8 Cooking Tools That Make Cooking Easier and Healthier by Dom from standingmixers.com

The need to maintain a healthy diet is on the rise, and it’s especially important when there are so many easy ways to get fast food or other foods that are lacking in nutrition. One way to help combat this is to have cooking tools that make healthy meals easier to make. If it’s easy to do, it becomes less of a struggle to try to come up with healthy meals. This article is going to go over 8 tools that can help you cook healthier meals with ease.

 

Slow Cooker

 

Prepping and cooking a healthy meal can take time, and that’s time you may not have if you work all day long or otherwise spend a lot of time on the go. A slow cooker is an excellent tool to help solve this problem because it allows you to prep food when you can, and then add the ingredients to the slow cooker and let it cook while you’re at work.

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You’ll be able to come home to a cooked meal, which will make it a lot easier to avoid stopping by a fast food restaurant on the way home. If you get a larger one, slow cookers can also be used to cook up a lot of food at once, which you can then freeze and store to eat throughout the week.

 

Indoor Grill

 

The most helpful aspect of an indoor grill is that it’s able to drain grease away from the food you’re cooking rather than sitting in a pan, soaking in that grease. This can help even the greasiest foods to become a little bit healthier. It’s certainly not going to transform a burger into vegetables, but being able to enjoy the meat without the grease is a huge benefit in itself.

 

Many indoor grills have easy presets for various kinds of food that can help you to ensure it gets thoroughly cooked regardless of whether you’re grilling a burger or a chicken breast. Typically, these grills are easy to use, all you have to do is plug them in and get cooking!

 

Blender

 

Blenders can help you with making a number of things, from smoothies to salsas, soups and more without you having to worry about doing a lot of chopping. Cutting up a lot of vegetables and fruit can be time consuming, but a blender makes it a quicker experience.

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Smoothies are great to make with a blender

It also allows you to find ways to add more fruit and vegetables to your diet. For example, some people like to blend some kale into their smoothies so that they can enjoy the health effects of kale with the taste of their favorite fruits. A quality blender can have various settings from chopping to liquifying, which makes it a highly versatile tool.

 

Digital Food Scale

 

One of the biggest issues with the eating habits of many people today is the portion size. Portion sizes keep getting bigger and bigger when the best idea is to seek out moderation and balance. A digital food scale can help you achieve that balance by ensuring that you consume only the serving size you want, depending on your own nutritional needs. That way, you don’t have to try to guess at how much of something you’re making. This is especially helpful for meat, which is not very easy to measure in any way other than by weight.

 

Some added benefits are that typically, digital food scales aren’t very expensive and only require one or two AAA batteries to run. They are a little tool that can go a long way towards making healthy eating easier.

 

Steamer

 

A steamer is a great tool to have if you want to eat more vegetable and prefer them cooked rather than raw, or want a combination of cooking styles at your disposal. With a steamer, you won’t need any oil or other things to keep the vegetables from sticking. In small amounts, oils and other flavoring additions can be useful but it can also be great to avoid them when possible.

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Steamed veggies are more likely to be healthier than those that are cooked in a pan or with a roast. They can also be an easy go to if you want something simple from time to time like rice paired with your favorite veggies.

 

Oil Mister

 

An oil mister is a useful tool that helps you to use just enough oil to keep whatever you’re cooking from sticking to the pan without coating it in too much oil. This can help with cutting down on unnecessary calories that can come from those oils. When you’re trying to eat more healthfully, it can be helpful to cut down on calories that you may not even realize you’re consuming because they are just side products that you use with your regular meal.

 

It’s also often easier to cut down on these empty calories because it’s something that is less noticeable in your day to day cooking anyway. The oil mister may seem like a luxury item, but it can actually help a lot with making cooking oils last longer by using less of them.

 

Food Processor

 

Much like a blender, a food processor can help with adding fruits and vegetables to your diet in easier ways. While blenders work well for soups and smoothies, a food processor can be great for dips, dressings or even just chopping up some vegetables to add to a recipe. In some food processors, you can also keep the prepped food separated easier, because each mixing container comes with a lid that allows you to easily store any leftovers without having to dirty another dish.

