Month: August 2013

Goodness Green Spinach, Kiwi + Spirulina Smoothie

Putting the green into a green smoothie!I cannot tell you how happy I am to be drinking green smoothies. Why oh why has it taken so long for me to start this habit? I am loving my Vitamix too, who knew such a simple thing could do so many amazing things. Anyway, this is the first (of many!) green smoothies I’ll be making in this little darling. I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen the Thomas Crown Affair remake (the one with Pierce Brosnan), I think I was about 18 when I watched it. Anyway, there’s a scene with Renee Russo drinking one of these green smoothies and I remember wondering what the hell it was! Randomness, I know but I felt the urge to share that. It also goes to show how the US are space ages ahead when it comes to certain super foods and health crazes. Green juicing has become pretty mainstream now but I have to say the office were still a little taken back by my large glass jar crammed full of green stuff! It’s literally everywhere though, I watched ‘Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead’ the other night and was amazed by how juicing can actually transform lives. Of course these people were extreme cases and personally I couldn’t juice for extended periods of time but it really opened my eyes to the health benefits of a time limited juice diet.Smoothie making

This particular smoothie contains spirulina which of course is entirely optional but gee whizz it gives a superb health boost and really puts the GREEN into a green smoothie. This amazing post on Mind Body Green is all the evidence I need to put a teaspoon into my greens. I buy this green algae from Holland & Barrett but there are good bargains to be had on Ebay too.DSC_6594

I’m the first to admit it isn’t exactly pretty but the taste is utterly delicious! The kiwi, banana and almond milk balance out the spinach and spirulina flavours perfectly, resulting in a silky, smooth, supercharged health tonic that has you feeling on top of the world! Of course, if the spirulina makes this green smoothie just a little too green for your taste, just leave it out.Spirulina smoothie

It’s near impossible to list the vitamin and mineral boost this drink provides but let’s just say there’s hefty amounts of vitamin A, B1, B2, C, E, K, magnesium, potassium, calcium and tryptophan. It’s high in fibre and protein and the perfect health tonic for a pick me up late afternoon or as part of a power breakfast.Smoothie all gone!

Spinach, kiwi + spirulina smoothie

(serves 1)

2 handfuls fresh spinach
1 kiwi, skin removed
1/2 frozen banana
1 teaspoon spirulina (optional)
1 cup almond milk

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blitz on high for 45 seconds or until smooth. Enjoy the goodness.

Easy No Bake Granola Bars

Easy no bake granola barsMy Vitamix arrived yesterday morning and at first I was scared of it so I left it in the box, all day. Today I thought I should get her out, so I reluctantly did and I’m glad now because I was pleasantly surprised by her sleek, fuss free, two switch appearance. It was the simplicity and lack of dials that did it for me, I have no desire to play around with numerous gadgets and add ons so this is just the ticket. I’m clutter phobic, especially when it comes to pointless gadgets, so this is me, very me. I have an aversion to large, bulky, complicated ‘things’ and some of the models I was looking at were frankly quite scary and intimidating. It’s OK though cos the Vitamix and I are getting along just fine. So anyway, not daunted by these two switches I really wanted to pulse something to oblivion to see what this baby could do! Dates seemed like a good place to start so I blitzed a whole bag of them into a big gooey ball! Wow, the thing is mighty powerful but I didn’t actually think about what I was going to do to with my dates post Vitamix treatment! After staring at them for  a good five minutes wondering what to make I decided on granola bars.Granola bars ready for the cut!

