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Healthy baked spoils

While battling the ups and downs of this ‘coronacoaster’, many people have sought comfort in bags of sweets and home-baked sweet treats. In an effort to help satisfy these crazy sugar cravings, in as healthy a way as possible, we asked Umhlanga foodie Jo Hill for some recipes from her recently released recipe book.

you wouldn’t ordinarily expect to find ingredients like pumpkin, cauliflower and chickpeas in delectable baked goodies – but these are exactly the kind of additions that make Jo’s recipes healthier than the traditional kind.

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We asked her what the secret is to maintaining some form of balance in your eating habits during these stressful times. “This is one of my favourite topics! Believe it or not, I don’t believe in dieting. I feel that the best way to diet is not to diet! To be successful, I believe you have to find a way of eating that is sustainable and fun.”


If you aren’t a fan of sweet treats and would prefer grilled chicken and steamed broccoli for every meal then, Jo says, that’s exactly how you should eat. “But most people that I chat to are just like me, we want something to curb our sweet tooth. I can speak from personal experience here … a diet that is full of restriction will, more often than not, result in binge eating.”

Jo portions out and keeps a stash of healthy treats in the fridge or freezer

So, what does she do to prevent this? “I like to include healthy treats into my diet every single day!! Your diet should be one that you love and one that you can sustain long term! The recipes I share on my website and social media platforms, as well as in my recipe book, are all easy to follow, super healthy and can be eaten every single day. I like to portion out and keep a stash of healthy treats in the fridge or freezer. I spend time on a Sunday meal-prepping for the week ahead and this includes baking. It takes me an hour to get myself sorted for the week ahead.”


500g pumpkin, chopped into cubes
3 – 4 medium-sized, sliced baby marrows
3 cups baby spinach
1/2 a red onion, finely chopped
1 tbs curry powder
2 cups unsweetened almond milk or light coconut milk
3/4 cup vegetable stock (1 heaped tsp dissolved in ¾ cup boiling water)
1/2 cup chopped coriander

1. Spray a pot with some cooking spray and add the red onion and curry powder to it. Dry fry until the onion starts to soften.
2. Add the pumpkin to the pot, followed by the almond milk and vegetable broth.
3. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat, place a lid on the pot and let it simmer for 6 to 7 minutes.
4. Add the sliced baby marrow and let the curry simmer for a further 5 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft.
5. Stir in the baby spinach leaves.
6. Remove from the heat and add the chopped coriander.
Jo’s tip: Serve with basmati rice.


2 cups oat flour
1/4 cup instant oats
1/3 cup almond flour
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup honey
2 eggs
1 tbs vanilla essence
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup molasses
1 tsp bicarb
1/4 tsp himalayan salt
1 tbs ginger
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Crystallised ginger (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 180 degrees and spray a large loaf tin with cooking spray.
2) Add the oat flour, almond flour, instant oats, bicarb, salt, ginger, mixed spice and cinnamon to a bowl and mix until combined. Set aside.
3) To a food processor or blender, add the pumpkin puree, honey, almond butter, molasses, eggs and vanilla essence. Blend until fluffy and creamy.
4) Make a hollow in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the pumpkin mixture into it.
5) Gently fold the two mixtures into each other until combined, being careful not to overmix.
6) Pour into the prepared loaf tin and top with some chopped, crystallised ginger.
7) Bake for 25 – 30 minutes. Switch the oven off and allow the loaf to remain inside the oven for a further 10 minutes.
Jo’s tip: The game changer in this recipe is the molasses and the almond butter. The two complement each other so well! You’ll see…

Details: IG: @pullupsandpeanutbutter; www.pullupsandpeanutbutter.co.za

Text: Leah Shone

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