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Energy balls are great to make with a food processor

They can also come in a variety of sizes, which can allow you to chop small amounts or, if you choose, you can also use some food processors to make smoothies or mixed drinks and use larger mixing containers more suitable for sharing. They’re a highly useful, versatile tool that can make many different kinds of food prep a lot easier.

 

Pressure Cooker

 

Pressure cookers are known to cook more quickly, which can be highly convenient when you don’t have a lot of time to cook an extravagant meal. Because of the quick cooking time, it can help things like vegetables hold in more of their nutrients.

 

When using a pressure cooker, you get the best of both worlds if you prefer cooked vegetables, because you’ll get the cooked flavor with more of the nutrients that would otherwise get cooked out of the food. This will make it a lot easier to enjoy cooked carrots, asparagus and other vegetable favorites in a shorter timeframe and in a healthier fashion.

 

Conclusion

 

Each of the tools in this list are useful in different ways, for different purposes. You may find that you end up needing all of them to create healthy meals sooner or later or there may be just a few that you come to rely on regularly. It’s all going to be up to your own personal preferences and budget. In any one of these tools, you’ll surely find something that will be able to allow you to cook healthy meals easily, making it much more convenient to maintain a nutritious diet.

Ginger and Apple Skillet Cake

A moist and tender dark cake baked with molasses and spices, topped with Oppo salted caramel ice-cream; perfect to welcome in the colder months.

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Serves 1
Preparation time 10 minutes

Cooking time 10-15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 20g almond/ coconut flour
  • 20g buckwheat flour
  • 20g vanilla protein powder
  • ½ tsp each; cinnamon, ginger
  • 1 tsp molasses
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100ml egg whites
  • 100ml milk (I used almond)
  • 1 apple, sliced.

Method

  1. Preheat oven to180C and grease a cast iron skillet with coconut oil.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients and then mix in the wet ingredients EXCEPT for the apple.
  3. Pour the mix in to the skillet and top with the apple slices,
  4. Cook for 15 minutes.
  5. Top with Oppo icecream!

Pumpkin Spiced Pancakes by @SuperHealthySteph

These pancakes are moist, delicious, fluffy and packed full of warm spices. They are perfect for the cold winter mornings, but can be enjoyed any time of the year.
Serve for breakfast, brunch or dessert with maple syrup and chopped walnuts.
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Ingredients (Serves 2):
  • 40g Ground Almonds
  • 40g Wholemeal Spelt Flour
  • 40g Coconut Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1tsp All Spice (or more, if you fancy!)
  • 200ml Almond Nut Milk (or any other)
  • 1tsp Agave Or Maple Syrup
  • 1 Egg
  • 100g Pumpkin steamed and mashed (or Pumpkin Purée)

Method: 

  1. Chop up the pumpkin flesh into chunks and steam until soft and able to mashed. I used a microwave tubberware steamer which takes approx 6 mins. (Or skip this step if using pumpkin purée)
  2. Mix all pancakes ingredients, including the mashed pumpkin, until thoroughly combined – use a food processor to speed up this process and for a smooth batter.
  3. Heat 1tsp coconut oil in a frying pan over a low to medium heat and begin with approx 1/6 of the pancakes batter. Heat until bubbles form, and flip to cook for another minute or two. Repeat for the rest of the mixture, adding coconut oil to the pan as required.
  4. Serve and enjoy

Find Steph’s recipe on her blog here too:

http://superhealthysteph.com/recipes/breakfasts/pumpkin-pancakes-spice-sugared-pecans/

Strawberry and Coconut Cookies…

I can’t quite believe how fast this year is going, how is it October already?

Anyway, these fruity, summery cookies are here to put those thoughts at ease and allow you to reminisce about warmer, sunnier days.

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Ingredients:

– 100g of oatbran,

– 30 g of dessicated coconut,

– 10g of coconut flour,

– 30g of coconut whey protein,

– 10g of unflavoured casein (could be subbed for more coconut flour),

– 100ml of egg whites,

– 10g of sweetener,

– 60ml of apple juice,

-50g of diced strawberries,

-4 strawberries, halved and cut in to heart shapes (if that is what you fancy!)

Method:

  1. Simply mix all of the dry ingredients together and then add in the wet.
  2. Make eight tablespoon full size mounds on a greased baking tray, flatten out and then add the strawberry halves.
  3. Bake in the oven at 160C for 13 minutes (or until browned).

