Homemade Children’s Toothpaste

I’ve been battling with myself on this for so long. You see, I make so many of my own products (surface sprays, perfumes, face serum, body cream – the list goes on) that I really wanted to draw the line at toothpaste. Aside from the fact that I couldn’t be bothered, it bothered me more that it wouldn’t be in a tube and toothpaste that isn’t in a tube just isn’t as convenient.

But then I realised, as with everything else, that it’s only more convenient because that’s my perception, because I know no different; like how I thought using a menstrual cup was weird because it wasn’t something I’d grown up knowing about (read my post on that here).

But actually using a jar is fine; you just dip your toothbrush in and you’re ready to go. And the great thing about making your own is that you can do as many different flavours as you like, so it doesn’t get boring!

So why did I want to make my own toothpaste? Well, I’ve been using fluoride free toothpaste for a long time now, ever since I learnt about the awful effects fluoride has on our health. It’s so toxic, in fact, that the FDA has ruled that poison warnings must be visible on all fluoride-containing toothpastes in the US. Oh, but it’s OK to put in our drinking water and give to our children. *sense the sarcasm*.

The health risks involved with daily use of fluoride range from bone disorders, thyroid disease, low intelligence, dementia and diabetes to arthritis. It also lowers vitamin B12 levels and prevents the body from absorbing B12 properly. So you can imagine how I felt when I found this out and stopped using it, then started taking B12 in the form of methylcobalamin (a form that my body could absorb), and all of a sudden the arthritis pain in my jaw went away. The reason for this was that the jaw pain was largely nerve-related and fluoride affects the nerve endings. Madness that it’s in all our toothpastes and drinking water and we take it and give it to our children every single day and no one ever tells us how dangerous it is.

From then on I’ve stayed away from tap water and fluoride-containing toothpastes and have only bought fluoride-free toothpastes for Braxton since his teeth started popping through. But as is always the case when you research everything you do relentlessly, I found out that the glycerin that is contained in most fluoride-free toothpastes, though not necessarily bad for health, stops the teeth remineralising, which is not a good thing.

Like I said, I was so against making my own toothpaste so I set about finding a child-friendly toothpaste that was fluoride AND glycerin free but could not find one. I have been using one by Georganics, made with charcoal and clay, which are both brilliant for the teeth, and I still use it as I love it, but Braxton will hate it, so in the end I had to give in.

It was so easy that I really don’t know why I made such a fuss for so long! I got a lot of my info from Meagan at Growing Up Herbal and you can see references for health issues through fluoride here.

Ingredients

3 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp ground Xylitol
6-8 drops essential oils – I only use DoTerra due to their high quality and used lemon and wild orange for Brax, and lemon and peppermint for me and Daniel.

Method

Just mix all the ingredients in a small glass jar and dip your toothbrush into it!

Love & health,
Lauren

 

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

Rose Pistachio Chocolate Bark

There is nothing more satisfying than taking a bite out of a chunk of chocolate, and indeed nothing more satisfying at all than knowing that that chocolate is made of only pure, natural, healthy ingredients than not only are not detrimental to your health, but are in fact beneficial to your health.

I usually make my chocolate truffle hearts when I want good old plain chocolate instead of brownies or cakes or cookies, but this time I thought, You know what, just shove the entire mixture into a silicone baking tray and let it set like that instead of putting it into individual moulds.

I love the combination of rose and pistachio, I think it must be something to do with my Moroccanness! so I decided to put a touch of rose water, just enough to taste it faintly on the tongue, but not enough to take away from the exquisiteness of the chocolate, and the pistachios give it a bit of crunch and a touch of savoury to mix in with the sweetness.

As you take a bite out of it, you will honestly feel like that girl in the Magnum adverts, how she looks when she takes a sensuous bite out of the (rubbish-filled) ice cream; it’s heavenly! And so easy to make my son could probably do it…

So I invite you all to join in the raw chocolate revolution! 🙂

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

Optional fillings:
1/2 tsp rose water
Small handful pistachios, crushed roughly
Small handful coconut chips

Method

Simply put all the chocolate ingredients (not the fillings) into a saucepan and melt gently over a low heat, stirring often. Add the rose water if desired.

Once it’s melted, pour it into a baking paper-lined silicone baking tray and sprinkle the fillings into it.

