A Few of my Favourite Things

I’m quite in love with two things beginning with C at the moment. One is coconut oil, a craze for which has swept madly over the entire planet recently! I’m not ashamed to join the brethren of coconut oil groupies though – I’m proud. The stuff is damn good! It goes in my smoothies, in my stir fries, in my hair, on my skin, on my lips, in my vegan ice-cream and into my baking. I’m wild for it!

I had wanted to try using it in my hair for ages but wasn’t sure exactly how to go about it until my friend showed me the other day. I’ll break it down here in case anybody else had the same problem as me!

Okay, so first either melt around 3 tablespoons of the oil on the hob gently until it loses form, or just rub it between your palms, it’ll melt fine by the heat that generates. Just be sure to keep a bowl under your hands to catch the drips! Don’t want to waste any.
When you have a bowl full of coconut magic, you can either carefully tip it over your hair and then massage it in (be sure to have a towel round your shoulders) or do what I do which is scoop it up carefully and smooth it into hair from the roots down, massaging gently when it’s all in.
Your hair will look greasy and disgusting so do this at night! Then, wrap your hair in a towel, old shirt, or large piece of cling film and get a good nights sleep.
In the morning, wash the stuff out thoroughly and prepare to be amazed by how glorious your hair looks!

The other C substance I’m cuckoo for is (NOT an illegal drug, as my friend just suggested after a peek at this post) – No. It’s cinnamon!

My friends and family find it so odd that I’m enamoured with cinnamon as it tends to be linked to very unhealthy things like cinnamon buns/swirls, cakes, cookies, etc. Surprise though! It’s actually the sugar, eggs, milk, blah blah blah that make those things fattening and unhealthy, not the cinnamon. In fact, this christmassy spice has tonnes of health benefits.

Cinnamon’s really good for calcium levels, which is so important for us vegans as we don’t have milk, and it’s also incredibly high in manganese and fibre! Manganese is important to keep our brain and body functioning correctly, and fibre improves digestive health whilst also going towards preventing heart disease, some cancers, weight gain and diabetes.

So go get your cinnamon fix!

Vegan Abroad

I promised pictures would follow, and so they shall!
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That was taken in the Alcazar Gardens – by FAR my favourite part of the trip! Oh it was so beautiful I could have stayed there forever! My friend and I just breathed in the air there and felt so, so wonderful. Stayed for hours just meandering.

My favourite meal, ironically in a Steakhouse, was one that I went on to recreate when we went on to Seville and had our own apartment. I just fell in love with the sweetness of the couscous, with the tangy chilli and gorgeous veg!
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Here’s the recipe:

1. In a saucepan, heat 5 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of honey, a dash of chilli powder, a dash of almond milk, and a handful of sesame seeds.
2. In another prepare the cous-cous, cooking till fluffy and at the same time frying up whichever vegetables you choose in some olive oil.
3. Once the veg is crisping up (I used onion, aubergine, courgette, mushrooms and peppers) toss it and the cous-cous in with the sauce and mix it all together. Serve hot and enjoy with a glass of Sangria, preferably!

Fruit, in Spain. Is beautiful. Honestly, the colours are breathtaking – like precious gems! Breakfast for me every day was a gorgeous fruit platter that erased any evil from the night before!
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Nothing gears me up for the day like fruit. Since being home I’ve been making breakfast salads with an approximation of the honey sauce from above, but cold, and chopped up apple in with the lettuce instead of veg.

Soon I’ll be starting music college – within the next week – and last night was the first of what will be many house parties this year, so I’m a little worse for wear! Not as bad as my housemates though as they’re still in bed! The perfect healthy hangover food for me was a minestrone soup that I made and froze a couple of days ago:

Ingredients:
1 tbsp. olive oil,
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can tomatoes, undrained
1/2 tsp basil,
1/2 tsp oregano
5 cups vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
2 courgettes, diced
1 1/2 cups cooked beans (of choice – I actually used chickpeas)
3 cups chopped spinach
2 tbsps. parsley, minced

Methhod:
1. In a big pot heat the oil and then add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Cover and cook until softened.
2. Add tomatoes, basil, oregano, stock and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Add courgette and beans then cook until courgette is softened.
4. Stir in spinach and simmer till wilted, then add parsley just before serving.

