I’ve been enjoying the most lazy of lazy weekends – so I am just popping in to share with you the winner for my Christmas give away. Beach swimming, yoga, apple cider, gardening and movie-watching have been my weekend loves…. I hope you are all having a lovely time too. Congratulations to fellow blogger KARI who posted:
“What a lovely idea Lou – and so organised Happy Christmas to you in advance and I hope the lead up to your festive season is everything you want it to be.
I haven’t decided what will be on my Christmas menu yet, but I think a nut roast will be involved “
Thank you to everyone that entered – as a consolation prize, here is a recipe…..
I’m all about “bits” – that is, the yummy little add-ins to cookies/bars and the likes. There’s nothing worse than getting a cookie with 3 measly raisins in it – massive rip off. These cookies are more “bits” than cookie – huge chunks of macadamia nuts and sweet dried strawberries, barely held together by a small amount of dough for the “glue” aspect. You could use any nuts of dried fruit you like – cranberries, pecans and cinnamon would also be lovely for a real Christmas-y version.
Strawberry Vanilla Macadamia Cookies
(Vegan, soy/corn/refined sugar free)
- 1T chia seeds mixed with 4T water (OR 1 flax “egg” OR one regular egg)
- 2T (solid) butter or vegan spread (Earth Balance, Nuttelex etc)
- 2T (liquid) coconut oil
- 1/2C chopped macadamia nuts (or any nuts/seeds)
- 1/4t sea salt
- 2/3C dried strawberries (or any dried fruit – cranberries, apricots, figs, dates)
- 1t vanilla extract
- 3T brown rice syrup
- 1C wholemeal flour
- Preheat oven to 170 degrees C.
- Make your chia seed “egg” by mixing seeds & water – leave to gel for about 10 minutes.
3.Mix all ingredients together.
4. Wet hands, and shape tablespoons of the mix into cookie shapes. Place on a lined baking tray.
5. Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly brown around the edges.
6. Cool on a wire rack – store in an air tight container when cool.
These are seriously SO simple to make, and could be adapted to whatever ingredients you like/have in your pantry. They are actually pretty healthy as well – full of good fats, protein and omegas, low in sugar – an easy, nutritious treat – who’d have thought it?!
It’s that time of the year when Christmas festivities/activities are rampant – I am finding I am having to “bring a plate” to most gatherings. One of Misty’s groups is having a Christmas party this week – no matter the season, I’m always keen to provide wholesome snacks – even after it was suggested that a bag of Cheezels (an Aussie snack-chip thing) would be an easy/appropriate snack (!) We are talking kids who are 6 months-3 years here. Out of curiosity, I googled the ingredients in a bag of Cheezels:
Cheese Powder (3.0%)
Mineral Salt (170)
Flavour Enhancers (621, 627, 631)
Vegetable Extract (Maize)
Food Acids (270, 330, 331, 262)
Flavours (Natural & Nature Identical)
Mineral Salt (339)
Colours [160a, 160e (Soy)]
Antioxidants (304, 306)
I wouldn’t feed that to my dog. I think my cookies would be a yummy treat, without making the kids bounce off the walls/break out in hives – do you agree? What do YOU usually take to a “bring a plate” occasion – when kids are involved?
Usually I don’t like anyone to touch The Beatles. That sounds kind of strange….. but anyway:
Why try to make something already pretty darn great different? Usually covers of Beatles hits don’t hold a candle to the original; covers sort of just make me angry.
This album, however, take something wonderful, like Beatles music and (respectfully) takes it in a whole new direction. The Beatles: Dub styles.
Take this example: I love chocolate…. it’s awesome, and I wouldn’t think you could do much to improve it. Then you try adding just a teensy touch of sea salt and BAM. Heaven: something amazing, made a little different, and taken to a whole new level you had never considered. Different is good.
