grain free

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.

Healthy Cauliflower Crust Pizza with Kale + Cashew Cheese (Paleo + Vegan)

Cauliflower is more than just a cheese bake or a token side of veg.Cauliflower crust pizza with kale + cashew cheese

And this cauliflower crust pizza with kale + cashew cheese has been a long time coming. I’ve been planning on making this for over a year but I gotta say it’s totally worth the wait. I’m so sold on cauliflower as a pizza crust, in the same way I’m a fan of it as a rice replacement. Sometimes you just want a lighter alternative, maybe you’ve ditched the grains or perhaps you just want a variation on a favourite pizza. Regardless, cauliflower crust just works, it’s tasty and a great way to reduce the carb load of your meal whilst increasing the nutritional density. You really don’t think you have to be following a paleo diet to enjoy such things either.Cauliflower pizza dough

This cauliflower pizza is entirely plant based but of course you can add cheese (and anything you want for that matter!) but I wanted to keep this fresh and vibrant with crisp clean greens and creamy unadulterated cashew cheese. Can we take a moment to appreciate the humble cauliflower………………The humble cauliflower

Aesthetically pleasing, versatile and healthy too, very healthy and not surprising as cauliflower belongs to the kale, cabbage, broccoli and collard family. So let’s not reserve this wonderful vegetable for a cheese bake or a token side dish but commit to using more of this good stuff. Here’s some good reasons to include more of this humble vegetable in your meals:

a cruciferous detoxifying vegetable scientifically proven to contain cancer prevention properties
high in vitamin C, K and antioxidants, it really is a powerhouse of nutrients
fibre rich and perfect for digestive support and optimum function
a milky, sweet nutty + low carb option for ‘rice’ and pizza ‘dough’

Cauliflower pizza pre cashew cheese

See, cauliflower really is the perfect base for a grainless pizza, ticks pretty much every  box and beats a heavy, dough laden, soggy pizza base any day. It takes no longer to throw together than a regular wheat dough but is a whole lot healthier. Of course you can replace the chia egg with 2 regular eggs if you eat animal products but I found the chia egg did a great job. A shop bought tomato sauce can be subbed if you are really tight on time but this one really is very quick, can be made in advance and stored in the fridge.Cauliflower pizza process

Feel free to add any topping you love but I just had to use some pretty greens to ramp up the nutrient levels. I’m still living by the rule, ‘eat more kale’ but now I have the addition of, ‘eat more cauliflower’! Not hard to do with a recipe like this.A slice of pizza!

This cauliflower crust pizza with kale + cashew cheese is nutrient dense, fibre rich, grain free and suitable for most diets. Now that’s what I call plant power.

Enjoy.Cauliflower pizza with kale + cashew cheese

Cauliflower crust pizza with kale + cashew cheese

(serves 2)

for the cauliflower dough:
1/4 cup chia seed
3/4 cup water
1 small head of cauliflower
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons almond flour

for the tomato sauce:
1/2 can tomatoes (200 grams)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon raw brown sugar
salt + pepper

toppings:
kale, torn into small pieces
red onion, sliced finely
black olives, sliced
cashew cheese
rocket

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 ºC. Prepare the chia egg by combining the chia seeds with the water + setting aside for 15 minutes.
2. Break the cauliflower into smaller pieces + place in a blender. Pulse until a light cauliflower flour like consistency is achieved. You may need to do this in batches. Transfer cauliflower mixture to a large bowl. Using your hands, squeeze handfuls of the cauliflower over an empty bowl to release any excess water. Add the remaining ingredients to the cauliflower along with the chia egg. Combine fully until a doughy consistency is achieved. Add more almond flour if necessary but the dough will always be ‘wetter’ than wheat doughs.
3. Transfer the dough ball to a greased baking pan + push down into a pizza shape (I like oval), leaving the edges slightly thicker. Place the base in the oven for 20 minutes or until lightly browned and set.
3. Meanwhile heat the olive oil + lightly fry the garlic until fragrant. Add the remaining ingredients + simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Lightly fry the red onion + kale in olive oil for 5 minutes until softened. Set aside.
5. Remove the pizza base from the oven + add the tomato sauce, followed by the red onion, kale + olives. Return to the oven for 8-10 minutes.
6. Drizzle with cashew cheese + sprinkle with rocket.

Grain Free Coconut, Apple + Cinnamon Muffins – GF + Paleo

DSC_6649Panic over! I thought I’d run out of coconut flour but  I managed to scoop just enough out (just) to make these amazing muffins. Yes, they really are amazing because they’re grain free and low sugar but taste delicious! Of course I was too happy to make a muffin with all three of my favourite ingredients – obviously coconut flour was involved but so were my over lovers, cinnamon and apple. I just love these two together, what legends.A lot of eggs!

That’s exactly what I thought too: such a lot of eggs! The thing is coconut flour isn’t like those other grains, it sucks up any fluid put it’s way and these eggs help to bind the mixture which creates a moist yet low carb muffin. The apple and cinnamon just transport these to another level for me and the honey adds just the right sweetness. I’ve been eating them all week and they are goooood, just sweet enough, deliciously spiced with cinnamon, nicely light but still moist with apple and raisins.A lot of muffins!

What’s more is they’re wholesome, natural with endless selling points: grain free, low carb, high in medium chain fatty acids (they’re good fats and the ones the body doesn’t readily store but would rather use as energy), blood sugar regulating, fibre rich and a protein kick to boot. Are you’re sold yet? These didn’t last long because they’re the perfect snack and tick off all of the criteria from my snack wish list: easy to transport, delicious, healthy, low carb/high fat, contains at least one form of coconut, cinnamon friendly and a provider steady energy. Job done.A ray of sunshine!

These light and tasty treats are perfect with an afternoon cup of tea. They’re healthy enough to go with breakfast too, really they’re just screaming out ‘healthy snack’ for any time of the day!

What’s your ideal afternoon snack?Deliciously moist coconut muffin

Grain free coconut, apple + cinnamon muffins

(makes 10-12)

5 eggs
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 apple, grated
1/4 cup nut milk
1/4 cup coconut oil
handful raisins
1 tablespoon honey

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200 ºC. In a mixing bowl, whisk (or blend) all the ingredients (apart from raisins) thoroughly ensuring a smooth batter.
2. Fold through the raisins & allow to stand for 5-10 minutes. Line a muffin tray with paper cases & spoon 1 tablespoon of the mixture into each case.
3. Bake for 15 minutes until the muffins are brown & not too soft to touch.
4. Leave to cool before removing & storing.

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