breakfast

OVERNIGHT OATS

OVERNIGHT OATS

Mornings tend to be rather manic in my house, sorting out breakfast for the kids, lunch boxes, the dog… the truth is I rarely have the time to eat breakfast myself. The truth is I really am not a breakfast person. My favourite thing is a glass of green juice. However on those days where lunch time is an unpredictable thing due to work commitments I need a something more, something that will keep me going.

Overnight oats are the perfect, stress free option. Ok, you do need to be organised and prepare them in the evening, a smart phone reminder is brilliant here if like me you find it hard to thing about a breakfast the night before. In the morning you just upturn your soft yummy oats into a cereal bowl, add some fruits and/or nuts and breakfast is served. I find oats prepared in this way so much lighter than cooked porridge.

You can experiment with many flavours. I tend to add some frozen berries (they defrost by the morning), chia seeds, cinnamon and almond or coconut milk. You can also soak the oats in apple juice and add a bit of non-dairy yoghurt in the morning. My son likes a teaspoon of maple syrup to sweeten up the oats but I find the oats sweet enough without it.

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OVERNIGHT OATS

a jam jar (that holds just over 1 cup) with a lid
frozen berries of choice
oats
chia seeds
non dairy milk
nuts
fresh fruits


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  • First place a layer of frozen berries at the bottom of the jar (about 2-3cm).

  • Add a layer of oats mixed with 1/2 tsp of cinnamon. The oats should go up to about 2/3 of the jar.

  • Next add 2 tbs of chia seeds (you can add a tablespoon of nuts here too).

  • Cover with non dairy milk.

  • Refrigerate over night.

  • Up turn into a bowl, add some fresh berries and nuts.


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GLUTEN FREE VEGAN PANCAKES X2

GLUTEN FREE VEGAN PANCAKES X2

Most days I am too busy to make a special breakfast for kids but I do make up for it in the weekend. They both love pancakes and don’t even notice that I am using gluten free flour to make them. There is always the obligatory maple syrup but also various fruit. The favourites are bananas, strawberries and blueberries.

Recently I created two recipes for pancakes. One was made out of the necessity to use up two large overripe bananas. The two recipes differ in texture. The banana pancake is softer and fluffier. The other has a bit more firm texture and will work wonderfully with blueberries added to the batter. Unlike the banana ones the batter can be made en evening in advance ready for the morning. The banana batter would go unappetising grey colour…

They make a lovely quick dessert too. You can serve them with caramelised bananas deglazed with rum for a grown up flavour. Or with a chocolate syrup and some vegan vanilla ice cream.

My kids liked both versions. I don’t think they had a firm favourite and since my daughter hates bananas with a passion I may be making the banana ones bit more often. PS: Mother in law tested too :)

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GLUTEN FREE VEGAN PANCAKES

ingredients
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup gluten free flour (I used Dove’s organics)
2 tsp gluten free baking powder (I used Dove’s)
1 flax egg
1 and 3/4 cup non dairy milk ( I used almond)
1 tbs maple syrup
1 tbs of coconut oil for frying

method
  • First prepare the flax egg by combining 1 tbs of ground flax and 3 tbs of water. Let sit for 5 min to form a gel like texture.
  • Combine the two flours and baking powder, mix together.
  • Add the milk, flax egg and maple syrup.
  • In a large non-stick (I use Green Pan) heat up tsp of the coconut oil.
  • Drop large tablespoons of batter in the oil. Turn when bubbles start to form on surface.
  • Repeat with rest of the batter, adding a little of bit of the coconut oil when needed.

