almond milk

Easy Vegan Cheese (No Soy, Heart Healthy)

Easy Vegan Cheese

Why make cheese when you can go to the supermarket and buy it? Well vegan cheese is pretty good these days, it melts, it grates, it slices, it tastes good – everything cheese should do but without the dairy. In my opinion, I think everyone should be trying the alternatives and not being all cheese-snobbish about the whole thing ” but it’s not even real cheese”. We all know cheese is a love for many people (in fact virtually everyone I know), so creating this vegan version is something to be proud of.

Easy Vegan Cheese

Not only is it delicious, it’s heart-healthy – it’s made with almond milk and olive oil, grates beautifully over ya beans ‘n’ tacos and slices up a treat in a sandwich toastie with some fresh organic wholemeal bread. There’s no dairy and no soy, just flavour and a nice solid block of cheese.
This recipe is simple, it’s quick and needs nothing more than five minutes of love and care, plus a bit of space in your refrigerator. Nice.

Easy Vegan Cheese

Looking forward to attempt number two at this cheese, a few changes for flavour perhaps or a few changes for colour perhaps..?

Easy Vegan Cheese

Easy Vegan Cheese

2 cups almond milk
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon hot mustard
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
4-6 tablespoons nutritional yeast
3 tablespoons agar powder
1 teaspoon chili flakes (optional)

Method:

  1. Throw all the ingredients into a pan in no particular order + whisk away for 5 minutes on a low to medium heat until the mixture thickens.
  2. Transfer thickened cheese mixture to your preferred moulds and refrigerate until set. It’s really this easy.

Vegan Boiled Fruit Cake

I love dried fruit so it’s no shock that fruit cake is one of my favourite cakes. Actually, it IS my favourite cake. Raisins, sultanas, dates, apricots, currants, cranberries, blueberries – all of ’em, I love them. So it was hard for me growing up with a sister who picked the raisins out of her muesli, the currants out of her buns, the dates out of her puddings and turned her nose up at a moist iced wedding cake! What is she mad!? It actually stumped me because there is nothing nicer than a thick slice of fruit cake, to me anyhow. A big statement but so true.

Vegan Boiled Fruit Cake Vegan Boiled Fruit Cake

It seems that everybody’s Nan or Mum makes the best bolied fruit cake recipe ever so I’m not claiming this is the best by any means but it’s certainly free of any animal products (love that of course), is possibly a little lower in sugar, undoubtedly wholegrain too. This vegan boiled fruit cake is already a winner to me. Ok, this is better than your Mum’s and your Nan’s, sorry.

vegan boiled fruit cake

So why is this vegan boiled fruit cake better than your Mum’s?

It’s vegan- yippeee. I DON’T need cow stuff in my cake and nor do you!
It’s lower in sugar, dried fruit is pretty sweet already right?
Hello wholegrain. Spelt flour is pretty impressive when it comes to baking and much higher in fibre and lower in gluten than your average white flours. Spelt flour is a good friend.

So yeah it IS better than your Mum’s AND your Nans – so so sorry but it’s true.

vegan boiled fruit cake

Oh and another thing, fruit cake isn’t just for Christmas but all year surely. There is nothing better than a pot of tea and a wedge of fruit cake in the afternoon, or evening! Oh and the smell of freshly baked fruit cake is pretty hard to beat for me too.

Vegan Boiled Fruit Cake
Enjoy and get fruity.

Vegan Boiled Fruit Cake

120 grams vegan butter
1/2 cup raw brown sugar
400 grams mixed fruit
1/4 cup chopped cherries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda + 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon mixed spice
1 cup almond milk
1/4-1/2 cup water
2 cups spelt flour

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 160ºC + line a 7-8 inch cake tin.
2. Meanwhile add all the ingredients apart from the flour to a pan over a low heat + simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Allow to cool before adding the flour. Once the flour + fruit mixture is thoroughly combined transfer to the cake tin + bake for 1 hour or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
4. Allow to cool on a wire rack before serving.

