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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 🙂

 

 

Raw Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Raw Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes

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Raw vegan carrot cake cupcakes? Yaaaaaay !!

So, I have made a couple of batches of these cupcakes to try and get the consistency more cakey, however I have come to the realisation that they’ll never quite be a cupcake consistency as they are raw of course, and carrot pulp is wet, therefore I’m working towards something that can not be achieved whilst keeping the taste on point.

I’m sharing this recipe with you because for me they taste awesome, they’re a healthy and delicious alternative to regular carrot cake and although not quite a “cupcake” texture, they look like a cupcake and they taste lovely regardless, ha ha!

I hope you can enjoy them too so let’s get into the recipe.

(Makes 5-6 Cupcakes)

NOTE: This recipe involves juicing carrots. If you do not have a juicer try blending the carrots first in a food processor or blender and then use a muslin cloth to strain as much juice out as you can.

INGREDIENTS:

Carrot Cake Base

  • 1 Cup Carrot Pulp (roughly 3 large carrots juiced)
  • 1/2 Cup Soft Sticky Dates
  • 1/2 Cup Pecans
  • 3 Tbsp Desiccated Coconut
  • 1/2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Tsp Ground Ginger

Cream Frosting

  • 1 Cup Cashews (soaked either overnight or 6-8 hours)
  • 3 Soft Sticky Dates
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut water

METHOD:

Carrot Cake Base

  1. Start by juicing roughly 3 large carrots, this will give you a cup of carrot pulp.
  2. Add carrot pulp into food processor with all other ingredients and combine into cakey mixture
  3. Spoon into cupcake cases (makes 5-6 large cupcakes or more if making smaller ones)

Cream Frosting

  1. Soak cashews in water overnight or for 6-8 hours and then drain off all water.
  2. Put into food processor with all other ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy.
  3. Spoon and spread onto cupcakes (you will have more than enough frosting so you could always save the extra for more cupcakes, morning oats or anything else you may like to have it with!).

Leave to refrigerate overnight, then enjoy !!

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Cashew Cream

Cashew Cream

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Hello Hello 🙂

I’ve been making batches of raw vegan carrot cake cupcakes recently because it is just what I fancied and sometimes I fancy something sweet but not chocolate? For the cream topping I used this recipe and it is so delicious and moreish!

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Cashew nuts are one of the most versatile wonder foods of a vegan diet and I absolutely love them. Cashew nuts have a softer texture than most nuts and a slightly sweet taste which make them perfect for creating healthy alternatives to your non-vegan foods. My favourite uses for them are most definitely raw vegan cheesecake, cheese pasta sauce (i.e. alfredo, mac and cheese) and cashew cream. But also you could try cashew milk, blended in creamy soups and vegan cheese.

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Try this recipe as not only a cake frosting but also with fresh fruits (strawberries and cream! Yum.), filled into dates or even spooned onto your morning oats too.

It’s sweet and creamy and you will most definitely be tempted to eat it with a spoon too! So lets get into the recipe so you can enjoy it too !!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Cup Cashews (soaked either overnight or 6-8 hours)
  • 3 Soft Sticky Dates
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut water

METHOD:

  1. Soak cashews in water either overnight or 6-8 hours.
  2. Once soaked, drain off all water from cashews.
  3. Add cashews into a high speed blender or food processor with dates, fresh lemon juice and coconut water.
  4. Blend until smooth creamy consistency.

Eat however you choose!

Store in the fridge.

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Protein Cookies

Protein Cookies

Peanut butter and Chocolate, the perfect combo and high in protein too! If you are a peanut butter addict like myself you will love these Protein Cookies.

Not your normal protein cookie snack but these you can easily make yourself and save yourself some money!! No added sugars or oils like standard protein snacks, all ingredients are whole and natural so you can enjoy them without consuming the rubbish of an overpriced store brought version.

I recommend using 100% natural peanut butter because most store bought butters contain added oil and sugar which isn’t necessary, especially when most of the time it’s eaten with some thing sweet anyway.

Almond butter is a healthier alternative to Peanut butter as it contains high levels of Vitamin E, an antioxidant which rid the body of toxins! Almond butter is however more expensive so for using in large quantities either shop around or stick to peanut.

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Originally a Tone It Up – Karina and Katrina recipe but I’ve adapted it slightly.

Enjoy 🙂

INGREDIENTS:

(Makes 15)

  • 2.5 Cups Oats
  • 1/2 Cup Desiccated Coconut
  • 1/2 Cup Almond Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Crunchy Peanut Butter
  • 1/3 Cup Maple Syrup (honey if not vegan)
  • 4 tbsp Raw Cacao (or unsweetened cocoa)
  • 1 Scoop Vanilla Protein

DIRECTIONS:

  1. On a low heat, combine almond milk, peanut butter, honey and cacao.
  2. Turn of heat and immediately add in oats, coconut and protein, stirring and combining all together.
  3. Line baking tray with parchment paper.
  4. Using your hands take small pieces of the mixture, form into little balls and then flatten into cookie shapes on the tray (be careful it might be a bit hot!).
  5. Refrigerate and enjoy whenever you like!
Fully Raw Chocolate Cheesecake!