Never having made a proper granola bar before this seemed like the most suitable destination for my pulsed dates. I’ve eaten plenty but have never been bowled over by a particular brand and the majority have a disappointingly high sugar content. Many boast of ‘all natural ingredients’ on the sleek packaging fooling us into thinking they’re healthy but sugar is natural, right! Another downside is the price, why are they such a rip off? Never mind, my first world problem is now solved with these beauties. Easy & good value granola bars

These worked out fabulously for my first shot at cereal bars. I focused on creating a wet ingredient consistency that would bind well with the dry bits and the whole mixture came together nicely.  They do hold together well but I still wouldn’t want one jiggling around in my handbag, not unless I fancied granola instead! I’m not talking break a tooth sturdy but rather a chewy robustness that will take a few knocks here and there. Anyhow, these are better than any health store bar I’ve had, by miles and they’re just the start of my mission to produce a robust, tooth friendly and delicious cereal bar.  I’m very happy with this bar for now though.Easy no bake granola process

Right, a bit about the ingredients. I used almonds and sunflower seeds purely because they’re a favourite but I suppose any nuts / seeds can be supplemented here. I like to toast the oats and nuts because it really brings out the flavour, plus it smells heavenly. The peanut butter can be replaced by any nut butter and the honey for agave or maple syrup. Chocolate, dried fruit and other cereal would also make good additions. They’re pretty adaptable and can be changed to suit your store cupboard, as long as the wet and dry ratios are kept similar to the original recipe. I bet you even have the ingredients to make some now?

So, what’s your secret to a granola bar that can handle a ride in my handbag? Is there a secret ingredient?Yummy granola bars

Easy no bake granola bars

1 cup pitted dates
1 1/2 cups oats
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
pinch of salt
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup clear honey

Method:

1. Pulse the dates until a doughy ball forms. Remove & place in a large mixing bowl.
2. Toast the oats, almonds and seeds over a low heat for 10 minutes. Alternatively place in a medium heat oven for 10 minutes.
3. In a pan over a low heat, combine the peanut butter, honey, salt & date mixture until well blended. Add to the oat mixture and combine fully.
4. Line a 8″X15″ baking pan with plastic wrap or grease proof paper. Press mixture into pan evenly and compact.
5. Freeze for 30 minutes. Slice in to 10 bars. Store in an airtight container.

Simple Celery Soup – Vegan

Simple Celery SoupWhy do you hate celery? Maybe I’m being a little presumptuous but if in fact you’re not a hater, then why do so many people detest poor old celery?

I’m guessing it’s something to do with the taste, texture or appearance.  But to me, fresh celery has a pretty inoffensive grassy, earthy flavour, a nice crunchy bite and is quite attractive when compared to some other vegetables! Simple Celery Soup

This simple celery soup is versatile too – topped with crunchy peanut butter, a long squirt of salad cream, lovely in salads, smothered in cheese, a pasta sauce, simply roasted and of course lovely celery soup.

I remember having this soup when I was a kid and loving it, almost a bit too much for a ten year old! For some reason I haven’t had it since and lord knows why because it’s simple, super cheap and pretty good for you too.Simple Celery Soup

To me celery is an impressive little vegetable considering it’s 95% water. It’s packed full of antioxidants and provides sizeable quantities of Vitamin A, C and K, folate and potassium.

I reckon I could sell celery to any doubters and this smooth, silky, creamy soup is a sure fire way to convert those who are not yet celery fans.

Not only is it supercharged with nutrients, it cost less than £1 to make. It’s quick too, taking less than half an hour to make and can be stored in the fridge for a leftovers lunch.

On the occasions I don’t feel like cooking I usually make a simple soup, they’re so time efficient that I can’t really find an excuse not to cook fresh.Simple Celery Soup

Give your body some goodness and make some super cleansing, hydrating simple celery soup. Even more delicious when served with fresh, warm bread.Simple Celery Soup

Delightful Simple Celery Soup

(serves 4)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped roughly
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon thyme (optional)
1 head of celery, cleaned & chopped roughly
1 white potato or 1 cup cauliflower, chopped
1 litre of vegetable stock
pepper

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a non stick pot and add the onion and garlic. Cook until softened.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Puree the soup using a blender. Hand held works fine.
  4. Return to the pan, check seasoning and serve.

Smoked Chipotle Black Beans – GF

Beans, taco & tortillaThis is my favourite, most delicious dish EVER! Really, I mean it, I adore these black beans, they’re my go to comfort food and always will be. Some cuisine is just better without meat and even when I wasn’t veggie I always preferred my Mexican meat free, same for Indian come to think of it. Of course now I prefer everything meatless and I eat these chipotle beans a lot. If I had a pound for every time I’ve made these I would be…….well maybe not rich but it would be enough to put a smile on my face! Now I’m actually wondering how much it would be!

