vanilla

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.

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.

Almond, Cocoa + Maca Energy Bites

Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together? I’ve been dipping into some seriously decadent dark chocolate truffles the past few nights, and whilst they’re good, there just seems to be something missing. I think its the bite, there isn’t any really! I need some texture, some nuttiness, something to get my teeth into when it comes to sweet treats. I do like a sweet treat after dinner so I gave these almond, cocoa + maca energy bites a shot, and they worked despite the guess work. They worked really well.Energy bites in a bowl

Question: how healthy are these power balls packed full of these raw ingredients? Answer: way too healthy for words.Raw + healthy ingredients

These bites are completely free of refined sugars and full of heart healthy fats, vitamins and antioxidants. This really is good mood food, I swear I felt better after a couple of these nutrient dense chocolatey nut balls. Thank you cocoa and almonds. The dates provide a natural sweetness and more vitally the binding force for the rest of the ingredients. Not only is maca super good for you, it lends a super malty cereal undertone, a bit like malted milk balls (you know, maltesers!) but nicer. Packed full of goodness, gluten free, dairy free, soy free, deliciously rich, nutty and taste like they should be bad for you. This here is raw almond, cocoa + maca energy bite success. Cocoa + maca energy bites

I blitzed the ingredients in a Vitamix as I don’t own a food processor and it worked fine. A little prodding, poking and scraping was required but all in all I’m happy to do the recipe again in a blender. Yep, a food processor would be better but a blender really is fine with a bit of extra work. Super simple process

These are super quick to put together and really adaptable too, I used almonds purely because I had a surplus but any nut would work well. Same goes for the maca powder as I reckon coconut powder, extra cocoa, carob, ground chia or hemp seeds would be great in an energy bite. Just mix it up and make your preferred ball of energy.

Are you team blender or team food processor? Maybe both?Delicious cocoa + maca energy bites

Almond, cocoa + maca energy bites

(makes 10 bites)

1 cup almonds
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons maca powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 dates

Method:

1. Blend the almonds until chopped finely but not to a flour as you need some texture. Set half aside.
2. Add the remaining ingredients to a food processor and blend until a sticky dough forms. If like me you’re using a blender you may need to scrape the bottom of the jug to redistribute the dough or pat the sides. Add the remaining almonds and blend once more.
3. Transfer the dough to a bowl and fill a smaller bowl with tepid water. Using your hands form 10 small bites, using the water to dip your fingers for a more pliable consistency.
4. Transfer the bites to the freezer for 30 minutes and store in the fridge for up to a week. You’ll eat them before then, take my word for it.

Note: Date sizes vary a lot so you may need a little more or less. To achieve a more pliable dough it’s advisable to dip your fingers in tepid water for a smoother, more uniform bite.

 

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.

Raw Buckwheat Vanilla Porridge (GF + Vegan)

Raw buckwheat + vanilla porridge for twoThe perfect breakfast.

Today is most definitely a day for raw buckwheat vanilla porridge and following your heart.

I’ve been cotemplating, pondering and realising today. Realising that no matter how much you tell yourself otherwise, you cannot get along with everyone. This may sound obvious but I got caught up for a while there, caught up in the belief that we should all get along and love thy neighbour regardless. But I don’t buy it. Today I understand the need to be a better person, to strive for harmony and most of the time I’m good with this. You know the kind of stuff I’m talking about- less judgements, helping others more, greater compassion, embracing differences and just general goodness. On the whole, I am this person, I’m pretty kind,  I care, I make a point of understanding different viewpoints, I like to help, yeah I’m doing OK here.

But then it happened, I gave in and accepted that some people are simply not deserving recipients of our precious time and energy. Perhaps I  sound like a bitch and maybe I am, but I’m ok with this because sometimes you have to have an opinion and just go with what you believe, I’m big on integrity. And I’m not talking about particular people but just generally accepting that some differences cannot be bridged in life. Those who just feel like a steep hill, possessors of harsh tongues, makers of arbitrary judgements, disregarders of other’s feelings, showers of sheer recklessness, complacent with delicate souls -it’s these who I’m talking about. When one cares less for the consequences of their actions or lifestyle choices, who are aware  but care  much less of the damage they cause to themselves and others too, including the world we share, yes I can get along but not get on with them. I know it’s such a minority but it still just is and I’ve decided to let these toxic people go, albeit lovingly, with good thoughts and no hard feelings.

