Born to provide you with the latest facts and information about nutrition and health as well as recipe and meal ideas, photos and foody tidbits.

Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake

Any cake that features vegetables wins the day for me – this looks and sounds amazing!

Mama's Gotta Bake

Pumpkin Streusel Coffe Cake

Wow, what a week it’s been. I think this was the first time in two decades I’ve been all alone in the house for an entire week. Imagine that folks. The husband was away on business in New York, son #1 was working and son #2 is away at school.  I suppose  this was my golden opportunity to do all those things a gal likes to do when there’s no one else to attend to but yourself. So, woo hoo! yippee! party time…okay, so maybe not. Did I squander my week of being unencumbered, should I just have let it rip?

Well, I let it rip okay. I spent the week on a non-stop bake fest. A real bender if you will.  Seven days of cookies, cakes and breads. I finally had to say to myself, “girlfriend, just step away from the oven”. I ended my…

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HAPPY ST DAVID’S DAY to all my Welsh followers out there!

In honour of this day I am sharing a recipe for Welsh Cakes – a delicious tea time treat like a cross between a fruit scone, a tea cake and something awesome covered in sugar!

Enjoy your day if celebrations are afoot and save one for me! Click here to make your own…..

Traditional Recipe for Welsh Cakes

Delicious treat - serve with real butter to make 'em extra special

Delicious treat – serve with real butter to make ’em extra special

How I ate my baba ganoush (recipe posted earlier today) tonight:

Baba Ganoush meal 1 Baba Ganoush meal 3


2 tbsp. Baba Ganoush: 180 kcal
1/2 can sardines in brine: 100 kcal
3 green + 3 black olives: 120 kcal
Pitta bread: 150 kcal
Salad vinegarette: 100 kcal
Rocket and salad: 50 kcal

Total kcal – 700 kcal


Serves 4-6

The aubergine is native to South and East Asia and is thought to have been introduced to the Mediterranean area by the Arabs or Africans in the middle ages. The first written record of it in England was in the 16th century when an English botany book of 1597 wrote “This plant groweth in Egypt almost everywhere… bringing forth fruit of the bigness of a great cucumber….”.  I love that quote – cheeky!

Lebanese aubergine dip. Delicious with pitta bread, cous cous, felafel, salads, etc...

Lebanese aubergine dip. Delicious with pitta bread, cous cous, felafel, salads, etc…

There are a number of variants of aubergine; small, large, round, elongated ovoid, dark purple, pink, white, yellow, green, variegated colouring.  The ones normally found in the UK and US are large, cucumber-sized elongated ovoid shaped, dark purple in colour although you can certainly find the small and round versions in South Asian supermarkets.

The flesh of an aubergine can be quite bitter so lends itself well to slow roasting and frying allowing the bitter starches to break down into sugars. The flesh can absorb a lot of oil during cooking – salting it can reduce the amount absorbed and draw out some of the moisture.

The aubergine is not especially high in any vitamins or minerals but is low in fat (when uncooked) and contains a decent amount of fibre and carbohydrate.  It makes for a great meat substitute in vegetarian and vegan meals as its flesh has a good firm texture and it is fantastic in curries or stuffed for example with rice, nuts, vegetables, meat and herbs and spices.

In baba ganoush it is combined with tahini, a paste made of sesame seeds (which are a really good source of a variety of minerals: copper, manganese, calcium, phosphorous and fibre), which puts it in league with middle-eastern dips such as hummus as an amazing accompaniment to pitta bread or vegetable sticks as a healthy low in saturated fats snack. It goes great on the side of a middle-eastern or Greek style mezze with cous cous, tabbouleh or rice, salads, falafel, hummus, olives, etc.  Perfect as part of the heart healthy Mediterranean diet.


Available in all good wholefood stores and  world food sections in many supermarkets.  Sesame seeds are high in copper, manganese, calcium, phosphorous and fibre)

Available in all good wholefood stores and world food sections in many supermarkets. Sesame seeds are high in copper, manganese, calcium, phosphorous and fibre)

4-6 aubergines (approximately 900g)

1-2 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp. salt

1 large clove garlic, minced

2 heaped tbsp. light tahini

2 tbsp. lemon juice

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. ground cumin

Ground black pepper

1 tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped

Smoked paprika (optional garnish)

1 red onion, finely chopped

40 black olives, chopped


  • The variety normally found in the UK and US. Smaller, round versions would work in baba ganoush just as well.

    The variety normally found in the UK and US. Smaller, round versions would work in baba ganoush just as well.