Food like this makes it easy to be a vegetarian. They’re delicious, simple, full of goodness and adaptable! What more could anyone want? Except perhaps eating them at the beach, in Mexico, watching the sunset, listening to the gentle crash of the waves with a coconut margarita in hand. I digress but I can dream and it’s good to do so! Anyway, I’m proud to say that Russ classes these as his favourite food, EVER! So much so that we eat them twice a week sometimes and always once. Is that a bit habitual? The thing is I love them, they are comforting, healthy and a real vegetarian victory!Russ & his black bean taco!

I prefer to use black beans for the size, colour and softer texture but this works perfectly well with kidney, pinto, haricot and black eye beans. In fact, kidney beans being just under thirty pence in most supermarkets make this dish a seriously cheap option.  For added sweetness, texture and nutrient bumping I add cubed squash and red pepper but they’re equally yum with carrot, green peppers (any peppers), sweetcorn, peas and courgette. See what I mean about being super healthy – full of protein and vitamins!Beans, salad & tortilla!

I know chili and chocolate is no new partnership but I was still a little reticent when I first lobbed a hunk of gloriously dark chocolate into my chili bean hard work. However, it adds a real deep rich colour and aroma when combined with the smokiness of the chipotle chili. The chipotle dried chilies will need overnight soaking but I’ve found that a few generous shakes of chipotle sauce work pretty well if you don’t these. Smokey dried chillies are fantastic for Mexican cuisine and simply require soaking for five or more hours.  We buy our chipotle chillies from the Mex Grocer who provide an amazing array of Mexican goods. I make a point to never run out!! Yep, in fact I’m addicted to these beans and stuff my tortillas to the brim with them, there’s no such thing as too much! Just ask my tortilla………Chipotle chili & licked bowls!

Fantastic served with crunchy tacos (always heat before serving – gosh it’s like a completely different food), soft tortillas, lettuce wraps (for those wanting something lighter). or simply rice and nachos. Dress up or down with copious amounts of salad, cheese, sour cream and salsa and be transported to chill choco black bean heaven. Prayers answered!

Smoked chipotle black beans

(Serves 2)

1 tablespoon of oil
1 onion, peeled & chopped
2 gloves of garlic, minced
1 red pepper, chopped
salt & pepper
2 chipotle chilies, presoaked & chopped finely
1/2 can of tomatoes & 1 can of water
4 squares dark chocolate (dairy free for vegan beans)
1 teaspoon oregano/cumin/coriander/cinnamon
1 cup of squash (peeled and cubed)
1 can black beans (drained)
1 handful of coriander, chopped

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a non stick pan. Gently fry the onion, garlic and pepper. season with salt & pepper.
  2. Stir in the chipotle chili, tomatoes, water, chocolate, spices & squash. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Stir through black beans & coriander until heated through.
  4. Serve as a hearty stew or as a filling for tacos & tortillas.

Apple & Blackberry Coconut Bake – GF & Paleo

Apple & blackberry coconut bakeYou don’t get anything for free these days, aside from a bowl of blackberries and this is just once a year and not for very long. There’s no such thing as a free lunch so when it comes to blackberry season I like to get involved! I was far too happy to see there’s several bushes along a pathway near our flat which have fruited early this year. The thing is there’s lots of foot traffic down this path and these poor blackberries have been picked on a lot. I’ve noticed certain foragers getting a little territorial with thriving bushes and if it’s close to home it’s theirs, ready for the pie dish. I should know, I use to frequent the same old bush in anticipation that nobody has touched my blackberries!Blackberry picking

Of course it’s always the easiest most accessible sections of the bush that are barren.  The parts that are out of reach and buried in bramble  are usually bursting with plump, dark purple, juicy, sweet, fizz on the tongue berries. These are the ones I go for, I like a challenge. Russ and I always joke that we should dress up in protective clothing in order to avoid the tangly stinging nettles and brambles intertwined with the blackberry bushes. Maybe we should mark out our territory with some tape or a few hazard cones….just kidding! I can avoid these scrapes and stings by going to the market instead but it’s way more fun to pick your own, eating a few along the way with purple stained fingers.

