Thursday, 23 April 2015

Fitness Update

I Cant believe it. I am normally awful at sticking to things let alone exercise! But i am definitely getting somewhere! I praise the vegan diet! I wake up, with endless energy and so excited to live my life. I even get up at 6am before work. Yep. 6am! Just so i have enough time to do some yoga. I am so proud!

Yoga is going well. I love it. I find it really fun and relaxing.

Haha do you like my excited yoga face?

My main area i want to work on is my abs. I don't want ridiculous muscles. I am quite petite, and only 5'5! But i would like to se something there! I can see a few lines starting to appear which makes me happpppy and motivated to carry on.

Apart from yoga, i try to run, cycle or hit the gym a couple of times a week. I have to admit running isn't my best friend. It is quite hard on your joints, and i really don't think it is an exercise that suits me. Its always best to listen to your body rather than thinking you know best :)

I went for a lovely 25 mile Cycle the other day. Stopped for a spot of lunch where i found a salad and fruit smoothie. YUM.

So progress is progressing. Haha. 
I am on a few Vegan fitness groups on Facebook. I have to say being in those community's are so motivational! 

I will try and do a fitness update once a month. Join me on facebook if you want to  get healthy together! Have a good day :)

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Cold brewed Vanilla Hazelnut Iced Coffee

If you love your coffee hit in the morning, this recipe is for you :) 

I discovered how to make cold brewed coffee recently and i am hooked. Obviously i wanted to make some sort of awesome shake or 'ice coffee' drink with my cold brewed coffee so i began experimenting. Oh MYYY its good. I mean really good. I WILL be drinking this all summer :) 

Before i went all healthy :), i used to love Hazelnut Lattes. But Hazelnut syrup is pure sugar! So a big no no. But chuck in a few hazelnuts and your away! I actually Love this recipe. SOO much. 

Cold brewed Vanilla Hazelnut Iced Coffee

250ml Cold brewed coffee concentrate - recipe here 
250ml Almond Milk ( or alternative milk)
10 Hazelnuts
2 tsp chia seeds
1tsp vanilla essence
3 dates ( or fruit sugar / agave syrup to taste)
Ice cubes 

When you cold brew coffee it is concentrated. I really like strong coffee, but the average rule is to dilute it by 50%. 
Either blend with ice cubes, or pour over the ice cubes afterwards. 
Chuck everything is a blender and you set. 


Cold Brewed Coffee

Ahhh so excited about this. I love my coffee. Cold brewed coffee is amazing. It is 70% less acidic than hot brewed coffee, and you keep all the nutrients from the coffee beans. In Japan, cold-brew is produced in slow glass-drippers, but you can easily replicate the effect at home in a coffee bodum using cold water, coarsely ground single-origin coffee and patience!

Cold brewed coffee is concentrated, and so you will need to dilute your coffee by 50%, with a milk or water. I love my coffee strong, so sometimes i just drink it straight! But you do get one hell of a caffeine buzz so small doses please! I also made a Yummy Cold Brewed Hazelnut Vanilla Iced Coffee which you can see the recipe for here.

Cold Brewed Coffee 

120g coarsely ground, preferably single-origin coffee 
1 litre Water

Fill a large Bodum or jug with 1 litre of water. Add the coffee and stir. 
Leave to brew at room temp for 12-24 hours.
Enjoy :)

Best served diluted, over ice of as an iced coffee drink :) 

Monday, 20 April 2015

Raw Vegan 'Sushi' Rolls

'Footsteps have traced this land before
My skin is hurting, I cannot feel my feet anymore
And you can hope for a life that is calm
But come in time, you’re gonna
Pick up one that feels a little hard'

Sometimes you have to sit back, realise how small you are in the scale of things and get on with the day ahead of you. It is easy to look at someone else s life from a distance and assume how easy they have it, or how happy they seem. But the truth is you don't know. Most people in life put on a front in different situations, as it gives them something to hide behind. You cant compare yourself to other peoples masks, or make judgments based on them. Everyone has tough days. Bad days. Run away to bed days. And i have had oh far too many. But as long as we get up, take a deep breath, realise that life is to be lived, not feared and carry on. That's all that matters.

Because at the end of the day, if you cant, and aren't living a life for yourself. To be the best version of yourself that you can be, you are simply just existing to exist.

And if all else fails. Make Sushi. 

I am not going to pretend that rolling these delights was easy. But once i cracked the technique i was on a roll. - pun intended.

Although rice is vegan, and in particular brown rice, is extremely good for you - i like to take most of my carbohydrates in the form of  raw fruit and veggies rather than cooked grains. Creating rice from cauliflower is a great way to cut down the grains and starch - and also calories if that concerns you. 

Fill these amazing rolls of deliciousness with anything you fancy! 

