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Vegan friendly chocolate

Vegan friendly chocolate

Vegan friendly chocolate.

There seems to be a misconception that when you turn vegan you suddenly stop eating chocolate; this is not the case. There are many brands of chocolate offering dairy free options which don’t have to come from the “free from” section. If you like dark chocolate then you will find the transition easy. If you don’t enjoy dark chocolate it could take a while to make the transition however over time you will get used to the taste and start to love it.

It is possible to get milk and white vegan chocolate however it does have to come from the “free from” section because it isn’t naturally made dairy free. As a result the cost will be a bit higher than your regular chocolate bars.

Things to note:

  • not all dark chocolate is vegan so always double check the label.
  • dairy products are mostly always in bold however “butterfat” is sometimes not highlighted; so again double check the label.

Some facts about chocolate:

Chocolate is made from the cacao plant which in its most natural state is actually a health food. Not to be confused with cocoa, cacao is naturally high in antioxidants and has numerous health benefits. Alongside a healthy diet, cacao has the ability to balance blood pressure, lower cholesterol, reduce arterial plaque and ultimately reverse heart disease.

Other health benefits:

  • Its high in magnesium which increases energy levels and protects against osteoporosis.
  • Cacao boosts serotonin levels and endorphins which improve mood and balance mood swings.
  • It contains healthy fats which create chemical reactions for growth, immune function and metabolic function.

I have accumulated a section of photos on my trip around Tesco, finding all the vegan chocolate I could. Other supermarkets and health shops have more choice so you’re never short of options. These are mainstream brands, where as health shops have great raw chocolate varieties (and more!) but at a higher cost.

Other alternatives include raw cacao powder (to create your own great vegan desserts/ treats) and cacao nibs (to add to snacks, smoothies and oats).

Find some of your mainstream varieties below.

Green & Black’s

Tesco’s Own

Lindt

Green & Blacks Thins

Tesco Finest

Bournville

Ritter Sport (not their mint variety)

BENDICK’S

 

To find out more about how chocolate is made, go view my post on how I made chocolate in the Amazon!

Being the only vegan at a party

Being the only vegan at a party

Being the only vegan at a party

I don’t know if it has happened to you before but I sometimes feel like I am the only vegan in the village. Eating a vegan diet does make you the minority, although the number of us are on the increase, so there are things you need to accept.

  • people don’t always understand you
  • people think you only eat lettuce and carrots
  • you may be weird to some people
  • some people assume you are judging them OR that they’re making you feel uncomfortable eating meat near you
  • some genuinely don’t know how to cater for you
  • don’t expect to be catered for at parties and don’t take offence!!

As a result of this you have to be confident in what you’re doing, happy with what you’re doing and always be prepared.

Here are some quick tips to help you feel comfortable in party situations:

  • eat before you go: you wont offend anyone at the party because chances are there’s not much substantial you will be able to eat there. Eating before hand ensures you wont be hungry there so you wont get “hangry” and want to leave. You want to be happy and comfortable there so make sure you’re well fed before hand.
  • take something with you:  super easy tip. Take food with you! Share you’re food with others, it will make you blend in and people will appreciate the gift 🙂
  • don’t make comments about there being no vegan food available: in a room full of numerous “normal” eating people, you can’t expect that on top of catering for all them people that they’re going to go that extra mile for you. They have spent a lot of time and effort into preparing the party so don’t mention you’re vegan and there’s nothing to eat, simply say you’re not hungry or “no thank you” to non-vegan offerings.
  • find any vegan food you can and take it before it goes: there’s a chance that there will be a cheese board with fresh or dried fruits. Take some and pop them on your plate before they all go. Bread is normally available and if you’re lucky some salads or veggie sticks. More times than none there will be vegan options but get them on your plate at the beginning of the party, just incase they run out by the time you’re hungry.
  • don’t worry about it: at the end of the day you’re not there for the food, you’re there for the party. Enjoy the party and be social. Social environments don’t always have to revolve around food and if they do just make sure you’re prepared.

I hope these few, quick tips help you for when you feel like the only vegan in the village 🙂

 

 

How chocolate is made: Amazon Rainforest

How chocolate is made: Amazon Rainforest

 

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Hello you beautiful people !!

