Classic (But Healthy) Banana Bread

 

banana-bread

Happy new year everyone! Kicking off the very cold new year with a hearty banana bread – the best comfort food for cold days. This is my classic banana bread recipe but I had loads of bananas leftover that I needed to use up so I decided to stick on in the middle (coated in chocolate of course) and see how it comes out! It was yummy 🙂

Wishing all my followers a very happy and healthy new year. Let this be the year that we respect our bodies for all that they do. We need to stop putting pressure on ourselves to look a certain way and just eat and live healthily to give our bodies the best chance. Lots of love ❤

Ingredients

3 large very ripe bananas, mashed (if they are small, use 4)
1 whole banana for the middle (optional)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 heaped tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp flax seeds
4 tbsp filtered water
1 cup buckwheat flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp ground cinnamon

Chocolate sauce to coat the banana in (optional):
2 tbsp cacao powder
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp tsp cashew butter

Method

(Quick note: if you want this to  be quick and simple, just leave out the optional chocolate-covered banana in the middle, the cake will be just as nice!)

Preheat the oven to 180° and line a loaf tin with baking paper and grease with coconut oil.

Make the chocolate sauce by melting all the sauce ingredients on a gentle heat in a saucepan. Coat the whole banana in the chocolate sauce and leave in the fridge to set.

Mix the flax seeds in a small bowl with the water and set aside so it can set. (this is a flax ‘egg’ and used instead of eggs.)

Mash the other 3 bananas in a large bowl and add the coconut oil and maple, then add the flax mix and mix well.

Now add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.

Move just under half the batter into the loaf tin then put the chocolate-covered banana on top. Now add the rest of the mix on top of the banana.

Put it in the oven for around 25–30 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean. My oven tends to cook things much quicker than most so it’s been a bit of a learning curve, your oven may need more time.

Leave on a wire rack to cool then turn out of the loaf tin onto a plate.

Delicious served with peanut or almond butter!

Enjoy!

Love and health,
Lauren

Cacao & Cashew Oaty Bites

cashew-cacao-oaty-bites

I may even go as far as to say that these are the tastiest things I’ve ever made…

I have to be honest, I wasn’t sure if it would even work but oh dear lord they do! So simple; literally took 5 minutes, 1 spoon, 1 saucepan and a cup, and to make it even more exciting, there is no refined sugar, dairy or gluten and totally vegan. It makes giving sweet treats to kids easier. Braxton is 13 months and has never had refined sugar and I want to keep it like that. If he always has treats that taste this good, hopefully he’ll never feel the need to binge on the rubbish stuff 🙂

Cacao is also a great plant-based protein which is essential for babies, as well as the essential fatty acids in the coconut oil.

Basically, MAKE THESE!

I used Biona coconut oil, coconut palm sugar and cashew butter as I prefer their ingredients so use them wherever I can ❤

Ingredients

3 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp coconut palm sugar
3 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp almond milk
1.5 tbsp cacao powder
4 tbsp cashew butter
1 cup organic rolled oats

cashew-cacao-oaty-bites-2

Method

Heat all the ingredients except the cashew butter and oats in a pan, on a low heat, very gently until combined.

Once melted, turn off the heat and stir in the cashew butter and keep stirring until fully incorporated.

Now add the oats and stir until totally mixed into the mixture.

Wait until it’s cooler, then spoon a tbsp. full onto a plate that has baking paper on and press into cookie shapes.

Leave to cool then once cool put in the fridge for an hour until set.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Love and health,
Lauren

 

Vegan Pumpkin Donuts

donuts-edited

Yup, so this actually happened in my kitchen today!! I’d been seeing a lot of pictures of donuts around and my friend Deepa at GirlBoyFoodBaby made some healthy donuts also, so I decided to give it a go.

I wanted to make them using pumpkin (had a bee in my bonnet) so that they were autumnal (best word) and obviously now it’s made from a vegetable it’s basically like eating a salad so I can have as many as I want, right??

I found an organic pumpkin puree at Ocado which worked great. I could have pureed my own of course but these are so time consuming that I thought I’d buy the tinned one seeing as it was organic! This is the pumpkin puree I used…

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Speaking of time consumption, this deserves a warning… the donuts themselves do not take long to make at all. About 10 minutes prep and 7 minutes in the oven, but the toppings take a while. That is if you want to do different kinds like I did. If you just do one kind, you can whip it up while the donuts are in the oven and cooling and it won’t take too long at all. As usual, it’s really just the clearing up that takes up most of the time with baking… Surely I deserve to have someone to wash my dishes for me by now right?? 🙂

Anyway time-consuming toppings aside, does it really matter? I mean look how awesome they look! And they taste awesome too. Of course they taste nothing like a Krispy Kreme, but then again, I wouldn’t want it to. I want Braxton to grow up appreciating natural sweetness and natural flavours, not artificial rubbish filled with sugar and preservatives. Speaking of which, I used a lot of Biona products for these. Including their coconut palm sugar and coconut oil. I love how natural and organic their products are. Great for our health and for the environment.