Raw Vegan 'Sushi' Rolls  - serves 2

1/4 Cauliflower
1/2 Parsnip
4 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 tsp olive oil ( or substitute )

Pack Choi Leaves
( use Nori if preferred )

1/2 Red bell pepper
1 avocado
3 spring onions
1 carrot
A handful of green beans

To make the 'rice', put the cauliflower florets and parsnip in a food processor and blend for 1 minute until fluffy, and resembles rice in appearance. Remove from blender and put into a bowl. Add the soy sauce vinegar and oil. Mix well. 

Mash 1/2 avocado into a paste using a fork. 

Slice the pepper, spring onions, carrot and beans into small strips. For the spring onion, you don't want to use the very dark green part of the stem as it is tough and hard to digest. 

Place a pack choi leave on a sushi mat, or baking paper, Cut the rounded corners off so you are left with a rectangle. Spread a think layer of mashed avocado over the leaf, and then cover with rice.  (This is so the rice sticks to the leaf)  
Place other sliced veggies on top and roll!
It takes some practice. You may need to adjust the amount of veggies or rice you put in the roll, as if you put too much it is impossible to roll. 

Happy Rolling :) 

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Raw Vegan Cookie Dough n'ice' cream [ with a salted caramel sauce ]

OHHH my Gosh this is amazing. It just tastes incredible and ive just consumed the whole bowl - and licked it! Who would have thought it. Raw vegan cookie dough ice cream! Sometimes i admire my mind for being so creative. Although other times i have no intelligent thoughts what so ever. So it balances out :)

Raw vegan ice cream is so simple to make. All you need is Bananas :). Frozen Bananas of course, and the riper they are before you freeze them, the better. Blended frozen bananas = ice cream, or NICE CREAM as i like to call it!

The salted caramel sauce is heavenly! Again super easy to make, just dates salt and water ( or almond milk). And the cookie dough from my wholefood vegan cookies.

Just what i needed to end the week, or start the new week!

Raw Vegan Cookie Dough ice cream [ with a salted caramel sauce ]

Nice Cream
2 frozen Bananas
(drop of almond milk if needed)

Salted Caramel Sauce
1 cup dates (soaked)
1/2 tsp rock salt
100ml water (or almond milk)

Cookie Dough

Start by making the cookie dough.
I would advise making the salted caramel sauce before the nice cream, as it melts quickly.
To make the sauce, blend dates, salt and water or almond milk until smooth. Use almond milk instead of water if you prefer a thicker, creamy sauce. 
Take the bananas out of the freezer and blend in a food processor. If the bananas are not blending, try add little almond milk. 

Place nice cream in a bowl with cookie dough balls, and drizzle with salted caramel sauce. ;)


Wholefood Vegan Cookies [ with dates & raisins ]

One of my best friends is a chef by profession. She was talking to me about her favorite cookie dough recipe and we had a long conversation about how much we love cookie dough ice cream! ( or how much i did before i went vegan!). Brain wave! I got my friends non vegan cookie dough recipe and spent a few hours thinking how to substitute the ingredients to make tasty Vegan cookies! And i succeeded. I think i managed to eat half the dough before it was cooked. Which is a very good sign! I have saved 1/4 of the dough and will be attempting to make a cookie dough ice cream recipe in the next couple of days. WIN!

So Non vegan cookies consist of 

All of which i do not eat. (Except pure cocoa or raw vegan chocolate ).

Butter? I had a few options here. 1. Dairy free oil spread. i don't like to use too may if any processed foods so no. Oil? I wanted to keep the consistency of butter and oil would make more of a cake mixture than a dough. Coconut oil! Mimics - or pretty close - the consistency of butter, is raw and has the fat content needed. Win.

Eggs? There are a few egg substitutions you can use to act as a binding agent. Chia or flax work well. I chose to use banana as i have loads of them in my kitchen, and because the sweetness of the fruit would reduce the amount of sugar, or sugar substitute i would need to add.

Flour? Instead of processed white flours there are plenty of wholefood options available. Rice flour, quinoa flour, almond flour, chickpea flour and loads more. Oats can be used, but you need to have at least a 50;50 ratio of flour to oats.

Sugar? My go to sugar replacement is dates. I LOVE them. I much prefer to use an actual fruit to sweeten rather than a packaged fruit sugar or syrup. ( However i do use both ).