    Heat oven to 150C / 300F / Gas Mark 2.
  • Cut the top off the aubergines and slice them lengthways. Pour a little oil into your hands (from the 1-2 tbsp.) and massage it onto the skin side of each half aubergine.  Do the same with the salt.
  • Lay the aubergine halves skin side up onto a lightly greased baking tray and place in the oven.  Bake for 40 mins – 1 hour, until the flesh is soft.
  • Scoop the soft flesh of all aubergines out into a bowl.  Add the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, 2 tbsp. olive oil, ground cumin and black pepper to taste.  Blend all ingredients together.  I use a billy-whizz handheld blender for this – just make sure you have a deep enough bowl so it doesn’t splatter all over your kitchen and shirt-frontage!
  • Serve in a bowl topped with the chopped parsley. Have the chopped red onions and black olives as an optional extra topping for people to add as they wish.  Serve with toasted pitta bread. 


per whole recipe (dip with parsley)

Serve topped with chopped parsley, red onions and black olives

Serve topped with chopped parsley, red onions and black olives

Energy                             1105 kcal / 4623 kJ

Carbohydrate                31.8g

Fat                                     89.3g

Protein                            32.9g

Total sugar                    18.8g

Saturates                       13.9g

Fibre                                20.6g

Salt                                   9.9g


per serving (dip with parsley) – if serving 6

Energy                            184 kcal / 770 kJ

Carbohydrate              5.3g

Fat                                    14.9g

Protein                          5.5g

Total sugar                   3.1g

Saturates                      2.3g

Fibre                              3.4g

Salt                                  1.7g

 Black olives will add:  14 kcal / 59 kJ, Carbs – Trace, Fat – 1.5g, Protein – 0.1g, Fibre – 0.4g, Salt – 0.8g

 Onions will add:            9 kcal / 38 kJ, Carbs – 2.0g, Fat – 0.1g, Protein – 0.3g, Fibre – 0.4g


Serves 4

I lived for a large part of my childhood in Germany and I have been nostalgically craving after some of the foods I used to enjoy as a kid there.  Unfortunately, many of the foods I remember with fondness are not available in the UK and/or are super fatty (think of those amazing salamis and sausages with their beads of white fat throughout).

Schnitzel straight up - with veggies and lemon

Schnitzel straight up – with veggies and lemon

One of the foods I loved was schnitzel, traditionally made with pork, beaten thin, breaded and then fried.  Schnitzels are delicious with Jaeger-sauce (Hunters’ sauce, a creamy sauce made with onions and mushrooms). Having some chicken fillets in the fridge that needed to be used, I decided to have a go at making my own chicken schnitzels.  I have used oil instead of butter which schnitzels would normally be cooked in and I have oven baked them to cut down on the amount of fat.

You can enjoy schnitzel as it is with vegetables and potatoes, sliced as a topping for pasta, noodles or salad or in sandwiches.

For a plethora of tasty, slightly healthier sauces to go with your schnitzel visit the following website….  I would recommend the Jaeger sauce (creamy mushroom sauce) – to make it lower in fat and calories use reduced fat cream, sour cream of crème fraiche instead of full fat and only have enough to give your schnitzel the moisture and flavour it needs to jazz it up a bit!

Sauce Recipes to go with your Chicken Schnitzel



Great as a salad topping for lunch or tea

Great as a salad topping for lunch or tea

 4 chicken fillets (80g each) – I used thighs but breasts would probably work just as well if not better

50g breadcrumbs, white, brown or mixed. If making these yourself use stale bread.

2 eggs, beaten

1 tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tbsp. vegetable oil (if frying) or some for greasing a baking tray


  • Carefully trim as much fat from the chicken as possible. With a meat mallet or rolling pin bash the chicken until it is an even ¼ inch thick all over.
  • Maria's fave!

    Maria’s fave!

    If using real bread to make your breadcrumbs, grind the bread as fine as possible in whatever gadget you are using to make them (blender, etc.). I used a coffee grinder which does the job just fine.