TRY IT! So good 🙂

I leave you with a picture of beautiful Seville. Have a wonderful day! x

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My Life in Pictures, as of late

So, I might be addicted to instagram. Possibly.

I find honestly that it inspires me to be super healthy, because when I skim through my photos I see all this gorgeous healthy food, and I’m like “oh gosh that looks good!”

For example:

Mmmm

Mmmm

SO good! That was an awesome lunch of rocket, avacado, cherry tomatoes and hemp butter. When I look at that, I can’t imagine chowing down on some greasy pizza!

My life has also consisted of lots of this:

Musico

Musico

I’ve been a busy bee, prepping for September when I’ll start at music college in London! My teacher there has given me a LOT of new rep, but my favorite by far is ‘Ich Liebe Dich’ by Grieg – it means I love you. The music is so wonderful and flowing but simple and sweet – a joy to sing 🙂

To counteract the atrocious amount of parties I’ve attended recently I’ve been doing bikram lots and also going for jogs in the morning, and that along with my counselling sessions has got me in such a good place regarding my weight! I finally can look in the mirror and see my real, true shape rather than bulges and blobs that aren’t there for anyone else but me.

I’ve even started baking vegan again!

Wholesome strawberry scone, recipe from Lucy's Friendly Foods

Wholesome strawberry scone, recipe from Lucy’s Friendly Foods

Hosted a brunch for some friends with those bad boy scones and they went down a treat 🙂 However I’ve also been making some treats that are sugar free and rather fabulous my favorite being these raw lemon bars: http://nomyumfree.com/raw-nut-free-lemon-bars/

They’re so divine – the topping melts in your mouth and the bottom has a beautiful crunch! I didn’t have half of the stuff in my cupboards so I subbed a few things and played around with it, but they turned out really well. (If I do say so myself. Which I do.)

YUM

YUM

I’ve also discovered the wonders of quinoa pizza thanks to the wonderful blog ‘Deliciously Ella’ which has inspired me in SO many ways.

I topped mine with spinach, cucumber, olives, tomatoes and mustard :)

I topped mine with spinach, cucumber, olives, tomatoes and mustard 🙂

In other news, finally finished work (YES!) and off to spain very shortly! My days have consisted off fun, exercise and a whole lot of juice!

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Peace, love and instagram xD Follow me if you dare! @katie_morel_sings

Pre and Post Bikram Food :)

Yesterday I had a Bikram Yoga class in the evening, so as always I paid careful attention to my diet in the daytime, and how much water I was drinking (a lot!) It’s become second nature to me now. I have only raw foods on Bikram days (3 times a week) because I feel that I get the most energy from raw fruit and veg, and I always try to eat lots of leafy greens and seeds. Here’s a round up of what I had to energize me:

 

Breakfast: Apple slices with cashew butter made for a healthy and tasty start to the day. I had already drank a glass of water upon waking up, but I had another after breakkie to see me through my walk to work.

Mid-morning snack: I was extremely happy to have blended up a pineapple, strawberry, spinach and peach smoothie with chia seeds and hemp milk that morning. Deliciously tropical and fresh, making for a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed me 😀

Probably drank about a litre of water in between breakfast and lunch.

Lunch: I made myself a rocket, avocado and cherry tomato salad with a bit of hemp butter mixed in. Gorgeously colourful and creamy, it was the perfect lunch pre-yoga!

Near to the end of the day it was getting close to Bikram time so I had a kiwi and a peach along with more water, hydrating my body in preparation for the intense yoga workout ahead.

 

It was great, I love days like that. Knowing at the end of the day, after a wonderful Bikram class and a dinner of rocket, olives, cucumbers and lemon dressing, that only good things have gone into my body. Bliss 🙂

x

Healthy Chocolate Cake! Yes, Really :)

Howdy people!

