It’s time to quit coffee

An obsession. A ritual. This is how we’ve labelled coffee.
Well the time has come and we’ve decided to shake the morning routine (the caffeinated part at least) and quit coffee. Like many, our mornings consist of certain routines and one of them was a jug of freshly roasted filter coffee. Ooh the taste, the smell and if you buy decent freshly roasted beans, it really is a nice treat! But people function quite normally without the ‘energy’ hit of coffee in the mornings.

A decision was made: we needed time out. Our autopilot mode of turning on the filter jug machine and waiting for the aroma to spread around the home was making us feel ‘automatic’.

Why give up something you love, you’re already healthy people? Everything in moderation?

I’m confused either way, is it good for you or bad? It definitely feels as though coffee in the morning and a wine with dinner is an unhealthy cycle – one fuelling the other even in small quantities. Regular coffee drinking everyday, means we’re hooked, just one, two or three cups. Not good.
OK so we braced ourselves, quitting coffee meant the headaches were waiting just around the corner to lure us back into that habit!

It’s a Thursday and I’m off to Edinburgh for a couple of days work.
We’re committing – our coffee supplies are finished and the old filter jug (which has done some mileage) is in the rubbish bin. By late morning the forehead aching had begun, foggy concentration and tiredness. Has this been a wise choice? Keep it going they say – only lasts a few days right? A few days later had passed, and it’s now just tea in the mornings – Charlotte was the first to decide ‘NO, i’m either in or out’. And seeing as it’s definitely working for me, I’m taking that route too.
Wanna quit coffee? Read on some more

quit coffee

We’re continually reminded of the ‘benefits’ and ‘hazards’ of coffee, you can quite easily google them, we’re just sharing our experience here.
Here’s a quick fact anyway: the drug caffeine actually makes up only around 1 or 2% of the bean itself, hmm.

Anyway I must admit, I still enjoy the smell – you can’t really escape it working in an office environment, but the benefits of not drinking are becoming apparent:

  • No yearning for a stimulant each day to get you going, mentally that feels quite liberating.
  • If you’re having one of those hectic mornings at home, I found sometimes my cuppa was being gulped and not actually ‘enjoyed’!
  • Definitely starting to notice the body’s own energy kick in as the fatigue in the afternoon has slowly disappeared.
  • My stomach’s appreciating no more of that harsh acidic hot liquid, let’s be honest a tea or hot lemon water is more gentle!
  • We have no dependance on coffee and it’s availability whenever going outside the home – travel/appointments etc.
  • It’s a money saver – good coffee (especially in the UK) isn’t cheap!

TIP: Have some Swiss-Water decaf in the house, you’ll get the great smell and lovely taste without the hit! This will help you a lot, trust us – we did it.
😉

See, we’re not that unkind.

What we wouldn’t advise:

  • Going cold turkey if you’re really into your coffee on a huge scale – go easy, cut down to a good single cup per day or the withdrawals will be just hell and you may not continue. You can then progress from there.
  • Cutting out the coffee if you’re just about to travel for pleasure/business and you could do with sorting that temporary jet lag out, keep it moderate. You’re in control remember.

So why? Here’s some good reasons to kick it – even if it’s for only a month!

  • The caffeine in coffee can increase stress hormones, and if you’re prone to stress and/or anxiety it could really help you manage this considerably by cutting it out.
  • The acidity can cause digestive discomfort.
  • Essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium have been known to be excreted through the urine of coffee drinkers…
  • It makes you dehydrated. Aren’t we all supposed to be drinking more water anyway?
  • The urges are only temporary – so don’t get too bogged down with how you feel in those first couple of days.
  • Having a couple of weeks off resets your caffeine tolerance, so if you introduce it again – you can be gradual, and of course moderate.

A healthy replacement habit if you’re not doing so already is clearly…tea.

  • We feel much healthier drinking tea.
  • Why? Because it’s lighter in taste and caffeine (unless it’s caffeine-free altogether).
  • Tea is calmer and a more gentle way to enter each new day, the morning is such a sacred time where nature’s waking with you – treat that moment with a calming drink.
  • It’s satisfying and makes you feel strong, clear headed and prepared – you’re now using your body’s own energy.