Chocolate? Raisins. :)

I wasn't sure how my cookies would turn out. But they were LUSH. Soo good to the point i had to force myself to stop eating them. And even then i went back for more! Its okay.. i will go for a run tomorrow and work it all off. :)

Wholefood Vegan Cookies
 [ with dates & raisins ]

3/4 cup dates 
1/3 cup peanuts
1/2 banana (  1/2 large or 1 small )
1 tsp vanilla essence
65g coconut oil ( not melted )
1/2 cup rice flour / almond flour 
1/4 cup oats
1/3 cup raisins

Soften the dates and peanuts by soaking in water for 10-15mins.
Drain, and place in a food processor along with  the Banana, vanilla essence and coconut oil.( Note that you do not need to melt the coconut oil before using)
Blend for 1-2 minutes.
Add flour and oats and mix again. The dough should be soft, but not sticky. Add extra flour or oats if necessary.
Remove from blender and place into a mixing bowl. Fold in the raisins. 
Place dough onto a lightly dusted board and roll until approx 1cm thick.
Cut cookies into shape with a cookie cutter and place on a lined baking tray.
Cook in the oven at 150'C for 10-15 mins
Leave to cool

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Lemon Infused water

It may seems silly writing a recipe on Lemon infused water. Obviously, you just place lemon slices in water :). BUT! Why? Are there any benefits of infusing water with fruit? 

To hydrate our bodies, it is recommended we drink at least 2 litres of water a day. I actually really like to drink water on its own, as long as its really cold. But a lot of people either don't like the taste, or find it boring to drink plain water. Infusing fruit flavours the water naturally. Unlike simply squeezing the juice into water, infusing derives flavour from the whole fruit, including the rind which provides a tangy bright flavour.

Infused water is a great low calorie alternative to Fresh fruit juices. As the water is only being flavoured by the fruit, and you are not eating the fruit itself, you are not consuming a large number of calories. For one jug of orange juice, you could use 10 oranges, but only one for a jug of infused water.  

Fruit infusions take seconds to prepare and look so pretty! If a beverage looks colorful and healthy, you will be more inclined to drink it, which will help to keep you hydrated.
I usually fill a huge jug of water, top with fruit and keep in the fridge. I top it up when the water gets low, using the same fruit. You can buy infusion water bottles which has a separate fruit section. this way you can keep topping up your water bottle throughout the day. 
Get creative - use berries, citrus fruits, summer fruits, anything you fancy :)

Peanut Butter & Banana Smoothie

This morning i needed a little boost. Peanut Butter & Banana Smoothie is my without fail Friday breakfast. But often turns out to be much more regular than once a week! I used to hate peanut butter. When i was about 16, my friend made peanut butter protein shakes and it was almost undrinkable. But now i can not get enough of the stuff!

As a rule, i make my own foods and never use processed products. I do however occasionally use products, such as Meridian Peanut and Almond butter as it contains 100% nuts and if i am in a rush - its so much easier than making my own. Most nut butters contain sugar and palm oil, as well as the nut. Meridian do not add any other ingredient than the nuts themselves and so i feel pretty happy eating their products. As no sugar is added, it is noticeably less sweet than standard nut butters and if not mixing into a smoothie ( which already contains sweetness from bananas etc ), you may want to add some fruit sugar or mix with dates.

I use a mixture of frozen and unfrozen bananas for this recipe. Frozen bananas give the smoothie a 'ice cream' feel and is a really good way to use over ripe bananas. Sometimes i ask my local farm shop to save me any unsold, over ripe bananas which i get for a discounted rate, I then unpeel, chop and freeze to make smoothies or ice cream :),

Peanut Butter & Banana Smoothie

1 Frozen Banana
1 unfrozen Banana
2 heaped tsp Peanut Butter
1/4 cup oats
200ml water
200ml almond milk

Friday, 17 April 2015

Coconut & Vanilla Chia Pudding [ with Banana & Kiwi ]

CHIA seeds are awesome. When i first went vegan, i heard about these weird chia, flax, hemp things and had no idea what it all was. Chia seeds are sooooooooo good for you! They are packed full of protein and healthy omega 3 oils, and loads of B vitamins, much needed on a Plant based diet. You can use them as a substitute for egg in recipes, mix them into smoothies, chocolates, salads, - basically anything you fancy! The best part is that when soaked, they swell up into little jelly bubbles. And although they don't look extremely appetising - it tastes like a yummy healthy rice pudding when soaked in a plant based milk. And lets face it, who doesn't want to eat pudding for breakfast!

I am normally pretty good at sticking to regular meal times, but today was a little crappy. I think everyone is allowed a few down days. I had a slow start and skipped my breakfast, which meant lunch became breakfast and dinner, lunch. But i definitely felt the much needed energy rush after munching my chia pudding at lunchish time.

I've had had one of those days were i feel like i could quite easily give up on everything and run away. I suppose i did for most of the morning. Then you realise how big the world is, how unimportant situations are in the grand scheme of things and you have to get back up and get on with life. I over think things, people and situations to the point my head almost explodes into a million chia jelly globules and i MUST stop that. And just eat more actual chia jelly globules. Globules, globules - i love that word!

