Category Archives: Breakfast

Apricot Almond Low Carb Muffins

Apricot Almond LC Muffins_6062_wm_1x1I get so many requests for low carbohydrate recipes, I wish I had a dollar for every time I get asked.  I’d be a bazillionaire!  It does speak volumes about the popularity of low carb diets though.  For some, it’s about losing body fat and maybe some weight.  For others, it’s a lifestyle choice due to health factors like Type II diabetes, food intolerances, or carb sensitivity.  For others, it just makes them feel good.

Whatever the reason, there is no need to feel as though one has to miss out much on foods that are typically high carbohydrate.  Breads, cakes, snacks … there are so many options.  Nut flours and lower carb flours make life more nutritious and lower carb without deprivation.

One such flour that is gaining popularity but is perhaps less well-known, is lupin flour.  Lupins are a legume and popular in some Mediteranean cuisines.  Unlike many other legumes, lupins are quite low in carbohydrates while containing healthy omega fatty acids, a whopping dose of dietary fibre, and they pack a solid punch of protein.  There has been a lot of commotion about the potential for lupin flour use in breads to boost nutrition and give greater satiety thereby aiding weight loss, as well as it’s ability to help lower cholesterol and provide a range of nutrients.  Bread makers are starting to make lupin flour breads and they are gaining in popularity.  That’s all good.

But ultimately, I say yay because it’s high in protein, low in fat and carbs and high in dietary fibre.

Lupin beans are about 45% protein and 30% dietary fibre, and have negligble carbohydrate.  That is awesome.

100 grams of lupin flour contains:

1365kJ / 362kCals
39 grams protein
5.5 grams fat (0.1 gram saturated)
11.5 grams carbohydrates (2.9 grams sugars)
31.3 grams dietary fibre

It is also gluten-free.

For.  The.  Win.


On the downside, being a legume, it is likely that it may cause problems if you happen to react to FODMAPS, specifically fructans and galactans.  In particular, it’s likely to contain galactans as most legumes do.  I have yet to see it on a list of FODMAP foods, but it’s a reasonable assumption.  But that is not to say that it will cause someone a problem.  These things are highly individual.  So it might be worth checking out.

OK.  So, how does this lupin flour bake up then?  Well,  I like to go easy early on trying out a new flour so I went for muffins.  I’ve wanted to make my mum some low carb healthy muffins and these really hit the spot.  She likes her muffins fruity and is a big fan of the wheat free muffins I make for her, especially those with almond flour.  They have a lovely fall-apart, flourless texture but are not heavy or stodgy.

Apricots are in season now and apricots and almonds are a great combination.  You could substitute whatever fruit you like but be aware of the impact on the carbohydrate count.  One usually discounts fruit when thinking about a low carb option but these muffins prove you can enjoy a fruity muffin without a carbohydrate blow out.  Alternatively, you could leave out the fruit and just make them vanilla, or add some chopped up 100% chocolate or spices, or anything else you fancy that meets your low carb requirements.

Great, so where do I buy this lupin flour, CCM?  Well, I don’t know about elsewhere but here in Australia, Lotus Foods make a really good lupin flour that is widely available in health food and organic shops.  I have yet to see it in a supermarket but I suspect it’s only a matter of time.  You can also get it online.

I have used a granulated stevia based sweetener in place of sugar.  You can substitute your preferred sweetener, knowing that the amount in the recipe is equal to the same amount of sugar, so please substitute accordingly.

They are sugar-free, gluten-free, lower in fat than most muffins, and have a good dose of protein per serve, without adding any protein powders.  These are not suitable for a low FODMAP diet, however, but watch this space … I also follow a low FODMAP diet so the likelihood of a suitable version is high 🙂

They taste fantastic!  I hope you enjoy them too.