Summary:
To continue or not? It’s going very well, so why break the new habit. The smell of coffee will be missed but this is a good thing now we have which has taken some willpower to earn.
Coffee-free mornings are now the new habit in our home.
Coffee lovers, have a go and try a month. Or quit coffee altogether… 😉

Sugar Free Chocolate Brownie Loaf

A sugar free chocolate brownie loaf, sounds good for you right? It is.
Dates, oh how I love thee. I am head over heals with dates…….on their own, stirred through porridge, in smoothies, smothered with nut butter (oh you haven’t tried this? Please do, immediately!), in ice cream, pure date paste, in caramel sauce……I just REALLY like dates.

sugar free chocolate brownie

Naturally these brownies are jam packed with date loving, making them free from nasty sugar but rather packed full of goodness. Here’s 7 damn good reason’s to eat more dates from naturalsociety.com. Oh these brownies are whole grain too :-), just sayin’. Recipes like this sugar free whole grain brownie loaf highlight how redundant eggs + dairy really are in sweet treats. Not necessary at all.

sugar free chocolate brownie

Date + chocolate = so much yum. Guilt free yum. A sugar free chocolate brownie.
And did I say how easy these are? Yep, add this little lot to a blender/processor and Bob’s your Uncle and Annie’s your Aunt.

sugar free chocolate brownie

I reckon I’ll be whipping this up for future last minute dessert ‘needs’ as they’re really tasty as hell, healthy to boot and ready in a flash.

Sugar Free Whole Grain Brownie Loaf

200 grams pitted dates
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
250 ml almond milk
150 grams spelt flour
50 grams cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
100 grams dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 200 ºC. Blend the dates, milk + vanilla until smooth.
Add the flours + combine thoroughly. Stir through the chips + transfer to a baking pan.
Bake for 20 minutes.

Fig and Tahini Energy Bites (Calcium Rich + Dairy Free)

So, like, where do you get your calcium? Just kidding.
But really, this here from MindBodyGreen is a great little visual piece if you were wondering the best sources or perhaps wanting a few quick fire responses up your sleeve!
OK, let’s get to it, fig and tahini energy bites.

Vegan RAW Fig Energy Balls There are tonnes of plant based sources of calcium that nourish our bones rather than acidify them as dairy does. Many people worry about folk on a plant based diet in terms of their protein (yawn!), iron and calcium intakes. Calcium has long been associated with dairy which is completely misleading as nature is chock full of it and more nourishing to our skeletal system. What I’m saying is don’t sweat the calcium, especially now you got balls of calcium steel.

Vegan RAW Fig Energy Balls

Calcium rich, protein pumped, fibre packed little balls of pure RAW goodness. Quick to knock up, these are ready when you are!

Vegan RAW Fig Energy Balls

Fig and Tahini Energy Bites, a calcium love affair.

1 cup dried figs
1/2 cup dried dates
3/4-1 cup oats
1/4 cup light tahini
1 tablespoon maple syrup

Add this little bundle of goodness to a food processor or blender + process til a real smooth dough forms. Divide into amazing balls of calcium rich energy. Enjoy.

Black Bean Mocha Brownies (Gluten and Sugar free, Vegan)

Black bean mocha brownies…for that day when you NEED brownies like now! Blender brownies that are not only super quick to make but oh so healthful. These are those brownies that tick every box – no dairy, grain, gluten, egg or sugar.

Black Bean Mocha Blender Brownies

But but but, honestly they are still tasty as hell. Oh, and oh so adaptable too. Swap out the black beans for white beans, sub the walnuts for pecans, tahini for PB or coconut oil, ditch the coffee altogether + sweeten as you like. See, really, these are like a brownie for anyone and everyone 😉

Black Bean Mocha Blender Brownies

Black Bean Mocha Brownies

(make 12-16)

2 tablespoons chia seeds soaked in 6 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons tahini
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 can black beans, drained (230 grams drained weight)
2 tablespoons dark strong coffee granules soaked in 2 tablespoon hot water

Dark chocolate chips  + walnuts

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 175 ºC + line a small baking tin (8X8 inches is good).
2. Throw the lot into a blender (not the chocolate chips or walnuts) + blend until smooth.
3. Transfer to the tin, press copious amounts of chocolate chips and walnut pieces into the batter + bake for 25 minutes.
4. Remove from the oven, allow to cool, slice + enjoy. Freeze like a dream.

