Beetroot Mash

beetroot-mash

How gorgeous and bright does this look for a dull winter’s day? I just love the colours of nature and colours are a great way to entice children to eat vegetables. Beetroots are full of nutrients and are such an important vegetable.

Beetroots are an excellent source of folte so a great food to eat when pregnant or trying to conceive. They are also high in iron, potassium and fibre and are great for the heart. Generally an all-round wonderful vegetable.

I had a bunch of fresh beets in the fridge and juiced a few but wanted something warm so I decided to make this beetroot mash. It’s more like a beetroot puree really as I blended it. So creamy and soft and moreish.

I made something very similar a while back and added horseradish, so if you like a kick to your mash, try that one out!

Ingredients

2 beetroot
5 white potatoes
Quarter cup almond milk
Quarter cup vegetable stock
Himalayan salt & black pepper to taste

Method

Peel and chop the beetroots and potatoes.

Put the potatoes in a saucepan with boiling water and boil. If you have a steamer saucepan, put this over the top of the potatoes and put the lid on so they can steam and boil together. If you don’t, boil or steam the beets separately.

When they are both soft, mash the potatoes with a masher.

Add the beets to the blender and blend until smooth, then add the potatoes, stock, almond milk, salt and pepper and blend until puree-like.

Add more stock or almond milk if you need.

Love & health,
Lauren

Creamy Vegan Mash

creamy-vegan-mash

Mashed potatoes have to be creamy. No use having dry, lumpy mashed potatoes – it’s just not worth it! I was just using almond milk and dairy-free spread but I’ve now found a way to make it even creamier – by adding stock!

Braxton has been a little bit unwell and didn’t want to eat anything that he had to chew so I added my homemade stock to this and it really made him happy. See what you think…

Ingredients

About 7 white potatoes
125ml low sodium or homemade vegetable stock
Half a cup almond milk
2 tbsp dairy free non-hydrogenated spread / ‘margarine’
1 tsp dried parsley
Himalayan salt & black pepper

Method

Peel and chop the potatoes and put them in a pan of boiling water and bring to the boil.

Once soft, drain in a colander, holding a tiny smidgen of water back, then transfer all back to the pan.

Use a potato masher to mash the potatoes and once they are as smooth as you can get them, add the stock, almond milk and margarine and mix well.

Now add the parsley and salt and pepper to taste.

Add more stock if it is not creamy enough and just keep adding to your desired creaminess!

Love & health,
Lauren

 

Blueberry Coconut Oat Bars

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This morning I had a bee in my bonnet about wanting to make a less stodgy version of my blueberry porridge bars (not that stodge is bad, I just wanted something a bit crunchier this time!) and I happened to stumble across a recipe for exactly what I was looking for when I was scrolling through my Instagram (@theorganicspoon) courtesy of Baby Led Feeding.

They have more ingredients than the porridge bars but they are a bit more like flapjacks of some sort and made a nice change. Great to take out as a snack for the kids. Have packaged mine up ready to take out to the park with us this morning.

Ingredients

180g oats
140g buckwheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
40g desiccated coconut
120g coconut oil
2 bananas mashed
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

280g blueberries
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon chia seeds

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC
  2. Heat the coconut oil gently in a saucepan and leave to cool.
  3. Add the oats, flour, baking powder and 3/4 of the desiccated coconut to a bowl. Give it a good stir then make a well in the middle and add in the coconut oil, bananas, maple syrup, egg and vanilla. Make sure the coconut oil is cooled first otherwise it will cook the egg. Stir well until it is fully combined and has formed into a dough.
  4. Line a square silicone baking tin with parchment paper then pour in 3/4’s of the mixture, then press it down with a spoon.
  5. Make the blueberry compote by adding the blueberries and water to a saucepan. Bring to the boil then turn the heat down to low and using a wooden spoon or masher, mash until they have broken apart, then add the chia seeds and give it a good stir.
  6. Pour the blueberry compote over the oat mixture, then dollop over the remaining mixture in small clumps until it is gone.
  7. Sprinkle over the remaining desiccated coconut then bake for 15 minutes.
  8. Cool fully before removing from the oven then slice into small baby bites and serve.

Love & health,
Lauren & Braxton

Epic Chocolate Birthday Cake – Gluten, Wheat & Dairy Free

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PLEASE READ INSTRUCTIONS ON THIS ONE OTHERWISE IT WON’T MAKE SENSE

Here it is–Braxton’s EPIC (if I do say so myself) chocolate birthday cake. So, this is the same recipes as Grandma’s Birthday cake, except I made 3 of them so I could tier it, and I forgot to sprinkle cacao over the top. But also, I decided not to use the avocado mousse topping like I used in the other one because I didn’t think it would hold out of the fridge for the day, which this cake needed to be able to do. I did want it to be super decadent so I used 70% dark chocolate, so the frosting does have sugar in it. The cake bases themselves don’t have any refined sugar, and I used an organic, fair-trade, 70% dark chocolate.