Enjoy!

Hannah x

Hannah x

Overnight oats.. the basic recipe.

If you’ve never heard of overnight oats before, let me give you a quick little primer. Overnight oats are a no-cook method of making porridge. Instead of cooking your oats with liquid in the microwave, you mix your oats with the liquid and other mix-ins, and let it rest in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, you have a pudding-like porridge that is perfect for easy grab-and-go breakfasts. It doesn’t have the same texture as microwave oats. It’s creamier, denser, and in my opinion, so much tastier.

So, what do you need to make them?

The basic staples are:

  • oats (as many as you need to suffice your hunger needs),
  • Liquid (I use dairy free milks but you can use yogurt, water, milk, coconut water… ANY liquid)!

Mix these together, with the optional add ins below and leave for a minimum of 8 hours!

The optional add ins:

  • Chia seeds/ Flax seeds; these make a gloopier consistency but will help to keep you full for longer.
  • Frozen berries; these are great as they add in a natural sweetness,
  • Nut butter; this makes it even creamier,
  • Superfood powders; cacao powder adds a great chocolate flavour, lucuma has a lovely caramel taste, maca for a natural caffeine kick, acai to add a lovely colour..
  • Nuts and seeds; this adds a great texture to your breakfast plus adds in healthy fats,
  • Grated apple; this is more like a bircher recipe but tastes great!
  • Protein powders; great to add in a protein kick post/ pre workout!

Great flavour combinations:

Here, you use the basic staples and then add in your optional add ins to mix things up!

  1. Cacao orange; cacao powder (or chocolate protein powder) + grated orange zest,
  2. PB and J; Peanut butter + Frozen Berries + chia seeds,
  3. Vanilla; Vanilla protein powder + Chia seeds + Fruit,
  4. Carrot Cake; grated carrot + raisins + vanilla protein powder,
  5. Banana Choc chip; Cacao Nibs + Banana coins + Vanilla Protein Powder,
  6. Tropical fruit; frozen mixed tropical fruits + chia seeds + Vanilla Protein Powder,
  7. Chocolate coconut; cacao powder + coconut milk + desiccated coconut,
  8. Apple Pie; Diced apple + cinnamon + Nutmeg + Raisins

 

Let me know if you try them!

 

Hannah x

 

 

Courgette Waffles.. The sweet take.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that I love courgette. I eat so much courgette and, if I’m honest, I necver get cougette’d out.

I made a very tasty salad with swordfish, put together an addictive chocolate courgette cake, and ate more courgetti with my meals and grated in my oats than I care to think about.

Like carrots in carrot cake, adding courgette to baked goods does not result in a vegetable flavor or texture. The courgette adds moisture, and a boost of fibre and nutrients meaning that any baked good involving the veggie can probably be considered health food. It’s science.

All joking and misguided justifications aside, these waffles really will start your morning off right. They’re quick to put together, and include wholesome, nutrient-dense ingredients.

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Cooking time: 15 minutes

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

  • 100ml of egg whites,
  • Half a grated courgette,
  • A handful of muesli,
  • 30g of oats,
  • 1 scoop of protein.
  • Toppings of choice!

 

Method:

  1. Combine all of your ingredients together,
  2. Preheat your waffle iron and then spoon enough mixture in.
  3. Cook until browned and keep repeating until you have done it all!
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Let me know what you think!

 

Hannah x

 

Vegan Banana Bread…

It’s a long time since I made a protein powder free cake and ate it… so, I naturally had to celebrate this success by putting in on my blog for you to all enjoy too! Banana is one ingredient that I end up using a lot while baking. I have baked cookies, cupcakes, muffins and so many breakfast recipes but a simple no egg banana bread recipe was missing here.

This recipe is really easy- it uses just two bowls, you mix it all in together and then pop it in the oven. The use of coconut oil as well as the bananas keeps this loaf really nice and moist!

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Serves 8 (generous slices)!