One Pot Veggie Pasta

vegan pasta pot

A great way to use leftover veggies or clear the fridge for a filling, healthy meal. This is pretty much a full meal in itself and can be on the table in less than 20 minutes. It’s super adaptable and really delicious.

vegan pasta pot

vegan pasta potThe end result is kinda soupy but definitely not soup! This recipe is an easy go-to recipe for when you’re short of time, have limited ingredients but still require a complete meal. A complete, healthy, delicious and quick as hell meal.

vegan pasta pot

One Pot Veggie Pasta

(serves 2)

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon rosemary/oregano/thyme
veggies (carrot, courgette, pepper, mushroom, spinach, brocoli, tomatoes, chili, olives)
200 grams pasta (I used spelt spaghetti, but GF brown rice pasta is great too)
750 ml vegan vegetable stock
1 can lentils/bean of choice

  1. Saute the garlic, onion + herbs until fragrant.
  2. Stir in your chosen veggies (I chose carrot, pepper, broccoli, mushroom).
  3. Add the remaining ingredients + bring to a gentle simmer until the pasta is cooked. You may need to add more stock/water to get the required soupy consistency.
  4. If using spaghetti, you may have to separate the strands at the beginning of cooking. Fusilli/penne are much easier options!

 

Plantain Chocolate Chip Cookies (Grain Free + Vegan)

Chocolate chip cookies…they’re a go-to comfort snack to match that cool refreshing glass of almond milk or your favourite hot drink during the day or evening. It’s a social snack, most people’s eyes light up when ‘cookie’ is mentioned as an offering. It’s a fact. As you may have guessed (from the way we do things on the blog here) it’s not any old cookie, it’s made with…plantain?!

Grain Free Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Err, why? Well you searched for grain-free vegan paleo cookie recipe. And you got plantain chocolate chip cookies as your answer.
These are as good as they look too.
The facts:
Plantains are high in fibre, vitamin A & C, rich source of B vitamins (B6) and loadsa minerals too just look for yourself here livestrong will tell you more than you need to know.

DSC_2841 Grain Free Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Personally, we love how these are healthy and yet you’d find it hard to find anything wrong with the taste and texture…they’re that good! Small, moreish, yet simple to make!

Grain Free Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Plantain Chocolate Chip Cookies

(makes 12)

1 ripe plantain
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
2 tablespoons coconut flour
2 tablespoons tapioca starch
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 175 ºC. Lightly grease baking tray.
2. Combine all the ingredients apart from the chocolate chips in a blender/food processor. Once processed fold through chocolate chips.
3. Spoon tablespoon sizes of cookie dough onto the baking pan + bake for 12-15 minutes.

Recipe minimally adapted from this recipe at Purelytwins.

Flourless Blondies (Grain + Dairy Free)

For completely grain free cooking, these look pretty darn good don’t they? Welcome flourless blondies….

flourless blondies vegan

Most people who are into cooking are likely to have a can of chickpeas in their cupboard, and as this is the bulk of this ingredient list, you’re doing well already!
This is a true floury brownie alternative with all the taste and texture of a small cakey snack (and the almond butter really does give this that extra satisfying bite).

flourless blondies vegan

One of the main purposes of this blog is to show people that delicious and healthy cooking/baking can be done with great results from just a few simple ingredients. So with very few exceptions, this is essentially an all natural recipe with an all-satisfying outcome. Once they’re out the oven start thinking about that cup or tea of coffee these are going to meet up with…

Grain free baking is becoming more and more popular with the explosion of paleo recipes everywhere as people shift their old ideas of using traditional all-purpose flours as their go-to baking staple. Oh yeah, we’ve got some great grain-free ideas for you too right here.
The great thing is these are also vegan of course (go team vegan! :-D).

flourless blondies vegan

Flourless Blondies (Grain + Dairy Free)

1 can chickpeas (drained)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup agave syrup
1/2 cup almond butter
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

  1. Line a 6″X8″ baking tin + preheat oven to 175C.
  2. Add all the ingredients apart from the chocolate chips to a food processor + process until smooth.
  3. Fold through the chocolate chips + transfer to the baking pan.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
  5. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes, slice + really enjoy.