Macros are provided below the recipe, as always 🙂
Apricot Almond LC Muffins_6065_wm_1x1

Makes 10

80 grams almond meal
100 grams lupin flour
65 grams Natvia (or substitute your preferred sweetener or sugar, equal to 65g sugar)
2 teaspoons baking powder
140 grams apricots (2 large), diced
2 large eggs
125 millilitres almond milk (or substitute your preferred milk)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Preheat the oven to 180ºC.  Line 10 muffin molds with muffin liners and set aside.
Mix together the almond meal, lupin flour, sweetener, and baking powder in a bowl.  Make sure you break up any lumps.  Toss in the diced apricots.

Whisk together the eggs, almond milk, and vanilla bean paste.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry mixture and mix lightly with a fork.  It’s okay if the mixture is a little lumpy as these are muffins.  Do not over mix the batter.  Pour the batter into the 10 lined muffin tins.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until risen, golden, and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack before turning out.
Apricot Almond LC Muffins_6066_wm_1x1

Macronutrient Profile
I have included macros for the recipe as stated above.  Any variations and substitutions will, of course, vary the macros to some degree.

Apricot Almond LC Muffins_macros.jpg
Apricot Almond LC Muffins_183928_wm_1x1


Filed under All Recipe Posts, Breakfast, Fruit, Muffins, Nuts, Protein, Protein Muffins, Special Diet

Tangelo Cheesecake Muffins

While most people are trying to eat less, I have put in a super human effort to eat more over the past six months or so.  All for a great cause.  I’m trying to gain weight.  Lean mass, or muscle, to be exact.  For a munchkin like me, it’s been an almighty struggle.  At the five month mark, I’ve barely shifted my weight.  But I’m still giving it my all to eat as much as possible.

Being naturally inclined towards healthy food … hey, chocolate is not a junk food!  Food of the gods, remember????   Anywho, being a healthy eater by nature, it’s hard to rack up the calories by the end of the day.   I gave up snacking a while ago and focussed on bigger meals at mealtimes.  Not enough, CCM.  So now I’m taking up snacking again.   The best little snackeroos are those that are light but pack some quality calories with decent amounts of good protein, fats, and carbohydrates.  Good stuff that I can scoff without that omg I ate so much I feel gross feeling.

Let me introduce you to these little cheesecake muffin dudes.  Fruity, cheesecakey, and muffiny.  Wonderfully light but satisfying, slightly sweet, citrusy … they make a perfect snack or breakfast.   Just another high protein snack that gets most of its protein from egg and cottage cheese.  No need for protein powders.  Because sometimes we run out 😦  or we want to share them with tiny tot kiddies, or … hmmm sharing 😦  LOL

Winter citrus fruits are like a burst of sunshine in the middle of the gloomy, grey, rainy, total yukkiness.  I love tangelos.  They’re fantastic for those important life decisions when you just can’t make up your mind between an orange or a mandarin.  Crisis over.  Have both.  In one fantabulous fruit.  The tangelo.  Yes, you could use either an orange or a few mandarins for this recipe (very nice) but tangelos rock.  Try one.

I’ve made these with both cottage cheese and quark.  Both versions are fabulous, although, of course the cottage cheese flavour is more mild.  Use what makes you happiest.  Do not use the runny cottage cheese.  Use a proper European style cottage cheese, which is drier in texture.

You can use sugar instead of the stevia sweetener, if you prefer (the amounts are included in the recipe).  This recipe is both gluten-free and suitable for anyone with fructose and/or fructan intolerance.

A typical serve will pack around 266 kCals, 19.2g protein, 15.2 grams each of fats and carbohydrates (1.2g saturated, 4.6g sugars), and a whopping 7.4g dietary fibre.

You are welcome 🙂

They are lovely on their own but they will transport you heavenward if you split them and fill with a good (i.e. healthy) chocolate spread.  I used my newest one that I’ve nicknamed Better Than Sex Chocolate Spread.  It’s amazing.  They are also pretty amazing served with some fresh fruit and a dollop or two of thick Greek yoghurt.  Practically a dessert.

These are also great if you add a few fresh or frozen berries to them before baking.  Simply stud the muffins with some berries after you fill the muffin molds.  See what I did there?  Stud the muffins?  OK, it sounded funny when I wrote it the first time … 😉

I hope you love them too.  I’m off to scoff!

