Classic (But Healthy) Banana Bread

 

banana-bread

Happy new year everyone! Kicking off the very cold new year with a hearty banana bread – the best comfort food for cold days. This is my classic banana bread recipe but I had loads of bananas leftover that I needed to use up so I decided to stick on in the middle (coated in chocolate of course) and see how it comes out! It was yummy 🙂

Wishing all my followers a very happy and healthy new year. Let this be the year that we respect our bodies for all that they do. We need to stop putting pressure on ourselves to look a certain way and just eat and live healthily to give our bodies the best chance. Lots of love ❤

Ingredients

3 large very ripe bananas, mashed (if they are small, use 4)
1 whole banana for the middle (optional)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 heaped tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp flax seeds
4 tbsp filtered water
1 cup buckwheat flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp ground cinnamon

Chocolate sauce to coat the banana in (optional):
2 tbsp cacao powder
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp tsp cashew butter

Method

(Quick note: if you want this to  be quick and simple, just leave out the optional chocolate-covered banana in the middle, the cake will be just as nice!)

Preheat the oven to 180° and line a loaf tin with baking paper and grease with coconut oil.

Make the chocolate sauce by melting all the sauce ingredients on a gentle heat in a saucepan. Coat the whole banana in the chocolate sauce and leave in the fridge to set.

Mix the flax seeds in a small bowl with the water and set aside so it can set. (this is a flax ‘egg’ and used instead of eggs.)

Mash the other 3 bananas in a large bowl and add the coconut oil and maple, then add the flax mix and mix well.

Now add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.

Move just under half the batter into the loaf tin then put the chocolate-covered banana on top. Now add the rest of the mix on top of the banana.

Put it in the oven for around 25–30 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean. My oven tends to cook things much quicker than most so it’s been a bit of a learning curve, your oven may need more time.

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

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

 

Quinoa with Lentils, Butterbeans and Vegetables – Vegan dinner

quinoa-and-lentils

I can’t take credit for this one; my husband made it. He has really got into this way of life over the past year or so, especially since having Braxton. It used to be something he was happy for me to do and would eat what I cooked because, well, it was yummy so he couldn’t really complain! But now he’s actually into it himself and loves being in the kitchen coming up with new and interesting recipes. He doesn’t bake, but he loves to cook savoury food and cooks for us a lot these days.

My kitchen is closed on the weekends – I just don’t have the energy to cook much during the weekends except to make food for Brax, so Daniel often makes us a Sunday night dinner and this was this week’s creation. You can literally add anything you want but we just used what we had at home.

Ingredients

1 cup quinoa
Half cup lentils
2 sweet potatoes
1 head broccoli, cut into florets
1 tin organic butter beans
1 tin organic sweetcorn
1 cup frozen peas
1 red pepper
1 tsp bouillon
Coconut oil
Olive oil
Himalayan salt & black pepper

Method

Peel and dice the sweet potato, put it on an oven tray, drizzle some coconut oil, salt and paprika and put it in the oven for 20 mins.

Take another oven tray, cut the red pepper into smallish pieces, drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil and put that in the oven alongside the sweet potato for 20 minutes.

While they’re in the oven, put the quinoa and lentils into a saucepan, cover with plenty of water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, add the bouillon, turn down the heat and put the lid on. It will take around 20 minutes to make but keep checking and mixing, adding more water if needed.

Steam the broccoli for around 6-7 minutes

Boil the peas in some hot water – this should only take around 5 minutes then put them in a bowl with the sweetcorn, broccoli and butterbeans.

Once the sweet potatoes and peppers are ready add them to the bowl, then once the lentils and quinoa are ready, you can add this too.

Give it a good mix and add salt and pepper, and any other herbs you may like.

Love & health,
Lauren & Daniel

 

 

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

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

stuffed-peppers

Look at my wrinkly peppers! 🙂  I recently came back from Spain and they seem to ‘stuff’ a lot of food there so it inspired me to do stuffed peppers. My mum always made them for us growing up so not sure why I don’t do them more often – probably because she made them with meat so I associate it with that but I’ve made these delicious veggie ones and they turned out so yummy.

You can of course leave out the goat’s cheese if you want them vegan. We don’t eat cow’s milk dairy here and rarely even goat’s milk but I don’t mind the odd bit of goat’s cheese and Braxton really loved it too. The lentils and beans mean this meal is filled with plant-based protein.

Ingredients (for 2 people)

2 large red peppers
1 cup brown basmati rice
Half a cup of lentils
1 tin organic black beans
1 zucchini
1 tbsp bouillon
¼ tsp cumin
Himalayan salt and black pepper
A bit of soft goat’s cheese, cut up in very small cubes

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

Cook the rice first according to the instructions, along with the lentils in the same saucepan. They both take quite a while so allow ample time.

