no dairy

Carrot Cake Oatmeal

carrot cake oatmealThere’s definitely now a chill in the air and that means porridge for breakfast. Spiced, fruity, creamy, healthy and speedy oats. I’ve always loved breakfast for pudding be it cereal, waffles, pancakes or PBJ toast but it’s always nice to actually jazz up an old favourite and make it taste better than dessert. Ok, maybe i’m exaggerating a little but this is pretty good.

carrot cake oatmealI’ve always found things more enjoyable too if something is actually good for you…..this is normal, right? For instance say there was a large piece of refined flour, white sugar, fat laden carrot cake (with not much carrot in it!) or this carrot cake oatmeal for a dessert choice, I would actually choose the oatmeal. That doesn’t mean to say I wouldn’t want a healthier ramped up carrot cake itself but I’m just saying feeling good is such a priority for me. Especially with a little one to keep my energy levels up for. Healthy food always tastes better.

carrot cake oatmealYou may be interested in this super creamy healthy bowl of carrot cake oatmeal for the following:

no added oils
dairy free
3 servings of fruit/veg
Low GI
high in fibre
10 minutes
dessert for breakfast anyone?

Right, I’m off to book my surf lesson as part of my ‘do more things outside of your baby’ plan. In truth, I kinda got side swept with being a first-time mum, exclusively breastfeeding (Eden rejected bottle from birth too) and focusing all my efforts on my princess. I wonder if it’s easy to do or if it’s just me and my personality but I’ve gotten to the point where I feel a little trapped and claustrophobic….I feel guilty even saying this as I’m sure there are plenty of Mums who wouldn’t. It’s 14 months since I gave birth and I don’t feel too good on an emotional level so it’s time for me to make a few changes. I need a break. I think I need my body back. I need a life outside of being a Mother. One thing I can say with certainty is, If it wasn’t for my healthy active lifestyle I truly believe I would be much worse off in terms of my wellbeing. I’m so thankful I have prioritised those elements, but I truly underestimated the importance of emotional wellbeing and taking care of the other stuff. That’s kinda why I’m having surfing lessons in the freezing cold (ha ha!) and also because I live 30 seconds from the beach!

carrot cake oatmealAnyway, I’m scared as it’s 14ºC but I’ll be fine I’m told………wish me luck! At least I have carrot cake oatmeal to warm me up.

Carrot cake oatmeal

(serves 2)
1 large carrot, finely grated
1 apple, grated
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup almond meal
1 cup porridge oats
2 tablespoons liquid sweetener
1 heaped tsp cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups dairy free milk (we used coconut)

  1. Add all the ingredients to a pan + cook on a low simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Transfer to two bowls, sweeten as you wish + add desired toppings.
  3. Coconut + toasted almonds are good.

Coconut Tea Cake

Coconut Tea Cake

I’ve never been a real baker, like the kind who works hard to perfect that light airy sponge. It doesn’t interest me at all. Don’t get me wrong, I love cakes and making them, but I don’t really dig the technical side. ‘How’s the bake?’, fingers prodding here and tapping there…..kinda stuff. I’d rather concern myself with taste, health and do I feel good eating this.

I love it when something turns out particularly well, but my priorities lie more toward feeling good after and creating a balance between health and getting a sweet treat. A healthy treat! Cakes and desserts can taste equally good if not better when using more healthful ingredients such as whole ancient grains, substituting white sugar for coconut/date/maple syrup, thinking outside the box for icing inspiration (avocado, sweet potato, coconut, cashew bases) and ditching the eggs and dairy.

coconut tea cake

Now that Eden’s turning one, I feel a parental pressure to up my game and start wowing with my baking and I will…….and you can guarantee not only will it feel like a treat, it’ll be jammed packed full of goodness too.
There’s always coconut in our cupboard, so by using some of the desiccated variety, I feel makes this cake have that extra texture and taste you’re after.
This is a coconut tea cake, so enjoy the cake and enjoy the coconut with a gorgeous cuppa!

coconut tea cake

Coconut tea cake

1 cup spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons egg replacer (I used Orgran) or use chia/flaxmeal
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup coconut sugar-free yoghurt
1 banana, pureed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 175 °C + grease a loaf tin.
  2. Combine the first 7 ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Combine the last 3 ingredients in a separate bowl + add this to the dry mix. If the mixture is a little dry add a splash of milk.
  4. Transfer to the pan + bake for 40 minutes.