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GLUTEN FREE VEGAN BANANA PANCAKES

ingredients
2 large overripe bananas
1 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 tsp gluten free baking powder
1 cup almond milk
1 tbs coconut oil for frying

  • Mash the bananas well.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.
  • In a large non-stick (I use Green Pan) heat up tsp of the coconut oil.
  • Drop large tablespoons of batter in the oil. Turn when bubbles start to form on surface.
  • Repeat with rest of the batter, adding a little of bit of the coconut oil when needed.

the banana ones
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KERMIT THE SMOOTHIE

KERMIT THE SMOOTHIE

My attempt to detox has hit a wall today. I have been really good avoiding all the things I wanted to avoid - wheat, sugar, alcohol. Today however I took my daughter to the cinema and a lunch of her choice (a girls day out). Unfortunately on top of wanting a pizza she also chose a restaurant. The only dairy and meat free item on the menu was a tomato and olive pasta. My daughter was laughing saying “ detox no more” while I was crying into my far too oily overcooked plate of wheat (!!!).... I think if you break your detox you really need to do it with something that is worth it like Jamie Oliver’s spaghetti alla Norma not this pile of rubbish.

Never mind I am back on track. And as my fridge is jammed packed of veggies this shouldn’t be a problem. I have been eyeing the celeriac and beetroot in my veg drawer so hopefully they will come together into a delicious salad tomorrow. Earlier today I was going to make some kale chips today but I noticed a large caterpillar was swimming in the water as I was washing the kale. The green creature was saved but left me with some rather unappetising deposits of “recycled kale” among the dark green leaves. I thought dehydrator just won’t do and kale will have to be cooked at much higher temperature. That recipe will be coming soon.

Today I will give you a kale smoothie I had a few days ago. It was so neon green that my friend who saw it on my personal Facebook page exclaimed: “What have you done to Kermit???” Hence the name. Delicious it is and rest assured no frogs (or caterpillars) were harmed in making of this breakfast.

kermit-the-smoothie

KERMIT THE SMOOTHIE

Serves 1-2

ingredients
2 cups kale leaves
2 cups frozen mango
2 Deglet Noir dates (or 1 medjol)
1 slice of lemon (with skin)
2 tbs ground flax
1/2 tsp probiotic powder
1 1/2 cups water (or coconut water)

Just put all ingredients into a blender and blend till smooth.
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MEXICAN TOFU SCRAMBLE WITH CORN TORTILLAS

MEXICAN TOFU SCRAMBLE WITH CORN TORTILLAS

Last week we stopped at my favourite Mexican shop Otomi. They carry Mexican mirrors, Luchador costumes, tortilla presses but mainly some lush Mexican ingredients. I usually stock up on some tomatillo salsa and chipotle peppers there. This time I also grabbed some fresh corn tortillas (like Otomi on Facebook and they will let you know when these are in stock). Kids also tried a Mexican sweet, ground peanuts with icing sugar pressed into a patty. To my surprise they found it way to sweet!

The corn tortillas became an integral part of our Sunday morning brunch, they became the perfect vessel to hold my tofu scramble. I did regret not having any avocados to go on top of my creation. Avocados never seem to last in our house :) The scramble turned out great, I could have eaten the lot myself.

I used some chipotle sauce from Otomi to spice up the scramble but a fresh red chilli or any hot sauce will be great too. My 1 Tbs was a bit conservative since I am feeding kids. If you like it hot add some more. I spiced mine up with some spicy tomato salsa. A nice platter of tropical fruits on the side and you can really feel the Mexican sunshine coming into the dining room...

mexican-tofu-scramble-2

MEXICAN TOFU SCRAMBLE WITH CORN TORTILLAS
serves 4

ingredients
1 small onion
1 small yellow or red pepper
1 celery stick
1 tomato
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp oregano
300g (10oz) tofu
1 tbs chipotle sauce
1/2 - 1Tbs Bragg Liquid Aminos
2 Tbs nutritional yeast flakes
fresh coriander
8 corn tortillas
salsa to serve

mexican-tofu-scramble

Method
  1. Chop the onion, celery, pepper and tomato into small dice.
  2. In a medium frying pan heat about 60ml (1/4 cup) water. Add the onion, celery and pepper. Cook till softened for about 10min, adding more water if the vegetables start to stick.
  3. Next add the tomato, cook for couple of minutes till starting to break down.
  4. Add the spices and cook for a minute.
  5. While the mixture is cooking crumble the tofu.
  6. Add tofu, chipotle sauce and Bragg Liquid Aminos to the pan and mix well together.
  7. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring to combine all the flavours, and most of the moisture has evaporated.
  8. Lastly add the yeast flakes, stir to combine.
  9. Heat your tortillas in a hot dry frying pan.
  10. Fill the tortillas with tofu scramble, top with coriander and salsa. Enjoy!

