Friday, 31 July 2015

I've upgraded to a really pretty, fully functioning wordpress blog, with a ton of new and amazing vegan recipes and amazing photography! I'm sorry to say goodbye to blogger but I'm so excited by my new blog, please check it out and follow it by email, I'm sure you will love it 100x more than this one!!

A delicious blog full of deliciously vegan goodness

Vegan Coconut Tarts

Indian Spiced Hummus

Apricot Breakfast Crumble

Friday, 10 July 2015

I was in London on Wednesday and found an amazing clean eating cafe in South Kensington called Roots and Bulbs; they sell amazing vegan cakes and brownies, pressed juices and incredible smoothies. ('The bee' smoothie is heavenly and the banana bread is the best thing I've tasted since becoming vegan). I was then inspired by their 'Smart Smoothie' to concoct this healthy cold latte/mocha, which, to my surprise (because it's usually a 50/50 chance whether my smoothies will taste good or not!), tasted as amazing as something I would expect from a professional coffee shop!
I think even non-coffee lovers would adore this, the sweetness makes it compare to coffee cake, which I adored even before I liked coffee.

Just blend all the ingredients together (I use the nutribullet) and chill in the fridge before drinking, or heat in a pan if you fancy it warm.

100ml Espresso Coffee (I turn the machine off before it tops the coffee up with water)
150ml any Plant Milk
1tsp Date Syrup / or 1 Date (but can turn out chunky in the smoothie)
1tsp Raw Cacao Powder
5 Walnut Halves
3 Slices Banana 

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

This was a new invention of mine the other day, when I really wanted something simple, warm and homely. This is now something I will definitely have again when I'm feeling low and need something wholesome, particularly in the winter.

1 Sweet Potato
1 1/2 Medium Potatoes
1 Carrot
1/2 Courgette
1/2 Aubergine
Handful of Kale
Sweetcorn cut from half a cob
1 Tin Tomatoes
3 second plug Red Wine
Optional: 1 vegan sausage per person

Cut the sweet potato into small chunks (about 2cm cubes) and cook in the oven on 180°c for 40mins until soft. I cooked mine with a little drizzle of rapeseed oil and a sprinkle of thyme to enhance the flavour. When the sweet potato has been in the oven for 10 minutes (30 minutes left), put the other potatoes onto boil for 30 minutes. They need chopping to a similar size as the sweet potato, then once they have been brought to the boil, let them simmer until soft. I timed both the potatoes perfectly so that they finish cooking at the same time.
While you're waiting for the potatoes to cook, prepare your vegetables (They won't need cooking as they will cook in the oven). Cut the carrot and courgette into 1cm thick rounds, slice the aubergine to a similar thickness, and cut the sweetcorn off the cob (or you can use ready prepared sweetcorn).
Start layering the vegetables, carrots at the bottom, then the courgette slices, aubergine, sweetcorn, and topped with kale. Pour over the tin of tomatoes and the wine and shake the dish slightly so it settles into all the gaps. Layer the sausages on top of the vegetables if you're having sausages.
Mash the potatoes separately, layering the sweet potato mash first, then topped with the normal potatoes. 
Put the hotpot into a pre-heated oven at 210°c for 1 1/4 hours, removing it's lid halfway through to crisp the potatoes.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Now that the weather is getting hot, I really fancied something 'meaty', with a BBQ taste without the hassle of starting up the BBQ. I have to admit this is the most delicious hot sandwich I've ever tasted and it was so quick! I enjoyed it with a carrot and ginger juice for a fiery refresher in the heat. It's also great because you can alternate the vegetables to whatever you fancy, or to match what you've currently got in the fridge. Other great veggies for this sandwich include squash, aubergine, beef tomatoes, maybe peppers (but I don't like them so I wouldn't know) and steamed kale.

1 wholemeal/multigrain bagel
1 large flat mushroom
2 1cm thick slices of courgette (sliced from top to bottom, not horizontally)
Around 6 cherry tomatoes
1tbsp tahini
A refreshing drink like this carrot and ginger juice or my blackberry and ginger smoothie to serve!

Prepare all of the ingredients, then put a grill pan on a high heat and allow it to warm through and get nice and hot, adding in a little oil. Place the mushroom in the pan and press down with a spatula. Leave for 1 minute, then turn over and add the courgette slices and whole tomatoes to the pan. Once the courgettes start to brown and become slightly translucent, slice the bagel in half and place in the grill pan. Flip the mushroom over, then spoon the tahini on to the mushroom to melt into it, and don't flip it again. Once the bagel has toasted, assemble your burger, and top up with a handful of salad (I used rocket).

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

I love experimenting with the flavours of porridge because there's so much potential and it's always such an indulgent and dessert-like breakfast. I recently bought some deliciously sweet pears, so here's my pear and honey porridge!