That was an unrelated start to today’s post. I’m not going to write about beef jerky, or whatever it is cowboys eat.

Obviously not, in fact, because I’m a committed vegetarian. And in FACT am in the process of doing a Vegan trial for a month. On day 11 I believe!

I’m loving it, actually. The thing is, I’ve felt so bad about the situation with farmed animals, for so long, but I didn’t go vegetarian until last year because I was scared I wouldn’t get the vitamins I needed. Because of my singing I need my body to be in optimum working order, with all the nutrients I need to be healthy and strong. HOWEVER, I learned more about it, did my research, and I feel better than ever, ethically and physically.

My family have mixed opinions…My Mum’s very supportive (she’s actually doing the month vegan trial with me, bless her cotton socks!) but my Dad thinks I’m being silly. He’s very much a carnivore. Two of my sisters are firmly his side of the fence, but my youngest declares she’s going to be ‘at least a pescatarian when she’s older’.

So yes. The majority of my family are bemused with my ‘hippie ideals’ and think I’m mad. None more so than my fruit-and-vegetable hating Uncle. And he is relevant to today’s post, people. This is the story of how he ate beetroot without realising it.

 

It was a sunny, idyllic day in good ol’ Jersey a few weekends ago, and I sojourned to my Uncles house to have a barbecue with some family and friends. Known for my interest (ahem, obsession…) with cooking they presumed I would bring something, and I said I’d bring dessert. My Uncle was heard in the background:

“Fruit salad ISN’T a dessert!”

“Don’t worry, Uncle dear,” I said sweetly. “I’m making chocolate cake! You’ll love it!”

That did it. Chocolate is the magic word.

All the while, however, I was plotting. I was determined that I would get vegetables into the cake. And that he would like it.

The result…this very recipe: Enjoy! He did 😉

 

Ingredients:

2 cups flour (I used wholemeal)

1 cup + 2 tbsps ground almonds

2 heaped tsps baking powder

2 heaped tsps bicarbonate of soda

4 heaped tsps cocoa powder

¼ tsp sea salt (well, I used Himalayan sea salt, but hey)

2 cups cooked beetroot, mashed

½ cup liquid sweetener (I used prune juice actually, as I had some lying around)

½ cup honey

1 banana, mashed

¼ cup sunflower oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup chopped dark chocolate

 

Recipe:

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius and line your cake tin
  2. Toast 1 cup of the ground almonds gently until golden brown, keep 2 tbsps aside
  3. Whisk together the dry ingredients
  4. Mix the wet ingredients, when fully combined add to dry and mix well
  5. Bake for approx. 1-1 ½ hours until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out dry
  6. Let it cool for 15 mins and then top with fruit or nuts or…whatever!
  7. FOOL THEM ALL!

 

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So there you have it! The recipe was an amalgamation of several different ones and the topping was basically what we had in the fridge. Worked pretty well!

But the moral of the story IS that vegetables are awesome, and that tricking people into eating them is fun. I felt like a Vegan Ninja.

 

But dreams aside, this cake is yum! Moist, decadent and shamefully healthy! Eat your heart out whoever you are x

 

Breakfast out of Bed

I believe in breakfast. In secondary school when all my friends were trying out the ‘oh my god I have to diet even though I’m not even fat because that’s what the girls in Mean Girls do!’ thing, and they were skipping breakfast, I was not impressed.

Firstly, I was skeptical of the motivation behind it as, let’s be fair, they always got hungry a few hours into the day and bought a bacon roll or something before having their lunch.

Secondly, it’s called breakfast, people. BreakFast. As in, the Breaking of a Fast. i.e. Sleep.

You don’t eat whilst you’re sleeping, generally, and so it is neccessary in the mornings to refuel your body in order to tackle the day ahead with any degree of va-va-voom.

BREAKFAST IS IMPORTANT.