OK so it has a bit of sugar (which we NEVER have at home), but it was a one off and it was actually so worth it because it was amazing. No one could believe that it was dairy and gluten free.

I made the same cake in a smaller version for Braxton’s cake-smash cake.

INSTRUCTIONS: Now, I wasn’t sure it would be a perfect mixture if I just tripled the mixture from my original recipe, so–and yes this does make it more time consuming so totally up to you if you want to give it a go tripling it!–I made the mixture 3 separate times. So when reading the ingredients below, you have to do those measurements 3 separate times. 

For the frosting you only need the measurements I give you as is.

Right, here it is!

Ingredients – remember, do the measurements below, 3 times

Cake bases:
150ml extra-virgin olive oil
50g raw cacao powder
125ml boiling water
2 tsp vanilla extract
150g ground almonds
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch Himalayan salt
150g Natvia or coconut palm sugar
3 free-range organic eggs

Chocolate Ganache:
500g dark chocolate
The cream from the top of 4 cans of coconut milk (full fat), room temperature
2 tbsp Natvia icing sugar (if using standard Natvia, grind it in a coffee or spice grinder)
The cream from the top of 2 cans of coconut milk, chilled

Method

Preheat oven to 170° and grease 3 25cm springform cake tins. Line bases with baking paper and grease with coconut oil.

Sift the cacao into a bowl and whisk in the boiling water with a fork until you have a smooth, chocolatey, still runny paste. If you have a Kitchenaid or electric whisk with its own bowl, do it in this; it will make it extra creamy. Whisk in the vanilla, then set aside to cool.

In another bowl combine the ground almonds with bicarbonate of soda,  baking powder and salt.

Put the sugar and olive oil into a bowl and beat together with the electric whisk for about 3 minutes, then add the eggs one at a time, with a slow speed so it aerates. After the 3 minutes, add the ground almond mix, and mix until incorporated.

Finally, add the chocolate mix slowly until combined and pour into the prepared tin.

You can do all of this with a handheld whisk, a fork and spoon if you don’t have a Kitchenaid but using one will just make the mixture a bit creamier. I have done it with and without and was nice both times – just a bit fluffier with!

Bake for about 30 mins. The sides should be set but not burnt and the top centre should still look very slightly damp.

Repeat this two more times with the other cake tins. I also put them in the oven separately so I could make sure they didn’t under-cook, but you can try and put them in all together if you want.

Remove the cake from the oven. Leave to cool for 30 mins before removing from the tin.

While in the oven make the ganache:

Heat the coconut cream in a saucepan over a medium heat. Remove from the heat just as it comes to the boil. Put the chocolate pieces in a heatproof bowl, pour the coconut cream over and stir gently with a wooden spoon until the chocolate has melted and you have a smooth, thick ganache. (If some of the chocolate still hasn’t melted, add boiling water to the used pan and put the bowl on top until it melts).

Whisk in the Natvia icing sugar. Transfer 8 tablespoons of ganache to a separate, smaller bowl. Put both bowls in the fridge for 10 minutes.

Remove the smaller bowl of ganache from the fridge. Add the chilled coconut cream (discard any remaining watery liquid) and whisk with an electric mixer until it is a pale, milk chocolate shade and mousse-like in texture, with the consistency of double cream. Hold back one large spoonful of this and add it to the ganache in the fridge. Leave in the fridge.

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Go back to the pale mixture and now spread over the tops of two of the cakes, leaving a 1cm gap around the edge of the cake. Place the two cakes with the ganache, one on top of the other, then add the third one on top.

Remove the remaining ganache from the fridge and gently mix so the paler one is incorporated into the darker one spread over the cake, and using a palette knife, spread over the sides and smooth down until the whole cake is covered. The cake should now be completely covered with ganache, with no sponge visible.

Dust with raw cacao powder and decorate with strawberries if desired.

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Love & health,
Lauren

 

Thank you to Dairy-Free Delicious for the ganache recipe.

 

 

Lentils, Broccoli & Cumin for Babies

Lentil Broccoli Cumin

Once again, I literally just made what I had at home! Although I do give Braxton meat (only organic, free-range from trusted sources), I like him to get a lot of his protein from plant-based sources and lentils are great for this. They are also cheap and go a long way. Broccoli is just full of bioavailable calcium, better than any sort of calcium you can get from dairy, so he has quite a lot of broccoli in his diet.

