Vegan Peanut Butter Breakfast Cookies

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Crunchy, yet slightly gooey peanut butter cookies. What could be better?

Braxton has decided he’s on hunger strike at the moment so I’m trying to find just anything that he’ll eat and I made these in the hope that he’d like them and he did, he was very happy. Now just to get him to eat broccoli…

We are also going away soon and I wanted to test out new things that I can take as snacks on the plane. Muffins always go down well but I thought that some harder cookies would also make a nice (and less messy) snack. Trying to figure out 24 hours worth of food and snacks for a 14 month old is no easy feat!

Anyway I kind of just threw the ingredients for these together but they turned out so delicious, I’m really happy with them.

Of course, as usual, gluten free, grain free, dairy free, refined-sugar free and vegan.

Ingredients

125g buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch Himalayan salt
45g coconut palm sugar
60ml maple syrup
5 tbsp almond milk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
4 tbsp coconut oil and extra for greasing
5 tbsp peanut butter

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line 2 baking trays with baking paper and grease with coconut oil.

In a bowl, mix together the buckwheat flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt.

In a saucepan over a gentle heat, add the rest of the ingredients except the peanut butter, and heat gently until melted.

Once melted, add the peanut butter and stir until it’s softer.

Once that mixture is smooth, add it to the dry mixture. You might have to get in there with your hands as it could get a little crumbly. If it is too crumbly and won’t stick, add more coconut oil, maple and almond milk, but not too much.

Take a small amount in your hand and roll into a ball shape, then flatten it on the prepared baking tray. Repeat until you finish the mixture.

Bake for 7 minutes. They should look golden around the edge but still white-ish in the middle as they will continue to harden when they come out the oven.

Leave to cool before removing from the trays and keep in an airtight container in a cool place.

Love & health,
Lauren

Cacao & Cashew Oaty Bites

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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

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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

 

Maple, Fig & Ginger Granola

maple-ginger-fig-granola

I know it’s not to everyone’s taste but I’m a big lover of ginger. It’s such a great anti-inflammatory so great to put in food or drink.

When I make granola I usually just do my simple maple and pecan but I fancied a change this time and had so many figs at home also so thought this combination would work really well and it did. I used 2 pieces of stem ginger but if you don’t like it so strong, just use one.

Ingredients

Organic rolled jumbo oats – enough to cover one oven tray (or 2 oven trays if you want a big batch, then just double the ingredients)
Quarter cup pure maple syrup
Pinch Himalayan salt
1 piece stem ginger, cut into very small pieces
4 dried figs, cut in small pieces

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees then line a baking tray with baking paper.

Measure out the oats by covering the tray with them to see how much you need, then transfer them to a large bowl.

Add the maple and salt and mix really well.

Spoon it all onto the baking tray and even it out then put in the oven for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes mix it around as the outside pieces will be browner than the rest and bake for another 10 minutes but don’t let it burn – it should be golden not dark brown.

Remove from the oven and turn the oven off. Now add the ginger and figs, mix really well and put the tray back into the oven (turned off) and leave for 5 minutes

Remove from the oven once again, leave to cool on the tray then transfer to a glass jar or airtight container.

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

 

Vanilla Cashew Butter

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I have the biggest backlog of recipes waiting to go on the blog but this turned out so unbelievably amazing that I had to share it with you! I’m a nut butter fanatic at the best of times but this has now trumped peanut and almond butter. It is so creamy and sweet and wow – just delicious! We finished one jar of it within 2 days and this is the second jar. Requests are coming in from the family now to make more for everyone. You seriously have to make this and spread it on anything – or just eat it off the spoon, whatever, just make it! Oh, and it’s really high in protein so great for spreading on toast for the kids. I actually spread a bit of it on Braxton’s porridge bars for him.

So easy to make and only 2 ingredients – there’s just no need for store bought!

Ingredients

1.5 cups cashews
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla pod

Method

You will need a high-speed blender for this, a normal blender won’t break it down enough unfortunately. I love the Vitamix – you can literally make anything with it!

Heat the oven to 180 degrees. Put the cashews on a roasting tray and put in the oven for 10 minutes, until they go golden but not burnt – keep an eye on them.