Baked Carrot Cake Oatmeal

carrot cake bake
I must admit I don’t at first think of carrots for breakfast but carrot cake, yes. Carrot cake in oatmeal form, yes oh yes. In oatmeal form topped with maple drenched salted nuts and seeds, yes, yes and yes. This breakfast is kind of a big deal for me. It tastes just like carrot cake but with all the nasties right outta there. See, it’s a big deal.A slice of carrot cake baked oatmeal

I ate this for breakfast warm and my it was sooo good. I also ate it cold the next day and it was even more delicious, cakier, sweeter, doughier, spicier. The great thing is you really don’t even need a plate and fork as it’s perfect for just picking up and eating on the go. Gosh, this kind of food is me food, me all over, in baked carrot cake oatmeal form!DSC_9363

The great thing is it’s pretty much as healthy as regular oatmeal or granola and packed full of healthy fats and protein. Plus you squeeze in a carrot first thing! This is the kind of breakfast that’ll keep you going until lunchtime, no blood sugar crashes in sight and packed full of delicious healthy ingredients. But then again this doesn’t even have to be brekkie as it’s way good enough as dessert. Amen. Delicious healthy ingredients

It was hard not to eat the whole tray. Severe restrain was exercised here. I wish I was more like Russ with his self control, maybe it’s a guy thing! Not that self control needs to be exercised as it’s so healthy but I mean I ate three pieces compared to his one………where’s the sharing eh?!! Not to worry as I’ll be making more of where this came from and might next time do an apple pie version, or pumpkin pie, or pineapple cake, chocolate brownie baked oatmeal……………………..A slice of carrot cake baked oatmeal

Here’s to having more desserts for breakfast and starting the day right with pudding!Carrot cake baked oatmeal

Baked carrot cake oatmeal

(serves2-4)

dry:
4 medium carrots, peeled + grated
1/4 cup raisins
2 cups oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg + ground ginger
2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
pinch of salt

wet:
2 cups almond milk
2 tablespoons flaxseed combine with 6 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla

topping:
1/3 cup each of walnuts, sunflower seeds + pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons melted vegan butter

method:

1. Preheat oven to 200ºC. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Seperately whisk the wet ingredients together fully.
2. Add the wet to the dry + combine thoroughly. Transfer mixture to a baking dish, allowing to soak for 30 minutes.
3. Combine the topping mixture + spread evenly over the oats. Bake for 25 minutes or until set + browned on top.

Gluten + Dairy Free ‘Snickers’ Pancakes

snickers pancakesDessert for breakfast is sometimes the only way forward. Chocolate. Peanuts. Caramel. Pancakes. I shouldn’t think it gets much better than this. Well not in pancake world anyhow! I wish I had more creativity at breakfast but I always stick to my oats and a thousand trillion toppings. It’s only when I have something like this that I tell myself – ‘eat more pancakes, you crazy person’. Everybody should be eating more pancakes….as long as they’re plant based and super good for you!snickers pancakes

So not only was I trying to jazz up my pancakes ‘Snickers’ style but was also trying to perfect my gluten and dairy free pancake and I tell you what, this was right on target. Utterly delicious actually. You know they’re a success when you literally cannot wait to make them again and eat the whole damn lot. snickers pancakes

These Snickers pancakes have an ever so slightly sweet taste (I figured they didn’t need much sugar when they’re studded with chocolate + drowned in caramel sauce!), a nuttiness from the wholesome gluten free flour, creaminess from the almond milk and flax and they rose like a treat too! So happy with that.pancakes glorious pancakes

You gotta expect a slightly denser pancake when your using GF flour and no eggs and these were still much lighter than I envisaged. Let’s face it, who wants a pancake you could break into someone’s house with? Not me and in taste terms these are miles better than any white processed pancakes I’ve had in the past. I’d always recommend using roasted nuts as the taste is way better and makes them super crunchy too. These Snickers Pancakes are really very delicious. I want them again, right now. snickers pancakes + caramel sauce