Coconut & Vanilla Chia Pudding 
[ with Banana & Kiwi ]

Amount per person

1/8 Cup Chia Seeds
1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
3/4 cup coconut milk

1 Banana
1 Kiwi

In  bowl / cup / glass, place chia seeds, coconut milk and vanilla. Mix with a spoon and leave in fridge for a minimum of 2 hours, but best left overnight. Before eating top with fruit :)

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Kiwi & Pear Smoothie

I love Breakfast smoothies :) I have them daily after my workouts - and i always get excited. I tend to look in my fruit bowl, pick a few fruits out that i fancy and chuck them in a blender. Sometimes i get a combination which just does not work and i know never to do that smoothie again! Ahaha. But most of the time, as long as you are not mixing a citrus fruit with a 'creamy' or 'milky' base such as almond milk etc, you are pretty safe!

I have bought a new blender, which i will blog about in full shortly. But in brief - i don't know how i ever managed without it! I previously used a standard smoothie maker that came with my food processor package. It was good, but took a while to blend and i never got a really smooth consistency. I also had to wash the damn thing up every morning which was a slog as i am always in a rush! My new blender, blends in the cup you use to drink! Which is perfect for the morning, when i can grab the bottle and run out the door. Its also super quick! and blends Everything really well, even carrot!

Working out is becoming enjoyable now. I used to hate exercising and i never thought i would get to the point where i liked it. I go to sleep looking forward to waking up. That is very odd for me as i love my sleep!

Today i had a loveeely kiwi & pear smoothie... It was sweet, thick, creamy and almost like having a pudding for breakfast. YUM.

Kiwi & Pear Smoothie

2 Bananas
2 Kiwis
1 pear
250ml Almond milk / Coconut water/ water

I used 100ml Almond milk, 100ml coconut water and 50ml water as i don't like to have too much almond milk. If you use all almond milk, you will have a much 'creamier' smoothie :) Alternatively, if the smoothie is too thick for your taste - add more liquid of choice.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

RAW Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake

Ahhh im so pleased with the way my {Cheesecake} turned out! I was inspired by one i bought from the  Inspiral Lounge in Camden. I LOOOOVEEE that place. I even have a unspoken rule that whenever anyone i know goes to camden, they MUST bring me back a goodie from Inspiral.

I honestly had no idea how i was going to make this desert. I spent a few days thinking about it. The base, easy.. a chocolate nut base similar to my RAW BROWNIE mixture. But the middle layer took a few days of planning. I am such a NERD. I decided it HAD to be based on Hazelnuts, as it was a hazelnut cheesecake. I am so clever :) HA. And a coconut milk / cashew cream. It took a little bit of playing around with - but I was pretty happy with the result! I think in future I would try to look into buying a raw hazelnut paste, or attempt to blend my hazelnuts into a paste first as they did not blend in 100%. My small coffee grinder broke, but I think that would have been ideal.

Fortunately I Love savoury food, because otherwise I think I would spend my days just eating raw desserts and puddings like this one. They taste soo good. I have to actually keep reminding myself that it is all Raw Wholefoods. Because I take a few bites and think.. this tastes like it should be really bad for me! When it is the absolute opposite!

I like to store my cheesecake in the freezer, I then take it out and cut a bit off  about 20mins before I plan to eat some. That way it always stays fresh and set. However, you can eat it straight from the freezer and it tastes like an ice cream cake :) YUM.  Once fully set, you can store in the fridge, but it wont last as long.

RAW Vegan
Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake

1 Cup Walnuts
1 cup Almond nuts
1/2 cup of dates ( soaked in water)
1/4 cup chia seeds ( optional )
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tbsp Cocoa powder
2 tbsp Coconut Oil
Pinch Salt

This base is similar to my brownie mix - with a few alterations to create a more solid base.
Mix all ingredients in a blender, ( melting the coconut oil first as explained here ).  Spread
the base mixture into the bottom of a cake tin ( Use a cake tin which have a removable bottom. It makes life 1000x easier) and smooth it out so it is flat. Place in freezer whilst you make the 'cream cheese'.

'Hazelnut 'Cream Cheese'

2/3 cup Cashews ( soaked in water for 10 mins first to soften)
1 cup Hazelnuts (soaked in water) or Hazelnut paste
2 Medjool Dates
2 tbsp Agave Syrup or Maple Syrup
2 cups Coconut Cream
 -[Bought as coconut cream OR buy 2 tins of coconut milk, place in fridge for 2 hours, drain the liquid and use the solid cream]

Drain and blend Cashews, hazelnuts and dates until smooth, or as smooth as possible! Add the coconut cream and blend again. Now add the Syrup. I recommend adding one spoonful at a time and taste testing. I personally have a sweet tooth, and so you may prefer less - or even more syrup :)

Take the base out of the freezer. Spoon the cream cheese mixture over, and even out. Place in the freezer for a good few hours to let it fully set.


Cocoa Powder

Once set, you can remove from the tin. This is where the removable cake base comes in handy! Sprinkle cocoa powder over and place a few hazelnuts on top for d├ęcor!

