat clean. Add some nuts to your salad for extra protein to fill you up. 

When you land and start the holiday it’s so easy to devour every treat in sight and by all means if that’s what a holiday is to you then absolutely go for it. However what I’ve found over the past two weeks is that if you want to you can stay healthy while on holiday. 

Breakfast – In each hotel we’ve booked we’ve had breakfast included which has been great. I LOVE breakfast and especially love my egg scrambles but I had a feeling they wouldn’t be available at a breakfast buffet. Some options have been better than others. The Italian way of life here is a cappuccino, croissant and juice for breakfast. This is all we got in Rome so I fully embraced it. However at our other hotels there has been far more choice. Go for the fresh fruit, eggs, brown toast or museli. Stay away from cakes,  pastries and sugary cereal. Also, just have one breakfast! Why does it feel acceptable on holiday to have three or four courses at breakfast when you’d be satisfied with one at home!?

  

Lunch – The salads across Italy have been spot on, packed full of flavour and variety. Again, most places have a salad option and some sort of meat or fish on the menu. Trust me, it’s the bread basket that’ll be your downfall! Just do what Dane and I did (or tried to do!) name your slice when the basket arrives, have that and then you’re done.  

   
    

Dinner – Each and every dinner here has been absolutely incredible. I’ve had a giant buffalo ribeye steak, tuna tartare and enough octopus to fill an aquarium! Fresh fish is the only dinner option in my opinion and it often comes with fresh vegetables or salad.  Need I say more!? The entire bread basket, wine, limoncello and pudding is optional of course! Basically what I’m saying is that there’s usually always a healthy option on the menu, you’ve just got to look and chose appropriately. 

   
    

Reading this back I realise I’ve stuck to very little of this but that’s ok. I wouldn’t want to leave Italy not having  fully immersed myself in the experience and deprived myself of anything. Balance and finding your happy pace is key. And now if you’ll excuse me it’s time to find mine again at the gelato shop before taking another dip in the sea and practicing that epic dirty dancing lift – yes, Dane and I are that couple. 

Keep an eye out for my next blog post while I’m away which will be about Berlin marathon training on holiday with just 11 weeks to go!

  
Ciao. 🙂 

Easy homemade guacamole

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If there’s one food that’s extremely versatile it’s avocado. This homemade guacamole is super easy and quick to make and can be used as a dip, added to your lunch, spread on wraps or as a garnish on certain dishes.

You will need:
– 1 red chilli
– 1 red onion
– 1 whole lime
– 1 ripe avocado
– Black pepper for seasoning
– tomatoes (optional)

To make:
– Start by finely chopping the chilli and red onion and put into a bowl.
– Peel and dice the avocado and add to the bowl along with the black pepper for seasoning.
– Next add the juice of one lime and mash together with a fork.
– If you want to add tomatoes I’d recommend a variety of red and orange ones. Simply chop finely and add to the mixture as well.
– Voilà – homemade guacamole ready in a flash!

Enjoy 🙂

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

Seafood & three tomato courgetti in a spicy tomato sauce

Crazy for courgetti!

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Looking at the picture on the left you could easily mistake it for a pan of pesto covered spaghetti yet it’s actually one of my favourite “pastas”, courgetti!

Thanks to my handy little spirazlier (which you can spend as much or as little on as you want – mine was £13 from Amazon) I’m able to transform this underrated vegetable in to yummy ribbons of courgette as a substitute for pasta. The outcome is a light dish which has the same texture as spaghetti and is quicker to cook than pasta – I love it.

Another food I love is fish and it goes great with courgetti which is how this dish was created. The recipe uses fresh, clean ingredients that are easy to get hold of and the entire dish can be made in less than 40 minutes. Healthy eating doesn’t need to be overly fancy and involve lots of ingredients you can barely pronounce, just eat good stuff! Also, this dish is ridiculously tasty!

You will need: (this served three people, two ladies & one big portion for the other half!)
– Three courgettes, spiralized
– Cherry tomatoes, chopped
– Vine tomatoes, chopped
– Sundried tomatoes, chopped
– 1 tbsp red pesto
– 2 tbsp, tomato purée
– King prawns
– 2 salmon fillets
– Coriander, chopped
– 2 cloves garlic, chopped
– Kale
– Coconut oil
– 1 red chilli, chopped

To make:
– Start by preheating the oven to about 180 degrees and wrap the salmon in some tin foil before putting in the oven to cook for about 18-20 minutes.
– Heat a tsp of coconut oil in a frying pan and add the chopped garlic, cherry tomatoes, vine tomatoes and chopped chilli. After a couple of minutes add the tomato purée.
– When the salmon has been in the oven for about 10 minutes put the kale on a baking tray and drizzle with a little oil before putting in the oven to roast for about 10-12 minutes – be careful though as it does crisp up quickly.
– Add the spiralized courgetti to the pan and stir in the pesto, king prawns and chopped coriander.
– Once everything is ready, put the kale in a bowl then add the courgetti pasta and top with a piece of your salmon fillet.

Enjoy and tag me in your creations using #hannahshappypace

Got a courgetti recipe you want featured? Contact me! 

Egg muffins – a healthy high-protein breakfast or snack

Muffins? Love. Eggs? Love. Egg muffins? GO ON THEN!

egg muffins

Many of us don’t have the time/would prefer not to make eggs in the morning so these are the perfect portable breakfast to have on the go or as a snack or lunch accompaniment.

Boasting the density of a muffin and all the protein benefits of eggs, this is a super easy and tasty recipe to rustle up when you’re doing your food prep.

Not only that but it’s another way of getting your greens in first thing in a morning. If you’re someone who can’t stomach the thought of broccoli for breakfast (personally I love it morning, noon and night!) then this is a great way to get those vitamins and nutrients in your system in a creation which actually tastes amazing too.

You can keep these egg muffins in the fridge, heat them up or simply eat them cold.

My recipe below used the ingredients I had in the fridge at the time but you can add chorizo, salmon, sweet potato… basically anything you like – give it a go and let me know what you use.

You will need: (makes 6 big muffins)
– 6 eggs
– Handful of chopped spinach
–  Pepper/spices to season
– 4 spring onions, chopped
– ¾ bacon rashers, grilled & chopped up

To make:
– Crack the eggs in to a jug or a large bowl and whisk with a fork as though you’re going to make scrambled eggs.
– Add the pepper and other spices as well as the rest of the chopped ingredients and stir well.
– Pour the mixture into muffin cases or a Yorkshire pudding tray, basically anything that’s deep enough to hold the mixture and put it into a pre-heated oven at about 180° for 20-25 minutes until cooked.

Have you made these and added your own fillings? Let me know. Tweet me at @hannahbryan91 or tag me in your creations using #hannahshappypace