Gluten + dairy free ‘Snickers’ pancakes

(serves 2)

1 cup all purpose gluten free flour (I used Dove’s Farm)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 1/2 cups almond milk
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon flaxseed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 cup crushed roasted peanuts
1/4 cup dark dairy free chocolate chips
raw caramel sauce or shop bought

method:

1. Combine the first 4 dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Meanwhile add the milk, apple cider vinegar, flax + vanilla extract to a jug + whisk thoroughly.
2. Add the wet mixture along with the coconut oil to the dry ingredients + mix thoroughly. Stir through half the peanuts + half the chocolate chips.
3. Grease a non stick pan with coconut oil + scoop 1/4 cup size amounts of the mixture onto the griddle pan. Allow to brown (about 2 minutes) on one side + flip for another 2 minutes. Transfer to a warm oven whilst cooking the remaining pancakes.
4. Top with the remaining peanuts + chocolate chips. Drizzle generously with caramel sauce + revel in all this snickers glory.

Chocolate, Banana + Peanut Chia Pudding (GF + Vegan)

chia puddingMy November resolutions are to eat more chia and to get stuck into this chocolate, banana and nut fiasco at least once per week! What a combo this is and a great way to get a my chia nutritional fix. It’s not hard to stick to these resolutions at all. Easy process - chia pudding

This chocolate, banana + peanut chia pudding is super simple and can be prepped the night before for a next day nutrient dense pick me up. The chia seeds just need to soak up the lovely liquid and you’re ready to go. I blend mine for a smooth mousse-like consistency but it’s equally delicious left as is for that chia tapioca vibe. Of course it doesn’t need caramel sauce but that’s besides the point, add it anyway cos it’s beyond delicious. Just in case you wanted to know, I devoured both of these and enjoyed every last scrap.2 chia puddings

I’m monkeys, I’m nuts, just full on head over heels for this chia pudding and for very good reason too. It’s more than an instant energising and transportable snack, much much more:

gluten + dairy free
rich in omega 3
iron rich
high protein
good source of fibre
high in potassium
low in sugar
breakfast or pudding

She ticks every box. Get some chia and get chia pudding-ing. Chia pudding + caramel sauce

Chocolate, banana + peanut chia pudding

(serves 2)

30 grams chia seed
1 cup almond milk
4 dates
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon maple syrup

peanuts
banana, sliced
puffed rice, granola
caramel sauce
anything your heart desires

Method:

1. Soak the chia seeds + dates in the almond milk for 1 hour or leave overnight. Add the soaked mixture to the blender with the remaining pudding ingredients + blend until smooth + mousse like.
2. Serve in a glass dish, layered with toppings of choice but my advice is bananas,  peanuts + caramel sauce. Enjoy this tonne of yumminess you just made.

Comforting Cheesy Pumpkin Sauce With Kale + Pasta (Gluten Free + Vegan)

cheesy kale pumpkin pastaI saw two ladies running in opposite directions today along the canal towpath so I nosily lingered and wondered as they fast approached each other whether they would say hello or not……..they didn’t and I wondered why. It disappointed me and made me a little sad. Two runners, a nice morning, literally elbow skimming each other, yet no acknowledgement or good morning from either. Sad times eh? Is this why I get that look of ‘are you mental’ when I strike up a conversation with a fellow strangers? I think it’s a shame. I always say hi, acknowledge others when out and about, it’s the done thing, right?DSC_8344

I have no way of introducing this recipe apart from it’s the kind of meal that puts a big crazy smile on my face. A deliciously smooth, creamy, cheesy, smokey pumpkin sauce for all your pasta needs. The kind of ‘go to’ comfort food you need when the temperature dips and the days get shorter.