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Once they’re out the oven, put them in the blender with either a tsp of vanilla bean paste or the insides of a vanilla pod scraped out and turn the blender up to the highest variable until it starts breaking it down into a thick butter – about 3 minutes.

Once it is a bulky consistency, get it all off the bottom with a spoon, then turn down the variable and the speed and start again on a low speed. Gently increase the speed keeping the variable on low. Over the course of about 3-4 minutes it will make it runny. You should wait until it goes really runny even though you think it might be tasty when it is thick. It’s worth the wait!

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Love and health,
Lauren

Double Decker Banana Cake

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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

 

 

Orange, Cardamom & Fig Cake

 

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I have been making a gluten / dairy / refined sugar-free chocolate orange cake for years and it’s a favourite of my husband and his family. It’s the dessert they request from me most often. I’ve recently discovered my love for cardamom in cakes and I thought, what tastes go better together than orange and cardamom? So I amended my chocolate orange cake slightly to add cardamom and figs.

This cake is gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar-free but it is not vegan as it uses eggs.

It may seem like it would be a difficult cake to make but it’s actually really easy to throw together, the only bits that need a little bit more attention are the figs that will be on the top of the cake, and grinding the cardamom seeds but to honest, neither of these things are difficult, just a little more time consuming.

I made it this weekend for dessert for a BBQ we were hosting and it went down a treat.

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Ingredients

2 large oranges
6 free-range eggs
250g ground almonds
200g coconut palm sugar
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of Himalayan salt
The seeds of 10 cardamom pods
5 or 6 fresh figs

To garnish:
A drizzle of honey or agave nectar
Flaked almonds

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

Put the oranges in a saucepan big enough to be able to cover them with water. Boil for about an hour or until very soft and you can see the skin opening.

Cut into quarters and leave to cool on the chopping board for about 10 minutes. Remove seeds.

Put them in the food processor / blender and blitz until they become a pulp. Add the eggs while the food processor is still working (on a low speed until you put the lid back on) as this will aerate the eggs. Blend well and leave it to the side for the moment.

In a large bowl mix the ground almonds, palm sugar, baking powder and salt. Then open up all the cardamom pods, put them in a pestle and mortar or coffee / spice grinder and grind until they are no longer whole. Once ground, add to the flour mix.

Now spoon the orange mixture into the dry mix and mix really well. Make sure to get all the flour from the bottom and sides of the bowl. Set aside for a moment.

Cut a sheet of baking paper to fit a 23cm springform cake tin and place it at the bottom of the tin then grease generously with coconut oil on the paper and the sides of the tin.

Cut the figs into fine slices and layer them over the bottom of the tin. Once totally covered, add the cake mixture and put it into the oven for 40-45 minutes. Your fork should come out clean but wet – this cake has to be moist.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack for at least an hour – this is important. Once cool, slowly release the buckle of the cake tin and remove, then put a large plate on top of the cake and slowly turn it upside down to release the cake onto the plate. Remove the baking paper.

Sprinkle a handful of flaked almonds on top and drizzle with honey or agave and serve.

Enjoy!

Love,
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

Best Ever Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies

Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies

These need very little introduction! They are by far the best cookies I’ve ever made and I honestly just threw the ingredients together as I was in such a rush so it was hard for me to remember the exact measurements! They are egg, soya, gluten, dairy and sugar free (depending on what chocolate chips you use) and are just too yummy!

Ingredients

1 cup ground almonds
1 ½ cups organic rolled oats
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch Himalayan salt
5 tbsp coconut oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
4 tbsp almond butter
¼ cup almond milk
Handful vegan chocolate chips

Method

Preheat the oven to 180c and line 2 baking trays with baking paper and grease with coconut oil.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.

Add all the wet ingredients to the blender and blend until combined.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well. Add chocolate chips and mix.

 

Form into balls with your hands and press down on them on the prepared baking trays and bake for 10 minutes.

Put the baking sheets with the cookies on them on a wire rack or on top of some tea towels on the work surface (the surface they cool on shouldn’t be cold) to cool away from the heat of the baking trays so they don’t crisp up too much. Once cool put in an airtight container.

Enjoy!

Love,
Lauren