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ANYTIME FRUIT AND NUT BARS

ANYTIME FRUIT AND NUT BARS

Few years ago I read an article written by a mum who decided to take all electronic devices away from her kids during their summer holidays. She was astounded how quickly they started to entertain themselves (surprisingly no boredom). I am not as brave as this mum, but I have been setting limits on the screen time. I do it anyway, but during school holidays there are hours to fill unlike during school year.

It has been great to see, that on the days when we don’t have plans to go out, kids have found ways to enjoy themselves. We’ve had endless diving into the paddling pool to fish out toys, tennis rackets came out of their hibernation (my son spent three hand blistering hours bashing the ball against the house on one day), we had bobbing for toys in the kitchen sink (= flood) and numerous (very loud) games of UNO. Star Wars Lego has been spread all over my son’s floor (I forgot how painful stepping on a lego brick can be). My daughter has started her own “all about the human body” book and has put together numerous dance shows for me to watch. The best thing, they have been spending a lot time together without much bickering. The dreaded words "I am bored" haven't been heard much either.

The point is kids are pretty good at entertaining themselves when the push the button entertainment is taken away. It is noisier but happier without TV, Xbox or ipad. It is also healthier. And to fuel them I have made these anytime bars. I call them anytime bars because they can be eaten for breakfast, as a snack and they are also perfectly portable to take to picnics. They are rather open to variations, just swap the nuts and dried fruits for whatever you happen to have in your pantry :)

anytime-bars


ANYTIME FRUIT AND NUT BARS

makes 10 -12 bars

ingredients
1 cup porridge oats
1 cup spelt flour
1 banana
4 Mejdol dates
1/2 cup of non dairy milk
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup cranberries
1/2 -1 tsp cinnamon
1 apple, finely diced

  1. First combine the oats and spelt flour in a large bowl.
  2. In a blender combine the banana, Medjol dates and the non dairy milk. Blend till smooth. Add to the flour/oat mixture.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.
  4. Spread the mix into a baking paper lined 10x6 (15x25cm) baking dish, press down firmly. Bake in 180C oven for 30-40 min or until golden brown on the top.
  5. Let the bake cool down, cut into bars and enjoy. Store in an air tight container for up to 4 days.

anytime-bars-2

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BALANCING LIFE WITH P&B QUESADILLA

BALANCING LIFE WITH P&B QUESADILLA

Yesterday I managed to drop my Kitchen Aid food processor on my fingers. As I was putting it away in its rather tight space I dropped it on one finger on my right hand, that made me pull my hand away which shifted the weight of the appliance and it landed on another finger of my left hand. Only 5 minutes later I tried to stop a falling porcelain dish from breaking by offering my foot to soften the blow. The dish is fine but it was indeed heavier than I anticipated. To top it all off, this morning I managed to drop a serving spoon on a glass. The glass cracked. I put it into a plastic bag to take it to the bin outside. But alas, the bag had a hole in the bottom, the glass fell out, first it hit my foot and than shattered into many pieces! Bits of glass in a puddle, bits of glass in the gravel, bits of glass embedded in the wooden step that was made soft by the heavy rainfall. To prevent kids feet and dogs’ paws from an injury I had to remove the shards one by one....