I have just returned from four days in the Amazon Rainforest and I had such an amazing time. During my time exploring the jungle I was fortunate enough to learn all about one of my favourite foods ever, cacao. It grows wild here in the Amazon and everywhere I walked I stumbled across it; heaven. To be honest, before entering the Amazon I couldn’t have told you what cacao looked like before being crushed into a powder or nib but now I can.

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I have spoken about it before but in case you didn’t know, it is one of the best sources of vitamin C you can get and contains the highest amount of Antioxidants than any other food! They also contain the highest natural source of magnesium, zinc, copper and iron, all of which are essential for a healthy metabolism.

I wanted to share the process of making the chocolate with you because I thought it was pretty amazing and I think you’ll like it too, so let’s get into the process.

Firstly, did you know there are actually three types of cacao plant? They come in three varying colours: red (can turn deep purple also), yellow and orange. Before they ripen they are green in colour; colourful plants hey?

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Inside the cacao plant sit the beans in their pod, encased with a white soft and sweet coating. You can suck on the beans and eat the gooey coating, it’s delicious, but do not bite as you will bite into the raw bean and it will be extremely bitter.

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The seeds are dried in the sand and stored there for a few days to dry and become the beans you see below.

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They are the dry fried on a hot heat for about 3-5 minutes to cook; they make a popping sound as they cook.

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After the cooking process the bean is separated from a very thin shell and set aside; the chickens peck away at the shells so there is no waste, ha ha! This is where cacao nibs would be made as the beans easily crush under little pressure between your fingers making nibs. I ate so many beans whilst helping de-shell them as I kept crushing them too hard and I didn’t want to waste the bean did I? They were warm, crunchy, light and rich in taste. So delicious.

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Next, the de-shelled, toasted beans are put into a grinder which heats the beans whilst grinding them and forms a warm chocolate paste. Here you could stop the process, leave this to dry and that is how cacao powder is made, however I will continue with the process into making the chocolate.

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Once all the beans are ground, the warm paste that’s produced is added back into the pan on the heat and this is when you will add cocoa butter, milk of choice, sugars and flavourings etc. Bubble away and a thick creamy chocolate is produced. Dip away, leave to cool and solidify or make a hot chocolate drink. Absolute dream.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Cacao, you rock my socks. I continue to be fascinated, obsessed and in awe of you. My favourite superfood ever: Cacao.

I also just want to add that after taking part in the making of this chocolate and witnessing the process that goes into the making of it, I can fully appreciate why organic, fair trade, high cacao content chocolate is that extra bit pricey. It’s all made by hand, locally produced, no additives or junk added in and it’s made with knowledge, heart and passion of the Rainforest.

I will never question the cost of great chocolate ever again.

I hope you enjoyed 🙂

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Pear and Chocolate Oats with Caramel Sauce

Pear and Chocolate Oats with Caramel Sauce

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I am someone who very much sticks to what they like and will continue having the same food over and over until I get bored of it. Today I thought I would try something different and I absolutely love it; you will continue to see this post on my Instagram feed for a while I’m sure.

Pear in oats is something that isn’t knew but it is such a nice subtle sweetness to the oats and as they are a soft fruit, compared to apple for example, they cook really well when left in chunks.

The caramel sauce is a newbie for me but it worked really well and adds a delicious sweetness to the oats. This sauce could be used for raw desserts also, the combination of caramel and chocolate is an absolute winner!

Lets get into the recipe and I hope you enjoy 🙂

 

INGREDIENTS:

For the Porridge:

  • 3/4 cup Oats
  • 1/2 Banana
  • 1 Pear – peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1/2 tbsp. Chia Seeds
  • 1 heaped tbsp. Raw Cacao
  • 2 tbsp. Frozen Raspberries
For the Caramel Sauce:
  • 3-4 Dates
  • 1 level tbsp. Tahini
  • 3 tbsp. Boiled Water

METHOD:

  1. Mash the banana and then put all the porridge ingredients into a sauce pan with boiling water and cook over a low heat.
  2. Whilst this is cooking chop the dates and put the caramel sauce ingredients into a small frying pan.
  3. Mash together the dates, tahini and water with a fork over the lowest heat, until well combined.
  4. Once the caramel is all ready (approx. 1 minute), turn off the heat and set aside.
  5. Continue to cook the oats until ready, then top off the oats with the sauce.
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3 ingredient pancakes

3 ingredient pancakes

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” I couldn’t live without chocolate ” – no me neither !! 😄 Eating plant based does not mean you can’t have chocolate ! This lifestyle allows you to be flexible and find healthier alternatives so that you can still indulge but in a healthy and happy way.

