Non-Boring Runner Beans!

A&C Green Beans

I just love when Abel & Cole send me a sweet little recipe idea in my weekly box. This week they sent over a bunch of runner beans (which I found really boring growing up!) with a bit of inspiration for them and they turned out beautifully and are no longer boring! A perfect accompaniment to any meal.

Ingredients

A bunch of runner beans
A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp tahini paste
2 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Pinch Himalayan pink salt
Pinch garlic salt
Chilli flakes (optional but gives it a kick!)

Method

Cut the ends off the beans and wash them.

Heat the olive oil in a griddle pan (you can use a normal frying pan but this charred them really nicely) then add the beans once hot.

While they are cooking away, mix all the other ingredients in a bowl.

Once the beans start to char, add the sauce and mix well and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

Healthy & happiness,
Lauren

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

 

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

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

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

Vanilla Cashew Butter

IMG_6120

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.

IMG_6107

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!

Vanilla cashew butter 1

Love and health,
Lauren

Broad Bean, Sweet Potato & Cumin Plus Baby Led Weaning vs Blended

Broad bean, sweet pot, onion, cumin

How great are these Nuk by Annabel Karmel food cube trays? Perfect for batch cooking for your little ones.

So, let’s talk baby led weaning (BLW). I had intentions of doing only baby led with Braxton but when the time came (when he was 6 months), he wasn’t very good at picking food up and he started getting very frustrated. So I decided that ‘baby led’, for me anyway, means being led by your own baby. Why should I let him get frustrated just because I’d decided I wanted to do something a certain way? He was trying to communicate with me that it wasn’t working for him, and he needed some more time, but was certainly ready to eat the food, so I decided to do a mixture of blended foods and BLW.

He’s now nearly 9 months so feeds himself a lot, and he’s got so good at it! He’s even perfected his pincer grip and understands how to take a bite and keep the rest in his hand while he chews, then finish what’s in his hand when he’s ready, so I give him a lot of food that he can feed himself with, but I still spoon feed him some things as I want to make sure he gets heaps of nutrients so I’ll make a blend of veg like this one, and it’s too hard for him to feed himself with a spoon.

What I’m saying is that we do a mixture of the two. At the beginning I’d mainly feed him myself but always give him something he could hold himself with each meal; some avocado, a piece of cucumber, a piece of broccoli, some roast chicken cut in strips.

This has all worked really well for us and he most definitely has still developed when it comes to his fine motor skills and hand-mouth coordination, despite what the militant baby led weaners told me about doing a mixture!

When it comes down to it, you have to read your own baby, as they are all so different, and do what works best for YOUR baby and YOUR family. This has worked brilliantly for us and I love that we can be flexible.

I hadn’t planned to make this, but I was sent broad beans in my Abel & Cole box this week, so I decided to make this mixture and it worked really well.

Ingredients 

1 bag of broad beans (they should come in their pods, then you must take them out of the pods)
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 onion, peeled and sliced
1 tsp cumin
1 cube of homemade bone broth / veg stock or a low salt Kallo stock cube

Method

Shell your broad beans then put them, along with the other veg, into the steamer (this helps the veg retain more nutrients than boiling them).

If your stock cube is homemade and frozen, melt it in a saucepan over a low heat. If you are using a store-bought stock cube, mix it in a quarter cup boiling water.

When the veg are soft, put them in the blender with the stock and cumin and blend until smooth or leave lumps if you prefer.

I hope your baby likes this as much as mine did!

Love,
Lauren & Braxton

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

 

 

Cauliflower ‘Couscous’ with Sesame, Sweet Potato & Asparagus

Cauliflower Couscous

Who would have thought you could take a vegetable and turn it into a carb substitute? Sometimes we just fancy a bit of stodge for dinner, right?? Cauliflower is such a versatile vegetable and by blitzing it in the Vitamix, we can turn it into a couscous-like consistency. You can pretty much add anything you like to it and, as usual, I’ve added whatever I already had in my fridge. This entire meal is plant-based and super healthy.

Ingredients

1 large cauliflower
2 sweet potatoes
Tsp coconut oil
A bunch of asparagus
About 8 chestnut mushrooms, chopped (or any mushrooms will do)
5th of a cup of water
Handful coriander
1 tbsp sesame seeds
Some sesame oil
1/2 tsp paprika
Handful sundried tomatoes
Himalayan salt & ground black pepper

Optional:
1/4 cucumber, diced
1/4 red onion, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
Gluten free tacos
Halloumi – if not vegan

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Peel and dice the sweet potato then put them on a baking tray with a tsp coconut oil and some Himalayan salt. Once the oven heats up the coconut oil will be melted and you can pull out the tray and mix it around to make sure it covers all the pieces of the potato. Cook for around 20 minutes, or until soft.

Cut the cauliflower into florets and put them in the blender and blitz until a couscous-like consistency is formed. Leave to the side.

Heat some sesame oil in a pan and add the asparagus and mushrooms. Mix around then add about a 5th of a cup of water and add this so the steam will cook the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and once cooked, remove from pan and set aside.

In the same pan, add a tiny bit more sesame oil then once hot, add the cauliflower couscous to the pan and turn the heat to medium. Mix around for 1-2 minutes then add the sesame seeds and let it all heat through. Add the coriander, paprika some salt and pepper and mix for another minute, then re add the asparagus and mushrooms and mix.

Once heated through, put it on a plate or bowl, remove the sweet potato from the oven and add it to the top.

At this point you can add all the optional extras to the top or put it all inside a gluten free taco or wrap and devour!

Enjoy!

Love,
Lauren