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Healthy Flapjack Recipe

Healthy Flapjack Recipe

There are certain times when your body craves sweet foods. No matter how hard we try to fight it by eating healthier alternatives, we just can’t shift that craving. Our Oestrogen levels are through the roof and our body simply craves sugar. Instead of constantly trying to fight that craving, if you succumb to it and eat what you fancy, the craving goes away. As a result, you stop walking back and forth to your fridge or cupboards in the hope that something will just pop up that wasn’t there two minutes ago.

I have a huge sweet tooth so I always have to have something sweet ready to hand. I live with my parents at the moment and them Lotus biscuits they have in the cupboard are far too tempting when there’s nothing else for me to satisfy my sugar craving!

This week I made some flapjack because that is exactly what I fancied. You can easily make a vegan alternative of flapjack with vegan butter, golden syrup and oats; simple! However, I don’t like to eat golden syrup or vegan butter because I choose to eat whole plant foods instead. They’re better for our health and that’s what I enjoy to eat. So, it is up to you to which you prefer, and if you prefer the healthy option, keep reading and try these!

I’d have taken better photos for you but the honest truth is, it was dark when I made them and with the help of my family they were all eaten within about 3-4 days. I’ve been busy on the go lately and couldn’t find time to take good pictures, but that doesn’t alter the taste right? 🙂

So, enjoy and I hope you like them!

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas
  • 360g rolled oats
  • 6 tbsp. date syrup (or maple syrup, honey, your preference)
  • 6 tbsp. peanut butter
  • 4 tbsp. coconut oil
  • cinnamon (optional!)

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 (180 degrees).

Place the oats in a mixing bowl.

Mash the bananas with a fork and add them to a saucepan with the peanut butter, coconut oil, syrup and cinnamon (if using cinnamon). Heat at a low temperature until all combined and delicious.

Pour mixture gradually into oats and combine well.

Once all mixed, grease your baking tray with coconut oil and then transfer your oat mixture into the tray. Press down with fork or spatula until all neat and firm, then pop into the oven.

Cook for 15-20mins, until the top looks nice and golden.

Remove from oven and allow to cool (or if you’re like me, eat when hot).

 

Side note:

These can be eaten hot or cold, but a great indulgence tip. Try mixing together date syrup (or whatever syrup you used for the recipe), raw cacao and boiled water to heat it up a bit. This makes a delicious chocolate sauce. Pour over heated flapjack (I cooked for 30seconds in microwave). It is incredible. Pure indulgence!!

The chocolate sauce, ratio is 1:1:1 (i.e. 1tsp cacao, 1tsp syrup, tsp hot water). Add quantities as desired, you may want to double the sweetness if you prefer it more sweet, its entirely up to you, but just a guidance 🙂

 

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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Vegan “Mac and Cheese”

Vegan “Mac and Cheese”

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Here is a healthy take on a Mac and Cheese Recipe which is easy to make, versatile and satisfying.

Coconut milk is a great substitute from cows milk and is super high in fibre, B vitamins, vitamin C, iron, calcium and magnesium. Not to be confused with coconut water! Coconut water is fresh from a coconut itself and is clear in colour. Coconut milk, which here in the UK comes in a can, undergoes a straining process and is white in colour and much thicker and creamier. Great for using in curries and soup to give a creamy consistency.

Lets get into the recipe (serves 2 – large portions):

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Butternut Squash
  • 200g Coconut Milk (canned, full-fat type)
  • 1/2 Vegetable Stock Cube
  • 1 tsp English Mustard
  • 2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • Juice of 1/2 Lemon (optional)
  • Ground Pepper (to your taste – I like lots!)
  • 300g Pasta of your choice

METHOD:

  1. Start by slicing the Butternut Squash into two halves, deseed and place face down on a baking tray with a little water (approx. 100ml)
  2. Bake in the oven on Gas 6 for 1 hour
  3. Once cooked take out Butternut Squash and set aside while you cook your pasta
  4. Cook pasta for 10 minutes (or as packet instructions suggest) and while cooking you can scoop the flesh from the Butternut Squash and add it into a blender with the stock cube, balsamic vinegar, mustard, garlic, pepper and lemon.
  5. Once pasta is cooked, drain pasta and return to the pan with the “cheese” sauce you’ve just blended up and cook for a further 5 minutes or so until it heats back up and gets creamy.
  6. Season to your taste and serve with vegetables or whatever you fancy 🙂

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Pear and Chocolate Oats with Caramel Sauce

Pear and Chocolate Oats with Caramel Sauce

choccy

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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Dreamy Chocolate Smoothie

Dreamy Chocolate Smoothie

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Dreamy Chocolate Smoothie; “dreamy” because it’s a chocolate smoothie with a creamy smooth twist. This recipe includes raspberries to give it some tartness, mango for a fruity creamy texture and dates for added sweetness.

This chocolate smoothie recipe is so delicious and satisfying and can be taken on the run as it is, or eaten in bowl topped with your favourite superfoods. Why not try cacao nibs? They’re the absolute King of superfoods, containing the highest amount of Antioxidents and Vitamin C 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.

Now let’s get into the recipe !

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2-3 frozen bananas
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh mango (approx half a regular mango)
  • 1/2 cup coconut water (add more for thinner texture)
  • 2 pitted dates
  • 1 + 1/2 tbsp raw cacao

METHOD:

  1. Blend together all ingredients in high speed blender
  2. pour into a bowl and top with your choice of topping OR pour into glass and drink as a smoothie !
  3. Enjoy 🙂

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Kiwi and Cherry Nicecream

Kiwi and Cherry Nicecream

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My ultimate favourite breakfast is a bowl of fruit blended into a smoothie or Icecream, and this beauty is just incredible. Kiwi and Cherry Nicecream: The absolute best !

A few little facts about cherries:

  • Help fight diabetes due to a super low GI
  • Rich in antioxidents helping combat Alzeimers 
  • Slows the aging process, great for your skin
  • Reduces muscle inflammation meaning reduced muscle pains
  • Reduces joint pains from osteoarthritis

The difference between eating a bowl of Dairy Icecream and Banana Ice cream (aka Nicecream) other than the obvious health differences, is that Nicecream will leave you Satisfied and Nourished.

Dairy and sugar laden Icecream may taste good but it doesn’t leave you FULL. The high sugar and fat content makes you crave More and More to the point where you’ll probably feel quite sick. Nicecream however gives you that satisfaction of taste but will also keep you full for hours, nourished and not a shadow of guilt.

Now let’s stop the chit chat and get you started with the recipe 🙂

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 Frozen Bananas
  • 1 Cup Frozen Cherries
  • 3 Kiwi Fruit

Optional:

  • Squeeze of 1/2 lime (I just looove lime)
  • 1 tsp hemp protein powder (added protein)

METHOD:

  1. Add all ingredients into a high speed blender and BLITZ.

TIPS:

  • Add the fresh fruit to the bottom where the blades are so they can blend up first and give you some fluid to get the frozen fruit blended.
  • Be patient. Don’t overheat your blender. If the frozen fruit isn’t blending, stop, give it a mix and try again. If it still doesn’t blend, add in a little water, coconut water or dairyfree milk to get the blender going.
  • Frozen cherries from Tesco.