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

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

 

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:

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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:

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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:

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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

Desert Places

“They cannot scare me with their empty spaces
Between stars – on stars where no human race is.
I have it in me so much nearer home
To scare myself with my own desert places.”

Robert Frost knew his stuff. He knew about humans, about Humanity. He really did. In this stanza of his he manages to capture the feeling that lies in us all from time to time – melancholy mixed with fear. The place we don’t want to explore or acknowledge because it is frightening.

I think we are all born with light and dark in us, and it’s luck that defines which way we swing. Just as we are capable of immeasurable good, there is also potential for evil, and that is frightening.

Occasionally I find my mood sinking, and I stare testily into space. It’s like somebody is spreading some huge piece of cloth over my thoughts, casting them in shadow. I can’t help but see the worst, and reflect on the bad parts of my life. I am dragged into my ‘Desert Places’, a cynical inner narrative providing the guided tour.

This happens. I admit it. It’s hard to claw my way out of it sometimes, but I’ve managed thus far.

I would not, however, be rid of them. I think the key is understanding our darker emotions, rather than discarding them. It’s impossible to clear away bad memories entirely and we shouldn’t strive for that –  it’s what makes us. I think we can learn from each bad experience, and that those memories should stay with us until we have gained everything we can from them. At that point they can take a back seat, there to remind us what not to do.

“Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.”

Another favourite of mine from Mr. Frost. What a man!

So self-knowledge, then. That’s what I’m trying for.

Gosh, okay, I know this was supposed to be a food blog! I think food comes into that too though, at least for me. Because of my intense relationship with eating, because I did go through the eating disorder and come out vaguely on the other side, I need to know that darkness. I need to draw on it and turn it to good. Hence all the healthy stuff and documenting it, my reasons for it, and the results of it. Self-knowledge.

On that note, my next post shall be about Date Truffles.

“Something we were withholding made us weak, until we found it was ourselves.”

x