I love the Beatles, and I love reggae music and dub. So yes, I really dig this album. The Easy All Stars are a favourite in this house…. they are a reggae collective with rotating musicians and singers who are pretty awesome at covering famous bands’ work. Think Pink Floyd, Radiohead, and now, The Beatles.
Favourites would be: With a little help from my friends ……Within You Without You…. Lovely Rita – but really, if you like the Beatles and you like reggae, you can’t go too wrong with this album. Try it, you never know, you might just like it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Something else that is different, yet still good are the following brownies. Well, I think they are yummy, but I like wierd things. Being on an Anti-Candida cleanse makes you a lot more receptive to strange combinations and ideas when it comes to sweet food, let me tell you.
This recipe was fridge scrapings to a T…. leftover cooked beans, quinoa and a few other odds and ends blended up and then baked into a fudgey, dense browine-loaf kind of thing.
Scrapings from the Fridge….
Bean, Quinoa and Cacao Brownies
(Vegan: gluten/wheat/nut/soy/corn/refined sugar free)
- 3/4C cooked black beans (bean sludge)
- 1C cooked quinoa
- 1/2C raw buckwheat groats
- 1/4C cacao powder
- 3T chia seeds
- 2T melted coconut oil
- 1/2C almond milk (or whatever milk you like)
- 1/4t sea salt
- 30-40 drops vanilla stevia liquid*
- 1/2t vanilla extract
- 1/4C chocolate chips/cacao nibs or see idea below for home made.
*1/4C coconut/rapadura/raw sugar could be subbed in here.
Quick Chocolate Chunks – for when you have none in the cupboard.
These are super quick to make, and Candida friendly. It’s basically a raw chocolate.
- 1/4C melted coconut oil
- 2T melted cacao butter
- 1/2t vanilla extract
- Pinch of sea salt
- 15 drops stevia liquid
- 2T cacao powder
- Combine all ingredients and pop in the freezer until solid.
- Chop into “chunks”.
- Keep in the fridge.
- Place buckwheat groats in the food processor until they have been whizzed into a “flour.” A few chunks don’t matter.
- Add in chia seeds, cacao powder, salt and whizz again.
- Add in all other ingredients except chocolate chunks and bi carb soda. Pulse well.
Or don’t, because I like the chocolate bits nice and gooey. Super dense, super fudgey… amazing with coconut ice cream and this sauce.
The chia seeds and quinoa give these “brownies” a really interesting texture. Of course, I’m not saying that these are BETTER than your usual deliciously decadent dark chocolate brownie Oh No. That would be like saying that the Easy All Stars trump The Beatles. Hardly.
BUT these brownies are super protein packed, full of healthy fats and pretty tasty. Different. Different is good.
Sometimes just a small action can make all the difference.
I really love it when you walk past someone on the street, and they make eye contact, smile, or even say Hello. It really is lovely, and such a simple thing to do. I reckon it’s much more effort to cast your eyes downwards and pretend the other person is not there…. really what is the point, when a quick smile is all it takes to connect and acknowledge.
Luckily, I live in a pretty darn friendly neighbourhood, and the fact that Misty tends to wave and babble and be stupidly cute at passers-by makes us hard to ignore. Except of course the rude bikers that yelled at us today for being on a path (which is in a large area designated for children) who told me to ‘Keep control of your child!’ I promptly yelled back ‘PISS OFF.’ And I have NO shame in doing so. (That’s me keeping my language “clean” too – someone has to think of the children).
My point is, that small positive actions can make all the difference. Take inspiration from the new Friday Soiree of Vegan Delicacies (Healthy Vegan Fridays) – perhaps you could instigate one vegan meal a week in your household? All the delicious recipes that are going to be pouring in at the end of every week shall be enough temptation for even the most hard-core carnivore I’m sure.
Chocolate Breakfast Brownies:
(Vegan, High RAW, wheat/soy/nut/corn/refined sugar free…. gluten free if you use certified oats)
This recipe is not limited to eating only at breakfast…. I called them breakfast brownies as me and Misty ate them for breakfast. Who doesn’t want chocolate for breakfast? Riddle me that. I’ve included various ideas to “super-charge” your breakfast with some super-foods…. entirely optional, but why not?