Vegan Cupcake Cheesecakes

vegan cupcake cheesecakes

We did a raw berry coconut cheesecake recipe once before and it turned out to be a real success – especially as a first go! So the thinking behind this recipe was to carry on with the cheesecake theme using coconut + berries and put a twist to the whole idea. Born were vegan cupcake cheesecakes.

vegan cupcake cheesecakes vegan cupcake cheesecakes

For regular visitors you’ll know that we think coconut is just amazing – and that flavour really comes through with these little gems. Producing cheesecakes with no cream cheese is so simple and this will most definitely impress all cheesecake lovers (and possibly convert them to the idea of using dairy-free baking ingredients, ha ha).

vegan cupcake cheesecakes

As it’s still January, people are giving the whole veganuary thing a shot (keep it going – you’re doing great) so why not give these sweet little treats a whirl…Mmmm!

vegan cupcake cheesecakes

Useful link: Veganuary – it will put your curious mind at ease…

Vegan Cupcake Cheesecakes

base:
1 cup oats
7 dates, no stones
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 cup flax meal

filling:
1.5 cups cashews, soaked overnight
1/2 cup coconut cream
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 lemon, juiced

optional:
berry compote, chocolate, nut butter

Method:

  1. Prepare 12 silicone moulds (cupcake liners would also work) ready for your cheesecakes.
  2. Blitz the base ingredients + divide amongst the liners. Press down hard to compact with a glass or something like that. Place in freezer until set.
  3. Blitz the filling ingredients + spoon on top of the base. Decorate exactly as you fancy: some berry compote, caramel or alternatively flavour the filling with a nut butter or dark chocolate melted.
  4. Place in freezer for a 3-4 hours until set. These can be thawed for 15 minutes prior to eating or eaten straight from the freezer. Enjoy.

Recipe for vegan cupcake cheesecakes adapted from Minimalist Baker + My Whole Food Life. 

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.

Being Pregnant + Vegan

healthy diet pregnancy
Pregnancy has been harder than I thought what with the weight gain, nausea and numerous other weird physical side effects (!) but I tell you something, it’s that much harder being pregnant AND vegan! Like really hard. Not in a diet and ‘oh geez, what can I eat?’ way but in a socially acceptable way. I truly wasn’t prepared for the amount of questioning I’d receive with regards to my diet, my baby and the absence of meat and dairy in my diet. It’s been a little like this:

‘So, now that you’re pregnant are you eating meat?’

‘What about milk, you need calcium for the baby?’

Are you still a vegan now you’re expecting?’

No, I know and Yes.

I admit, I’ve struggled the past few months with these questions and although I know people only mean well, I can’t help but feel annoyed and at times a little like public property! Of course I answer politely and tell them I get plenty of calcium from alternative sources etc but the look of uncertainty is all the proof I need that they just don’t get it.

The thing is, I know about food, about nutrition, I’m kinda sensible and I’m a bit of a research nerd so naturally I did my homework on a plant based pregnancy. I know what I’m doing, it’s everyone else that’s doubtful, and there lies the problem. The other day was a particularly busy one for questioning, like 3 people asked me straight out whether I was still a ‘veggie’ at a team meeting in between congratulations. I’m pretty steadfast, I have the necessary knowledge but there’s only so much you can take before you start to doubt yourself and go home to calculate your calcium intake for that day, your protein for the week and the iron content of your lunch. I’ll send a text to Russ relaying all of this, to be greeted by his response of reassurance followed by my own realisation that I really do know the facts and that I’m doing the best for my baby.

My recent scan showed everything is progressing nicely with baby being the perfect size for her weeks. I am not deficient in anything, have bundles of energy and my weight gain is bang on target!

I refuse to measure nutrient levels and weigh absolutely anything (well except when baking, lol!), believe it’s completely unnecessary and why should I anyway? My body isn’t lacking a single nutrient, I look and feel full of energy and my baby is happy and healthy. I believe this is because I eat REAL food. Nobody seems to comment or judge the mum to be who drinks diet coke, eats KFC and a large bag of haribo but rather they are reassured they are eating for two and to enjoy it whilst they can!

Diets, especially during pregnancy are pretty personal and very individual and the following is what works for me but everybody is different, thank goodness 😉 Above everything, knowledge sure is power.

Here’s what I’ve been doing since being pregnant:

1. I have gone ORGANIC. Or partly organic. I try to at least buy the dirty dozen all organic alongside staples such as bread, nuts and oats. This change will stick with me, less chemicals is never a bad thing.

2. I have increased my intake of healthy FATS at each meal particularly oiive oil, nut butters, avocados, nuts, seeds, tahini, vegan cheeses. I find this alone has helped me feel more satiated and given me a level energy throughout the day.

3. I make sure I eat CALCIUM rich foods daily and it’s really quite a breeze on a plant based diet. I personally maintain healthy levels by eating the following: green leafy veg such as broccoli, kale, spinach and cabbage (did you know there’s more calcium in a cup of collard greens than in 1 cup of milk), fortified nut milks such as almond or coconut that contain 30% RDA in 200 ml, tahini which provides 10% RDA in just 1 tablespoon, molasses to sweeten, fortified oatmeal (Ready Brek) provides an excellent source too with a large bowl containing a whopping 60% RDA, an orange a day because I just love them, a handful almonds whenever I’m peckish, chickpeas / any pulse really (20% RDA in 1 cup) in a stew/curry or hummus and fortified wholemeal breads.

4. I have upped my IRON intake a little too by making sure I eat a wide selection of iron rich foods throughout the day including sweet potatoes, raisins, dates, figs, prunes, molasses, peas, artichokes, dark leafy greens, spirulina in smoothies, pumpkin, all whole grains, nuts, seeds and beans, beans and more beans.  At least once a day I’ll try to have a food rich in vitamin C alongside iron rich foods such as baked beans and sweet potato to improve the iron absorption. Oh and chocolate too – a 3 oz. portion of cooked ground beef (70% lean meat, 30% fat) contains 2.11 mg of iron, while 3 oz. of dark chocolate boasts 10.12 mg.