Fully Raw Chocolate Cheesecake!

Before I become lactose intolerant, and then changing to a fully vegan diet, my biggest love was Cheesecake. I love a fruity cheesecake but sometimes we just crave a really chocolatey dessert and that’s when I would venture to a Fully Raw Chocolate Cheesecake! A great alternative to a dairy cheesecake is a fully raw vegan cheesecake, simply made with plant based whole foods. You can eat it with joy and not worry about feeling guilty or going to the gym for an extra hour. You will need time to make this and have patience as you need to let it sit in the freezer but once its set and you try it you wont be disappointed.

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INGREDIENTS:

CRUST

  • 1 cup Pitted Dates
  • 1/2 cup Almonds

FILLING

  • 1 cup Cashews (soaked overnight!)
  • 4 Frozen Bananas (Sliced to help blend)
  • 1/4 cup Almond Milk (to help with blending if you need it)
  • 3 tbsp Raw cacao
  • 2 tbsp Maple Syrup

TOP LAYER

  • 2 tbsp Crunchy Peanut Butter
  • 1/4 cup Melted Coconut Oil
  • 2 tbsp Maple Syrup

FINISH

  • Top with raspberries and dessicated coconut

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Blend nuts and dates until sticky consistency, and press into the base of a 15cm wide cake tin (one with a quick release or push out base).
  2. Drain and wash off the cashews then add them to the blender with the cocoa , bananas and honey. Also at this stage if you need some fluid to help it blend then add the 1/4 cup almond milk.
  3.  Layer on to the crust and then freeze!!
  4. Once that layer has frozen solid you can make the peanut butter topping (I waited overnight however it should take about 4 hours).
  5. Melt peanut butter, coconut oil and honey in a saucepan over a very low heat then pour onto the cheesecake once combined.
  6. Add raspberries onto the cheesecake and sprinkle with dessicated coconut
  7. Freeze again, and then enjoy!!

NOTES

  • Wet your hands slightly before pressing in the base of the cheesecake to stop it sticking to your fingers!
  • When ready to eat, let the cheesecake sit out of the freezer for about 10 minutes before devouring. It is worth the wait 😉
  • Serving sizes are completely up to you! I serve 2 raspberries per slice 🙂
Raw Chocolate Brownies

Raw Chocolate Brownies

I have made these Raw Chocolate Brownies time and time again as it is so amazing ! They are pure guilt free chocolate heaven and contain just 5 ingredients; I am all about quick and easy recipes. What i also love is that you can chop and change the toppings to your own liking, here i have used desiccated coconut and chia seeds (my favourite so far) but i have also tried crushed hazelnuts and plain ones too.

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My pictures are not spectacular as i have no professional equipment at the moment so rely on my good old iphone and lighting, which is not great when the weather is grey and gloomy in lovely England. I want to try this recipe time and time again, adding different toppings and even to sandwich between the layers, i am thinking strawberries, raspberries or peanut butter… I am sure there will be a recipe up again where i try these out!

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Before you go ahead and try this recipe make sure you have a shallow rectangular tray (like one you put your chips on and then put in the oven) as i tried the recipe without one and it wasn’t as easy. Also i only like to make a small batch of these at a time (i make four big ones) which fills half a tray, reason being is that i like to keep them fresh because of the avocado and i can’t eat a full tray full in just a short space of time, as good as they are!! If i had someone to share them with them of course i would double the ingredients i use and make a full trays worth (8).

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I use a Nutribullet for all my recipes as it is quick, efficient and awesome. If you have a Vitamix then i am jealous, but you can of course use that. If you have a general blender it may take longer to blend up the nuts and dates to the desired consistency (a dough ball) but i am not sure as i have never tried. Or, try a food processor as this would probably be a lot more efficient.

Now lets get on to the ingredients so you can try out these beauties. You will not be disappointed 🙂

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup Hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup Pitted Dates
  • 1/3 cup Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup Honey (or agave if vegan)
  • 1/2 medium Avocado

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Add nuts to blender and blend until fully grounded.
  2. Add in dates, half of the honey and just over half of the cocoa powder. Keep blending, stopping and stirring (as it sticks to sides and prevent overheating). Keep blending until its a fairly sticky, slightly wet consistency.
  3. Line tray with parchment paper and press ‘dough’ into your tray evenly.
  4. Put all remaining ingredients into processor/blender to make chocolatey paste then spread on top of entire ‘dough’.
  5. Cut into 8 rectangles then add one half on top of the other.
  6. Garnish with crushed hazelnuts (chia seeds or coconut)

NOTES

  • Enjoy 🙂
  • You must ensure the dough is blended enough and slightly oily when spread onto the tray because otherwise when spreading the avocado layer on top the brownie base will crumble and be a disaster!! (Yes, i did this… I managed to just about save it but it wasn’t fun)
  • If i have confused you at all, leave a comment and i will try to help 🙂
  • Have an awesome day!!

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