- 2C rolled oats
- 1/3C coconut butter
- 2T cacao powder
- 1T maca powder (or lucuma, mesquite, nopal etc – or just some of your favourite protein powder)
- 1C pitted dates soaked in 1/2C warm water
- 1/4t sea salt
- 1/2t vanilla extract
- Combine all ingredients (including date-soaking water) in a food processor and pulse until a soft, sticky “dough” is formed.
- You can shape the dough however you want – I find the easiest way to work with it, is let it “rest” for 10 minutes or so after pulsing (this helps the oats soak up a bit of the liquid and become more solid). Then sandwich the dough between 2 sheets of baking paper, and spread out either with your hands or a rolling pin. Alternatively you can push into little silicon moulds for fun shapes.
- Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Dollop with the following “jam” for good measure:
Berry Quick Jam
(Vegan, RAW, gluten/wheat/soy/nut/corn/refined sugar free)
- 1C mixed berries (fresh or frozen….. doesn’t matter)
- 3t agave/honey/coconut cyrup
- 1T super food (as listed above…. entirely optional!)
- 3T water
- 3T Chia seeds
- Blitz everything together in a food processor (if you don’t like the texture of chia, then grind these down to a fine meal before adding).
- Leave to “gel” for 10 minutes or so.
- Dollop on top of the brownies, or anything that welcomes a fruity jam.
- Store in the fridge.
These “brownies” are super dooper creamy thanks to the coconut butter…. a fresh berry jam is just the cherry on the top (but there were no cherries in this jam, you get what I mean though, right?)
Anyway, I hope you are up to the challenge of instigating a vegan meal in your household once a week – a small action that is great for your health, the environment AND animals. Not to mention delicious. You know what I am going to tell you to do if you try and argue with me that a vegan meal is too difficult (read story above about certain bike riders almost squashing my innocent child).
I am submitting this recipe to Healthy Vegan Fridays.
Energy is not an issue for Misty. Today he actually tried to climb up the wall. It was quite frustrating for the poor dude, and me explaining the logistics of which didn’t seem to get through to him, bless. Since going vegan, I have found my energy levels are way up in comparison to my dairy eating days… although I admit some days it’s hard to find the time to eat enough when I am busy wrangling the Mistenator. I’m not a 3-meal-a-day kinda gal. I favour a big brekkie, maybe 3-4 small meals throughout the day, average sized dinner, oh and then a second dinner/bed time snack. I can’t stand going to bed even slightly hungry. Full belly = good nights sleep, otherwise I wake up at 3am starving. It’s not the norm, but neither am I – as I have said before, do what works for you.
I’d never been a user/fan of protein powders in the past, but I can understand the benefits when it comes to a quick fix. Plus they actually keep me full for longer than say 35 minutes. On a recommendation from the lovely Lindsay, I got a pea/hemp/rice/chia protein blend which is great (and not ridiculously expensive). Just don’t tell Viper there’s chia in there, he hates them – ‘it’s like a million little tomato seeds stuck in your teeth.’
I’ve been a bit slack with making lunch treats for Viper lately…. he is quite fussy when it comes to snack bars, and I can’t seem to get them exactly to his requirements for some reason. I do thrive on challenge. Anyway, he’s a busy hard working lad, so hopefully these snacks can help us both out with energy boosts throughout the day.
- 4T peanut butter (or tahini… or any nut butter)
- 4T brown rice syrup (or honey/maple syrup)
- 1T coconut oil
- 1+ 1/4C quick oats
- 1/2C milk (I used rice)
- 4T unsweetened protein powder (vanilla flavour, but any will do)*
- 1/2t sea salt
- 3/4C chopped almond + cashew nut mix
- Line a baking tray/loaf tin with parchment paper and set aside.