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Pancake day is quickly arriving so I thought I would share a really simple, 3 ingredient recipe for you all to try ! It’s healthy and delicious so what more could you ask for ?! Add fresh fruits, lemon, maple syrup, anything you like to it to make it your own. I’ve made a warm chocolate sauce for mine 😍 Serious indulgence !! These will keep you full for ages, I promise !!

lets get into the recipe 😉

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups of oats
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup dairy free milk (I used coconut by Rude Health)
  • dash of cinnamon

Chocolate sauce:

  • 4 soft pitted dates
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao
  • hot water to desired consistency (you won’t need a lot)

METHOD:

  1. blend together oats, banana and milk
  2. pour into skillet making small circles
  3. patiently wait until they’re ready to flip over, roughly 2-3 minutes each side
  4. stack on top of each other on a plate
  5. then create/ chose toppings !!

if making chocolate sauce:

  1. blend together dates, cacao and water (hot or cold, up to you)
  2. pour over stack of pancakes 😍

ENJOY !!!

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Raw Chocolate and Goji Berry Bar

Raw Chocolate and Goji Berry Bar

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Raw Chocolate and Goji Berry Bar; tastes like a chewy chocolate bar but super healthy and of course all vegan!!

Perfect for on the go snacking this bar provides you with healthy Fats, Protein and Carbs to keep you full and satisfied. Not only that but did you know that Goji Berries are high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A and a great source of Iron? It’s also a Complex Carb which means it is full of Fibre and won’t spoke your blood sugars!

Do you need any more convincing?

Try for yourself and enjoy with no guilt 🙂

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 Cup Pecans
  • 1/2 Cup Oats
  • 1 Cup Pitted Dates
  • 1/4 Cup Raw Cacao
  • 2 Tbsp Goji Berries

METHOD:

  1. In a Food Processor, Nutri Bullet or Vitamix, blitz the Oats and Nuts into a flour
  2. Add in Dates, Cacao and Goji Berries
  3. Pulse together until it forms a sticky ball
  4. Shape into 5  bars
  5. Refrigerate overnight
  6. Enjoy ! 🙂

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Chocolate Energy Balls

Chocolate Energy Balls

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Chocolate Energy Balls, small bites of sweetness to satisfy them cravings without the guilt. Perfect to pack in your bag when out and about, put them in a little container then they’re there when you want them. Great chocolate alternative, all vegan and great for kids too!

Makes 12. Store in the fridge.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Cup Pitted Dates
  • 1 Cup Rolled Oats
  • 1 Tbsp Raw Cacao
  • 1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
  • 1/2 Tbsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Tbsp Nutmeg
  • Desiccated Coconut (for coating)

METHOD:

  1. Soak dates in some water for 10 minites
  2. Blitz oats in blender until flour consistency
  3. Add in soaked dates (with a little of the water it’s soaked in to help blending), raw cacao, cinnamon, nutmeg and chia seeds.
  4. Blend until a sticky paste
  5. Roll into 12 balls and cover in desiccated coconut
  6. Refrigerate to firm up and ENJOY !
Chocolate and Apple Oats

Chocolate and Apple Oats

A winter warmer that’s delicious, healthy and perfect for Autumn time: Chocolate and Apple Oats 😊

I use a lot of banana in my foods because they’re filling, sweet and full of nutrients. If banana isn’t for you then this is perfect because there isn’t a banana in sight 😉 I also LOVE prunes in my oats because they’re delicious, super sweet, high in fibre and great for digestion! However if you aren’t keen on prunes either then you can always substitute these for raisins.

However you decide to make them, I hope you enjoy ☺️

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 Cup Oats
  • 1 Apple – grated
  • 3 Prunes – chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp Chia Seeds
  • 1 tbsp Raw Cacao
  • Touch of Cinnamon

Optional topping

  • 4-5 Frozen Strawberries
  • Splash of boiled water to make a syrup

METHOD:

  1. On low heat cook oats, chopped prunes, cacao, cinnamon and grated apple.
  2.  If adding strawberries: Whilst cooking oats, in another pan add frozen strawberries with a splash of water and cook on lowest heat.
  3. Cook until ready, will only take a few minutes. Pour oats into bowl and top with strawberries. OR toppings of your choice: coconut or buckwheat are great options 😉

 

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