This recipe is great for enticing Non vegan eaters to try Vegan foods. :)

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Best Ever Raw Vegan Brownies

Raw vegan brownies were the first vegan pudding i ever made. That day i realised that just because i am vegan doesn't mean i cant eat amazing food. If i fancy chocy goodies, i can have chocy goodies! Just without the yucky animal products, additives and refined sugars. HEALTHY CHOCOLATE BROWNIES. Isn't that everybody's dream? And they don't just merely satisfy my sweet tooth. They are better than any brownie i have ever had. I seriously adore plant based living, to the point it makes me all happy and excited inside.

BEST EVER Raw Vegan Brownies

1 Cup Walnuts
1 cup cashew nuts
1 cup of dates ( soaked in water)
1/4 cup chia seeds ( optional )
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tbsp Cocoa powder
4 tbsp Coconut Oil
Pinch Salt

Chocolate Topping
2 tbsp Agave Syrup
2 tbsp Cocoa powder
3 tbsp Coconut oil
1 tsp Cinnamon Powder
pinch salt

Blend Walnuts and Cashews until it imitates a flour like consistency. Drain the water from the dates. Add the dates, chia seeds, shredded coconut, cocoa powder, salt, and melted coconut oil to the blender. 

To melt coconut oil, Fill a large bowl or pan with warm water. Place the coconut oil in a smaller bowl, and place this bowl in the water bowl for a few minutes until  the coconut oil has melted.

Blend for a good few mins until well mixed. Place the mixture evenly into a tin or pan and place in the freezer whilst you make the topping. 

In a blender mix coconut powder, melted coconut oil, Agave syrup, salt and cinnamon. This should form a medium thickness sauce. Take the brownie mixture out of the freezer and spread the sauce evenly over. Freeze for a further 45mins and they will be ready to eat :) 

If you plan to consume all your brownies within a few days, they will be absolutely fine to store in the fridge. If you want to store them for a longer period of time, keep the brownies in the freezer. I am not sure how long they will keep in the freezer, as mine have never stuck around longer than a week! But i am pretty sure they will keep for a while. 

Enjoy. These are SOOO yummy. 

Monday, 13 April 2015

Vegan Vietnamese Rolls [ with soy & ginger dipping sauce ]

These rolls are super tasty and easy to make. And they look amazing - finally! The first 2 or three times i tried to make these, i kept splitting the rice paper, or not rolling them properly and it was just a complete mess. Tasted amazing still, but looked horrific! So they take some practice.

Search high and low for rice paper sheets! It took me a while to find some. I spotted a ' make your own' Vietnamese kit in Waitroise and grabbed it. It came with some yucky refined sauce which i obvious threw away within seconds - but rice paper and noodles were included too - score! I think your best best is to go the Wholefoods Market, as i know they have a huge selection of noodles and rice bits, or order online. What you fill these babies up with is down to your imagination! My creativity is flowing at the moment to behold the future Vietnamese roll variations!

Vegan Vietnamese Rolls

Rice Paper sheets
Fine rice noodles
1 Courgette, 1 Carrot, 1 Parsnip [ or filling of choice ]

Firstly, place your rice noodles in a bowl of boiled water, and leave for 10 mins whilst you prep your veg. Slice the Courgette, Carrot and Parsnip using a mandolin or spiral slicer to create fine strips. Alternatively just chop your veg really fine . 

To make the rolls, take one rice sheet at a time and place in the bowl of water with your noodles for a couple of seconds. Remove from the water and place on a Bamboo mat [ i don't have one either...] or simply just a flat clean surface. Now is the tricky part. If you fill your rolls with too much veg and noodles, the rice paper will split when you try to roll them up. Place your veggies and noddles on the rice paper! Fold the corners of the rice paper over and roll. The rice paper should stick to itself. If it does not, dab on a little warm water. 

Soy & ginger dipping sauce

1/2 cup Vegan Soy sauce
1/8 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove
2 spring onions
2 dates
1 tsp sesame oil ( optional)

This dipping sauce is amazing. Mix all the ingredients in a blender for a few seconds and pour into a shallow bowl - and dip away :) 

Mushroom Stroganoff [ with Quinoa & Buckwheat ]

