Chocolate Truffle Hearts

There is nothing inside these chocolates that makes them ‘truffles’ necessarily, it’s just that the mixture is so decadent that when it sets thickly – as it does in the heart-shapes moulds I have because they’re so deep – it honestly tastes and feels like Belgian chocolate truffles melting into your mouth, and yet totally free of refined sugar, dairy, gluten, eggs and preservatives.

They look impressive but I’ll let you into a little secret: they are so easy to make! 4 simple ingredients and that’s it. All you need other than that is a saucepan, a spoon and a silicone heart mould. I used one similar to this.

Fancy treating your loved one? Or just want to keep something rich and decadent nearby for those days when you’re really craving chocolate? These are the ones!

Ingredients

5 tbsp coconut oil
5 tbsp raw cacao powder
2-3 tbsp maple syrup (depending on your preference of sweetness)
2 tbsp cashew butter

Method

Simply put all the chocolate ingredients into a saucepan and melt gently over a low heat, stirring often.

Once it’s melted, use a teaspoon to spoon into the little hearts and put it in the fridge to set for a couple of hours then turn out and store in a container in the fridge.

Devour!

Love & 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

 

Roasted Vegetable Pasta (Gluten Free) with RawSpiceBar Chipotle Spice Mix

roasted-veg-pasta

I was recently sent this month’s spice collection by RawSpiceBar. I’d never tried their spice mixes before so thought I’d give this one a go and added their Chipotle Salt spice mix to a roasted vegetable pasta, to make a normal everyday meal a bit more exciting.

It tasted amazing and what I love about it is that all the spices are organic, ethically sourced, sugar-free, gluten-free, paleo and vegan.

If you like flavour but are not too sure how to incorporate it into every day cooking, head over to RawSpiceBar and sign up to their monthly spice box and receive 3 freshly ground, recipe-ready flavour kits, direct to your door each month.

Ingredients

Brown rice pasta (enough for however many people you’re cooking for)
1 courgette
1 red pepper
2 red onions
Extra virgin olive oil
Half a tin of tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 sachet RawSpiceBar Chipotle Salt mix
2 cloves garlic, sliced
Half tsp paprika
Half tsp cumin
Himalayan salt & black pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Chop the vegetables and add them to a large bowl and drizzle the olive oil over, then pour the RawSpiceBar mix over and mix well.

Put onto a baking tray and bake for around half an hour.

In a small saucepan add the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, garlic, salt, pepper, paprika and cumin and leave on a low light, stirring quite often. Season more as needed. You’ll want to leave this on the heat for about the same amount of time that the vegetables are in the over, around half an hour, so don’t cook the pasta until the end.

When the sauce has thickened and looks ready, boil the pasta as per the packet instructions.

Once ready, drain the pasta in a colander, preserving a smidgen of water back.

Add the tomato sauce to the saucepan and mix well, then add the vegetables and mix.

Serve immediately.

Love & health,
Lauren

 

 

Turmeric Latte

Turmeric Latte

When I was going through my postpartum arthritis flare I had one of these every day. For inflammatory diseases, we’d be silly not to. Turmeric has a hugely high anti-inflammatory content so it’s amazing for inflammation but also great for daily health. In India people drink turmeric drinks every day. My friend Shivani was actually the one who told me to do this a few years ago. She started giving this drink to her son as soon as he turned 1!

It sounds like it’s going to be a bit gruesome but it’s actually really yummy and fulfilling.

Ingredients

Half a mug almond milk
Half a tsp organic, high-grade turmeric
tsp agave, maple or honey
Quarter tsp cinnamon and 1 cinnamon stick if you want

Method

Heat the almond milk in a saucepan.

When it starts bubbling gently add the sweetener and turmeric and mix well. Let it heat a bit more before transferring it to a mug and then sprinkle the cinnamon and add the cinnamon stick if using.

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

 

Mushroom & Spinach Frittata

Mushroom spinach frittata

Another easy dinner choice, a variation on my last frittata. You can pretty much add anything you want to it – whatever is in the fridge and needs to be used. It’s one of those ‘Thursday night meals’!

Ingredients

6 organic free-range eggs
1 tsp English mustard
2 potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
Half a bag of spinach
A generous helping of button mushrooms
About 8 cherry tomatoes
Handful of parsley
Splash of almond milk
Salt & pepper (I used Oryx desert salt)
Coconut oil or spread of choice for the pan

Method

Boil your potatoes (already sliced) for no more than 5 minutes. Drain and set aside. Cut up the tomatoes into quarters, chop the mushrooms, roughly chop the parsley and wash and drain the spinach.

Beat the eggs in a bowl, then add the almond milk, mustard, salt and pepper.

Melt the oil or vegan butter in a large frying pan. Once hot, add the egg mix, then add the potatoes, pushing them down so they are semi-covered by the eggs. Then add the rest of the veg and do the same thing.

Turn the heat to medium-high and let it cook for around 5 minutes. While it’s doing this, turn on your grill.

Once the frittata has cooked on the bottom, put the pan under the grill for a further few minutes, until you can see it has cooked through.

Serve with a crisp, fresh salad.

Enjoy!

Love,
Lauren

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