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!

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Choices

It isn’t easy to be a student and a vegan at the same time. NOT (as people assume) because its more expensive – it isn’t – or because of any craving for meat or cheese. Its simply because of the incredulity faced on a daily basis:
“You’re a vegan?!”
“…What, so no meat? And no cheese either? …What about milk?!”
“What do you even eat?!”

This gets old very quickly.

YES, I’m a vegan. NO I don’t eat meat, cheese, or drink milk – I don’t consume anything taken from animals because that is my choice. And there’s plenty to eat, thank you very much. People managed very well before they started tugging at the udders of other species for their food sources.

The question ‘why’ is the worst. I find it hard to explain in a way that won’t seem argumentative, so I’ve settled for “Because I prefer it.”

Simple.

I feel good on a vegan diet – better by far than I ever did before, and I’m a lot healthier. Fair enough, I have a cold as I type this, but we’re all going to get colds. We aren’t machines. The point is that this is my first cold in over a year. This in turn benefits my singing immensely as I’m not performing on sore throats and stuffed up sinuses on a regular basis.

So, world, yes I’m vegan. Why? Because I prefer it.

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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IMG_20130808_110418

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

Say no to Tequila

That is my life lesson. No, no, no tequila. As much as, at the time, you are like a liquid sombrero – fun and happy and all that jazz – but NOT SO the morning after. Not so.

This infamous hangover I lament was yesterday, not today, but I’m still vehement.

My head was so, so fuzzy and horrible. It was like being smothered by an obese sheep.

sheep

Yes I did just type obese sheep into google

But hangovers aside, I am fairly fed up today. An eventful and traumatic lunch break saw me running through turrential rain in a tiny skirt and sleeveless blouse, no cardi or tights to speak of – let alone an umbrella! So now I’m sitting at reception looking, according to my friend in IT, like a drowned rat (he said that in between snorts of laughter) feeling less than content.

What’s more I’m morally slapping my own face because I MAJORLY screwed up on saturday night. Again, I blame the tequila, but I got together with a guy I did NOT want to do that with, ever, simply because our history is not the best. And he used to date one of my best friends.

girl

These last few days have not been the best.

However. Now is the part of the post where I take a deep breath and talk about good things. Like juice! Juice is good. And Spirulina energy balls from my local health store.

Every morning I’ve been making myself a lovely, refreshing and filling juice to enjoy, and it’s such a good start to the day! I have an energy ball or a handful of hazlenuts when I wake up, then pop off on my morning jog. When I return, that glass of juice looks and tastes so damn good!

This morning I juiced up:

I apple,

2 celery sticks,

1/2 cup frozen berries, mixed

handful of grapes

Inch of ginger

1/4 cucumber

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm

I plan to get kiwis after work today from the market because they are the best in a morning juice 🙂

kiwi

Counselling is helping a lot with my eating though recent emotional events set me back and I started to revert to the old, not-so-good me. She suggested I buy a journal, which I did, and also that I write down 3 things I’m grateful for each day for a week, as well as doing one nice thing for myself every day. The nice thing, I’ve been sticking to – yesterday it was a really pretty yellow flower from my walk home, now in a jar on my windowsill – but I’m actually finding the first task quite tough. However.

  1. I am grateful for fruit.
  2. I am grateful for the juice I make with fruit.
  3. I am grateful for spirulina.
  4. I am NOT grateful for tequila. Or rain.

C’est tout x

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!

 

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