Makes 10 standard muffins or 15 financier (friand) sized muffins

300 grams low-fat cottage cheese or quark (I use Elgaar Farm Organics)
185 grams liquid egg whites (or 3 large eggs plus 1 egg white)
1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla powder or 1 teaspoon extract (I use Professional Whey Organic Vanilla Powder)
105 millilitres fresh tangelo juice (from 1 large tangelo)
grated zest of 1 tangelo
150 grams almond meal
20 grams psyllium husks
90 grams Natvia (or preferred stevia blend sweetener)*
1 teaspoon baking powder (gluten-free)
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

*If you prefer, substitute about 100 – 115 grams of sugar, depending on how sweet you like your muffins.  This will increase both the total carb count as well as the sugars in the macros.

Preheat the oven to 180℃.  If using silicon muffin or financier molds, there is no need to line the molds.  If using standard muffin or financier pans, line with cupcake or financier liners or grease with preferred spray or brush with a little oil of choice.  Set aside.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the cottage cheese (or quark) and egg whites (or whole eggs).  Whisk together until smooth and creamy.  Add the vanilla and tangelo juice, and whisk until smooth.

In a large mixing bowl, add the tangelo zest, almond meal, psyllium, sweetener, baking powder, and bicarbonate of soda.  Mix well until combined and there are no lumps.

Add the wet mixture to the dry.  Use a fork to very quickly and lightly combine the ingredients.

Do.  Not.  Over.  Mix.  We’re making muffins, not meringue 🙂

Having a light touch when deliberately under mixing muffin batter will result in wonderfully light muffins.  Beating the life out of the batter will only make you cry when you take your first bite.  Now that we’re all on the same page …

Divide the batter between the muffin or financier molds.  Bake for about 25 – 30 minutes until well risen and golden.  Do not over bake.   They will puff up with lovely domes and then fall a little because they’re cheesecake muffins 🙂

Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little before removing from their molds and serving.  They will keep for up to a week if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

They are lovely served warm on their own or split and served with fruit and yoghurt or with your favourite chocolate spread … because what goes so well with tangelo and cheesecake?

OK chocolate goes with everything.  Yes, even carrots.  But we don’t have carrots here.

We have tangelo cheesecake muffins … and this combination is so choccheesecitrusgasmic that even my mum loves it.  She hates chocolate, remember?  Ah, there’s always a way to make someone love cacao.  These little muffins are hers.  Fist pumping the air 🙂

Macronutrient Profile
I have included macros for the recipe as indicated above.  I used liquid egg whites and cottage cheese.  The macros will vary ever so slightly if you substitute whole eggs and/or quark, but not substantially.


Filed under All Recipe Posts, Breakfast, Fruit, Protein, Protein Muffins, Special Diet

Simple Protein Pancake Staples

Ah ha!  Just to prove that I don’t get too hung up over the lack of quality of my photos for the blog, here’s a quickie post and two recipes because I promised I would post these over on the CCM Facebook page.   They’re just everyday fare, not the sort of thing I would normally think of posting, but hey, they’re really good, so why not?  It’s all iPhone photo territory here so trust me when I say that the photos do not capture the deliciousness of these simple and versatile pancakes.  I’m only cringing a little, promise.

They’re usually taken early in the morning, post boot camp training, in a state of extreme hunger, impatience, and with no visible sources of useful lighting.   That does nothing for the resulting picture quality so grab your spectacles, electron microscope, refractor telescope, or whatever you need to get a better view.   What it does say is that these pancakes are too good for you to allow them to get cold on your highly stylised photo set while you muck about with your camera 🙂

The making of protein pancakes is something that usually happens early in the morning at my place.  Sometimes it happens really early, around 5:30am if I’m heading off early for work.   At least, during the week, this is true.  So, unless I’ve planned it the night before (unlikely) or I just happen to have something fantabulous available within easy reach (too lazy or not awake enough to look), I most often end up making really simple pancakes.  I leave the fancy stuff for the weekend.  When I make them during daylight hours.  I should post a few of those.  MMMM 🙂

So here I have two staples in the protein pancake repertoire that I go to when funky ingredients are not available.  Well, that’s a bit harsh.  I think sweet potato and banana are very funky.  I also think flaxmeal and psyllium are funky.  Whoa, and protein powders are super funky.  But you know what I mean.  Exotic stuff.  So if you have exotic stuff lying about your kitchen screaming “I want me some protein pancake action!“, throw it in, or on top, on the side.  Whatever and where ever you like it best. 🙂

Macros for each recipe are provided below and they are schweet.

