Healthy “Oreos”

 

My son loves Oreos, so I wanted to come up with a healthier version for him.
Buckwheat is gluten-free and is considered a wholegrain, even though it is not in fact a grain. It lowers cholesterol and blood pressure; contains antioxidants and easily digestible protein; is high in fibre and helps to combat diabetes.
I’ve used coconut blossom sugar to replace regular sugar. While it is still a sugar and shouldn’t be consumed in large amounts (like any form of sugar) it is a much better option than processed cane sugar. It’s made by evaporating the nectar of coconut blossoms, so is raw, unrefined and unbleached. This means that it retains nutrients, notably zinc, iron, calcium and potassium. It also contains a fibre called inulin, which makes it much lower GI than regular sugar.
A good rule to remember is that not all calories are equal – you always want your calories to be as nutrient dense as possible. So if you are going to have a treat which contains some form of sugar, rather go for a natural form of sugar which has a higher nutritional value.

Ingredients

For the cookies:
110g organic virgin coconut oil
110g organic coconut blossom sugar
2 eggs
55g raw cacao powder
1/2 tsp organic vanilla powder or extract
1/4 tsp Oryx Desert Salt
280g buckwheat flour
2 tbsp ground flax (you can grind whole flax seeds in a coffee grinder or use pre-ground)
1 tsp aluminium-free baking powder
2 tbsp water

For the filling:
1 cup raw cashews
60ml raw honey
30ml coconut oil
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 tsp vanilla powder
1/4 tsp Oryx desert salt


Method

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Sift the cacao powder to remove lumps. Combine with the other dry ingredients and set aside. Cream the coconut oil and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time while beating. Add the dry ingredients and combine well. Add the water only if the dough is a bit dry or crumbly.

Dust your work surface with extra flour and roll the dough out to about 2mm thickness. Cut out into 5 or 6cm circles. Bake on a cookie tray lined with baking paper or silicone mats for 10 – 12 minutes. Allow to cool.

To make the filling, combine all the ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Sandwich two cookies together with the filling and allow to set.
Makes 24 cookies.

Health & happiness!

Love,
Lauren & Raine

Buckwheat Blueberry & Poppy Seed Muffins

Buckwheat Blueberry Muffins

Firstly, we both want to thank you all for the amazing response we’ve had to our blog after only going live yesterday – we appreciate it so much!

I really went out on a limb here today. I wanted to make blueberry muffins for my husband for the weekend as he loves them but I’ve never made buckwheat muffins so I decided to really experiment which is sometimes risky as it can go wrong and you end up throwing away a bunch of good ingredients! Thankfully though, these turned out perfectly!

Buckwheat flour is the perfect substitute for wheat flour because, although you may think buckwheat is a grain, it is in fact a fruit seed so it’s a great replacement for wheat. Buckwheat also helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and contains lots of phytonutrients that act as anti-oxidants to fight fight disease. Blueberries are also brilliant anti-oxidants. I also used poppy seeds in these because they are a good source of B-Complex vitamins and I’m trying to increase my B-Complex intake to help my nerve pains, something I still suffer from as a by-product of having long-term arthritis.  Poppy seeds are in fact extracted from the pods of the opium poppy, we just don’t get the same side effects with them (!) They are high in oleic acid (a mono-unsaturated fatty acid) so they help lower cholesterol and they are high in fibre. And guess what? They’re also anti-oxidants!

Ingredients (these are gluten free, dairy free and refined-sugar free)

2 cups buckwheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Half tsp Himalayan salt
1 ripe banana, mashed
2 eggs (for vegan, substitute with 2 tbsp chia seeds mixed with 5 tbsp water, mixed and left to set for 20 mins)
Quarter cup almond milk
Quarter cup agave or maple
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries
1-2 tbsp poppy seeds, depending on your preference

Method

Preheat the oven to 180.
Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and add the mashed banana, then add the almond milk, agave and vanilla. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix well. It doesn’t matter if there are a few lumps from the bananas but make sure you mix in all the flour from the bottom of the bowl. Then add the blueberries and poppy seeds.
Place around 9-12 muffin cases in a cupcake oven tray and using a large spoon, spoon in the mixture into each one, filling to nearly the top.
Bake for 20-30 minutes, until golden and fairly moist.
Enjoy warm or cooled.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Love,
Lauren