Good things, I believe, do balance the bad things. Here are few of the good, balance shifting things. Having a breakfast with my lovely friend this morning was good for the soul. We enjoyed our food whilst watching the gorgeous song birds outside the farm shop cafe windows. Later my kids were praised by their dentist for their excellent dental hygiene, which made me puff up with pride. And finally, we exchanged contracts on our new house, making our big move very final. My husband and I have opened a nice bottle of Verdicchio to celebrate.

Sometimes, when things go bad, something gooey may just shift the balance. No, I am not promoting comfort eating but I can’t seem to find enough excuses to make my gooey sticky filling P&B quesadilla. So if things are falling on your feet, you are getting fingers stuck in the door and you managed to process a piece of plastic wrapping with your courgette dip (yes that is another story...) just grab a tortilla, peanut butter, banana and just smile :) Remember to let it cool down a little bit before eating or you may just burn your lips :)

P&B-quesadillas

(BREAKFAST) PB AND B QUESADILLA
These are fabulous for breakfast, they really fill you up. They will also hit the spot anytime you fancy something sweet and gooey.

Serves 1

ingredients
1 large tortilla
1-2Tbs organic peanut butter
1 small banana
pinch of cinnamon (optional)

method
  1. Spread the peanut butter over the tortilla.
  2. Mash the banana over half of the tortilla.
  3. Sprinkle with cinnamon if using. Fold the tortilla over.
  4. Preheat a large frying pan.
  5. Place the tortilla into the frying pan and dry fry for about 1 min on each side or till the tortilla crisps up and is golden brown.

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A BOOK REVIEW: FEEDING YOUR VEGAN INFANT -WITH CONFIDENCE by Sarah Hood

A BOOK REVIEW: FEEDING YOUR VEGAN INFANT -WITH CONFIDENCE
by Sandra Hood

Veganbook

At the last Bristol VegFest I was approached by the Vegan Society and asked to write a review of the above book on my blog. My kids have passed the infant stage but I was happy to have a read and learn.

Being a parent is a difficult task, you are trying to do the best for your children while being bombarded by heaps of different information (and misinformation). Things get even more complicated when you decide to bring your child outside of the perceived norm, i.e. vegan. Undoubtedly you will encounter countless opinions and a large number of these will not be very positive. The best thing a person can do is to have as much information as possible. Sandra Hood’s book is a perfect place to start.

This book contains all the information you will need to give your baby a great start in life while feeling very confident about it. Sandra Hood doesn’t overwhelm you with information yet she manages to cover a whole range of topics. She starts with the very visual food pyramid which will always be a great reference to rely upon. I am seriously thinking about making it into a poster to be hung up on my kitchen wall! There is not only information on what and how to feed your infant but also what to feed yourself before conception and during pregnancy.

The style of the book is very approachable and not preachy, there are plenty charts that make it easy to navigate through the most important information such as nutrients and their sources or weaning time tables. I loved the advice on what to do outside home, it can be a battlefield when your children go to parties or friends’ houses for tea.

It was invaluable to read other parent’s experiences, a fantastic way to be reassured that sticking to one’s believes will bring success. Hearing from parent’s who “have been there and got the vegan T-shirt” is the best way to get on the way.

In my opinion this book is fantastic for anybody who wants to bring up healthy vegan baby in today’s world. As the title suggests, reading this book will give you the confidence to do so. Should you need more information there is a list of further recommended reading and useful addresses.

Of course there are some recipes included, a great place to get you started. I have mentioned that my children are not infants anymore but we managed to find recipes suitable for any age. Today is Sunday and we felt it was the perfect day to try out the pancake recipe. Everybody loved them, drenched in maple syrup and accompanied by some lovely strawberries.

PANCAKES
(Feeding your vegan infant-with confidence, Sandra Hood)

makes 12x4” pancakes
(I made smaller pancakes, using a tablespoon, we made 24, enough to serve 6)


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ingredients
300g flour (mix of wholemeal and unbleached white)
2 tsp baking powder
3 Tbs ground flaxseeds
2 Tbs rapeseed oil
500ml non-dairy milk (I used Kara coconut milk)

method
Mix the dry ingredients and make a well in the centre. Add the oil and milk and stir thoroughly. Cook in a lightly oiled pan for 2-3min on each side.

