“Be patient and…

“Be patient and gentle with yourself as you continue to learn new ways of eating and living. There is no need for hard-and-fast rules or white-knuckle determination. Keep leaning forward into the positive changes you are making, and then apply that same gentleness to your family and community. There is no need to promote your ideals, but rather attract interest by being informed and interesting, healthy and robust-looking, and most of all, kind. After all, if we want to create change in the world, we have to embody the quality and character we’d like to see more of!”

I adore this quote! It sums a lot of things up for me that have been floating around my head in jumbled sentences. That’s right, folks – after a trial and a long hard think, this girl is going vegan FULL time, FULL stop, and couldn’t be happier 😀 Peace x

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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!

 

image

 

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

 

Ramblings of a Bored Receptionist

Aloha!

I open with that because HAWAI WOULD BE REALLY NICE RIGHT NOW. I can’t wait for my proper summer to start where I DON’T have to work 9-5 and I will be in SPAIN sampling churros and paella and ogling the gorgeous…

…local fruit and veg.

What did you think I was going to say? 😉

But yes. I’m really excited and impatient, and that’s all this post really is, I suppose. Well, I did just have my second driving lesson (teacher: “you’re an unpredictable nightmare. I think I’ll need to take a valium for your next lesson.”

me: *giggles nervously* “…sorry…”)

The roads of Jersey, Channel Islands, the warmest place in the British Isles, are no longer safe.

 car

Anyway. Moving on from driving fiascos. I have my first counselling session in a long time this evening…in 2 hours and 6 minutes, to be precise. I’m quite nervous really as it’s a general ‘seeing how I’m doing with my eating’ consultation and I’ve been struggling lately. Hopefully the counsellor will be nice though. My last one was a goon.

An – Y – Way

To distract myself as I sit here at the same reception desk I sit at every day, I am looking through blogs and weeding out recipes as I’m fending for myself these next ten days! Mother and Father are popping off on a jolly holiday. My thinking is, if I plan out all the recipes and get excited about them then I won’t skip meals or not-eat.

Here are some I’ve got lined up so far:

Mmmmmmmm, though I haven’t eaten an egg in months so the first should be novel!

AnYwAy

In this general news round-up that you probably don’t actually care about (soz) I will also, finally, add that I got my vegetable hating uncle to eat (and like) a beetroot cake yesterday. Post to follow avec picture. Score.

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

image

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

Recent Culinary Exploits

Oh dear. My contribution to this blog has been rather lack-lustre lately! I started it at a rather fragile time, I suppose, and there’s been a lot going on.

HOWEVER

I am feeling good, getting all geared up to go to Bikram Yoga in a couple of hours, and about to share with you my new favourite thing:

image

This raw ‘mayo’ blend is SO delicious and super healthy! I nabbed the recipe from an amazing blog called ‘This Rawsome Vegan Life’ – http://www.thisrawsomeveganlife.com/2013/04/potato-salad-with-cilantro-dill.html – and just adore it. On salad, with crudite’s, on crackers, this tastes good with everything, and it’s so easy to make. I’m in love! And good thing to because I’m done falling in love with people for a while after Army Boy fiasco.

Yeesh.

But anyway, to make this jar of yummy good stuff simply blend 1/2 cup cashews, 2 tbsps mustard, 1/4 tsp chilli powder, 2 garlic cloves, juice from 2 lemons and as much water as you need or want. I used hardly any and I also added in a little grated ginger because I love it with chilli.

Do your thing, right? 🙂

In other news:

image

Yum.

Can’t remember how I made these, but they had dark  chocolate and almonds in and they. were. awesome.

I am in the process of creating a gluten-free cookbook type thing for one of the older women at work who is singularly lovely and struggling to keep to the diet that’s best for her health – pictures to come…I got all creative! Nearly done.

For now, I must go, but more to come soon concerning a three-day-a-week raw food plan and why being nutritionally minded can be a virtue and a vice and everything in between.

Over. Bikram awaits.

xx

It’s A Date!

I went to see a rather awful show the other day. Terrible, actually, but the wonderful people I went with more than made up for it.

…Oh, along with the awesome truffles I made to bring along, of course!

They were very, very good. Even my non-health-freak friends thought so. They munched on them happily whilst the actors tortured us, not even thinking about buying the usual junk food that accompanies a theatre trip.

Sweet success! And, they’re really easy to make – joy!

Here’s what you’ll need:

15 or so dates,

a teaspoonful of honey,

a tablespoonful of Cacao powder

a pinch or two of cinnamon,

a tablespoonful of coconut oil,

a handful of dessicated coconut.

If you aren’t that concerned with making them super healthy, or don’t have some of those ingredients to hand, the coconut oil can be swapped for butter and the cacao for regular cocoa powder.

SO, here’s what they look like:

image

AND here’s what you do:

Take your dates and tip them into the food processor, blending until they make a sticky, sweet mix that bunches together.

Whilst you’re doing that you can be melting your coconut oil, cacao, honey and cinnamon into a syrup on the hob, medium-or-less heat.

Once your dates are gooey enough for your satisfaction simply pour them into a mixing bowl, scraping the sides of the blender with a spoon, and pour the syrup you’ve made over the top.

Mix well so that the stuff gets even stickier. It should be coming together easily now (and tasting really good!)

On a small plate pour your dessicated coconut and then roll the date mixture into balls – you choose how big and how many – rolling them lightly in the coconut once that’s done.

Put the truffles onto a baking tray and freeze for an hour or so.

Enjoy!

Told you it was easy. And very healthy 🙂 No need to feel guilty whilst consuming these little beauties.

Now onto a different type of date…of the romance variety. I have one tonight with a young man who will be known here as army lad because…he’s in the army, and I can’t think of a more original fake name thing.

But anyway, wish me luck! Next post is Quinoa Pizza which I’ll be attempting tomorrow whilst my friends dine on the ready-made but not-as-healthy variants from Pizza Express.

x