I remember blackberries being most fruitful at the end of the summer holidays and as kids me and the sister always frequented ‘our’ bush with the motivation of a homemade  pie or crumble for tea, the latter was by far my favourite. We were always smugly happy to be the first ones there, filling our tupperware to the brim!. My sister always used to get a lecture  (from me!) on picking protocol: ‘you can tell which berries are ripe and ready, they come off easily when given a slight pull, OK?’. Before returning home we scanned  for bushes close to ripening for our next visit. I still do this and have already made a mental note of the abundant close to ripe reddish fruit that I’ll be going back for next week. I think I love blackberry picking just as much as the eating! Im definitely feeling that forager/hunter gatherer vibe!!Apple & blackberry bake

I can’t be bothered with traditional apple pie though. It’s stodgy, heartburn inducing and is usually very high in sugar and since I’ve weened myself off the stuff I find most ‘sweet’ treats these days just a bit too sweet. Anyway, I decided it was high time I made an Apple Charlotte (well it is my name- Charlotte not Apple!) but then I realised I didn’t have enough bread and of course I have everything coconut  so I settled on an apple sponge bake type thing.  I loved apple spongey cake stuff as a kid so thought  a similar dish with a twist made sense. Apples are  easily one of my favourite fruits and I adore the blackberry combo for the flavour but also the colour the two create when stewed.  I had a crack at coconut sponge mix and I have to admit when I first put it together it looked a bit lumpy so I wore myself out beating it over and over. I stopped when I realised the specky lumps were desiccated coconut, doh. Anyway, I kept adding milk and water until the mixture had the consistency of  a classic sponge mix ready for spreading onto the apple and blackberry in a glass dish. Of course, it doesn’t need to be glass but the colours of the fruit are amazing and it’s nice to see. I ended up baking this for 40 minutes and mid way through was a tad dubious about it working out but by the end the sponge had indeed set with a springy touch. After a little cooling (I could only manage 10 minutes due coconut aroma induced hunger!) I cut a slice and was quite smug when it slipped out beautifully. A dollop of greek yoghurt and a fork later I ate this on the patio steps in my own apple, blackberry, coconut heaven. Super excited about taste testing on Russ later.  Sometimes you need to check you’re not delusional in thinking your baking is utterly delicious when in fact it isn’t all that good!Eating bake

Of course this is good for you. Check out the ingredients list, it’s also low in carbs and sugar making it a much better choice than standard apple sponge/pies. This beats any apple dessert I’ve had before and I’ll be making it again soon, perhaps with pear and blueberry next time.

The only downside to this whole apple and blackberry episode is my ceramic pan is now purple inside, any suggestions?finished bake

Apple, blackberry & coconut bake

(serves 4)

2 cups apples
1 1/2 cups blackberries
2 tablespoons stevia
cinnamon
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup dessicated coconut
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
vanilla pod, deseeded
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 egg
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup of water

Method:

1. Pre -heat oven to 180 ºC. Simmer apples, blackberries, cinnamon & 1 tablespoon of the stevia in a pan with 2 tablespoons of water until softened – about 10 minutes. Add more water if the fruit begins to dry out.
2. Beat the remaining ingredients to form a sponge like batter, adding the water carefully to prevent an overly thin the mixture.
3. Transfer fruit to a glass baking dish. Spread the coconut batter over the top ensuring an even spread. Bake for 40 minutes until firm to the touch with a slight spring.

Note: Coconut is very absorbent & some brands differ. As such, take care when adding the milk & liquid as you may need slightly less or more according to the coconut flour brand.

Peach, Maple & Cinnamon Rice Pancakes – GF

Rice pancakes & peachesA randomly acquired food rule I broke yesterday: Pancakes are reserved for weekends or holidays. Yeah right!