Creamy, cheesy + delicious pumpkin sauce

I like to make a double batch + put it in the fridge ready and waiting for a couple of effortless mid week lunches. You can used canned pumpkin but if you wanna take the time roast your squash you’ll reap the reward of a sweeter flavour. I like rewards so I roast my pumpkin but canned is fantastic as a short cut.Cheesy pumpkin sauce with kale + pasta

Isn’t pumpkin pretty? I bloody love nature.Glorious pumpkin!

This sauce isn’t like your average pasta sauce but clearly this is in a good way. It’s low in sodium, has zero sugar and there’s no need to add a tonne of oil either. Almond milk, nutritional yeast + a touch of liquid smoke gives this pumpkin sauce a delicious creamy, cheesy + slightly smokey flavour. Nutritional yeast is mighty high in B vitamins and this sauce wouldn’t be what it is without it.

I’d definitely recommend an alternative pasta or at least whole grain as life’s too short to eat white sludge. I’m in love with buckwheat + brown rice pasta which are much better decisions, nutritionally + taste wise. They’re easily found in your local health food store or if you’re lucky in the gluten free section of your local supermarket. Winner. Oh, there’s kale in this too. Enough said.Cheesy pumpkin sauce

pumpkin + kale = happy times

kale + cheesy pumpkin sauce = very happy times

broccoli, spinach + other green things would be nice too

if you see me out running, say hello + make me smileCheesy pumpkin sauce with kale + pasta

Comforting Cheesy Pumpkin Sauce With Kale + Pasta

2 cups diced pumpkin or squash
2 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 heaping tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 cups almond milk (unsweetened)
salt & pepper
big handfuls of kale
100 grams of pasta per person

Method:

1. Pre-heat oven to 170ºC + place cubed pumpkin on a baking tray, sprinkle with salt + bake for 25 minutes.
2. Add the remaining ingredients to a blender with the roasted pumpkin and puree until smooth. Add more milk to loosen if needed.
3. Cook pasta per packet instructions, add kale 1 minute before the end. Drain the pasta/kale + stir through enough pumpkin sauce to coat the pasta.

Store leftover sauce in refrigerator for up to 5 days. Freezes well.

Adapted from Oh She Glow’s ‘Smokey butternut squash sauce’. 

 

 

 

 

 

Kale, Apple, Raspberry + Goji Green Smoothie

kale & goji smoothieThe power of the green smoothie. After a few instagram postings of my super green smoothies, I now have my Mum making them and dishing them out to anyone that wants them (yep, my 86 year old grandmother!). Proud much.Drink your greens!

I’ve promised myself to keep up my green smoothie habit so the Vitamix is getting a bit of a beating these days. Plus, I’m getting pretty experimental with my concoctions, some of them not as nice as others. I really like this kale, apple, raspberry + goji smoothie so thought it best to share it as inspiration to get creative and make your own.

I pretty much use kale as the main green in my ‘green’ smoothie and for good reason. At the end of the day, it really is all about the kale. I still can’t get over this: 1 cup has 1327% of our daily vitamin K needs. Woah. But in case you were interested in some more in depth reasoning of why you need kale in your life, just check these ten reasons out.  But, but but, kale per calorie has more calcium than milk. Hallelujah. See, kale really is everybody’s friend. Not milk, milk is never your friend. Raspberry, kale, apple + goji smoothie

I’ve never been a massive fan of goji berries, I like ’em just don’t love ’em but I must admit they do have some redeeming features. Chewy, tangy and sweet, they give this smoothie a nice flavour and texture as well as a ramp up on the nutritional front. Like many berries, goji’s have very powerful antioxidant properties and excellent levels of vitamin A, so a great choice to throw into your morning smoothie and pretty tasty on their own as a chewy snack.Blend those greens!Blend it up!