You’ll need a donut tin for this, I got mine on Amazon and it looks like this…

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We took these with to our sister-in-law for dinner and everyone seemed to really enjoy them. We’ve saved one over for Braxton for a snack later (well, he’ll have a quarter) I hope you enjoy them xx

Ingredients (ingredients for toppings below at bottom of method)

1 flax egg: 1 tbsp ground flax seeds mixed with 1.5 tbsp water
1 heaped cup buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Pinch Himalayan salt
1/3 cup Biona coconut palm sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup almond milk
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and lightly grease the holes of the donut tin with coconut oil.

First, make the flax ‘egg’ by mixing the flax seeds with the water in a very small bowl and set aside.

Now mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl: buckwheat, baking powder, bicarb, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.

In another bowl mix the coconut palm sugar, pumpkin puree, almond milk, maple, coconut oil, vanilla and then add the flax ‘egg’. Whisk with a fork or balloon whisk until smooth.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until totally incorporated.

Put the mixture into the prepared holes in the tin using your hands and smoothing them out on the top.

Place in oven and bake for about 7 minutes or until a fork comes out clean. They should still be moist.

Turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool fully before adding the toppings.

Topping choices:
Cinnamon vanilla glaze: In a small bowl mix 3 tbsp Natvia icing sugar, 1 tbsp warm water, quarter tsp vanilla extract. Spoon unevenly over the top of the donuts, then sprinkle with cinnamon.
Cashew cream: In a small bowl mix 2 tbsp cashew butter, 1 tsp melted coconut oil, half tsp vanilla, half tsp maple syrup. Spoon all over the tops and sides of donut and top with crushed cashews.
Chocolate: 1 tbsp cacao butter, 1 tbsp coconut oil, 1 tbsp cacao powder, 1 tsp maple. Heat gently in a saucepan and once ready, add to the top of the donuts. You can cover it then top with pistachios or almonds or you could drizzle it with a spoon.

Hope you enjoy these as much as we did!

Love & health,
Lauren

Lemon & Coconut Energy Balls

Lemon Coconut Energy Balls

So I was attempting to make some almond butter but my Vitamix stopped working so before the almonds got smooth enough I was left with a thicker butter. I didn’t want it to go to waste so I just mixed them with dates and other bits to make some energy balls.

I love the combination of lemon and coconut – it’s so summery and refreshing.

Ingredients

1 cup almonds (soaked for 6 hours)
1 cup dates
2 tbsp maple syrup or 1 tbsp Natvia (for lower GI or diabetics use Natvia)
Zest and juice from 1 lemon
2 tbsp desiccated coconut and more to coat

Method

After the almonds have soaked, rinse and pat them dry, then put them in the blender and blend until a thick buttery consistency forms.

Now add the dates and blend until incorporated.

Add the maple, zest, lemon juice and coconut and blend until combined.

Spoon the mixture into a bowl as it’s easier to work with than when it’s in the blender. Get a clean plate and start rolling the mixture into small balls in your hands and put them on the plate.

Once they are all made, sprinkle the desiccated coconut over them and roll them around to coat them completely.

Chill in the fridge for 4 hours before eating and keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Love & health,
Lauren

 

Vegan Lemon & Poppy Seed Muffins

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

I love muffins and cupcakes, but I try to stay away from the ones packed with refined sugar, gluten and dairy these days. My favourite was always lemon and poppy seed so I thought I’d try to make my own today. I’m loving using my Natvia natural sugar substitute and wanted to try it in muffins and they turned out beautifully – a real indulgent afternoon snack with a cup of herbal tea!

Ingredients

2 flax eggs (mix 2 tbsp ground flax seed with 5 tbsp water and leave aside in a bowl)
¼ cup vegan margarine / non-dairy butter/spread (room temperature, soft)
¼ cup Natvia
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp almond milk
2 tbsp poppy seeds
2 tbsp maple syrup (optional, omit for diabetics or low GI)

Frosting:
2 tbsp non-dairy butter / marge at room temperature
2 tbsp Natvia
2 tbsp lemon juice

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a cupcake / muffin baking tin with cupcake cases.

Prepare your flax eggs by mixing the flax seeds and water in a bowl and setting aside.

Put the margarine in a bowl and whip with a fork or a handheld whip.

Add the Natvia and mix, then add the flax eggs and mix until totally combined.

Add the vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest and combine.

Now add the buckwheat flour, slowly, and mix as you go until you have added it all, then add the baking powder, then the almond milk and poppy seeds and mix until incorporated.

Spoon the mixture between the cupcake cases and bake for around 12 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean but they are still fairly moist.