Probably the Healthiest Chocolate Cake Ever – Guess what the unusual Ingredient is?!

I’ve said this is probably the healthiest chocolate cake out there, which is probably not much of a big deal to you. Yet. However, when you taste this you’ll soon realise that not only is it healthy but highly likely the best chocolate cake you ever had. Really.

healthiest chocolate cake

I’m completely in love with this cake. This chocolate cake. It’s rich, dark, light yet moist. The frosting is to die for and the chocolate chips give this a double smash of chocolate. I used dark chocolate chips with the first ingredient cocoa mass rather than sugar which really helps ramp up the richness and limit the sugar content.

Cauliflower. Yep, that’s right. Frozen cauliflower in your chocolate cake. I urge you to try this but if it really doesn’t float ya boat then you can replace with one cup of apple/sweet potato puree. But frozen cauliflower chocolate cake is the bomb!

Anyway, right now this is all hear say so just go ahead and make it. See for yourself!

healthiest chocolate cake

Healthy Cauliflower Chocolate Cake

3/4 cup spelt flour
1 teaspoon each of baking powder + bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons egg replacer
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup dark chocolate chips
2 cups loosely packed frozen cauliflower, thawed
1/2 cup coconut milk
4 tablespoons coconut oil

1. Preheat oven to 175 ºC + grease an 8″x8″ baking pan.
2. Combine all the dry ingredients, mixing well.
3. In a blender add the remaining ingredients including the frozen cauliflower + blend until very smooth.
4. Stir the two mixtures together, transfer to the pan + bake for 30 minutes.

Ice/Frost with this bad boy:

Original recipe here at Chocolate Covered Katie.

Wholegrain Coconut Raspberry Cake

You know we’re all about the health, the wellbeing and just straight to the point good food. Healthy doesn’t mean complicated and fancy – often it’s quite the opposite! So having been to our local greengrocers to get his fresh raspberries 2 punnets for £1, there had to be a cake somewhere down the line using these gorgeously soft beauties…I came up with this idea: a wholegrain coconut raspberry cake. What you think?

Wholegrain Raspberry Coconut Cake Vegan

On goodnessgreen we love using the humble coconut. There are so many reasons why – follow the tag as shows our variations of this amazing fruit (well drupe technically) so far…

Wholegrain Coconut Raspberry CakeThe breakdown of why you want me:
I’m a quick to make cake,
super delicious,
so adaptable,
healthy as hell,
crammed full of coconut,
hello wholegrain,
dairy free,
what more do you want?

wholegrain raspberry vegan cake

Wholegrain Coconut Raspberry Cake

2 cups wholewheat spelt flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup dessicated coconut
1/2 cup coconut sugar (or replace with sugar of choice)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup coconut milk
1 egg replacer (chia, flax or NRG egg replacer powder)
4 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 cup dairy free yoghurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup raspberries + extra coconut + raspberries for sprinkling

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 175 ºC + grease an 8″ cake tin.
  2. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add the remianing ingredients except raspberries to seperate bowl and whisk thoroughly.
  3. Combine the 2 mixtures to form a cake batter. Fold through the 1 cup of raspberries + transfer to the greased cake pan.
  4. Top with a sprinkle of raspberries + extra coconut.
  5. Bake for 60 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Wholegrain Coconut Raspberry Cake adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie’s Raspberry Vanilla Coffee Cake. 

Eden’s Apple Cake (Low fat + Vegan)

apple cake
As part of Eden’s weaning, I’ve been on the look out for some decent wholesome finger food. It’s not that easy to find clean, healthy food full stop, let alone actually ‘healthy’ baby food for Eden. I also wanted a simple, quick recipe which can be made with minimal ingredients. This is it. Her own apple cake.

apple cake

Your first apple cake is kind of a big deal……….

apple cake

She liked it…….it’s a keeper…especially as this is a good bowl-licking recipe 🙂

apple cake

Eden’s apple cake

2 cups spelt flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 1/2 cups apple puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 175ºC + lightly oil an 8″ cake pan.
  2. Combine the flour, baking soda + cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl throughly mix the remaining ingredients.
  4. Combine the two separate mixtures to form a smooth cake batter.
  5. Transfer to the greased cake tin + bake for 45 minutes. Sorted.

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