Well first up, what a silly rule and such a terrible way to live! To think about all those weekdays I’ve been missing out on my own personal pancake (well these are more crepe like) party. I suppose I’ve always associated pancake breakfasts with lazy weekends or scenes from American sitcoms where nobody’s in a rush to get to work. But these aren’t even time consuming. In fact, they’re quick, very quick, so I’m gonna make a point of eating these during the week in the hope of tricking myself! If this means I’m late for work then so be it, my pancake stack is worth it. I’m worth it!Peachy pancakes

As if being delicious isn’t enough, these are a great way to start the day and an excellent canvas for adding fruit and other delicious extras. I’m trying to eat less gluten so rice flour provides a tasty alternative  to wheat. These are a little heavier than they would be if you used almond or oat flour but the overall result is pretty satisfying. I love peaches, especially when they’re on the verge of over ripe. Yep, I reckon peaches are my favourite fruit and I love them even more with cinnamon and sticky syrup. These would work with any fruit really, dress them up or down, they’re easy going and accepting of most additions. Just be sure not to eat all your fruit before the pancakes are finished, like me! How can anyone in their right mind slice a ripe juicy peach and leave it alone? Peachy pancake process

These are just too simple not to make, enjoy them any way you want them. Be sure to break your own food rules and take some time over breakfast…..even if it makes you a few minutes late!

Peach, maple & cinnamon rice pancakes

(Serves 1)

50 grams rice flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 organic egg
1/4 pint coconut/almond milk
1 tablespoon maple syrup
coconut oil, for frying
1 ripe peach, sliced
Maple syrup for drizzling

Method:

1. Combine the rice flour, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. Place milk in a measuring jug, adding the egg and maple syrup.
2. Combine the wet and dry ingredients to form a smooth batter.
3. Heat the coconut oil in a pan and add a ladle of batter. Cook on each side for a minute and transfer to a warm plate. Repeat until batter is finished.
4. Arrange pancakes and peaches on a plate. Drizzle with maple syrup. Enjoy.

Courgette & Quinoa Pizzas – GF

Courgette & quinoa pizzasThis isn’t strictly ‘pizza’ pizza but honestly, it’s just as tasty with a courgette base and of course it’s healthier. I didn’t know what to write in the title post – courgette or zucchini. I’ve always been a courgette person although zucchini is infinitely nicer sounding so I may even swap teams! It ‘s always interesting to see where others fall too, the same with aubergine/eggplant, coriander/cilantro and turnips/swedes. I witnessed a full blown argument with the last two, over whether it was indeed  a swede or a turnip. It was definitely a swede but needless to say I stayed well out of it! I don’t even think it’s an American / English thing either as I’ve heard British people say zucchini and friends from the States have a preference for courgette. Anyway, it’s just one of those things that fascinates me, same goes for you say tom-ay-to, I say tom-ar-to, I say pot-ay-to, you say pot-ar-to! It’s probably just me but I love all these little differences and preferences in life. Courgette & quinoa pizzas

Names and titles aside, these are neat little low carb pizzas with a good protein kick and 2 servings of vegetables. Sometimes you just want a lighter meal and these are the perfect way to lighten up. Pizza would work equally well in aubergine, mushrooms, beef tomatoes but I think courgettes (I mean zucchinis!) are pretty ideal and there was an abundance at the market this week. They’d be really tasty with some fresh baguette or pitta bread if you’re looking for a more substantial meal. We had them with some leftover spelt buttermilk bread which was really nice. These are super easy and can be made ahead of time for a quick grilling before teatime. Courgette pizza process

Any cheese would be nice but mozzarella is a an ideal choice as it turns stringy and pizza like under the grill. The quinoa gives the stuffing a pleasing texture but also boosts the protein which along with the cheese makes a protein rich dish.Courgette pizzas with cheese

Are you in team courgette or team zucchini?