Love & health,
Lauren

 

 

Flapjacks For Breastfeeding Mamas (& everyone else!)

Sticky Oaty Flapjacks

My friend just had a baby and was really determined to make breastfeeding work. I always found that the best gift anyone could bring me after having the baby was food. And healthy food. You don’t have time to cook so you just have to take whatever anyone gives you or whatever is convenient which usually means you eat really badly for the first few months. Not only is this not good for our bodies but of course whatever you eat goes through to your milk so it affects the baby too. One of my biggest struggles after having Braxton was trying to maintain my healthy diet when I was just too exhausted to cook and of course when he slept, I didn’t want to be in the kitchen, I wanted to sleep!

I also really struggled with breastfeeding – it didn’t come easily to me at all – but I got there eventually. I was told to eat lots of oats to increase my supply so I eventually got into the kitchen to make some flapjacks as the store-bought ones are just so full of sugar. They were so yummy and such an easy snack to have next to me during those early days of being absolutely ravenous every time he even approached my boobs! So I made these for my friend also and thought I’d share the recipe.

These are also fab for baby led weaning, I’d suggest just omitting the sunflower seeds.

Ingredients

250g organic rolled oats
15 dates (if they’re big, 20 if they’re smaller)
Quarter cup ground flaxseeds
3 tbsp sunflower seeds
5 tbsp coconut oil
3 tbsp peanut butter
5 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp chia seeds mixed with 8 tbsp water

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a silicone baking tin with baking paper and grease with coconut oil.

Soak your dates for about half an hour in purified water so they soften and once they’re soaking, mix the chia seeds with the water and leave aside to set.

Heat the coconut oil in a pan and add the peanut butter and maple. Once combined add the dates and mix, then put it all in a food processor.

Blend until smooth, then add the oats and chia mix and blitz a little bit but you still want the oats to be in solid pieces.

Tip into a bowl and add the sunflower seeds an mix around until they are evenly spread throughout the mixture.

Now spoon the mixture into the prepared baking tin and bake for 12-15 minutes. Check it at 12 minutes and see if the top is starting to go golden, if it is, take them out. They need to be moist and not overcooked.

Leave on a cooling rack until completely cool – if you cut them while they are hot they won’t stick together.

Once cool cut into squares and store in an airtight container.

Love & health,
Lauren

 

Tamari Roasted Almonds & Why Fats Are So Important

Tamari Roasted Almonds

The never-ending battle: trying to find healthy snacks to fill in those gaps between meals. I’ve always liked a snack, especially late afternoon, but since having a baby it’s almost a necessity! Not only does the constant running around and never sitting down mean that I need more energy, but breastfeeding also leaves me needing more calories. But I don’t want unhealthy calories, (I also want to lose the last of this dreaded baby weight!) I want to eat things that my body will appreciate, foods that give me the right sort of energy. If I am eating fatty foods, they should be the right sort of fats, which is where nuts, avocados and coconut oil come in.

This leads me to my next point: the importance of fats in our diet: the recent ‘fat-free’ craze may be causing more issues to our health than we realise. Please stay away from the diets and plans that tell you to stay away from fat, buy fat-free ‘foods’ and that fat is the devil. Of course, an excess of fat is dangerous and will make you put on weight, but anything in excess is not good. Just like animals and plants, we need fat for growth and our babies need it even more. What babies need mostly is fat, protein, vegetables (for other vitamins such as calcium), in that order, and anything else isn’t as essential.

Our bodies cannot make fat, it needs to come from our diet and we rely on it for energy and we can get this through essential fatty acids. Unlike carbohydrates, fat is stored as a ‘reserve’ type of energy. If you eat too much, it will appear as ‘fat’ but in the right amounts your body will thrive from it.

Fats give us myelin, a fatty material which wraps around our nerve cells so that they can send electrical messages. Our brains contain large amounts of essential fats and when we don’t get enough fats through our diets it can cause brain problems. We have seen a huge increase in early-onset dementia in the last ten years and in my humble opinion, part of this is down to our obsession with fat-free diets. People aren’t getting enough fat so their brains aren’t getting what they need and are therefore not developing properly; this lack of fat makes room for brain malfunctions such as dementia and other issues.

I used to think that certain illnesses could certainly be prevented but things like dementia were totally out of our control. WRONG. Diet and lifestyle can basically determine the rest of your life. Then we’ve got the need for omega-3 and omega-6 fats and these control insulin levels so again, even diabetes can be controlled and prevented.

So throw out the ‘fat-free’ and ‘low fat’ foods and, as I always advocate, buy only real, whole, natural foods that are not man-made. Of course it’s easier to buy a whole bunch of fat free, processed foods so that you can lose weight but how much will that benefit us in the long run?