Apple is probably my favourite fruit to throw into a green smoothie as not only does it increase the nutrient density, it makes it richer in fibre and gives a huge whack of juicy sweetness. Yum. I like this smoothie for the light snack that it is but if you wanted to make it more substantial a nut butter, hemp, flax or chia seeds would be great additions. Have your smoothie your way, of course.

What’s your favourite smoothie addition?Drink your greens!

Kale, apple, raspberry + goji berry smoothie

(serves 2)

2 handfuls fresh kale
1 apple, chopped
1 cup raspberries
1/3 cup goji berries
1 cup almond milk
1 frozen banana
6 ice cubes

Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

Guilt Free Cookie Dough Butter (GF + Vegan)

Guilt Free Cookie Dough ButterBetter than peanut butter, chocolate spread, shop bought cookie dough…actually I don’t think you can buy raw cookie dough in the UK? If you can, it’s definitely better than this. I know this because its flies through the ‘can you eat it straight from the jar’ test.Cookie dough butter!

Whatever, this is a continuation of my sweet chick pea lovin’. I’ve been making little chick pea chocolate cookie bites and I usually end up eating half the ‘raw’ dough before I’ve made them……and then it dawned on me. I couldn’t believe how blind i’ve been – why the hell did I not make this guilt free cookie dough butter sooner?Cookie dough process.....

I hate words like ‘guilt free’ because I don’t think we should let guilt interfere with our enjoyment of food but let’s face it, it does all too often. So calling these ‘guilt free’ is just a way of conveying that this cookie dough butter is unprocessed, low in sugar, protein rich, has zero bad fats but more a big bowl of healthy. It’s hard not to eat the whole jar, I did urge Russ to take half to work to get it out of my reach….he forgot and I finished it….all of it. So delicious, it’s equally dangerous to prepare especially when spooning it into the jar, near impossible to do this without eating some. I’m just trying to tell you how good this is….and good for us, thank the lord it’s good for us. So happy that food like this is healthy cos it sure as hell don’t taste like it.Cookie dough butter

Add a little more or less milk for your desired consistency, I like mine quite thick but a little looser works well poured over ice cream – whatever floats your boat really.

Butter, a dip, dolloped in your morning oats, on cereal or yep…..straight up out of the jar, whatever.

Is it wrong to wanna dip a cookie in this cookie dough butter……I think I’ve answered my own question……no of course not. Enjoy.Cookie dough butter

Guilt Free Cookie Dough Dip

250 grams drained + rinsed chick peas
2 heaping tablespoons peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons vanilla essence
4 tablespoons maple syrup or 1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons flaxseeds
1/4 cup almond milk
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (dairy free)

1. Place all the ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth. Stir through the chocolate chips and transfer to a glass jar ready to dip your spoon into.

Store in the fridge in an airtight container and use within 7 days.

Adapted from ‘Healthy cookie dough dip……..the famous recipe’. 

Vanilla Chia + Berry Pudding (Gluten free, Raw + Vegan)

Because PROTEIN is EVERYWHERE and plants are powerful!Delicious vanilla chia pudding

Yesterday I went for a check up at the doctors and I feel the urge to share some of our chit chat with you:

Nurse: “Make sure you eat lot’s of meat for protein”.

Me: “I don’t eat meat”

Nurse: “Oh right, so where do you get your protein from?”

Me: “Chia seeds”

Nurse: ‘What are they?”