There’s too much greatness out there, overwhelming acts of kindness and heartbreaking generosity, thank god for all these good people……and for delicious breakfasts too.Raw buckwheat + vanilla porridge

So I love porridge but usually stick with the oat variety, definitely one of my favourite foods ever. But I was kind of intrigued by buckwheat porridge so it was high up on my hit list of recipe to-dos!  I found the raw buckwheat very reasonably priced in a local health food shop. This recipe requires the raw groats so be sure that you don’t buy the cereal version because this is not what you want. Despite the name, there is no wheat in buckwheat so this super whole grain is a fabulous option for gluten free diets or even as a change to the grains that get so ingrained in our diets! This buckwheat breakfast is simple, wholesome and can be enjoyed on the run too. The perfect breakfast.Easy buckwheat porridge process

Raw buckwheat vanilla porridge is an uber easy process – just soak the groats overnight, rinse, combine with the remaining ingredients and blend. Like overnight oats these can be flavoured any way you prefer or accordingly to what’s in the fridge. I decided almond milk with vanilla and cinnamon to be the wisest decision – I can’t get enough of this little combo. Adding the dates to the mixture thickens it a little as well as giving a fudge like flavour, so yum and I truly believe we should add dates to everything. Always looking for an excuse for a berry fix I decided to top this creamy buckwheat with British raspberries and blueberries. Yeah I know, British blueberries eh – since when did we start producing blueberries? That’s exactly what the Waitrose package said so no complaints here! I also remembered that there were still lots of blackberries on the bush behind the flat and I couldn’t resist the thought of triple berries for breakfast!Raw buckwheat + vanilla porridge

Why this is the perfect breakfast….first up, whole grain buckwheat is great for our cardiovascular system, has a positive effect on blood sugar control and is a great source of fibre. Also, it’s zero gluten, free of dairy and soy -perfect. What’s more, the added berries, nuts and almond milk make this an antioxidant and calcium rich balanced and nutritious way to start the day. Raw buckwheat porridge is so versatile and works well with any fruit, I suspect apples and bananas would be pretty special though. This recipe is great as a simple yet perfectly nutritious breakfast or a smooth nutty dessert. It’s all your choice.Raw buckwheat + vanilla porridge

Raw buckwheat + vanilla porridge

(serves 2)

2 cups raw buckwheat, soaked in water overnight
1 cup almond milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 dates
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup pecans

to serve:
berries
extra pecans

Method:

1. Rinse the soaked buckwheat groats with clean running water + add to the blender with the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth.
2. Serve in glass bowls and garnish with berries + pecans.

 

Peanut Butter + Brown Rice Granola Bars (GF+ Vegan)

Granola bars + white chocolateIt’s finally happened. After all these years of hoping, praying and wishing only to be faced with the disappointment of not being quite there. But then just out of nowhere, boom (I just have to stop saying this word, I’m 32) and I’m there, success. I’ll never forget this day.

Peanut butter + brown rice granola bars of course. I’ve finally found what I’ve been hoping for. They just work for me, a granola bar that’s so crazy tasty, ridiculously healthy and holds together perfectly. Like I dropped it on the gravel and it didn’t even flinch, not even a chip on the the side. I really didn’t think it was possible but here’s a granola bar with spot on taste, a chewy texture and an impressive health rating. The other thing I like about these is they’re super good value too, often I find that granola bar recipes contain a lot of pricey superfood ingredients. These peanut butter + brown rice bars use simple, healthy, using widely available and very cheap ingredients. Each bar cost less than 25 pence which is a steal when compared to how much store bought varieties are.Granola bar process

The urge to get some white chocolate involved proved a little too much and why not because these are spectacularly good for you, too good really. They’re so tasty I had no choice but to have two with my coffee, it’s almost as if the decision was out of my control. No worries though, the recipe makes 14 good sized bars so with 10 remaining I can divide these with Russ for our weekday work snacks – 2 for him and 8 for me. Sorted!chopping

Here’s why you need these in your life:

utterly delicious
100 % whole grain
gluten free
high in B vitamins+ potassium
high in heart friendly monounsaturated fats
sweetened naturally with maple syrup
a good protein source
breakfast on the runStoring granola bars

As if you need any more convincing but what the hell we’ll go for some bonus points. These bars are extremely easy to put together, I’m talking 5 minutes and they require zero baking time. You can use the nut butter of your choice and add any of your personal granola bar favourites. These don’t need the white chocolate drizzle as such, but I just love the peanut butter and white chocolate combo so yes, I guess they do need it!