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COURGETTE BREAKFAST MUFFINS

COURGETTE BREAKFAST MUFFINS

Last week I have fallen a victim to a horrible virus. It started on Monday evening, my legs seemed to weigh a ton, my head was about to explode and I felt incredibly tired. I thought a good night sleep would make things better. That didn’t happen, I couldn’t sleep much and woke up feeling drained. The headache was still there, and I spend most of the day half asleep on the sofa only to wake up for the school run.

As I found out later I wasn’t the only one who got attacked by this mysterious illness. Several of my friends and even the young man at the supermarket checkout complained about the same symptoms. I am glad to report that headache is gone and I don’t feel like I have kettlebells attached to my legs any more.

The day when I felt the worst all I craved was peanut butter and banana toast. My brain was asking for carbs and refused anything else. Sometimes you must listen to what your body is asking for, within reason of course. Therefore I ate fruit salads, potatoes, pastas and peanut butter and banana sandwiches to get my energy levels up.

Feeling better I wanted to utilise the UFO I found in my veg box . The UFO, as I discovered, was a bag of broad (lima) bean tops. I have never used them before, so I though I would try them in a quick blender soup. It didn’t work out that well. Now I don’t have anything against the taste of wheat grass but I don’t want a whole soup bowl tasting like it. Yes, the broad bean tops experiment was a disappointing failure. I am glad to report that my next experiment was much more successful. Healthy breakfast courgette muffins. Great for breakfast on the go but they will work served with a cup of tea in bed as well. (Hint to my kids...)


COURGETTE BREAKFAST MUFFINS

If you cannot find unsweetened apple sauce make your own: peel and core some apples, place them into a small sauce pan with few tablespoons of water and cook until soft, add more water if needed. Push the apples through a mouli. 3 medium apples will yield half a cup.


Makes 12

ingredients
225g (1 and 1/2cups) fine wholemeal flour
1/2tsp bicarb (baking) soda
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
50g (1/3 cup) coconut palm sugar
1 medium courgette(zucchini)
185ml (3/4 cup) almond milk (or another dairy free milk)
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
80ml (1/3 cup) unsweetened apple sauce
a handful of raisins
a handful of chopped walnuts

courgettemuffins

method
  1. In a large bowl combine the flour, bicarb of soda, baking powder and coconut palm sugar.
  2. Finely grate the courgette, place in a tea towel or a cheesecloth and squeeze out the liquid. Add to the flour mix.
  3. In a smaller bowl mix together the almond milk, apple sauce and vinegar.
  4. Add the wet mix into the dry mix. Combine well, do not over mix.
  5. Stir in the raisins and nuts.
  6. Put the mixture into 12 muffin cases.
  7. Bake at 180C oven for about 20min or until golden brown. They should spring back when you touch the top.


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RAW FREEDOM

RAW FREEDOM

There is no doubt that eating as nature intended is good for us. We all know that including more fruit and veggies in our diet is the key to good health. Eating the majority your fruit and veggies raw can further amplify their magic health giving powers. I have been trying to incorporate more raw foods into my daily menus. I love green smoothies and raw desserts, make my raw crackers, but I still wanted to know more. The obvious solution? A raw food seminar!

Saskia (Raw Freedom, the wonderful raw food coach) runs her classes from her house. Not only you will find out about why and how to eat raw, you will also have plenty to taste. Wonderful raw lunch is included and rest assure she makes sure you leave with a tummy full of delicious raw goodness. I wanted inspiration and that is what I got. As you may know I already use cashews to make creamy cheesy sauces, but having raw courgette “pasta” with it was a new discovery ( I need to invest in a spiraliser). All the food was amazing from the guacamole mushrooms to the zingy purple salad. And if you think that you will lose out on your favourites when eating raw there was a cheesy tart and 4 different amazing raw ice-creams.