I wont go on and yes, don’t worry I was just being a tad difficult with the whole chia seeds comment. Admittedly, I could have reeled off a whole host of ingredients she’d most likely heard of but I was having a moment and I thought that being a nurse she’d have a bit more of a grasp on non meat protein sources. Of course I explained that I eat a lot of plant based protein and it seemed like her mind was put at ease, albeit with intrigue. She really was a lovely nurse but gee whizz, I just wasn’t expecting that, not from a nurse anyway. I get asked the protein question a lot and it’s hard for me to answer without providing so much information that the other person switches off (what? I’m passionate!). Usually, I go for a simple yet adequate response to this regular question with ‘oh, lot’s of different plant sources’. I’d rather it this way than start a mini powerpoint presentation to preach on how wonderfully abundant protein is within mother nature.Vanilla chia pudding

So this vanilla chia pudding is a celebration of plant based goodness….and protein of course. There are endless fantastic plants that are an excellent source of protein but today I’m picking on chia because of it’s overall amazingness. I really do love the chia seed for it’s versatility and abundant health benefits. Chia really is the seed that just keeps on giving. Check out my post on the the health benefits of this Aztec wonder food and why it’s such a great addition to any diet.Vanilla chia pudding

Vanilla chia pudding is super easy to make and requires just a little pre-soaking before being thrown into the blender for a sweet, creamy and insanely healthy pudding. Great layered with any fruit you want but berries just fit so well and I dressed mine with cocoa nibs because they’re deliciously good for you. The little green sprig is in fact stevia. I cannot believe I found a stevia plant and it was completely by accident and at a builder’s merchants….so random! Of course I’m now looking for any excuse to use fresh stevia and this is one of those!Easiest pudding recipe ever!

Chia really does give good pudding.

So, where do ya get your protein from? Only kidding! No but seriously now, what’s your favourite way to use chia?

Peace, love and acceptance.Chia pudding + spoon ready to go!

Vanilla chia + berry pudding

(Serves 1)

1/4 cup chia seeds
3/4 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons maple or agave syrup
1 banana (I used frozen)
a large handful of raspberries + blueberries
cocoa nibs for dressing

Method:

1. Soak the chia seeds, milk, vanilla, syrup + banana for at least an hour in a mason jar. Soaking overnight is ideal.
2. Empty the contents into a blender + blitz until smooth. You may need to add a little more milk here for a yoghurt like consistency. Taste + adjust sweetness if necessary.
3. Layer a glass bowl or tumbler with the pudding + berries + dress with cocoa nibs or your favourite nuts.

The Very Healthy Cookie (GF + Vegan)

The healthiest cookie there is!I’m not just saying it, these are very healthy, incredibly so. I wouldn’t lie to you. A cookie doesn’t need to be rammed full of sugar and trans fats to taste great and ‘the very healthy cookie’ is proof of that.

A creamy oat base with vanilla undertones filled with gooey chocolate and chewy walnuts. Yeah, they’re really good.A very healthy cookie

I’m so over shop bought cookies, biscuits and cakes and the ‘extras’ they seem to come with. These ‘very healthy cookies’ are pure living proof that plant powered health food does indeed taste better than processed, manufactured sweets and even white sugar laden home baked goods. So easy to put together, literally throw it all in the bowl, mix and make balls. Cookie balls!Cookie process

I love using oat flavour for the texture, creamy taste and heart healthy benefits plus humble old oats are great for stabilising blood sugar and warding off sugar cravings. There’s a little sugar in these but levels can be altered to suit your tastes, I could have actually used a little less but its entirely dependant on how sweet your sweet tooth is. Although these look like quite a dense cookie, they’re in fact pretty light and not too crumbly to bite into with a softer rather than a crisper crumbly texture. You’re not left with a lap full of cookie crumbs after munching on these. Just the way I like ’em.

Perfect gluten free, whole food snacking.Cookies + chocolate chips

The Very Healthy Cookie (GF + Vegan)

(makes 15-20 small cookies)

140 grams oat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup walnuts
3 tablespoons dark chocolate chips (I used dairy free)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons almond milk
2 tablespoons coconut oil

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 195ºC. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
2. Add the wet ingredients to the mixture, mixing thoroughly to form a workable dough. The oats will soak up much of this so add more milk if required.
3. Break small pieces off the dough and roll into balls, place on a baking tray + gently press down.
4. Bake for 10 minutes + leave to cool when removed from the oven.

1 2