When I was having my problems with eating I would, I admit, skip breakfast. But this only allows me to say now with authority that breakfast should not be skipped. It left me feeling listless, like the day ahead was a struggle and an uphill slog. My body was screaming at me to give it what it needed to cope with all the stress of exams and auditions I was throwing at it, but I was silly enough to block my ears.

So yes. I believe in breakfast.

The reason I’m writing this really is that this last week I have had the BEST breakfasts! I’ve literally woken up looking forward to eating it!

First off, I made myself a big batch of cashew hazelnut milk with honey, cinnamon and vanilla, which was GOOD. Then, I discovered that millet could be used as porridge.

WHA?

I had a whole big bag of millet sitting gathering figurative dust in my cupboard! So I looked at a few different variations and decided to lose my millet-porridge virginity with this one: http://www.thevegancookiefairy.com/2013/04/fig-cinnamon-orange-millet-porridge.html

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Heaven.

It is so good. SO good. I cooked up a whole batch of it and then stored it in my fridge, but the first day I had it was an epiphany! I had a bowl of it and then did a zumba class. I was so energized and bright-eyed and felt so happy after a long, draining week of feeling blah! The orange gives the dish a tangy lift (I used all the juice) and I am a massive fan of ginger! along with the figs, which made me nostalgic as they used to be my ‘sweetie’ of choice when I was a little tyke, it was just the perfect breakfast.

And it got better every day!

The millet absorbed more and more of those delicious flavours, and by day 5 of my supply I was adding pomegranite kernels and wearing a ridiculous grin on my face all day, every day.

With the milk I had made using this wonderful recipe: http://ohmyveggies.com/recipe-cinnamon-vanilla-cashew-milk (Added some hazelnuts because I didn’t have quite enough cashews!) it really was just a divine way to start the day.

Go and try it already!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

fig

To make myself feel better totally about eating breakfast again after my spell without it, I did some research. Research that gave me a kick up the ass, to be frank! not eating first thing in the morning does not help you lose weight. On the contrary, your metabolism will slow down throughout the day as a result. Also, there’s been a study from the University of Alabama showing that those people who ate a breakfast that was rich in fats burned more fat through the day than those who ate one that was high in carbs! Obviously, we’re talking healthy fats here like avacado. This doesn’t mean you can eat a whole tub of pringles at 8:00, or whatever.

Well, you could, but…yuck!

So yeahhh guys! Breakfast! Woo! Fuller for longer, stable blood-sugar levels, less prone to snackage and a better metabolism; what’s not to love?!

x

If Music Be The Food of Love…eat peach cobbler!

Well, Peach and Berry Cobbler, really...

Well, Peach and Berry Cobbler, really…

Okay.

This. Was. Good.

It was SO good! This recipe was very spur of the moment – I was just idling round Waitrose one evening and I saw these peaches. They just looked so good and juicy and they were the last two punnets. All alone on the shelf. I had to buy them.

I then had to guard them jealously from my sisters and mother so I could use them for this cobbler that just popped into my mind on the way home.

“No! They’re for baking!”

“But they’re perfectly ripe -”

“THEY’RE FOR BAKING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

So yes. Such fun.

Well anyway, I managed to save five of the eight peaches and I utilized the last of some frozen berries in the freezer; the combo was delicious! To make this lovely summer dessert you shall need:

5 ripe peaches

Approx 1 cup berries, frozen or fresh

3/4 cup butter or dairy free spread (I used Pure sunflower spread)

3/4 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup oats

1/2 cup brown sugar (less or more to taste)

1 tsp cinnamon
THE METHOD TO THE MADNESS:
  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C and arrange your sliced peaches and berries in a baking dish.
  2. Mix up your flour, oats, brown sugar and cinnamon before cutting in the butter or spread with a fork…or just muck in and do it by hand. I did.
  3. Spread your yummy oaty mixture over your fruit and place in the oven to bake for 30 minutes; watch for the top going a gorgeous golden brown!
  4. Serve. Eat. Sit for a few minutes thinking “…damn that was good…”

Hope you enjoy it – peace and peaches to you all x