Vanilla oatmeal with caramelised bananas, black tahini, goji and figs


For the month of February, I tried a different eating approach.  Still plant based of course, but it was one more focused on eating starches (grains, legumes, tubers), and it was based on the book by John McDougall, “The Starch Solution”.

If you are interested in a plant based diet, I highly recommend you read the book, if anything, it will give you some information that you may not know.
I really liked the book and found it really informative, I also like it because it sticks to the low fat, high carb way of eating, which is what I enjoy the most.

Whilst it challenged some of my beliefs about eating, order of eating and food combining, I still gave it a go.
The first change that came about as a result of the book is that now I have renewed my obsession with oatmeal!
I remember always loving oatmeal, but since I started eating a predominantly raw diet, it kind of went out the window, along with most grains.
But now we’ve had a welcomed reunion and the love affair is well and truly established!
So, I will dedicate this post to some oatmeal recipes and give my views on the diet at the end.

Let’s get oaty!
Basic Vanilla Oatmeal
Serves 1

Ingredients
1/2 cup organic wholegrain oats
1 1/2 cups of water
1 tsp organic vanilla extract
Stevia drops (optional)

Method
Place all ingredients in a small saucepan, except the vanilla, and stir on low to medium heat until the oats are cooked, approximately 3-5 minutes.
After they are cooked to your liking, stir in the vanilla extract.  

The secret to a creamy oatmeal, is making sure that you stir the whole time that you are cooking them.  This will always result in an oatmeal with a creamy consistency despite using just water.  Of course, feel free to use all milk or some milk, whatever ratio you love.  This is just the basic recipe.

Once you have your basic oatmeal recipe, you can make any flavour combination.  
Just think of all the amazing flavours you can create!!!

Fig, Cinnamon & Banana Baked Oatmeal
Serves 1

Ingredients
1/2 cup organic wholegrain oats (wheat free if you’re avoiding gluten)
1 ripe banana (reserve a couple of slices for decoration)
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of non-dairy milk of choice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 medium fig, sliced

Method
Pre-heat oven 180 degrees celcius.
In a blender, add the oats, banana, water, milk of choice and cinnamon.  Pulse to mix through and break down the banana but don’t liquify it, you still want there to be pieces of oats.
Pour it into a small baking dish, and top with fig & banana slices.
Place in pre-heated oven and bake for 15 minutes.  When the 15 minutes is up, place under the grill so that bananas and figs can caramelise.  Feel free to add a little of coconut sugar but I didn’t bother.


Vanilla Pear Oatmeal with Spice Baked Apples
Serves 1

Ingredients
1x Basic Vanilla Oatmeal 
1 small ripe pear
1 medium apple, chopped
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or whichever ones you like)

Method
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celcius.  Add chopped apples to a bowl and pour over spices, mix well, making sure they cover every piece.
Place it on an oven tray lined with baking paper and place in the oven to roast for about 20-30 minutes.
I normally make the baked apples ahead of time, and keep them in a container in the fridge for when I want to use them.
I bake them at the same time I bake pumpkin, saves resources and time!
Once they are done, go on to make the basic vanilla oatmeal recipe, adding finely diced pear at the beginning of the cooking process so that the pears can get soft and breakdown.  Start mashing the pears whilst you stir the oatmeal.  This with the vanilla will combine to make the most delicious flavour combo, I promise!
Once ready, pour into a bowl and top with your spiced apples.  I also added some raw pepitas.

Blueberry Vanilla Oats with Mixed Berry Compote 
Serves 1

Ingredients
1x Basic Vanilla oatmeal
1/2 cup of blueberries
1/2 cup mixed berries*
1/4 cup of water
stevia drops (optional)

Method
Make the basic vanilla oats recipe, adding the blueberries to the pan at the beginning.  This will soften the blueberries and turn the oats the most lovely colour!
For the compote, add the mixed berries, water and stevia (if using) to a small saucepan and heat on low-medium heat until the berries start to breakdown and the water begins to evaporate.
Once the oatmeal is done, place into a bowl and top with the berry compote.
I served mine with some cinnamon spiced raw tahini which I just made by mixing some ground cinnamon with a tablespoon of tahini & a bit of water to make it runnier.  You could also use peanut butter if you prefer.