Gluten-free Zucchini & Buckwheat Pizza

photo-2

My son went through a phase where he wanted to eat nothing but pizza. It was driving me crazy (processed white dough, sugary tomato sauce and processed cheese? Not good enough for my boy!) so I came up with this wheat, gluten, sugar and dairy-free recipe using buckwheat and zucchini (AKA courgette or baby marrow.) I was worried that he wouldn’t like it because buckwheat flour has quite a strong flavour but both he and my husband love it! I have since started using buckwheat flour for many recipes.

For the “cheese” I use Yum Universe’s dairy and soy-free recipe for Vegan Ricotta (why improve on perfection?!) It’s a super easy recipe made from cashew nuts.
My husband prefers dairy cheese so I use organic cheddar from grass-fed cows. Sometimes for my son I’ll use a bit of cheddar and some goat’s cheese, as goat’s milk is much more digestible for humans than cow’s milk. He also enjoys the vegan cheese though.

Ingredients

For the base:

1 cup buckwheat flour
3/4 tsp Oryx Desert Salt
1 tsp baking powder (try to use aluminium-free)
1 tbsp chia seeds, ground in a coffee grinder
1 egg (farm-raised)
2 tbsp olive oil
a bit of water
160g raw zucchini

For the sauce:

Olive oil for frying
1 medium size onion, chopped
3 big cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tin organic tomatoes
1 fresh medjool date
1 or 2 leaves of basil
1/2 tsp Oryx Desert Salt
about 1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Method

Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and ground chia.
Break the zucchini into chunks and place into a food processor. Blend into fine crumbs, scraping down the sides if necessary to get all the bits the same size. Alternatively, use a grater.
Beat the egg and olive oil together, along with 1 tbsp water, and then add the zucchini.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients. You may need a little bit more water, but make sure to combine everything well before trying to add more. It will seem too dry and then suddenly it will come together into a dough. This is a very sticky dough, so be careful not to add too much water! Place in the fridge while you make the sauce.

Fry the onion in some olive oil until softened. Add the garlic and fry for a few minutes until it starts to caramelise. Add the tin of tomatoes and the date. Turn down the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for at least 30 minutes. The longer it simmers the more the flavour will develop.
Place the sauce in the blender, along with the salt, basil and lemon. Blend until smooth. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. The trick with a good tomato sauce is getting the correct balance between sweet and sour, so don’t be scared to add a bit more lemon or another date if you think it needs it! This sauce freezes very well so I often make a double batch and freeze half for a day when I am in a rush. You could also use it as a base for a pasta sauce.

Preheat the oven to 200 C.
Oil a large baking tray liberally with olive oil. I find it best to make smaller pizzas so that the base cooks evenly and gets nice and crispy on the edges. So use about 60 – 80g of dough per pizza – one is enough for a child, two for a hungry man.
Place your weighed dough on the tray and sprinkle with buckwheat flour (so your fingers don’t stick.) Gently press the dough out with your finger tips until you have a round of thin dough.
At this point I often finely grate some fresh carrot over the base for added veggies. Then cover the base with your sauce. (If using the vegan cheese it helps to make a little “lip” around the edge of the dough and sauce, to stop the cheese running off.)
Now add your toppings. In this photo I’ve used kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes (I use organic, sulphur-free ones which I soak in hot water for a few minutes to soften), onion, basil and avo. Add avo and fresh herbs only after cooking. Other good toppings are caramelised onion, sautéed mushrooms, smoked salmon & rocket… use your imagination!
Now top with your cheese. If using the vegan cheese, simply blend all the ingredients until smooth and then pour directly onto the pizza (rather than heating in a saucepan as the recipe states.) The cheese will thicken as the pizza cooks in the oven. If you have any leftover cheese you can heat it in a saucepan and refrigerate in a jar.

Bake in the oven for about 15 – 20 minutes until crispy around the edges. Yum!