I originally set out to cook a Mushroom Risotto tonight, but I got carried away with experimenting and this delicious meal was the outcome. About a month ago, I went to this really nice Veggie Restaurant in Hammersmith called THE GATE with a friend of mine. We nearly missed the entrance as it is practically disguised, and at the back of some kind of religious building. Apart from the odd location, the actual restaurant itself is incredible. It was packed.. I mean jam packed and bustling and had such a good vibe as soon as we walked through the door. Almost every item on the menu had a vegan option, so I was super happy. I ordered a mushroom risotto and it was seriously one of the nicest meals I have EVER had. 
I tried to replicate the risotto, but I am such a veg ADICT I had to chuck in some other veggies too. The taste of the sauce I created was pretty spot on though - yipee. I am not a huge rice eater, and so my meal became more of a stroganoff rather than a risotto. I much much much prefer eating grains such as quinoa and lentils than rice. I came across buckwheat in my wholefoods store the other day and thought I would give it a try tonight with my quinoa. Buckwheat is.. different in texture. It is almost nutty in flavour, and has much more of a bite to it than most other grains. I quite enjoyed it and it went really well with the Quinoa. 
Mushroom Stroganoff  [ with Quinoa & Buckwheat ]
Mushroom Stroganoff
1 Cup Sliced Mushrooms
1/2 Courgette finely sliced or grated
1/2 Carrot finely sliced or grated
1/2 Onion chopped
100ml coconut milk
100ml water
1 Vegan stock cube or Seasoning to taste
Place all ingredients into a pan and leave to marinate ( off the heat) for 10-30mins. Cook on a medium heat for 15-20mins, until veggies are cooked and the sauce has reduced and thickened.
Quinoa & Buckwheat
1/2 Cup Quinoa
1/2 Cup Buckwheat
Rinse with cold water first to remove the bitter tasting outer flavour. Boil in a pan of water for 15-20 mins.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Pink Pina Colada

I think it is funny how your taste buds change and develop as time goes by. Up until a few years ago, I couldn't stand pineapple. I am not sure if it was the little bit of outer skin that would get caught in between my teeth of just the tangy taste but even the thought of pineapple makes my mouth go all weird. Now at 22, I absolutely love the taste but I THINK ( and I say think, because I am always over dramatise situations) that I have developed a slight allergy to pineapple. My lips get tingly and my throat goes all 'rusty' and tight, like the feeling you get when a soar throat is starting, almost the moment after I eat it, and lasts for a good few hours. Which SUCKS. It will not stop me from occasionally eating or drinking the stuff, but I do like to listen to my body.
Pina Colada has to be one of the best summer drinks. Just one sip and im whisked away to a tropical paradise.. almost - I can dream. Although, I am not really great with too much heat. I get heat overload and have to run inside - it must be my pale English skin!
Unfortunately,  my pineapple wasn't 100% ripe and I was too impatient to wait. I wanted Pina Colada and I wanted it NOW! So I was inventive and popped in a few chunks of watermelon to sweeten things up. YUM.

Pink Pina Colada
1/2 Pineapple
A few Chunks of watermelon (about 1/2 cup)
250ml of coconut water (or coconut milk or half and half)
It is best to cut pineapple into small pieces as it makes the blending process easier. I used just under 250ml of coconut water, and then added a splash of coconut milk. If you want it really coconutty - ( real word?)  then go full blast with the coconut milk.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Tummy Loving Re-hydrating Smoothie

I Love Juices and Smoothies. Sometimes getting up in the morning before work to do yoga is hard.. but it is always worth it with the thought of a nice juice or smoothie afterwards. I get sooo thirsty after a workout. It is important to replace lost water as the human body is made up of 50-75% water. That is LOADS. No wonder i used to get headaches before i became all healthy and such :). 

You don't have to drink all of your water - as water. There are plenty of lovely fruits and veg that have a high water content as well as other great nutrients. CUCUMBER! Has the highest water content of any solid food. Closely followed by CELERY which contains folate and vitamins A, C, and K. Celery neutralizes stomach acid and is used as a natural remedy for heartburn and acid reflux. GINGER is a spice that helps to relieve Nausea, Bloating, Morning sickness and motion sickness. And COCONUT WATER is just the best. It provides a fantastic base, with an awesome flavor. Coconut water is full of electrolytes -  calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium and potassium in their natural form. This helps aid digestion, settle stomach pains, clear skin and lower blood pressure. 

Tummy Loving Re-hydrating Smoothie

2 sticks of celery
1/4 - 1/2 Cucumber
1 handful of spinach
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
200ml of Coconut water

Blend :)  

Watermelon Juice

This Juice is crazy easy, quick and refreshing. And it looks super cool as it is bright pink! YES PLEASE! 

Not only does watermelon taste amazing but it has great health benefits too! I believe you should always know what your eating, so here comes the science bit.... Watermelon is a Lycopene food, along with pink grapefruit and guava. Lycopene is a carotenoid phytonutrient that's important for our cardiovascular and bone health.

Recent studies have confirmed the nutritional importance of allowing a watermelon to fully ripen. The biggest jump in lycopene content occurs at the time when a watermelon's flesh turns from white-pink to pink. And when flesh continues to ripen, resulting in a color change from pink to red, the lycopene content becomes even more concentrated. So! To get the optimum health benefits for your delicious watermelon juice, use a lovely juicy ripe watermelon.  

Watermelon Juice

1/4 Large Ripe Watermelon cut into small chunks
100ml Coconut Water ( if blending ) 
Juice of 1/2 a Lime 

So Simple! Cut the watermelon into small chunks and either pop into a juicer and mix with lime  or use coconut water as a base in a blender. Then sit back and enjoy! 