*Feel free to use frozen berries, they are handy & I always have them in the freezer for when berries are out of season.  They are a much cheaper option too.
Now, for my thoughts on the eating approach proposed by Dr. McDougall:

I had no expectations as I feel that the way I eat is pretty healthy.  The only thing I thought might happen is that I would get bloated from eating all the grains, but this didn’t really happen.
The main challenge of this diet for me was actually giving myself a break!  A break from feeling bad about deviating from what I normally eat, a break from not necessarily eating huge amounts, a break from being consumed with what I’m going to eat!
I know that may sound silly, but I felt that things had started to get a little bit ridiculous.
I mean, the reason why I started eating plant based was so that I could gain the well documented health benefits, but then I turned into a person consumed by my quest of ‘health’.  Not that there is anything wrong with that, it’s just that for me, I felt that I was letting it take over you know?
But it’s all good now.  In regards to how I feel when I eat a combination of raw and cooked, grains or not:  HAPPY!
It’s nice to have the flexibility, and rather than be dictated by a ‘philosophy’, I’m now dictated by my gut! 

Hope that helps, and please post any oatmeal recipes that you love so that I can try them out.

Peas, love and mungbeans

xxb



Posted In:oatmeal, vegan


So it’s been just over two months since my last post, crazy I know.  I’ve been thinking so much about the blog and wanting to write like crazy but totally unmotivated to do so.  Not because I’ve got nothing to say, no, that could never be true!  Rather, it came down to prioritising and well, after all the craziness of end of year festivities, family visiting from overseas, and my little girl starting school, I chose sleep over the blog.
My deep and sincere apologies but I bet the majority of you understand.

Before I go straight into the recipe, I just want to tell you that I still have been experimenting with different eating philosophies, the latest one being a more starch based way of eating, like that detailed in Dr. McDougall’s ‘The Starch Solution’.  But I will dedicate a whole post to that.
I initially started with 7 days, which finished this Wednesday, but I think one week is not really enough to judge something.  Therefore, I’m going to keep trying it for the rest of the month and make a more detailed post about it then.
Ok, so I hear you asking, “why are you doing all this stuff, aren’t you happy eating a predominantly raw diet?”.
Fair question, and I ask myself this all the time.  Besides, I just create more work for me when I embark on all these different philosophies, but hey, I do it because I’m curious and eager to learn new things.  So there you go.

Ok, but back to this scrumptious recipe that I have for you.
I will start by saying that this is a rather indulgent recipe and not one I recommend making and eating on a regular basis.  Why? Well, simply, it’s quiet fatty, due to the all the nuts used, and it’s also rather sweet.  But, if you have a special occasion that calls for something that little bit extravagant, then I’ve got you covered.

The idea for this recipe came to me whilst I was walking down one of the main streets of my neighbourhood.  I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for any cuisine that’s not mine.  I love, love, love, wondering through Asian supermarkets, I can spend hours just going up and down the isles, eyeing all the exotic ingredients with quizzical eyes, begging for them to start talking and telling me how to use them in a recipe!  Does that sound weird?  Maybe, but it’s the truth.
But I digress.
So here I was, walking with one of the minis, and the smell of spices and strong coffee came wafting out of a nearby shop.  So in we go, and it was like a little treasure trove of Middle Eastern amazingness!
It was then that I decided that I would make this dessert.
So, with my purchased ingredients in hand, a plump and delicious date in my mini’s hand, we came home, both happy like the cat that got the cream.


Fresh Fig Tart with Orange Blossom Custard & a Pistachio Crust

Makes a 20cm round tart (12 slices)

Ingredients 

Base
1 cup raw pistachios
8 dates
1 TBS coconut oil
pinch of Himalayan pink salt

Custard
2 1/4 cups of raw cashews (soaked overnight and rinsed)
1 1/2 tsp orange blossom water
1/2 cup liquid sweetener of choice (I used coconut nectar)
2 TBS coconut oil
zest and juice of 1 medium orange
1/4 -1/2 cup of water
3 TBS soy lecithin* granules (optional-read note)

6-8 fresh figs

Method

Base
Place all ingredients in the food processor and process until it resembles fine crumbs and mixture can hold together & you can form a ball.
Spread over a lined 20cm springform cake tin, making sure that it’s the same thickness all the way around.  You will need some of the mixture to come up the sides.  Set aside.