I do hope you’re having a fabulous day!A granola bar pile up

Peanut butter + brown rice granola bars

(makes 16)

1 1/2 cups brown rice cereal
1 1/4 cups gluten free oats
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out
1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup natural smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons coconut oil

chocolate drizzle:

1/4 cup dairy free white chocolate
2 tablespoons coconut oil

1. Add the brown rice cereal, oats & salt to a large mixing bowl. Stir until evenly distributed.
2. Meanwhile, add the remaining ingredients to a pan & simmer over a low heat until fully combined.
3. Add the cereal mix to the pan (or the wet mix to a bowl if the pan is too small) & combine with the  wet ingredients thoroughly. Transfer to a greased 9X13″ baking pan.Press down evenly so that the mixture is compact.
4. Place in the freezer for 45-60 minutes until set. Remove & slice into 12-16 bars.
5. Melt the white chocolate & coconut oil over a low heat. Spoon this over the cereal bars & place in the freezer for 15 minutes until set. Store in an airtight container.

Nectarine + Apple Cobbler (GF)

Apple & nectarine cobblerDo you ever have random, superwoman type productive days when you get obscene amounts done? I have these, sporadically, and today was definitely one of those days. It makes me wonder where they come from, maybe the need to get a wriggle on, or something I ate, the sun shining…who knows. But today has been super productive in every way starting from wake up circuits class, delicious coconut oat breakfast with triple espresso (oh, maybe this is the reason!), the food shop, my day job and a delicious nectarine and apple cobbler which I’ve never made before.

The sun has shined all day which has made Thursday even more fabulous because whenever the sun shows up, everything and everyone cheers up and looks a little brighter. I’m lucky enough to be able to do a little of my work from home so I like to sit outside and enjoy our canal bank setting. I’m so in love with our apartment, although it’s not showy or big it’s just peaceful, calming and has a beautiful outlook. If the sun was shining a bit more then I’d have no complaints because being a complete sun head makes miserable dreary days such a drag. Today was so nice that I didn’t even want to go in and cook this delicious nectarine and apple cobbler, but in the end the temptation to try some proved too much.Apples

Traditionally, I’m pretty sure it’s peach that goes in a cobbler but I had a bowl of nectarines which were getting ripe on me so I knew my recipe had use these sweet things. Apples go pretty well with nectarines too, plus I needed something else to bulk the fruit mixture out as I like a substantial dessert. I’ve been making a lot of pies and crumbles lately so I kinda needed to do something else but it’s always a hard decision when your favourite is crumble, not that I’m fixated or anything! Eventually, I decided on a cobbler because I’d never made it before but more importantly not eaten one either. I’ve always associated cobbler with the USA, mainly because I’ve never ever heard an English person talk about the cobbler they had for pudding last night and really, it just sounds like an American dessert! Like corn bread, that screams USA to me!

Apple & nectarine cobbler

Anyway, I had a good idea of how it should be but I used an oat and almond scone base for a wheat free alternative and a nuttier and creamier flavour. Really, a cobbler is just a fruit mixture with scones on top, simple but very delicious. A word of warning: when you mix all the ingredients for the batter you have to really fight the urge to eat it raw. The smell and taste (yes, I ate a bit raw) is just too much, it’s better than cookie dough.

Apple & nectarine cobbler process

It’s the kind of dessert you want, actually need in your life because this gluten free nectarine + apple cobbler is just beautiful. The scones are light and airy with oat, almond and vanilla flavours. It’s 100% wholegrain, gluten free and each serving contains two portions of fruit with less than 300 calories a serving. This last point is impossible to believe but it’s true. I know it’s not always about the calories but sometimes it just is! For me, it’s those days when I’ve been to my Mum’s for a family lunch and I’ve eaten my own body weight in goodies. Yep, these are the days I want something a little lighter ‘cos heaven forbid I skip my dessert!

I hope you’ve had a super productive day too. I’d love to know what makes you more productive than usual?Apple & nectarine cobbler

Nectarine + apple cobbler

(serves 4)

4 nectarines, sliced
4 apples, sliced
1 teaspoon cornstarch in 2 tablespoons of water
12 tablespoons stevia (adjust to sweetness preferences)
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

scones:
1 cup oats (processed to flour)
1/4 cup almond meal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon Stevia
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 egg
1/2 cup almond milk

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 200 ºC. Add the fruit filling ingredients to a large pan + simmer for 15-20 minutes.
2. Place the dry cobbler ingredients in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl mix the remaining wet ingredients and add this to the dry mixture . Be sure to combine thoroughly + set aside for 5 minutes to thicken.
3. Transfer the fruit mixture to an oven proof baking dish + top with 4 heaping spoonfuls of the cobbler batter. Bake for 30 minutes.