  • Beat the 2 eggs in a bowl. Add the chopped parsley, minced garlic, a pinch of salt and plenty of fresh ground pepper.
  • On a counter-top, line up a baking tray (big enough to fit in your fridge), next to your bowl of breadcrumbs, next to your bowl of egg mixture.
  • Dip each chicken fillet into the egg mixture to cover it thoroughly, then lay it straight into the breadcrumbs on both sides and make sure that the fillet is coated.  Lay each fillet flat on the baking tray.  Once all fillets are coated put the baking tray into the fridge until ready to cook.
  • To cook the schnitzels: Preheat the oven to 190-200C. Grease a baking tray with vegetable oil. Cook the schnitzels in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes (10 minutes each side) or until the chicken is white inside (this will depend how thin you managed to pound it).
  • Alternatively, you could fry the schnitzels. Use a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Cook 2 schnitzels at a time. Add 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil per 2 schnitzels. Wait until the oil is hot and then lay the schnitzels carefully in the pan. Cook for approximately 3 minutes on each side – you can press down on the schnitzels as you cook them to spread the heat evenly through all parts of the meat. If you want you can cook in half oil and half butter – this adds extra flavour but also more saturated fat, of course.



Per Schnitzel (oven-baked)

Energy                            195 kcal / 816 kJ (if fried, 220 kcal / 921 kJ)

Carbohydrate              5.3g

Fat                                   11.2g (if fried, 13.7g)

Protein                         23.5g

Total sugar                  0.4g

Saturates                     2.3g (if fried,2.6g)

Fibre                             0.6g

Salt                               1.1g



Go get your goal!

Go get your goal!.


Serves 4

Winter root vegetables - packed full of fibre and vitamins

Winter root vegetables – packed full of fibre and vitamins

Well, I don’t know about you but I had seriously (maybe a little on purpose because I loves ‘em!) overbought on the brussel sprouts and parsnips this Christmas. This recipe is a fab way to use up your leftovers by putting them into an awesome hearty Wintery warming stew which is jam-packed with fibre, vitamins and flavour and is a perfect lunch or evening meal that is low in fat (especially if you make the vegetarian version using Quorn sossies) and really filling and therefore useful if you are on a post-Christmas/New Year weight loss programme. The sausages add some lovely meaty taste and protein and, as if the veggies didn’t fill you up enough, the pearl barley provides the carbohydrate element which will help you to feel fuller for longer post-scoff! Tasty enough to eat twice a day, if you ask me!!!


4 medium-sized good quality (at least 70% meat) pork sausages (200g)

 – use the extra special Chef’s Selection Quorn sausages for a lower saturated fat or vegetarian version

1 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil (10g)

1 clove garlic, chopped fine

1 large onion, peeled and chopped (150g)

2-3 large carrots, peeled and chopped (230g)

250g brussel sprouts, ends and brown leaves trimmed, sliced (you could use cabbage instead)

2-3 medium parsnips, peeled and chopped (300g)

125g pearl barley or scotch broth mix

1.2 litre vegetable or chicken stock (made with 1 x 10g stock cube)

Ground black pepper

A handful fresh parsley, chopped


Scotch broth mix - full of fibre and starchy carbohydrate so makes a stew filling and helps with weight loss

Scotch broth mix – full of fibre and starchy carbohydrate so makes a stew filling and helps with weight loss


  • Grill or ovenbake the sausages until brown and cooked through, allowing as much fat as possible to run off.  Set aside and leave to cool.
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and fry for approximately 5 minutes.
  • Add the carrot, sprouts and parsnips and fry for 8-10 minutes or until softened and browned slightly.
  • Add the pearl barley or scotch broth mix and the stock.
  • Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the vegetables and pearl barley/scotch broth mix are softened. Keep the vegetables on this side of over-cooked though!
  • Slice the cooked, cooled sausages and add to the stew with the chopped parsley and black pepper to taste.  Stir well and serve piping hot.



Per Batch (70% pork sausages / Chef’s Selection Quorn sausages)

Energy                  1250 kcal (5230 kJ) / 1164 kcal (4870 kJ)

Carbohydrate    126.7g / 138.7g

Total sugars        56.1g / 53.5g

Fat                          60.5g / 43.2g

Saturates             17.4g / 4.8g

Protein                 44.8g / 48.4g

Fibre                      41.4g / 45.4g

Salt                         6.1g / 8.9g


Per Serving –  (70% pork sausages / Chef’s Selection Quorn sausages)

(Serves 4)

Energy                  313 kcal (1308 kJ) / 291 kcal (1218 kJ)

Carbohydrate    31.7g / 34.7g

Total sugars        14.0g / 13.4g

Fat                          15.1g / 10.8g

Saturates             4.4g / 1.2g

Protein                 11.2g / 12.1g

Fibre                      10.4g / 11.4g

Salt                         1.5g / 2.2g



Try with:

A slice of seeded bread = 120 kcal (502 kJ)

A crusty roll = 130 kcal (544 kJ)

 Instead of sausages you could use shredded turkey or chicken meat, pork or beef to really help you  use up those festive leftovers!