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 65 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium-large bananas (+1 extra to cut in to coins)
  • 75 ml melted coconut oil
  • 75 ml full fat coconut milk
  • 100 g coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon or lime juice
  • 180 g plain flour
  • ½ tsp of baking powder
  • 1/3 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1½ tsp of cinnamon

Method:

  1. Warm up the oven to 175° C  and line a 900 g / 2 lb cake tin with baking paper. Move the oven rack a notch down from the middle position.
  2. In one bowl, combine all dry ingredients. In another bowl combine all wet ingredients.
  3. Add dry ingredients to the wet ones in three batches mixing well each time. Mix until there is no dry flour left, but do not over mix!
  4. Pour the cake batter into the tin and spread banana coins on top if you want. The cake is just as nice without them.
  5. Bake for about 65-70 minutes, the exact time depends on the individual oven. Remove from the oven and let it cool down completely before cutting.

Enjoy!

Hannah x

 

3 Ingredient Protein Pancakes…

Telling someone that you’re having pancakes for breakfast sounds super unhealthy (not that having that sometimes is a bad thing)! They’re often laden with syrups, cream, toppings of all sorts (if you’ve been to the Pancake house at Centre Parcs, you’ll have seen allllll the topping options) and made with butter, full fat milk/buttermilk and your bog-standard flour. HOWEVER, having a healthy pancake breakfast is such a simple task.. there really is no excuse.

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These high protein pancakes are whizzed up in seconds and, if you don’t want the chocolate option, contain only 3 ingredients.

So, here they are:

Serves: 1

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Ingredients: 

  • 1 banana,
  • 1 scoop of protein,
  • 150ml of egg whites or two eggs,
  • Optional: Cacao powder
  • Toppings of choice.

Method: 

  1. Pop all of the ingredients in your blender and whizz until well combined,
  2. Heat a frying pan on a medium heat and grease with either coconut oil or fry light spray,
  3. Pour 2 tablespoons amount in to the pan in a circulaur shape.
  4. Cook your pancake for around 2 minutes before flipping on to the other side.
  5. Continue to do so until all your mix is gone.
  6. Add your toppings and ENJOY!

xxx

Simple Summer Smoothie Bowl..

Are you a green tea fan?

I’ve been cutting back on coffee lately. But on mornings that I need a little pick-me-up, I love a warm cup of green tea.

We all know that green tea has antioxidant benefits. But did you know that powdered green tea – also known as matcha – has 137 times more antioxidants than brewed green tea? Antioxidants are important because they fight cancer-causing free radicals in the body (among other benefits).

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Have you tried a smoothie bowl yet?

It’s a fun way to slow down and enjoy your smoothie as more of a meal with a spoon (as opposed to slurping it down with a straw). Plus, you get to add more nutritious foods with toppings like fruit, nuts, and seeds.

I hope you all love my take on the matcha green smoothie!

Ingredients to serve 1:

  • 80g of frozen berries,
  • 100g of frozen spinach,
  • 1 tsp of Matcha powder (I used Heap Well Superfoods),
  • 1 tsp of xanthum gum (this thickens it),
  • 250ml of milk (I used almond milk),
  • 25g of protein powder (optional),

Method:

  1. Add frozen fruit and spinach, milk, matcha powder, xanthum gum and protein powder to a blender and blend on high until creamy and smooth,
  2. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more fruit (or a touch of maple syrup or stevia) for sweetness, matcha for more intense green tea flavor, or more milk for creaminess (though adding more matcha powder adds more caffeine, so use your best discretion).
  3. Pour in to a serving bowl and top with desired toppings (optional).
  4. Best when fresh, though leftovers keep well sealed in the refrigerator up to 24 hours.

Hannah x

Easter French toast skillet

Skillets are one of my favourite breakfasts; you can easily mix it all together and then pop it in the oven. Simple! I love this one as it is seasoned with cinnamon and filled with mixed dried fruits; a healthy take on an Easter favourite!

 

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Ingredients:

  • 1 crumpet (shredded),
  • 20g of coconut flour,
  • 50g of egg whites,
  • 100ml of milk,
  • 30g of dried fruit,
  • 1 serving of protein powder,
  • ½ a teaspoon of cinnamon.
  • You will also need one skillet or baking dish!

 

Method:

  1. Pre heat the oven to 160C,
  2. Combine all of the ingredients together until well combined,
  3. Pour the mix in to your skillet,
  4. Pop the skillet in to the oven for 25minutes or until golden on top!
  5. Enjoy!

Hannah x

 

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