Health & happiness…
Love,
Raine

Zucchini & Cauliflower Gluten Free Pizza Base

pizza

Mmmm pizza! It’s taken a while and a few failed experiments but I’ve finally mastered the gluten free pizza base and here it is… I had it in my head that I wanted to make the base with courgette (zucchini) and cauliflower, so if your kids (or husbands!) don’t like veggies you can always hide it in this base, although I do think it’s good for kids to see their veggies so that they learn to love them and not have to have them hidden when they grow up 🙂 This isn’t a vegan recipe, but it is suitable for vegetarians. Raine will add her gluten and dairy-free pizza shortly!

Ingredients

For the base:
1 large cauliflower
4 courgettes
2 eggs, beaten (if you don’t like using eggs use 2 tbsp flax seeds with 6 tbsp water, mixed and left to set for 20 mins)
Half cup ground almonds
Quarter cup parmesan cheese
Quarter cup grated cheddar
Salt & Pepper
1 tsp ground oregano
1 tsp ground basil

For the sauce:
1 tin of tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp ground basil
Pinch of salt

Topping:
Cheese, grated
Choice of vegetables

Method

Preheat the oven to 180. Chop up the courgette and cauliflower and steam together for 7 minutes. Once ready, line a colander with a thin dish cloth and empty the vegetables into this. Then you need to start wringing out all the moisture. Keep wringing for as long as possible until as much moisture as possible has left the vegetables and they look almost dry. Once you’re confident this is done, put in a food processor and blitz quickly – it doesn’t need to be completely blended.

Once blended, add to a bowl with the eggs, ground almonds, both cheeses, salt, pepper and herbs and mix well.

Smooth out onto a baking-paper lined baking tray (or a stone pizza base if you have one!)

pizza base

Put in oven and leave for around 30-40 minutes or until you can see it browning.

While it’s in the oven, make the sauce by adding all ingredients to a saucepan and simmering on low. Cut the vegetables at this time too. I used red pepper, onion, mushroom and some leftover cauliflower.

Once the pizza starts browning slightly, add the sauce and vegetables and continue baking for another 20 minutes or until vegetables are soft.

Take out the oven, slice, serve and wait for the compliments!

Love,
Lauren

Plain Buckwheat Pancakes

plain buckwheat pancakes

I’ve always had an obsession with pancakes, even, I’m ashamed to say, the super unhealthy stacks of American style pancakes. So recently, I’ve set about trying to make the perfect healthy pancakes using buckwheat flour and I think I’ve perfected them! Buckwheat flour is amazing because, although you may think buckwheat is a grain, it is in fact a fruit seed so it’s great for people who are sensitive to grains, and really, we should all try and substitute other grains with buckwheat. Buckwheat also helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and contains lots of phytonutrients that act as anti-oxidants and fight disease.

Other great ingredients in these pancakes are flax seeds and lucuma. Flax seeds are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids or ‘good fats’, they are also an anti-oxidant and they contain plenty of fibre. If you don’t have flax seeds around you could use chia seeds instead and use the same method to create a vegan ‘egg’. (It doesn’t look or taste like an egg but acts in the same way when baking.) Lucuma has tons of nutrients, acts as an anti-inflammatory, and is also excellent for the skin for anti-ageing!

You can top with fruit, nuts, seeds, maple – anything you like, have a play around!

Ingredients (makes about 6 pancakes)

4 flax ‘eggs’ (make by mixing 4 tbsp ground flax seeds with 10 tbsp water and put into the fridge for 30 mins)
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 heaped tsp baking powder
1 heaped tbsp lucuma powder
1 ½ ripe bananas
1 tbsp agave nectar
1 cup of almond milk (or any nut milk of choice)
Coconut oil for cooking

Method

Sift flour, baking powder and lucuma into a bowl. Add mashed banana, agave and milk, then add the flax eggs and mix well.

Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and once hot, add a ladle full of the mixture and spoon into a pancake shape. Cook for one minute then flip, the other side should take quicker than a minute.

You can add a tbsp. cacao to the mix or blueberries and top with anything you like! Here I have made acai coconut cream by taking the creamy top part from a tin of coconut milk and opened an acai capsule into it and blended.

Enjoy!

Love,
Lauren