- Combine oats, milk, protein powder, salt and chopped nuts in a large mixing bowl.
- In a small saucepan, gently melt together coconut oil, rice syrup and nut butter.
- Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer for about 2 minutes.
- Tip into mixing bowl, and stir well to combine everything.
- Scoop into your prepared tin, smooshing down firmly with wet hands.
- Pop in the fridge (or freezer if you are pushed for time) and wait until it has set firmly.
- Cut into desired shapes… bars/squares/bites.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Viper said he was surprised how ‘light’ these tasted. They are pretty super nutrient dense, so I cut these into 10 squares…. Misty sampled some crumbles and approved. Then he was fully powered to continue wall climbing.
Yes, I love chick peas. Yolie knows this, as she sent me this card, along with some US/UK snack bars (bar swap ahoy!) I’ve actually eaten all of the bars already. No photos. No evidence. Whoops.
Really, I don’t care; they were all delicious, particularly the peanut buttery, chocolatey chippie Larabar. I tend to make all my own snacky-goods these days… it was a nice change to try something packaged, plus sample some of the brands I am constantly seeing around blog-land. Makes me feel involved, you know? Not like some un-educated hobo slumming it Down Under.
Anyway, I make this recipe all the time… I love it, but people may think I’m weird for this one. Whatever.
Chewy Chocolate Baked Chickpeas:
(Vegan, gluten, nut, seed, cane sugar free)
- 1C cooked chickpeas
- 4t cacao powder (or cocoa)
- 4t maple syrup (or agave/honey/rice syrup)
- 1t coconut oil
- 3T water
- 1/4t sea salt
- Combine cacao, syrup, water and salt to make a runny paste.
- Toss through chickpeas, coating well (I actually marinate the chickpeas overnight in this ‘syrup’ but if you can’t be bothered, just skip this… I just think it intensifies the flavour).
- Spread onto a lined baking tray.
- Bake at 180 degrees C for 25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so (the chocolate sauce will begin to thicken and coast the chick peas).
- Turn down oven to 150, bake for a further 10 minutes.
- Turn the oven down to 100 degrees, bake for a further 15 minutes.
- Turn oven off, leave the chickpeas inside to cool completely.
These are great on top of something gooey – think oatmeal, ice cream, tofu pudding (pictured above) banana soft serve, or as I did this morning, chia seed pudding. The chicks peas are dry and chewy…. not crispy – don’t expect anything crunchy… I always add a touch extra salt – dark chocolate and sea salt is a pretty wicked combo. For some reason, they remind me of a stale malteaser. It won’t win any beauty competitions, but this was delicious:
Vanilla Lucuma Chia Pudding:
(Vegan, gluten, nut and cane sugar free)
- 1/4C chia seeds
- 2t raw lucuma powder
- 1/2cvanilla soy milk
- 1/4t vanilla bean paste
- 1/8t sea salt
- 1t agave
- Mix everything together, and chill in the fridge for 10 minutes or so, while the chia gel up.
- Top with the chocolate chickpeas.
- 3T apple puree (or pumpkin, mashed banana etc)
- 1/2C rice (white or brown)
- 1 3/4C milk (I used full fat coconut milk, but cow, soy, almond etc are all good substitutes)
- 1/4C chopped dried fruit (or date puree gives it a lovely caramel flavour)
- 3/4t ground cinnamon or mixed spice (Pumpkin Pie spice)
- 2t tahini
- 1/2t pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of sea salt
- Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan.
- Bring to the boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer.
- Keep and eye on it, and stir every few minutes to prevent sticking.
- Wait until most of the liquid has been absorbed, turn of heat and place a lid on the saucepan. Let the rice soak up the rest of the liquid. (Puree in the food processor for under 8 month olds).
- Eat warm, or pop in fridge to firm up to serve with Chia Seed Jam. Far too hot here for a warm breakfast… the pudding goes all solid-like so you can carrrrrve off chunks (spoken with a Scottish accent, naturally) yummo.