Great foods you can eat to increase your healthy fat intake are avocados, coconut oil and nuts and great foods to increase your omega-3 intake are flaxseeds, walnuts, oily fish and tofu.

I hope this helps explain the need for fats… now onto the recipe…

Ingredients

1.5 cups raw organic almonds, soaked overnight
1 tsp coconut oil
2 tbsp tamari

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and place some baking paper on a baking tray.

Once the almonds have soaked, drain them and pat them dry with a bit of kitchen roll then pop them on the oven tray.

Dollop the coconut oil on top. It will be solid (unless it’s a particularly hot day) so just put it in the oven like this for a minute or 2 until it melts. Once it’s melted, take the tray out and mix it over the almonds then add the tamari and mix it all around.

Leave in the oven for 20 minutes. They should be hard but not burnt. Check on them after 10 minutes.

Keep in an airtight container or ziplock bag (once cooled) for up to 2 weeks.

Love & health,
Lauren

 

Raw Vegan Cappuccino Brownies

Cappucino Brownies

Perfect healthy brownies! So gooey and fudgey and delicious and amazing as a chocolatey treat for the kids that is still full of nutrients with no naughty ingredients…

Ingredients

½ cup pecans
¾ cup hazelnuts
2 cups dates, pitted and soaked in water for half an hour
1/3 cup cacao powder
2 tbsp maple syrup
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp finely ground coffee (I like Elite instant coffee) and some extra for sprinkling

Optional creamy top layer:
1 can coconut milk (full fat) – put this in the fridge for at least 4 hours before it is needed
3 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp cacao powder

Method

Put the pecans and hazelnuts in the food processor and blend until they make a fine meal but just before the point that they start turning into a butter.

Spoon the mixture away from the blades. Drain the dates and squeeze a little of the excess liquid off them then add them to the blender with the nuts and blend until well combined.

At this point you can either add the rest of the ingredients to the blender or you can spoon the mixture into a large bowl and mix it all in with a large spoon if you find it easier – sometimes I prefer doing it in a bowl, just make sure you mix really well.

Line a square silicone baking tray with baking paper and grease with some coconut oil then spoon the mixture in and even out with a spoon. Put it in the freezer for an hour.

For the creamy top layer: open the can of coconut milk and spoon out the creamy layer at the top. The liquid part after that can be used for cooking. Put it in a saucepan and heat on a low heat then when it starts simmering add the coconut oil, maple syrup and cacao powder and mix well until melted in. Do not let it boil.

Once the bottom layer has frozen, add the top layer, wait until it has cooled then put it in the freezer for another 2 hours.

Remove from the freezer, cut into squares and sprinkle with some more coffee. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Love and health,
Lauren

Double Decker Banana Cake

double-decker-banana-bread-2

It has taken a while, but I have definitely perfected my banana cake recipe (it’s slightly different to my banana bread) although I seriously underestimate my amazing new oven and every recipe seems to need 5 minutes less than in my old oven so the sides are very slightly overdone. I wanted to make this one a bit more exciting than plain banana cake as we were entertaining so I halved the mixture and added cacao to one half to create a double-decker effect. I hope you love it as much as we all did – it got eaten pretty quickly!

Ingredients

4 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 heaped tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp chia or flax seeds
4 tbsp filtered water
1 cup buckwheat flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla bean syrup or vanilla extract
¼ cup almond milk
3 tbsp cacao powder
1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips (optional)

Method

Preheat the oven to 180° and line a loaf tin with baking paper and grease with coconut oil.

Mix the chia or flax seeds in a small bowl with the water and set aside so it can set.

Mash the bananas in a large bowl and add the coconut oil and maple, then add the chia / flax mix and mix well.

Now add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.

Move just under half the batter into another bowl and add the almond milk, cacao powder and vanilla, and, if using, mix in the chocolate chips.

Pour the plain batter into the loaf tin then add the chocolate batter on top. I made it a double-decker but if you want a marbled effect you can cut through the batter with a knife so that the top layer sinks down to the bottom layer in places.

Slice a banana length ways and add to the top of the cake and put it in the oven for 35 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean.

Leave on a wire rack to cool then turn out of the loaf tin onto a plate.

Delicious served with peanut or almond butter!

Enjoy!

Love and health,
Lauren

 

 

Summer Lunch Salad

Winter Lunch Salad

I’m going to give my mum the credit for this one as she came round and made it for me! So yummy and so full wonderful nutritious organic fruits and vegetables and it really filled me up.

Ingredients

Handful fresh spinach
5 radishes
Some asparagus (we only had tinned but best to use fresh, steam first)
Half an avocado
Half a pear
2 boiled eggs
Handful pomegranate
Tsp organic natural maple syrup
Tsp balsamic vinegar

Method

Chop all the veg and put it on a plate then pour the dressings over and add a bit of Himalayan salt if you like. That simple!

Enjoy!

Love,
Lauren