Put it in the fridge to set for a couple of hours then cut or break into chunks.

Devour!

Love & health,
Lauren

Best Ever Vegan Lasagne

If there is one thing I miss, it’s lasagne! Just the juicy creaminess of it; it’s such a satisfying, comforting meal! I’ve had some vegetarian lasagnes but they use a lot of dairy so how happy was I when I discovered a vegan bechamel sauce on offer at Ocado! It’s from Conserve Della Nonna and available at Ocado and free of dairy, eggs and soy! Couldn’t believe my eyes.

What with that and the amazing new vegan cheese I’ve discovered from Follow Your Heart, I was able to make the (genuinely) yummiest lasagne that could possibly be.

I added lentils to this to ensure enough plant-based protein is going into my diet, something you must watch out for when not eating animal proteins. (Plant-based proteins are way more bio-available anyway.)

Make it, it’s the best!

Ingredients

Filling:
2 courgettes, sliced
3 portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 large aubergine, sliced
Fresh spinach
Half cup lentils
1 tsp bouillon
Drizzle olive oil
Pinch Himalayan salt

Marinara sauce:
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, sliced
Dried oregano
Dried parsley
Himalayan salt and black pepper

Wholewheat or gluten free lasagne sheets
Vegan bechamel sauce
Vegan grated cheese

Method

Preheat the grill and oven, both to 180.

Boil the lentils as per the packet instructions and add the bouillon.

Place the sliced vegetables, except the spinach, on a baking tray, drizzle with the oil, sprinkle with some salt and put under the grill. When they look slightly browned, turn them over and grill until brown on both sides. Set aside.

Make the marinara sauce by browning the onion and garlic in olive oil on a low heat, slowly, until transparent. Then add the rest of the marinara ingredients and keep on a low heat, stirring often.

Once everything is ready, layer the vegetables at the bottom of a baking dish and put some spinach over the top. Add a layer of lentils on top of this, then a layer of marinara sauce. Layer the lasagne sheets over the top and put the bechamel sauce and cheese on top of that. Repeat this whole step once more, sprinkling with as much cheese as you like on top.

Bake for 40 mins and serve with a green salad.

Love & health,
Lauren

Puffed Rice Rocky Road Brownies

I wanted to make some yummy treats for my friend who has just had a baby, because breastfeeding mamas need fuel (and chocolate!) and I decided to try and make a healthier version of Rocky Roads.

Daniel used to make the yummiest Rocky Roads whenever we had people over back in the days when we were young and child-free and still ate refined sugar. He’d melt together every chocolate bar you can imagine, with nuts and marshmallows and freeze it and it was amazing.

But this is more amazing. Really, I’m not just saying that. It’s more amazing because your body is going to thank you after eating them, not hate you. You can give them to your children and not feel bad, and the ingredients are all natural, plant-based and high in protein and nutrients.

Give them a go – you just make and freeze!

Ingredients

1/2 cup cacao butter
1 cup organic rolled oats
1/2 cup pecans
About 18 medjool dates
2 generous tbsp. cashew butter (or any nut butter but cashew is creamier)
5 tbsp. maple syrup
5 tbsp. raw cacao powder
Half cup puffed brown rice (I use Rude Health)
Pinch of Himalayan salt

Method

Melt the cacao butter in a saucepan gently over a low heat.

Put the oats and pecans into a food processor and blitz until they make a meal. Add the dates, nut butter, maple, cacao and melted cacao butter and add a pinch of salt. Blitz to form a sticky mix.

Pour into a bowl and stir in the puffed rice.

Line a square silicone baking tray with baking paper and smooth the mixture into in and smooth down with your hands or a spatula. Make sure it’s in tight.

Leave in the freezer for an hour then cut into cubes and store in the freezer or fridge in a container.

Love & health,
Lauren

Mung Daal (Moong Dahl)

I got tips for this recipe from a few Indian friends (everyone seems to make it slightly differently), then put my own stance on it, but only a little bit because why change something that works? So thanks to Deepa, Roshni and Abigail!

Mung beans have been part of traditional Ayurvedic diets for thousands of years and are used for their amazing nutritional values.