The best thing about Saskia was her infectious enthusiasm for raw food and her enviable vitality. She is not trying to persuade anyone to become 100% raw, that would be daunting, she inspires you to have a go and discover what raw food can do for you (less wrinkles anyone?). If you need a bigger push and support she offers one to one coaching, which is tailored to your individual needs.

I have several raw cookbooks and when I look at the recipes they seem very daunting. Long lists of ingredients, some of which are extremely difficult to find in my immediate area and too many steps to get through. I love my cooking but those kind of recipes make me give up before I start. Saskia’s recipes are nothing like that, they are easy and very doable. I left very inspired, raw chocolate ice-cream in the freezer, I feel poised to embark on the quest of including more interesting raw foods in my family’s diet.

To get inspired and well fed check out Saskia’s website, go to her next seminar or book one to one coaching. I am sure you will feel amazing.

http://www.rawfreedom.co.uk/#

To inspire you even further here is a couple of Saskia’s recipes (with her permission) that I just had to make for my family today.

Saskia's-fruit

GINGER & MINT FRUIT SALAD WITH CASHEW CREAM

Saskia presented this as a special treat for breakfast, I think it would make a perfect dinner party dessert!

Serves 1

Make a delicious fruit salad for one from a selection of the following fruit:
banana, papaya, strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, mango, grapes, nectarine, dates, pineapple, orange, apple, plums...

Add:
4 mint leaves, chopped
1/4 inch ginger, finely chopped or grated

cream
handful of cashew nuts
1 orange, juiced
2 Medjool dates

Blend the nuts with the orange juice and dates, adding water if necessary to get the right consistency. Pour over you fruit salad and indulge.

Saskia's-soup


SPINACH SOUP

Watch Saskia making this recipe on her website.

Makes 1 large or 2 small bowls of soup

3 handfuls young spinach
1 avocado
1 spring onion, white part only
1 cm ginger
1/2 tsp mineral salt (pink Himalayan salt)
1/2 water

Blend all the ingredients together until smooth.

To make the soup warm, use 1/4 pint boiling water mixing with 1/4 pint cold water to make the 1/2 pint water in the recipe.
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ALMOND AND BANANA PORRIDGE

ALMOND AND BANANA PORRIDGE

Yesterday I ran into a friend of mine and somehow we ended up talking about porridge. She mentioned topping hers with brown sugar and was keen to know about alternatives. And yes there is a healthier way of sweetening her breakfast. So this recipe is for my beautiful friend N.

Sugar. It may be delicious but good for you it is not. According to scientists sugar is as damaging and addictive as tobacco and alcohol, there have even been calls for its taxation. I believe rather than taxing it we should be more aware how much sugar we consume and make a conscious decision to cut down. Our health is indeed in our own hands.

The less sugar you eat the more sensitive you become to its taste. You will find the sweet things you used to enjoy just taste sickly and you will prefer the natural gentle sweetness of food. And if you do want something more intense, there is always my favourite nature’s candy; the mighty dates. Unlike sugar and its empty calories, dates will give you whole host of vitamins, minerals and fiber. That is sweetness worth seeking.

ALMOND BANANA PORRIDGE
There are many different porridge oats so check the ratio to milk/oats and cooking instructions of the packet for best results. I used only one Medjool date for my portion of porridge, I did find it sweet enough but you can use 2 to get you started.

Serves 1

dateporridge

300ml (1 1/4cup) almond milk (unsweetened)
1-2 Medjool dates, stones removed
55g (1/2 cup) organic porridge oats
1 banana
1Tbs flaked almond, dry roasted

  1. In a small sauce pan start heating up the milk.
  2. In the meantime, chop your date(s), it will become a sticky mess, but don’t worry the dates will dissolve into your milk.
  3. Add the dates and porridge to your milk. Bring to a boil and turn the heat down.
  4. Simmer for about 7 min.
  5. Pour into a bowl, top with sliced banana and almonds.

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