First up, a winning high fibre pancake that I posted on Facebook a while ago.  Fluffy fluffy fibre goodness using pea protein isolate.   After that, a combination of leftover sweet potato and banana, using two ingredients we often do have lying around.  This one uses whey protein, although you can use whatever you like.  Both simple but good.

Hop to it!  Start mixing, start flipping, topping with good things, and EAT.

High Fibre Cinnamon Protein Pancakes

Makes 6 pancakes / Serves 1 or 2

2 large eggs
40 grams pea protein isolate (I highly recommend this one or this one)
10 grams psyllium husks
250 ml unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla powder or extract (I used Professional Whey Organic Vanilla Powder)
stevia, to taste (optional – I don’t bother)

Blend or whisk together all the ingredients.  Psyllium will thicken up the pancake batter, even as it stands while you cook, so add a little more coconut milk or water if needed.  I just add a bit of water.   It also depends on the size of the eggs you use.  I used extra-large eggs (59 grams each).

Cook the pancakes in a non-stick pan.  I use a minimal amount of little olive oil spray or coconut oil to cook them.  I made six from the quantity of batter in the recipe.

Serve immediately topped with fruit, yoghurt, and maple or coconut syrup.

Sweet Potato & Banana Whey Pancakes

Makes 4 pancakes / Serves 1 or 2

100 grams liquid egg whites (or 2 x 59 gram eggs)
35 grams sliced banana (about half a small one)
50 grams cooked sweet potato (boiled or steamed)
30 grams plain or vanilla WPI (I used Professional Whey NZ WPI)
30 grams raw almond meal
1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder or extract (I used Professional Whey Organic Vanilla Powder)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of sea salt
a good squeeze of lemon juice (about 1 – 2 teaspoons)

Blend all the ingredients together.  Let sit for 10 mins or so, if you can.  Cook the pancakes in a non-stick pan.  I use a minimal amount of little olive oil spray or coconut oil to cook them.
I make about four larger pancakes with this batter.

Serve immediately topped with yoghurt, cinnamon, and maple or coconut syrup.  A great topping is the lemon ricotta cream in the first photo.  Simply mix together an equal quantity of fresh ricotta and thick Greek yoghurt, and a squeeze of lemon juice.  Top your pancake stack, sprinkle with cinnamon, and freshly grated lemon zest.  Drizzle with a little maple syrup.   Fruit makes a lovely optional extra!

Macronutrient Profile
I’ve given macros for the plain pancakes, without toppings and without accounting for any cooking oils used.  Whatever you add, you should add in the macros to the following.   This is true for anything you add to the pancake batter for each.

Hi Fibre Protein Pancakes Macros

Sweet Potato & Banana Whey Pancakes Macros


Filed under All Recipe Posts, Breakfast, Protein, Protein Pancakes, Special Diet

Chocolate Banana Protein Bread

I’ve recently been craving a sweet bread for breakfast again, but I don’t like anything cakey or too sweet first thing in the morning.  I prefer my breakfast to be infused with a natural fruity sweetness from fresh fruits … or baked into something I can eat warm.  Especially now that the mornings are getting decidedly cooler.

Boo.   This is serious.  I hate the cold.  I hate biting cold winds most of all.  Not looking forward to it.

So any breakfast intervention is going to have to involve chocolate if it’s going to have any chance of distracting me from the oncoming cold season and turn my frown upside down.  Chocolate can do that.

Throw in some overripe bananas with the chocolate and I’m all a-giggle again.

