Valentine’s Pancakes

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These look like they’re filled with some sort of nasty artificial colouring, right? Wrong! Can you guess what the pink colour is? OK I’ll tell you… it’s beetroot! I love my healthy pancake recipe but I wanted to make something extra special for Valentine’s Day without using artificial colouring and all the colourings and flavours we need are already found in nature. I used my usual recipe, just added beetroot and changed it very slightly. I promise it doesn’t taste of beetroot either – they just taste like insanely yummy and fluffy pancakes. So easy to make as well, oh and they’re vegan too!

If you’re trying to be healthy but want to treat your partner to breakfast in bed this Valentine’s Day, you can’t get better than these. Yummy, nutritious – both buckwheat flour and beetroot are good for the blood and lowering cholesterol. The chocolate sauce is full of protein and is a great aphrodisiac – just what you need for Valentine’s Day!

Ingredients

Half cup buckwheat flour
1 beetroot, peeled, chopped and steamed (or ready cooked)
2 tbsp ground flax seeds
5 tbsp purified water
1 ripe banana
Half cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp maple or agave
Pinch Himalayan salt
Coconut oil for cooking

Method

First, mix the flax seeds in a bowl with the water and put in the fridge for 10 minutes to create flax ‘eggs’.

While it’s in the fridge, start preparing the rest. Add all the ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth. Once the flax eggs are ready, add this to the mix and blend until smooth.

Transfer this to a bowl so it’s easier to access with the ladle.

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Use a non-stick pan and heat some coconut oil in the middle, just a little, and when it’s hot, add a small ladle full of the mixture to the centre and spoon it over to create a pancake shape. It will only need around a minute on each side, but all hobs are different so you want it to be fluffy and cooked on the inside but not burnt on the outside. Repeat until the mixture is used up.

Top with homemade chocolate sauce or maple syrup, coconut cream or any topping of choice.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

LOVE,
Lauren

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Cream of Mushroom and Thyme Soup

Mushroom Thyme Soup

These flavours go so well together I just had to do it! I got a load of mushrooms in my Abel & Cole delivery this week so soup it is! I love making a soup at the beginning of the week that will last me for the whole week… great for lunch alongside a salad or on its own with some Biona organic Rye bread 🙂

Ingredients

A box of mushrooms – about 10-12 – chopped
1 onion – peeled and chopped
1 potato, peeled and chopped
1 can coconut milk
1 cup organic vegetable stock
About 6 sprigs of fresh thyme, without branches (add more if you like)
Salt & pepper to taste
Half tsp coconut oil

Method

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Once hot, add onion and cook for 1 minute, then add the mushrooms and cook for a further minute. Add the potato until coated in the oil then add the stock, and then the coconut milk.

Leave to heat for around two minutes then add the thyme, salt and pepper. Stir well, turn down heat, add lid and leave to simmer for an hour.

Once ready, blend fully (in a blender or with a handheld) and serve.

Enjoy!
Love,
Lauren

Strawberry Banana Acai Smoothie Bowl

Strawberry Acai Bowl2

You’ve probably seen my Acai Berry Smoothie Bowl and this one is not dissimilar, I just used slightly different ingredients.

I try to open a few acai capsules into my breakfast every few days because the acai berries have been tested to hold more polyphenols and antioxidants than pretty much any other food. You get polyphenols from other berries, especially blueberries, but acai berries have them in an abundance never seen before. They are indigenous to the Amazon in Brazil and have only recently become public knowledge – great for us! Polyphenols make us happy and also help us prevent and beat degenerative diseases such as cancer and autoimmune diseases. Polyphenols also make your skin look and feel incredible so including them in your diet as well as using them as a beauty product will help not only your inner health, but your outer health too! Acai berries are also rich in fatty acids omegas 3, 6 & 9 which is all you need for that anti-inflammatory boost.

This really is so easy to make guys, so ditch the cardboard-like, sugar-filled, store-bought cereals and have this yummy creation for brekkie!

Ingredients

1 cup strawberries
1 heaped tbsp almond butter
2 dates
2 tbsp Coyo coconut yoghurt (optional but makes it extra creamy)
3 acai berry capsules, opened and sprinkled in
1 probiotic capsule, opened and sprinkled in (optional but great for gut health)
3 tbsp almond milk
2 bananas, one pre-frozen and one fresh

Optional toppings:
Granola
N
uts
Seeds
Fruit
Goji berries

Method

Simply put all the ingredients into your food processor or blender, except for the fresh banana, in the exact order as they appear, and start blender on a low speed and increase gradually. Once creamy pour into a bowl and top with anything you like such as nuts, seeds, goji berries, fruit, granola – the world is your acai bowl!

Happy breakfast!
Love,
Lauren

Book Club Bakes

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Most book clubs are known for their wine drinking more than talking about books. At my book club it’s more about eating! And when I’m hosting, my fellow book-clubbers expect some tasty treats and today I hope not to disappoint!

I’ve posted the recipes separately and you can find them here – Raw Cacao Chia Cookies & Chunky Monkey Peanut Butter Cookies – but I just wanted to put up this post to show that if you are hosting, whether it be a book club or simply having the girls round (or guys), you can offer your guests some of these quick, easy, healthy and nutritious treats.

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Happy reading!