3 handfuls porridge oats (I use jumbo oats)
1 handful chia seeds
Any plant milk (almond, oat or coconut are yummy), enough to just cover the oats

To serve
1 spoonful almond butter
1 spoonful honey
1 pear, sliced
Sprinkling of granola ( I use this one, its amazing!)
Optional: Homemade green smoothie

Place all of the ingredients (excluding the ones for serving) in an ovenproof bowl, make sure the oats are just covered with milk, then wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge to soak overnight.
In the morning, pre-heat your oven to 180°c. Get your oats out of the fridge, top up with a bit more milk and stir if it looks dry. Add the pear and honey to the top and place in the oven for about 10 minutes, until the pear begins to brown slightly. Top off with almond butter and granola, maybe yogurt if you like yogurt on porridge, and enjoy with a nice green smoothie!

Saturday, 27 June 2015

This pasta dish is genuinely one of my favourite things because it's just SO quick! It takes about 10 minutes from starting to eating so I love this as a quick lunch or a meal before I go out. You can mix it up a bit by changing the cream for more tomatoes to make a tomato sauce, or choose different vegetables like sweetcorn, mushrooms or squash.

3 handfuls Brown Fusilli
4 Cherry Tomatoes
3 Long Stalk Broccoli, chopped into 3cm pieces
2 handfuls kale
2 handfuls peas
3 second glug White Cooking Wine
100ml (approx.) Soya Single Cream
Sprinkle of oregano or basil, and salt and pepper to season

My brown pasta took 11 minutes to cook, but check the back of the packet of yours. Add it to water and boil. Once boiled turn down to a simmer. When the pasta has 10 minutes left, put the broccoli and kale in a steamer above the pasta and put the lid on. In a separate pan, add the white wine and bring to a boil. Turn down to a light simmer and add the tomatoes to the wine, as well as the herbs and seasoning. Once bubbling slowly, add the cream and peas and leave to simmer slowly until the pasta is cooked. Drain the pasta and then add to the cream sauce, and mix in the other vegetables. C'est Fini!

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Since reading about the many mind-blowing studies explained in The China Study, I don't think I will ever look at food in the same way ever again. Nor will I look upon cancer as an inevitable part of human existence. But what shocked me is that it's not just The China Study that proves a plant-based diet is the way to optimal health, it's many other things. Incurably ill Ella Woodward was cured by a plant-based diet, the nutribullet emphasises the nutritional benefits of a plant-based diet, and countless newby vegans out there say how much better they feel for changing their diet! Which leads me to believe that this really IS how we are supposed to eat, not a highly processed, animal-based diet. Everything seems to suggest that we humans have evolved as herbivores, not carnivores. And that our bodies can't cope with the consumption of meat and dairy, which leads to our highly 'normal' western diseases (read the China Study for the proof).
So bit by bit I've been changing my diet to a natural, whole-food, plant based diet. By this I mean eating foods that have had minimal processing and are very close to their natural state. This means no refined sugar (for example white caster sugar) and instead eating natural sugars such as maple syrup, honey, and fruit; no refined flours or rice, so I've started swapping white flour and white rice for brown, which has not been processed as much so contains more goodness; and now I virtually eat no dairy and I've almost cut out meat and fish (Although I choose to eat fish more often than meat as this isn't quite as bad). I'm trying to only have meat in 1-2 meals a week, and fish maybe 2, avoiding milk products completely and only consuming the small amount of egg found in baked things. It's been hard and I have to say it's been draining, cooking constantly, but it's also very exciting trying loads of new things that as a meat-eater I never thought to try, such as chia seeds and almond butter. When you cut out such large staples in your diet like meat it's important not to become nutrient deficient in vitamins that it's abundant in. I spent a lot of time researching all the important vitamins and minerals we get from eating meat and dairy, and researched plant sources of these things. Spinach, chia and hemp seem to be powerhouses when it comes to providing us with essential nutrients, high fibre and protein. Almonds have also been a big go-to energy snack.
Home-made vegan strawberry milkshake

But it's not just eating well that's key to optimal health. It's living well. That means exercising. And I have to say, out of everything I've changed, that's made the biggest impact. It's amazing how 15 minutes of yoga on a bloated stomach makes it completely go away, and a 3 minute sprint actually wakes me up and makes me feel motivated again! I tried pilates too, and the day-after ache is SO satisfying. I now find when I sit around too long I crave a yoga session to stretch me out and ease the cramps from sitting too long, and it really does help!
So now my blog is my way of documenting my journey to optimal health, and sharing my foodie experiments that contain nothing bad at all (so totally guilt-free) and are packed with goodness! It's going to be tough finding alternatives for things I love, making them delicious and healthy at the same time (I'd love a recipe for healthy vegan croissants!) and I know it's not always going to turn out well, like my blueberry 'crater' muffins that were solid, raw and rock-like.. but my aim is to share the things that work amazingly!
My blueberry 'crater' muffins.. they were disgusting!

I hope you enjoy the posts to come, and I'd love it if you would join me on this journey, try my recipes and share with me ones you loves too so we can learn together!

Lauren xx
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