OK, I’m not given to the giggles, but you get the idea:


Chocolate banana bread makes for a super happy breakfast.  Snack.  Anytime.  YUM.  Yes indeed.

Making it healthy and packed full of protein, a cacao powerhouse of anti-oxidants, walnutty omega-3 goodness, and a little oomph from some oats and you’ve got yourself a well-rounded breakfast or snack.

This bread is not cake.  It is soft, slightly moist bread with a light texture from the use of whey protein.  If you prefer a slightly denser, more cake-like bread, you could use pea protein isolate instead of the whey.  I’ve also added sweetener as optional.  It all depends on your sweet tooth and how much sweetness the bananas impart to the batter.  There is quite a lot of variation in the sweetness of bananas so use your judgement and add in some sweetener of your choice, if you prefer it.   Very chocolatey and very bananary (it’s a word.  It is now.  I said so).

I love this bread served slightly warm with a little fresh, organic butter or with more smashed fresh banana on top and maybe a scrape of almond butter, or a dollop of Greek yoghurt for breakfast … or a drizzle of melted chocolate.  For decorative purposes, you understand!

It would make a BITCHIN’ French toast.  OH MY.  That’s tomorrow morning’s brekkie sorted.  With smashed bananas on top … and that drizzle of chocolate.  😀

If you cut this into about twelve thick slices, each slice will give you around 125kCals, 9.1g protein, 6.5g fat (0.7g sat), 7.5g carbohydrates (3.9g sugars), and 2.5g dietary fibre.  Not too shabby!  Remember that you are getting a nice dose of omega-3s from the walnuts, so it’s all good.

Energy to move, power to lift.

Makes 1 loaf  (21cm x 10cm loaf tin)

100 grams walnuts or almonds, ground fine
250 grams very ripe banana (edible flesh only, about 3 bananas)
250 grams liquid egg whites (or 4 whole eggs)
45 grams oat flour or rolled oats (gluten-free, if required)
50 grams unflavoured whey protein (I used Professional Whey NZ WPI)
40 grams raw cacao
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract / bean paste or seeds scraped from 1 vanilla pod
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (gluten-free)
sweetener, to taste (optional)*

*I did not add any more sweetener as the bananas were very ripe and super sweet enough for me.  However, check the batter to make sure it is sweet enough for you.  If not, add some of your preferred sweetener, whether it be honey or maple syrup, pureed medjool dates, coconut or rapadura sugar, or stevia or a stevia blend like Natvia.

Preheat the oven to 180℃.

Grease a loaf tin lightly with olive oil spray or line the tin with silicone paper, if not using a silicon mold.

Place all the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and process until the batter is smooth.
If using whole nuts, grind these beforehand with the rolled oats, if using.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin.  Even the top, if you’d like a square loaf.

Bake for about 45 – 50 minutes until risen, and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Remove and cool on a wire rack before turning out.

This loaf keeps, wrapped in foil or a freezer bag, in the fridge for up to a week.  You can also freeze it.  If freezing, it’s easier to slice the loaf before freezing.

Fabulous when served slightly warm with a smear of fresh, organic unsalted butter, smashed bananas … 😀

ps: forgive the pics … they were taken quickly in poor lighting and while I was hungry LOL

Macronutrient Information
I have based the macronutrient information on the recipe, as stated above.  If you make any substitutions for the ingredients, note that the macros will change.  I’ve included both whey and pea protein versions.  As you can see, there is hardly any change in macros.

I used walnuts and no additional sweetener.  If you use almonds and/or add sweetener you will need to consider the impact on macros.

Macros for the whole loaf – just divide by the number of slices you cut!


Filed under All Recipe Posts, Breakfast, Chocolate, Fruit, Protein, Protein Bread, Special Diet

Frosted Caramelly Protein Muffins

I haven’t made muffins in a while.  This cannot be a good thing.  Something about karmic balance or upsetting the space-time continuum or possibly a disturbance in The Force.  Whatever.  So I made a batch of caramelly protein muffins.

To set things right.