Cumin is great for digestion so it’s a really good spice to add when first weaning to help their tummies adjust. It is also an antiviral so great to give if baby has a cold.

Ingredients

1 organic broccoli
Half a cup of lentils – I used red lentils here
Half tsp cumin
1 cup of vegetable stock (homemade or low salt version if store-bought)

Method

Put the lentils in a pan with the stock and simmer until cooked – they can take a while. Add more water as needed until they are fully soft.

While the lentils are cooking, steam the broccoli for about 7 minutes. You don’t want to over-steam it.

When both are cooked, put in the blender with the cumin and blend to desired consistency.

Love & health,
Lauren & Braxton

 

Coconut Curried Chicken & The Importance of Introducing Flavours From Early On

Coconut Curried Chicken & Veg

I met some friends for a walk in the park after we’d given the kids dinner a few days ago as it was such a lovely day and it’s always nice to have something to fill the time between dinner and bath time. One of them asked me what Braxton had for dinner. ‘Coconut curried chicken,’ I replied. ‘Curry?!’ one of the girls asked, almost dismayed. ‘At his age? Did he like it? Does he like the flavour?’ YES YES YES!!! And the reason he is OK with flavoursome food is because I give it to him!

I think it is so important to introduce different flavours into a baby’s diet from the early stages of weaning. Not only will this make life easier for us as it means our babies will be less fussy as they grow up, it also makes life better for them! We all have a friend whose staple diet is chicken nuggets, chips and pasta because they don’t like anything else. I’d hazard a guess that their parents probably didn’t give them much else as kids which is why. There are also so many nutrients in spices and herbs. Turmeric, for example, is a hugely important anti-inflammatory and I make sure Braxton has it at least 3 times a week. Dried herbs have heaps of calcium so at least I know that this dairy-free baby is getting more bioavailable calcium than most babies who have cow’s milk!

With this particular meal I had some chicken out that day as I hadn’t given him any meat all week and I stood in the kitchen wondering what I could do with it, then realised that the easiest thing to do with chicken breast is always a curry. I had mild curry powder and coconut milk and some vegetables so I got cooking!

Ingredients

1 organic, free-range chicken breast, chopped into smallish pieces
Half an onion, chopped
1 can full-fat organic coconut milk (I like Biona)
1/2 tsp milk curry powder
1/4 tsp turmeric (optional)
1 cube pre-frozen homemade bone broth/ veg stock or a low salt chicken stock cube in half cup water (optional for added taste)
Handful shiitake mushrooms
Handful chestnut mushrooms
A few broccoli florets
Some coconut oil

Method

Heat a tsp of coconut oil in a pan then add the onion and cook for a minute or so before adding the chicken.

Brown the chicken all over and once cooked, add all the veg. Give it a good stir to coat it in the oil and cook for about 2 minutes.

Now add the coconut milk but don’t add the whole can. Spoon out the delicious creamy stuff from the top and put that all in, followed by about half of the water but no more as it will make it too watery. (You can save this for another dish or add it to a smoothie.)

Mix it all around, then add the stock, curry powder and turmeric. Mix well and turn the heat down to low and leave to simmer for 15 minutes.

When it’s finished simmering, put it in the blender and blend to the desired consistency.

It may look like mush but you have meat-based protein, plant-based protein, vegetables and spices in there all containing nutrients so this meal really needs nothing else although you could add some brown rice pasta if you want. I froze this in small containers and it made about 5-6 meals.

Health & happiness,
Lauren & Braxton

Sauteed Suffolk Summer Squash (and some childhood memories of Suffolk)

Sauteed Summer Squash

My wonderful mummy went to visit her best friend in Suffolk last weekend. We used to spend our summers there with them. They called us The Tarmac Kids as we came from London and they lived in this amazing little village with about 10 houses, a post office that sold old fashioned penny sweets and a sweet old fashioned phone box. As kids we’d spend our days climbing over haystacks, finding little streams, collecting tadpoles and writing children’s stories about all the animals, all the while Mum sitting at the kitchen table talking to Aunty Vicky while she made jam. We’d go there at Christmas and enjoy sitting around the huge Christmas tree drinking hot chocolate and playing games. Aunty Vicky would throw a big party the week before Christmas for the whole family. We’d eat, play games, wear PJs and have the best time. They are some of the best memories of my life and I still enjoy going there to visit. It’s strange because as kids we all played together and now we all have kids of our own and I hope to take Braxton there soon and give him some of the amazing memories that I had.