5. I drink way more WATER. This has made a HUGE difference to my digestion and energy levels and I just know that 3 litres a day makes a big difference to my wellbeing and my baby’s too.

6. Dear old PROTEIN and where d’ya get it from!  Well I aim for a little more than before, about 70 grams per day. It’s easy as hell to get enough protein as a vegan if you cook real foods so I just keep a mindful eye on making sure I get some quality protein in at each meal from my favourite sources, including greens (most people don’t think of greens as punching much of a protein punch but they really do), nuts, seeds especially hemp, lentils, beans (15 grams in 1 cup!), nut milks, sprouted grain breads, oats, quinoa, cocoa (yeah really!) and occasionally Quorn. I don’t sweat this protein lark as other people do, that’s enough for me!

7. I have VICES. Beer and coffee. No more beer but I still drink coffee, just two cups in the morning and refrain from caffeine for the remainder of the day.

8. I take a general pregnancy SUPPLEMENT as advised by my midwife such as Pregnacare and also a B12 supplement.

So I pretty much eat the same foods I ate before, but at the start of my pregnancy I made sure to take a closer look to ensure I was covering all bases. I believe my body (and midwife!) will tell me if something’s up and I plan to continue eating a whole foods plant based diet for the reminder of my pregnancy and after that too.

Some light reading:

http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/veganpregnancy.php

http://www.vegansociety.com/lifestyle/parenting/vegan-babies-and-children/pregnancy.aspx

https://www.vegsoc.org/

http://www.vegkitchen.com/nutrition/vegetarian-pregnancy/

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.

Spiced Winter Root Vegetable Soup (Gluten Free + Vegan)

pumpkin winter soupThis isn’t any old soup but one that is packed full of nurturing + healing spices. Warming throughout winter. A hug in the guise of soup.2 bowls of soup + pumpkin seeds

Vegetables rock but root vegetables really do rock. Winter vegetables

Healthy as heck with it’s three servings of vegetables in one bowl. And pumpkin seeds too – you really gotta love pumpkin and all it’s awesomeness.Pumpkin love

Utterly delicious. Thick, smooth, creamy, spicy and oh so more-ish. Pumpkin soup + all the trimmings

Super easy to prepare.DSC_8789

That’ll do. Enjoy soup all winter long.Winter root veg soup + seeds

Spiced winter root vegetable soup

(serves 4)

1 onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic, cloves, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 small pumpkin, peeled + roughly chopped (about 3 cups)
1 sweet potato, peeled + roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled + chopped roughly
5 cups vegetable stock
1 teaspoon each of cumin + coriander
1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg + cayenne
1 cup almond milk
salt + pepper to taste

1. Heat the oil over a low heat + add the onion + garlic. Gently fry until translucsent.
2. Add the remaining ingredients + bring to a low boil. Simmer for 30 minutes.
3. Blend the soup until smooth + adjust seasoning to taste. Be careful of blending the soup whilst it is still very hot. Always allow to cool off before doing so. Freeze on the day, refrigerate for up to 4 days or eat straight away to keep warm!

The Ultimate Raw + Vegan Butterscotch Caramel Sauce

raw caramel vegan sauceEveryone has a new favourite thing, like a latest obsession and this is mine. I am obsessed, fixated, pretty much stalking this raw vegan butterscotch caramel sauce. It really isn’t that bad for you either, there’s no dairy, no soy, no gluten and no processed sugars but rather unadulterated beautiful dates. No butter but rather a smidgen of coconut oil, no cream but rather a small handful of creamy cashews. The world would be a much nicer place if we all ate this.raw caramel butterscotch sauce

This is nature’s answer to a caramel sauce. This is a whole food, raw and plant powered caramel butterscotch extravaganza.

Are dates not the most impressive food in nature? Nature’s fudge. Nature’s caramel. Nature’s butterscotch. An obsession.Easy as 1,2,3

I cannot help but eat this by the spoonful right out of the jar but you know what….you know how it tastes best, like mouth drooling crazy tasty……….there’s banana and peanuts involved. Bananas, peanuts and caramel sauce, the happy threesome. Now that is what I’m talking about. Somebody please remove this from my reach, addictive, that’s what this is.Banana. peanuts + caramel sauce

I put some on my chia pudding, it just seemed like the right thing to do. That was good.Caramel sauce on chia pudding

I put in on my oats too, everyday until it’s gone. Damn I put it on anything. I even eat it straight up. Caramel sauce on oatmeal

Please make this. Everybody needs the ultimate raw and vegan caramel butterscotch sauce in their lives. Surely.Raw caramel butterscotch sauce

The ultimate raw + vegan butterscotch caramel sauce

1 cup dates
1/4 cup cashews
1 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Soak the dates + cashews in freshly boiled water + leave for 30 minutes. Add the soaked mix to a blender with the remaining ingredients + blend until smooth.
Store in the fridge for up to a week.