Custard
Place all the ingredients in a high speed blender, except the water and lecithin.  Process until super smooth.  If mixture is having trouble blending, add the water, starting with 1/4 cup first.  This may be all you need.  You want it to be a thick custard like consistency.  
Once it’s super smooth, and you are happy with the consistency, add the lecithin and blend again.
Taste it and adjust the flavours if needed (more orange water if you want it a bit stronger, more sweetener if not sweet enough, e.t.c)
Pour the custard into the prepared tin and place in the freezer for a couple of hours.

When you are half an hour away from serving, take it out of the freezer and arrange the fresh figs on top.
You can cut them in any way you like.  I cut them in quarters because I like biting into big plump chunks of them!

*soy lecithin is used to thicken things up, so make sure you add it right at the end and that it’s in powder form if using.  I just whizzed mine in the blender.  You can also buy liquid lecithin but I’m yet to find some, besides, I rarely use it, however, I wanted the tart to hold it’s shape even if it was left out of the fridge (for presentation), which is why I added the lecithin. Like with all soy products, you should make sure they are organic and GMO free. 


So, will have an update for you on my starch experiment at the end of the month, including some more cooked vegan recipes as a result.
Hope you have all been well, and that you year has so far been amazing!

Peas, love and mungbeans

xxb

Posted In:dessert, fig tart, raw vegan



It’s been a while since I’ve used nuts in my food, so I thought it was about time.  Don’t fret, it’s not a huge amount, still trying to keep it on the low fat side of things.

This recipe is super easy, anyone can do it, it’s not complicated at all and it takes seriously, next to no time, perfect for the time poor, or the really hungry!
Best of all, it’s raw so doesn’t require any cooking and it also keeps really well.  You can even freeze the cookies and then just fill them with the caramel when you are ready to serve them (highly recommend this).

Thumbprint Cookies with Caramel Centres

Makes 8

Ingredients

For the cookies
10 pitted medjool dates
1/2 cup of shredded coconut
handful of raw pecans
1 tsp of vanilla extract

For the caramel
10 pitted medjool dates
1 TBS of mesquite powder (optional)
pinch of Himalayan pink salt*
1/4-1/2 cup of water

Method

Place all ingredients for cookies in the food processor and process until mixture starts to stick together.  You should be able to roll them into a ball.  If the mixture is too dry, add more dates, if too wet, add more coconut.
Roll them into small balls and press them flat, making a dent in the middle with your thumb.
Set aside.

For the caramel, place all ingredients in the blender and process until super smooth.  Start with 1/4 cup of water and add more if too thick.
Mesquite powder will add a caramel flavour to the sauce so I highly recommend you use it. Also, whilst I don’t add salt to my food anymore, I really think it brings out the caramel taste in this recipe.  
Once it’s done, add some to the centres of the cookies.
I would recommend that you freeze the cookies for at least 1 hour as they will be soft otherwise, which is totally fine if you like it like that.
The recipe for the caramel yeilds quite a bit, about 1 1/4 cups so just store it in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid and you can use it to your hearts content.  Some ideas for this caramello deliciousness are:
  • on top of your oats
  • on top of pancakes
  • as caramel fudge for your ice cream 
  • on top of bananas and topped with some coconut

Now for something completely refreshing and fat free, some fruit pops!  Perfect treat for this hot and steamy weather we’re having here in Oz at the moment.

Watermelon and Berry Pops


Makes 8

Ingredients

4 cups of watermelon
1 cup of berries of choice (I used strawberries and blueberries)
1/2 tsp of vanilla stevia liquid (optional)

Method

Blend the watermelon and stevia together until smooth.  Add it to your pop moulds and add your berries.
Place paddle pop sticks in the centres and freeze overnight.
Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.


Salads are also great for summer, here’s one I did today that was so tasty, even without the salt!  I really suggest you try it.  You could also double or triple the amounts and serve this as a side dish.  


Asian Greens Salad with Mango and Poppy Seed Dressing


Serves 1

Ingredients

200g of mixed Asian baby greens
125g of mango, thinly sliced
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1/2 TBS of dried cranberries
1 TBS of sunflower seeds
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp of poppy seeds
1 tsp of dijon mustard
a few bits of alfalfa sprouts (optional)

Method

Mix the poppy seeds, mustard and lemon juice together well.
Arrange the rest of the ingredients on a plate and top with the dressing and sprouts.
How simple was that?!