Anyway, Mum went to one of their lovely farmers markets when she was there and brought me back some beautifully vibrant summer squashes and some redcurrants and said, ‘here, do something with these’! So I did! And this turned out really yummy.

Ingredients

2/3 summer squashes (depending on how much you want)
1 red pepper
2 spring onions
Generous handful parsley
1 tsp coconut oil
Himalayan salt & black pepper

Method

Peel and chop the squash, removing the soft seedy bit from the middle and put it in a bowl. Chop the red pepper into medium sized pieces and add this to the bowl with the squash.

Chop the spring onions and parsley and set them aside in another bowl.

Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan and add the squash and red pepper. Give it a good mix then turn down to a low heat and cook until the squash has softened, around 10 minutes.

Once soft, add the spring onion and parsley, salt and pepper, mix, and give it another 2 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

Love & health,
Lauren

Mint Chocolate Energy Balls & Some Info On Essential Oils

Mint Chocolate Energy Snack Balls

I’m loving my essential oils at the moment – I’ve really been getting into EOs since finding that Frankincense helped my postpartum arthritis flare as it’s such a great anti-inflammatory. I made a Frankincense oil rub for my joints by mixing it with coconut oil (this is called using a carrier oil to dilute the EO a little) which I rub on twice a day. I add it to my diffuser so that it lets out the steam into the room and I take it internally. You can’t ingest all EOs, only high-grade ones. The Frankincense I use is from a company called Free Your Senses but another great company where you can buy a box of 10 EOs of your choice is doTERRA. You can really do so much with them: you can use them as perfume instead of putting the highly toxic perfumes on your body, you can use them in cooking, make creams, lotions, bath wash, deodorant and oils, you can diffuse them, and I even use the doTERRA lavender oil with coconut oil on Braxton’s feet each night before bed to calm him, especially if he is teething.

In this recipe I used doTERRA peppermint oil.

This is a great post-workout snack as it’s so high in plant-based protein. It’s also a great snack generally for the whole family as a ‘treat’ with no nasties.

Ingredients

1 cup almonds
1 cup dates
2 drops doTERRA peppermint oil
2 tbsp raw cacao powder
2 tbsp maple syrup
Pinch of Himalayan salt
Quarter cup pistachios (to roll in)

Method

First, as always, soak your almonds overnight. This is very important. Also, soak the dates for about 2-3 hours to soften them. All soaked in purified water.

Drain the almonds and pat them dry with a bit of kitchen roll and put them in the blender. At this time, drain the dates and leave them draining in the sink while you blend the almonds.

Turn the blender up and blend until the dates form a meal, and start becoming a bit buttery. Spoon it away from the edges and the blade, then add the dates and blend until totally incorporated.

Now add the peppermint oil, cacao, maple and salt and blend again. Tip into a large bowl, mix with your hands if you need to to get the last bits incorporated.

Get a plate ready and now start rolling them into small balls and place them on the plate. Once you have finished the mixture and all the balls are rolled, ground your pistachios in a pestle and mortar. They shouldn’t be ground too finely as you still want decent size chunks.

Roll each ball into the pistachio mix so it is completely covered and return to the plate.

Once they are all covered with the pistachios, put the plate in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving. You can keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and you can also keep them in the freezer and defrost in the fridge an hour before you want to eat them.

Love & health,
Lauren

Blueberry Porridge Bars for Baby Led Weaning

 

Blueberry Porridge Bars BLW

Ok guys, I don’t have time to write a super long post today but been looking for things to give my baby that he can feed himself as we’ve started on solids and I’m trying to do as much baby led weaning as possible. So instead of porridge these are basically porridge, but baked! With organic blueberries for antioxidants, acai for extra super-duper anti-oxidants and chia seeds for extra protein.

Porridge Bars

Ingredients

320g organic jumbo oats
1 punnet of blueberries
250ml almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
100ml maple syrup
1 tbsp. chia seeds (optional)
1 tsp acai berry powder (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to 180c and grease a square silicone baking tray with coconut oil.

Add the oats, almond milk, vanilla and maple to the food processor until it’s all combined. Once combined add the blueberries, acai and chia seeds and pulse until the blueberries are evenly distributed but not all totally mushed (some of them can be mushed!)

Spoon it into the cake tin and bake for 10-12 minutes.

Wait until completely cool before you slice into bars.

These will last for a maximum of 4 days before they start growing other stuff!! Keep in an airtight container. I usually make mine on a Sunday and Wednesday is the last day I can use them.

Enjoy!

Love,
Lauren