When it has been cooking about 10 minutes, add the bouillon.

Once the water from the rice and lentils is very nearly all evaporated but there is still a tiny bit at the bottom, drain the black beans or kidney beans and add them. Mix them through the rice and lentils and leave on a low heat for a minute.

Now grate the zucchini directly into the saucepan and mix that around. Add the cumin, salt & pepper and mix. Now add the goat’s cheese and mix. Save a few pieces of goat’s cheese for after. Turn off the heat.

Cut the tops off the peppers and take out the insides and wash thoroughly.

Place them on a baking tray upright and fill with the rice mixture.

Put them in the oven for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes add a few pieces of the goat’s cheese to the top and leave in for another 5-10 minutes.

Serve hot.

Love & health,
Lauren

Dairy Free Fish Cakes For Baby (& you!) & The Lowdown on Omega-3

Fish Cakes

Fish cakes are a great way to get omega-3 fatty acids into your baby. The body cannot synthesise Omgea -3 so it has to come from diet and oily fish is one of the best sources for it. I am totally on board with vegetarianism, I used to be a vegetarian myself until falling pregnant, but I do find that fish-based omega-3 is the best way to get omega-3 into our bodies. Apart from being good for the heart, joints and inflammatory diseases, it aids brain development in babies, helps with their behaviour and maximises their intellectual potential! Studies have actually shown that babies with higher amounts of omega-3 from early on have better concentration skills and read better than those whose omega-3 levels were very low.

Of course, as usual, please make sure your fish comes from trusted sources. The best way to ensure high quality salmon that is low in mercury is to obtain wild salmon or if it is farmed, make sure it is farmed ‘organically’ so it is left to grow and feed naturally even though it is technically farmed.  Abel & Cole offer an organic farmed range.

You’ll see I use buckwheat flour and almond milk in this recipe. As you are probably aware by now, I don’t like to give Braxton anything refined (flours, sugars etc). I don’t give him dairy so all my recipes are dairy and gluten free, but of course still unprocessed and using only natural ingredients. Don’t be fooled by the ‘gluten free industry’; they make gluten free foods that are just as processed and full of sugar as ones that do have gluten in them. The food still needs to be natural. I feel it is healthier for his gut to eat non-refined, only natural foods and if his gut is healthy then his immune system will be too. This will reduce the chance of eczema and auto-immune diseases as well as strengthen his immune system against every day illnesses and viruses. However, if you want to, you can use normal flour and normal milk in place of the buckwheat flour and almond milk. I would try and keep these recipes as dairy free as possible if you can. Where possible, please also try and use free-range eggs. They will have way less chemicals in them for your baby to be ingesting.

These fish cakes are one of the best things for baby led weaning as when you make them they last for a few days so it’s a few meals you don’t have to think about, and they are so easy for babies to feed themselves with. I break them into a few pieces and Braxton picks them up and eats them all himself – which means mummy can rush around the kitchen clearing up so she can use his nap times to actually rest!

Ingredients (makes about 6-8 patties)

1 salmon fillet
About 5 white potatoes, peeled and chopped
A handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 egg (free-range)
Half tsp mustard powder (optional, just adds a nice bit of flavour)
Half a lemon
1/5 cup almond milk
1 tbsp buckwheat flour
Extra virgin olive oil or Coconut oil
Black pepper and Himalayan salt

Method

Steam the potatoes over a pan of boiling water. Rub the salmon with some olive or coconut oil and when the potatoes soften, add the salmon to the steamer until it is totally cooked (about 7 minutes). Remove the salmon from the pan, take off the skin and put it to the side. Remove the potatoes and add them to a bowl.

Mash the potatoes in the bowl but leave some lumps so they are not totally mashed then set aside to let them cool.

Chop the parsley quite finely then flake in the salmon, add the cooled potatoes, almond milk, mustard powder, egg and squeeze in the juice of the half lemon. Mix very well then add the buckwheat flour and add some pepper and if you want (if not for young babies) add a sprinkle of Himalayan salt and mix again.

Take a clean plate and spread some buckwheat flour over the plate and put some in your hands then take a pattie size amount of the mixture and flatten into a pattie shape, the flour will help you do this without it sticking to your hands. Put it on a clean plate then repeat the process until the mixture is all finished and all your fish cakes have been made.

Heat some oil in a large frying pan and when it is hot, add a few of the fish cakes. You won’t be able to cook them all at the same time. Cook each one for 3-4 minutes on each side.

If you don’t want to eat them all within a few days, put some of them, uncooked, in the freezer and you can then defrost them at a later date and cook them.

I hope your bubbas enjoy these as much as Braxton did!

Love & health,
Lauren & Braxton