Not only are they absolutely packed full of nutrients (manganese, potassium, magnesium, folate, copper, zinc and various B vitamins), they are also very high in protein (a great option for a vegetarian diet) and fibre, and are a great anti-inflammatory food. When cooked with turmeric it is the perfect anti-inflammatory meal. They’re also great anti-oxidants.

One of the main reasons I made it this week is because more than anything, mung beans help digestion and after coming back from holiday and eating way too much, I needed something nutritious that aided digestion and was also filling and wholesome enough as a meal for Braxton.

It sounds like a lot of ingredients but just get all the spices out in front of you and add one by one. Just gives it the best flavour to have all the spices.

It’s such a delicious, wholesome, comforting meal and easy to make, which helps!

Ingredients – (NB: make sure to soak the beans at least overnight. You can soak them for days, changing the water each day.)

3/4 cup mung beans / moong beans
1 tsp turmeric
Choice of vegetables. I used: okra, baby corn, carrots, onion, courgette, sweet potato (could also add beetroot, pumpkin, peas, broccoli, green beans)
1 tbsp coconut oil (you can also use Ghee if not dairy free)
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 garlic cloves, crushed (optional)
1 inch ginger, crushed
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp saffron
1/2 tsp cumin
Black pepper and Himalayan salt to taste
Handful fresh coriander

Optional spices – use what you fancy:
Cardamom, chilli, hing, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, bay leaf

Method

Once the beans have soaked for long enough, cook them. If you have a pressure cooker use this, if not, cover with boiling water, turn down the heat and put on a lid, stirring often and adding more water if needed.

Add the turmeric to the beans as they cook.

Once 3/4 cooked, add all the vegetables and continue to cook.

Once nearly ready, get a small frying pan and heat the coconut oil (and add ghee if using). Turn down the heat and add the cumin seeds and stir continuously. Once cooked, turn off the heat and immediately add the garlic, ginger and the rest of the spices except for the salt and pepper and stir. If the heat disappears too much, turn it back on to a low heat then turn off again. You don’t want the spices to burn or the garlic to brown too much.

Once cooked, add this mix to the bean mix and stir, and add salt to taste, then stir in the coriander and serve with fresh coriander and brown rice..

Love & health,
Lauren

Guilt-Free Chocolate Digestive Biscuits

If you’re British, there is probably nothing more satisfying and comforting to you than a cup of tea and a chocolate digestive of an afternoon (had to say ‘of an afternoon’ instead of ‘in the afternoon’ because that’s how my nanny would have said it in that endearing East End way when talking about tea and biccies). 🍪 ☕️ So of course I wanted to make the healthy version so I can indulge my ultimate guilty pleasure. these are gluten, dairy, sugar and egg free.

I actually got this recipe from my lovely friend @mrshollingsworths. Her picture looks way better than mine because she’s more of an artist than I am with food but I’m happy to say they taste just as good! 😃 i also bake them for less time than she does – just a difference in ovens i guess.

I know food blogs and Instagram are all about the styling and the perfect pictures but guys, I have an 18 month old, a husband, a dog, arthritis to keep at bay with heaps of hard work, deadlines, and a novel to write! I can only spend so long re-arranging biscuits in the right light surrounded by random ribbons and hessian fabric before I have to give up and hope they’re good enough! So there you have it, my excuse for not having Instagram’s best pictures.

The truth is, I love making the food and feeding those I love. I love writing the recipes and the captions, but photography is not my passion so (in the voice of the dad from My Big Fat Greek Wedding) there you go! Hope you all enjoy this recipe anyway Happy baking, lovers!

Ingredients

1 1/4 cup oats
3/4 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup cashew butter (or any other nut or seed butter)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt

Chocolate topping:
1/2 cup cacao butter
3 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp cacao powder
1 tbsp cashew butter

Method

Preheat the oven to 180c and line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.

Put all the ingredients for the biscuits In a bowl and mix really well.

Shape them into biscuits and flatten down on the trays and bake for 8-10 minutes. If they look a little soft it’s ok, they’ll continue to harden once they come out the oven so don’t leave them in for too long.

Take them out the oven and leave to cool.

Make the chocolate by melting all the ingredients in a saucepan over a low light.

Once the biscuits are cool, spoon the chocolate over the top of each one and put on a plate in the fridge to cool.

Love & health,
Lauren 💜