With a surprise in the centre.

Featuring an AWESOME frosting.

I knew the frosting was awesome as soon as I did my obligatory taste test.   When my trainer also thought it was fabulous, I knew it for sure.

Obviously, no real caramel was going to be harmed in the quest to make these muffins caramelly in flavour.  Instead a nifty combination of key ingredients gives them a nice little caramel note and sweetness … without any added sugar or sweeteners.   Dates are the sweetening agent for the muffins and I’ve combined dates and raw organic lucuma powder in the frosting.  Never heard of lucuma?  Google it … it’s a subtropical fruit from Peru, and has been a dietary staple there since ancient times.  It used to be known as the “Gold of the Incas”.  Aside from being a nutrient dense and very healthy food, I also love it for its maple like flavour.  Combined with dates, you get this lovely caramel, maple, date sweetness.  No need to add sugar or artificial sweeteners at all.  It’s lovely.

I’ve often been asked why I use a lot of liquid egg whites instead of whole eggs, given egg yolks are such powerhouses of vitamins, minerals, trace elements, funky good things.  Well, honestly, I use both, depending on what I happen to have handy.  Occasionally, I just want to add some extra lightness, particularly for protein recipes, so I may choose to use egg whites only.  So I’ve included both whole egg and egg white versions below, as well as for the macronutrient information at the bottom of the recipe.  This time, I used whole eggs to make the muffins.

That awesome frosting is so good, you could make it and use on anything or as a dessert over fruit, whatever.  I’d like to use it to frost the Chocolate Orange Fudge Bars.  Wow.

So what’s the surprise centre?  A whole cherry.  Just an added burst of fruity goodness in the centre.  You can omit the cherry or substitute banana (oh my!) or berries, or anything you like.  Almond or peanut butter would be great.  Chocolate would be sensational.  Up to you.  Just remember that it may affect the macros, so use whatever fits with your goals.

These muffins are gluten-free (make sure you use GF oats and baking powder), have a decent protein hit, and are low in fat.

Energy to move, power to lift 🙂


Makes 10 small muffins (1/3 cup capacity) OR 6 standard muffins

78 grams medjool dates (pitted weight, about 4 medium dates)
30 grams rolled oats (preferably gluten-free)
3 large eggs OR 160 grams liquid egg whites
70 grams pea protein isolate
25 grams almond meal
1 teaspoon pure vanilla bean paste, powder or extract
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
125 millilitres coconut water
10 pitted cherries

1 medjool date
100 gram fat-free plain yoghurt
30 millilitres fat-free milk
10 grams raw organic lucuma powder (I use Loving Earth)
30 grams unflavoured micellar casein* (I use Professional Whey)

*If you use a flavoured casein, opt for vanilla

Preheat the oven to 165℃/330℉.

I used silicon muffin molds, but if using standard muffin pans, grease with a little oil spray or line with cupcake liners, and set aside.

Place the dates in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth.  Add the rolled oats and process until the oats have been ground fine.  Add the remaining ingredients, except the cherries, and process until the batter is smooth.

Divide the muffin batter among the muffin molds.  Press a cherry into the centre of each muffin and make sure it is covered by batter.

Bake for about 18 – 20 minutes until golden.  Remove and let cool on a wire rack before removing from the molds.

Blend all ingredients together until smooth.   The casein will thicken up the frosting after a few minutes.  Pipe or spread the frosting on each muffin.

Store leftover muffins in the refrigerator, in an airtight container.

Macronutrient Profile
I have included macros for both the whole egg version and egg whites only version.  All values are average values for fresh ingredients.  I have used values for specific lucuma powder and micellar casein that were used in the recipe.  You can find details of these if you click-through via the links provided, above.

If you leave out the cherries, the macros will not change much as each cherry does not add much to them, obviously.  However, if you choose to use other fruits or chocolate, nut butters etc, then you will have to factor the macros into the total for the recipe.

Whole Egg Version

Egg Whites Only Version


Filed under All Recipe Posts, Breakfast, Protein, Protein Muffins, Special Diet