dark chocolate

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.

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.