Love,
Lauren

Cacao Maca Overnight Oats

Cacao Almond Butter Maca Overnight oats

Before getting used to this lifestyle of natural, real, non-processed, organic and plant-based food, it’s easy to wonder what one might have for breakfast every day. Westerners are the perfect consumers; we fall to the feet of advertising campaigns and as a result, we believe that breakfast means either toast (gluten), boxed, store-bought cereals (gluten, sugar, salt, dairy) or, if you’re from England, a full English (fried, fatty meats). So when I’m helping people with their diets, the first thing they ask is ‘what am I supposed to have for breakfast?’ Actually, breakfast is one of the easiest meals to be vegan, gluten free, dairy free and sugar free! You just need to get into the swing of it and, well, forget everything you’ve ever been taught! Of course, any change of lifestyle takes some getting used to and it may seem like a lot more work than pouring some cereal out of a box but seriously, give it a go! You’ll realise how easy and delicious our recipes are and how easy it is to start your day right and help your kids do the same. Just check out our breakfast page. If you make small changes, like starting with learning new breakfast recipes, you’ll slowly notice the chemicals in all the foods we buy, and you’ll see how easy it is to make a full change.

I’ve become a massive fan of superfood powders recently and Maca is just amazing. Maca is from Peru and legend has it that it was taken by Incan warriors before going into battle because of its amazing energy-enhancing qualities. It is known in the natural health world as the ‘natural caffeine’ and is an amazing substitute because it doesn’t give you any of the nasty side-effects associated with caffeine but it gives you a huge energy boost, with none of the comedown. It also increases stamina and boosts sex drive. All great reasons to add it to your diet! I get mine from Organic Burst. Just adding a spoonful into your oatmeal, porridge, cereal or smoothie will help your energy levels. I also added cacao and almond butter to this for extra protein. It was so yummy I made it again the next day!

Ingredients (makes one portion but double ingredients to make enough for 2)

Half cup organic rolled oats
1 cup almond milk
1 tsp maca powder
1 tsp raw cacao powder
1 tsp almond butter
1 tsp agave

Method

Simply mix all the ingredients in a bowl, making sure you mix really well so that the powders get fully absorbed. Put it in a jar with a lid or cover bowl with cling film and leave in the fridge overnight. Enjoy the next morning topped with fruit, nuts, seeds – anything you fancy!

Love, light and positive energy for the weekend.
Lauren

Gluten-free Zucchini & Buckwheat Pizza

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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, sautĂ©ed 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

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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

Mung Bean Sprout & Corn Salad, with Asian Dressing

mung bean sprout & corn salad

On Wednesday evenings I do an ashtanga yoga class, so I need to have a lunch with enough protein and carbs to keep me going, but still light enough not to weigh me down. This delicious salad delivers exactly that!
Protein from the mung bean sprouts, seeds and nuts; healthy carbs from the corn and brown rice; and the dressing has a beautiful nutty flavour from the sesame oil.

Ingredients

2 cups organic baby salad leaves and/or herbs
2 handfuls mung bean sprouts
1 cob of corn, boiled in water and kernels cut off the cob
1/2 cup cooked brown basmati
small handful fresh coriander, chopped
2 Israeli or “mini” cucumbers, sliced
10 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp raw sunflower seeds
1 tbsp raw sesame seeds
handful raw cashew nuts

Method

Toss all the ingredients together with my Asian Dressing

Love,
Raine

Raspberry Coconut Chia Pudding

Chia Pudding with raspberries

Chia seeds are the ultimate health food. Although they contain carbohydrates, most of their carbohydrates are not digested by the body as carbohydrates but as fibre, so it speeds up the metabolism and gives you energy at the same time. They are also loaded with anti-oxidants and omega-3 fatty acids; gram for gram, chia seeds contain more omega-3 than salmon, and they are just an excellent source of protein.

Being a vegetarian doesn’t just mean you don’t eat meat but eat everything on the side, you have to make a conscious effort to know about where to get your protein from and this was a learning curve for me but I make sure I get all my protein from plant-based sources and believe it or not, these sources of protein are actually absorbed better by humans than protein from meat. So chia puddings are the way forward!

Great for baby breakfast!

Ingredients

2 tbsp chia seeds
The creamy bit from 1 can coconut milk (must be the original kind, not light or lower fat) I find the Blue Dragon brand to have the creamiest cream.
5 or 6 raspberries
1 tsp agave nectar (optional)

Method

Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl, making sure to get an even coating of the chia seeds. Cover with cling film and leave in fridge overnight. If you like it sweet you can add the agave, if not, you can omit this.

Enjoy on its own, as a yoghurt, with granola or as a dessert.

Love,
Lauren

Homemade Maple & Pecan Granola

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As you can probably tell by now, I’m a massive breakfast fan. When I started teaching myself about diet, I was so shocked to find out what nasties were in all the usual breakfast cereals; you know, the ones claiming to be ‘the best way to start your day’… they’re basically cardboard and sugar, with heaps of additives and chemicals. I wish the information was more accessible so people knew not to give this stuff to their kids.  Honestly guys, if you want to give your kids the right start to their day, throw away all those boxes of artificial cereals, even the ones claiming to be healthy, and make your own. It really is so easy and CHEAP! I make a huge batch of this and divide it between a few of these jars that I buy from Tesco or Ikea and it keeps fresh for ages… You can serve it with yoghurt – dairy or dairy-free, whatever your preference, or any number of nut or other milks. Add fruit, seeds, anything – kids will love it! For other breakfast ideas check out the breakfast page and the smoothie page. Braxton usually has a smoothie for breakfast most days, packed with superfoods.

Ingredients (for one jar)

4 cups organic rolled oats
1 cup pecans, crushed to about quarter size in a pestle and mortar
1 cup organic natural maple syrup (the real stuff, not the one full of rubbish!)
Half cup sunflower seeds (optional but great for extra calcium)

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees then simply put all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix until all the oats are coated with the syrup.

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Line a baking tray (you may need two trays) with baking paper and place in oven for twenty minutes. Give it a mix around then bake for a further twenty minutes, checking after ten minutes. You want it to go brown and crispy but you don’t want it to burn and some ovens work faster than others.

Love & health,
Lauren