‘Zucchini’ & quinoa pizzas

(serves 2)

2 large courgettes, hollowed (see pictures)
1/2 red onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
1/2 teaspoon sugar
salt & pepper
1/2 can chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup mozzarella, grated
handful chopped olives

Method:

1. Cut the courgettes in half and scoop out the insides. Put innards aside and place courgettes on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil & bake for 15 minutes at 180 ºC.
2. Lightly fry onion, garlic & courgette innards, adding the herbs and seasonings after 5 minutes followed by the tomatoes and cooked quinoa.  Simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Remove courgettes from the oven and fill the courgettes with the tomato quinoa mix. Dress with mozzarella and chopped olives. Place under a hot grill for 5 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and stringy.

Easy 3-Minute Coconut Flour & Chocolate Mug Cake – GF & Paleo

Oh my goodness, I can’t believe how late I’ve arrived to the mug cake party. First, coconut flour and now mug cakes. My quality of life has improved immeasurably with these two things!

Chocolate & coconut mug cake

Seriously, how long has this mug cake malarkey been around? It’s amazing, I mean literally in from work and I can have cake in 3 minutes. I do like a piece of cake and I’m fond of a pretty mug too, especially a good old fashioned english bone china one! To think that I can eat cake from my favourite tea cup, well this is a complete revelation to me and the ultimate comfort food. Chocolate coco mug cake & PB

This isn’t any old cake either, this is a healthy, low carb, low GI, protein and fibre rich cake in a mug. If you’re following a low carb or paleo diet this is a perfectly acceptable treat due to the low carbs/grain content. For me, I just like to try new things and a low carb sweet treat is the ideal way to balance my love of bread and other grains. What really put the icing on my cake is it’s absolutely delicious, turning out chocolatey, nutty, moist and rich. Second time round, I added a little extra milk and a few chocolate chips which definitely gave it the winning edge. Also, on my second shot I used Russ’ coffee cup so maybe this is the lucky mug!Chocolate & coconut mug cake

Definitely extra taste points when smeared with peanut butter but I really think that next time a simple chocolate sauce may be in order. In fact, ice cream, cashew cream, extra syrup, banana, nuts or just milk would easily make friends with this mug cake. This is up there as one of my new favourite snacks.Mug cake & vanilla pod

Can you tell how I’m oh so happy to finally be part of the mug cake circle? There’s endless scope for creativity too, I’m already planning a ginger syrup variety. This chocolate coconut version was good though, really good. The only shame was I had to share it with Russ, but now he’s now fully briefed on the mug cake protocol he’s happy to make his own next time. I don’t mind sharing this once.

Have you had a mug cake before? What’s your latest exciting food discovery?Chocolate & coconut mug cake

Coconut flour & chocolate mug cake

1 tablespoon coconut flour
1 tablespoon cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 egg (or vegan egg replacement)
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 vanilla pod, seeds removed or 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence
3 tablespoons coconut / almond milk
sprinkle of chocolate chips (optional)

Method:

  1. Place the dry ingredients to a microwave proof mug & combine well.
  2. Add the wet ingredients taking care to incorporate fully for a smooth mixture.
  3. Microwave on full power for 1 1/2 minutes. Take out & enjoy from the mug or empty into a bowl & start a mug cake party of your own.
  4. Nuts, peanut butter, ice cream, cashew cream all welcome.
    😉

 

Coconut Flour Peanut Butter Cookies

Coconut Flour Peanut Butter Cookies

So, if I could eat only one thing for the rest of my life it would be COCONUT. I’m loving everything coconut these days – coconut flour, milk, cream, oil, butter, shavings and even simple coconut water. Clearly I’m looking for any excuse to use coconut in any form and my “coco thing” at the moment is flour. Coconut flour is amazing stuff because it’s high in fibre and protein but low in carbs. I mean really, who needs wheat and gluten anymore?