Thursday, 9 April 2015

New Yoga Shoes!!

Yippeeee! Can you tell i am excited? I have new yoga shoes. No more slipping a sliding off my mat! And they are brightly coloured. And pretty. And light weight. And just AMAZING!

I took my sister shopping this morning because she was down in the dumps. The poor girl has exams coming up and seems to spend 24/7 locked away in a cave reading away. So sister time was needed! I said - i will take you out but i am NOT going to buy anything. HA. Famous last words...  I bought this really good makeup contouring kit - which i may blog about one of these days. And of course my lovely trainers. Yet another pair to add to my ever growing shoe collection! 

I am not sure what you are supposed to wear on your feet for yoga.. but in certain poses my feet slip in the mat. Socks make the matter worse, and most of the sports shoes i already own are too clumpy for yoga - oh and wayy to dirty. I came across these cool trainers, which are really super duper light weight - and as a plus have memory foam inside. As soon as i tried them on they just felt snug and i knew THESE were my yoga shoes. ( not to mention the fact they were half price)    ;)

SOOO Hyped for tomorrows work out. 

"  Hey, I put some new shoes on, and suddenly everything is right,

I said, hey, I put some new shoes on and everybody's smiling,

it so inviting,
Oh, short on money,
but long on time, 
slowly strolling in the sweet sunshine,
and i'm running late, 
and i don't need an excuse, 
'cause i'm wearing my brand new shoes."

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

The First day of Summer

Well, Almost.. It is still early April and so I guess it is technically spring. But the weather! A few days of sunshine and out come the mini skirts, tank tops and sunglasses - and my freckles!

My morning started by a good 40 min session of yoga-type exercise. I am loving yoga, however, at the moment I am still making up moves as I go along! I already have a few aches and pains in muscles I didn't even know existed until now, so I must be doing something right. I have never been an exercise junky. I have always loved to dance, and keep relatively fit but I am really learning to get in tune with my body now, and listen to what I need as well as want out of life. I have spent a good few years waisting precious time not knowing who I was, or where I was going. If I stopped thinking so intensely about what I wasn't doing, maybe I would have done something a little more productive than worrying about what I could be doing. But I got there in the end. I want a Healthy mind, Healthy soul, Healthy body. Yoga seems to relax my body and mind and even though I may not be world class at all the moves just yet, it is certainly doing a world of good.

I tend to have liquids up until lunch. I normally start the day with a green tea before I workout, and then some kind of delicious vitamin goodness smoothie. Today - as it was almost summer! or as sunny as an English summer can get, I smoothied with a bunch of amazing Summer berries. Now of course as it is not real summer, I had to go with a selection of last summers frozen berries. This smoothie is slightly different normal, as I pile bananas in EVERYTHING! Bananas are fantastic at blending ingredients together, and in my opinion are just great in every aspect! However today I made a conscious decision to make a banana free smoothie, and it was pretty damn GOOOOD!

Almost-Summer Berry Smoothie

1- 2 Cups of Mixed Frozen Berries - IE Strawberries, raspberries, red currents, blackberries
250ml Coconut water  (or a dairy free Milk if preferred)
2 dates ( or 1tsp of fruit sugar)
1/2 tsp of fresh grated ginger ( dried will be okay too)


Saturday, 4 April 2015

Five-Spice Marinated Salad

Today was pretty legendary. In my lunch break I went out and sat in the park.. and wait for it, read a chapter of a book! Ermm.. what? I know it sounds pretty ordinary but 1, I normally sit inside and work through lunch because I am boring like that. And 2, I do NOT read. I have tried books, I mean really tried and it just doesn't work and I then I stress about trying really hard to read, and the words stick on the page like cement. I can physically read, but the practicalities of sitting down and finishing a book has never worked for me. I think that is why my vocabulary lacks even slightly complicated words.. which I am determined to change! I have a friend who spends every lunch break sitting in parks reading and it sounded so wonderfully relaxing. I thought it wouldn't hurt trying to read one more time   So out I strolled down to a park, which was surprisingly beautiful being situated in the middle of  noisy industrial West London, found an empty bench and settled down with Russell Brands Booky Wook. It probably isn't the most challenging books I could have found, but it is pretty interesting and funny. I think I will make Lunch time park reading a regular occurrence..   

Now to last nights dinner.  Man, I couldn't stop thinking about food all day yesterday and I was craving chineese soooo bad. I am really loving Coconut milk at the moment. I bought a gigantic tub of coconut milk powder - I didn't know it existed either! But it does, and it is fab - in an attempt to make raw vegan white chocolate with a 'milk' fat content. I haven't succeeded yet.. but when I do I will post my recipe!  I made a really tasty marinade sauce from coconut milk, five spice and soy sauce and chucked in a load of delicious veg. You will LOVE this.

Yummy Five-spice Marinated RAW Salad

For the salad 
1/4 of  a broccoli
5 plum tomatoes
6 chestnut mushrooms
10 green beans
2 handfuls of spinach
2 handfuls of kale
1/2 a parsnip
1/4 cup of raisins
1/4 cup of almonds

For the Marinade
100ml coconut milk ( or 3tbsp of coconut milk powder with 100ml of water)
6tbsp of Vegan Soy Sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
4tsp of 5 spice powder ( or to taste) 

To prep your salad, slice your mushrooms, broccoli, tomatoes, beans and parsnips and place in a large shallow dish with the raisins and almonds. Leave out the spinage and Kale at this point. ( this is so you can marinate large quantities, without needing heaps of sauce! ) Personally i like to use a spiral slicer or Mandolin for parsnips, so they are easier to digest and look fab! 

In a small bowl, mix the coconut milk, soy sauce, spices and ginger. Pour the sauce over your chopped veg, cover with film or a lid and leave to marinate for at least 30mins - the longer the better. The veggies absorb the sauce better is slightly warmed. I like to place my dish over a bowl of warm water or out in the sunshine for a few mins to help the marinating process.

Just before eating, add the green leaves and toss.


Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Butternut Squash Pizza

I have seen a few pizza recipes flying around the vegan network recently. Many of them are made with a dehydrated nut base, which does look tasty. However, I don't like to eat too many nuts and seeds - especially for a main meal. Protein is vitally important, but I prefer to consume around 80% of my calories from veggies and fruit leaving 20% for nuts and grains. The idea of a wholefood pizza is fantastic and so I wracked my brain for a few days to come up with a base recipe which was mainly made from veggies rather than all nuts. I have to admit I was never a huge pizza lover before I turned vegan. We didn't have many take-aways when I was young, and I was brought up to eat relatively healthy. The only pizza we ever had occasionally was the ones you buy from the supermarket and cook in the oven yourself. They don't taste fantastic and were always forgotten about and came out burnt and cardboard-y. A few years ago my ex and I got into take-out pizzas from the local Pizza shop, and I have to admit I did like them quite a lot. I wouldn't say I ever get a craving to eat a pizza, but a vegan alternative pizza did sound pretty good! I made this pizza for my family and they all loved it - Even my dad who is a very picky eater and turns his nose up at 99% of my vegan meals!
The pizza takes a good hour and a half. If you wanted to make it a regular meal, I would suggest roasting some butternut squash in advance when you have spare time and keeping it in the fridge and it will make the process a lot shorter. The base is made from roasted butternut squash, plus a small amount of grain flour or polenta to form a 'dough'. The amount of flour or polenta you want to add is up to you. The more you add, the more 'doughy' it becomes, and the pizza slices will be easier to pick up, and less likely to fall apart.
I made a coriander and basil green pesto type sauce, as I absolutely love basil. I have been making my own pesto since I was about 12, and I cant get enough of the stuff. I usually buy packets of basil leaves, which I thought was a waste. So I decided to buy myself a basil plant. The problem is I eat the stuff quicker than it grows, and I now have a pot with a load of bare stalks!

Butternut Squash Pizza
 ( to make 1 medium sized pizza)
The Base
1/2 Butternut squash
1-2 cups of Polenta or Flour of choice ( ie. Quinoa, Almond, chickpea, rice)
1tsp mixed dried herbs
seasoning to taste
Take your butternut squash and cut it in half lengthways. Scoop out the seeds, and place one half on a roasting tray. I like to put a few centimetres of water into my baking tray so that the squash doesn't dry out whilst cooking.  Roast in oven on a medium temp for 30-40 mins.
Whilst the squash is cooking, make the green sauce.
Green Sauce
2 handfuls of fresh basil
1 handful of fresh coriander
3 handfuls of spinach
1 garlic clove
1tbsp lemon juice
1/8 cup pine nuts
1/8 cup cashews
6tbsp of olive oil ( or oil of choice)
Season to taste
Mix all ingredients together in a blender. If you want your sauce more creamy, add a few more cashews or a splash amount of nut milk.
Once the Squash is cooked, remove the skin and mash the flesh in a bowl. Add the flour or polenta until it is a stiffer consistency.  ( it will harden further in the oven.) Add mixed herbs and season to taste. Place baking paper on a flat oven tray and spread the squash dough into a circle, keeping the outer edges slightly thick like a crust. I wouldn't spread the dough any thinner than 1/2 cm.
Cook in the oven for 20-25 mins. Take out of the oven and spread the green sauce over the base, and put on toppings of your choice. ( I used yellow peppers, mushrooms, beetroot and tomatoes).
Place in the oven and cook for a further 10 mins. Remove from the over and top with a few salad leaves.
Enjoy :)