This delicious flour is made from the fresh pulp of coconuts (that’s it) – dried, degreased and ground into gold….I mean flour! I love the way it just sucks up liquid giving a wholesome and nutty boost to pancakes, bread, cookies, muffins, crumbles, mug cakes, any cake for that matter and so much more. It’s perfect for sweet and savoury recipes with it’s mild coconut (funny that!) flavour and best of all, you’ll be doing your body the world of good. If you’re avoiding gluten or cutting carbs, coconut flour is definitely your friend.Coconut Flour Peanut Butter Cookies

Unlike shop bought gluten laden, additive-packed cookies, these low carb coconut peanut butter gems won’t send your energy levels crashing post sugar buzz. This low sugar cookie satiates, providing fibre, protein and a steady source of energy. These cookies are…..correction, were goooood! Firm on the outside, a nice chewy inside and just sweet enough with a creamy peanut buttery nutty flavour. Perfect for an afternoon snack with a cup of tea.Coconut Flour Peanut Butter Cookies

I just love the question, ‘if you could eat just one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?”. I know that it’s a toughy, but for me coconut marginally pips the post with oats a close second.

So, I’d love to know, if you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?Coconut Flour Peanut Butter Cookies

Coconut Flour Peanut Butter Cookies

(makes 8-10)

1/2 cup coconut flour
pinch of salt
sprinkle cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons coconut/almond milk
1 tablespoon Flax Seed to 3 of water

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 ºC. Combine the dry ingredients in a small mixing bowl. In a separate bowl whisk the peanut butter, honey, milk & flax mixture. Add this to the dry mixture & combine to form a dough. Add more milk if necessary.
  2. Roll the mixture into 10 small balls and place on a lightly greased baking tray. Push each cookie down gently with a fork.
  3. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove & allow to cool before storing.

Quinoa, Coconut & Blueberry Granola – GF & Vegan

Quinoa & blueberry granola

I was lucky enough to travel Peru last year and over the course of several weeks I ate my own body weight in this grain, what with daily helpings of quinoa cereal, quinoa soup and quinoa veggies! Needless to say, it was a tad overload and me and quinoa went on a break. Clearly this was just a temporary hitch because we’re now back in business, as we should be because this really is a super amazing whole grain. Just 1 cup of  this cooked inca grain has more than 8 grams of protein and to me that’s pretty good BUT there’s more. Not only is the protein content impressive, it’s the type of protein that really gives this grain the winning edge. Quinoa (like chia seeds!) has the perfect balance of 9 amino acids and is therefore a COMPLETE protein, like the type found in meat. I make a point of arming myself with these lovely facts in answer to the  well meant ‘but where do you get your protein from?’ queries! But it’s OK, quinoa is just one of many super protein sources available to vegetarians – I really like this post by ultraman Rich Roll on his top 7. Posts like this just reinforce how amazing a plant based diet is, it really does provides us with everything we need and much more.DSC_5877

Not only is quinoa is a vegetarian’s best friend, it’s pretty versatile stuff too.  If you can cook rice, you can cook quinoa and like rice, it can be a breakfast, lunch or dinner. This super grain of the Incas is perfect for porridge, veggie stuffing, planting in salads, on it’s lonesome or as a base of crunchy, sweet, nutty granola. Quinoa granola works particularly well and it can be put together in a jiffy for a week’s worth of protein jacked breakfasts. The coconut oil and honey add a sweet smooth flavour to the clusters and allow the quinoa, oats and nuts to form a light crisp texture, kind of granola-esque!Granola ingredients

This cereal is packed full of healthy fats, protein and fibre, providing a satisfying and low GI start to the day. Adding fresh fruit will ramp up the vitamin and mineral content and fortified nut milks will give a calcium boost too.  Delicious served with ice cold milk, on oatmeal, yoghurt or simply on it’s own from the jar.Granola & banana

Quinoa, coconut & blueberry granola

(6 servings)

1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup gluten free oats
1/2 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup desiccated or shaved coconut
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup coconut oil
3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 ºC. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients except coconut oil & honey.
2. Melt the coconut oil & whisk in the honey. Add this to the large bowl & combine all the ingredients until thoroughly coated.
3. Place the mixture on a large baking tray and place in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes. Turn clusters over mid way through baking taking care not to over brown.

Note: If using larger sized nuts it’s advisable to add these at the start followed by smaller nuts & seeds half way through the total baking time for an even bake. The total bake time may need to extended by 5-10 minutes.

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