As you can see, I’m all about fast and easy.  I don’t believe that good, healthy food should be tedious or time consuming.   I know the pressures of being a busy parent/person, that’s why I’m always trying to come up with delicious recipes that are time saving but still pack a flavour and nutrient punch.
Here’s a really good example of cutting time but still getting a really good, hearty meal into you.
All you need is some cooked brown rice or grain of choice and the rest is raw.  I always make a cup of brown rice or other grain and store it in the fridge for when I’m ready to use.  1 cup of uncooked rice usually yields 2 meals for me (1 cup each serve).
So let me introduce you to the humble Dragon Bowl.  This is the simplest and easiest meal to make, and best of all, you can add whatever vegetable you have in the fridge and it will still be so damn tasty!  The secret is in the dressing you use.
I chose to use a tahini dressing for this and gave it a bit of an Asian flavour by adding some raw coconut aminos, which basically tastes like soy sauce without the soy (duh!).
So, in this little dragon bowl I have 1 cup of brown rice, 1/2 cup of shredded carrot, 1 cup of shredded purple cabbage, 1 cup of chopped kale and 1 cup of shredded cos lettuce (under the avocado).  I added some avocado to it, not much because I’ve got the good fats of the tahini, and voila!
You could also add some sriracha hot sauce on this, BOOM!

So go do it!

Peas, love and mungbeans

xxb
 
 

It’s been a while since I’ve used nuts in my food, so I thought it was about time.  Don’t fret, it’s not a huge amount, still trying to keep it on the low fat side of things.

This recipe is super easy, anyone can do it, it’s not complicated at all and it takes seriously, next to no time, perfect for the time poor, or the really hungry!

Best of all, it’s raw so doesn’t require any cooking and it also keeps really well.  You can even freeze the cookies and then just fill them with the caramel when you are ready to serve them (highly recommend this).
 

Thumbprint Cookies with Caramel Centres

Makes 8
 
Ingredients
 
For the cookies
10 pitted medjool dates
1/2 cup of shredded coconut
handful of raw pecans
1 tsp of vanilla extract
 
For the caramel
10 pitted medjool dates
1 TBS of mesquite powder (optional)
pinch of Himalayan pink salt*
1/4-1/2 cup of water
 
Method
 
Place all ingredients for cookies in the food processor and process until mixture starts to stick together.  You should be able to roll them into a ball.  If the mixture is too dry, add more dates, if too wet, add more coconut.
Roll them into small balls and press them flat, making a dent in the middle with your thumb.
Set aside.
 
For the caramel, place all ingredients in the blender and process until super smooth.  Start with 1/4 cup of water and add more if too thick.
Mesquite powder will add a caramel flavour to the sauce so I highly recommend you use it. Also, whilst I don’t add salt to my food anymore, I really think it brings out the caramel taste in this recipe.  
Once it’s done, add some to the centres of the cookies.
I would recommend that you freeze the cookies for at least 1 hour as they will be soft otherwise, which is totally fine if you like it like that.
The recipe for the caramel yeilds quite a bit, about 1 1/4 cups so just store it in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid and you can use it to your hearts content.  Some ideas for this caramello deliciousness are:
  • on top of your oats
  • on top of pancakes
  • as caramel fudge for your ice cream 
  • on top of bananas and topped with some coconut
 
Now for something completely refreshing and fat free, some fruit pops!  Perfect treat for this hot and steamy weather we’re having here in Oz at the moment.

Watermelon and Berry Pops

 
Makes 8
 
Ingredients
 
4 cups of watermelon
1 cup of berries of choice (I used strawberries and blueberries)
1/2 tsp of vanilla stevia liquid (optional)
 
Method
 
Blend the watermelon and stevia together until smooth.  Add it to your pop moulds and add your berries.
Place paddle pop sticks in the centres and freeze overnight.
Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.
 
 
Salads are also great for summer, here’s one I did today that was so tasty, even without the salt!  I really suggest you try it.  You could also double or triple the amounts and serve this as a side dish.  


Asian Greens Salad with Mango and Poppy Seed Dressing

 
Serves 1
 
Ingredients
 
200g of mixed Asian baby greens
125g of mango, thinly sliced
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1/2 TBS of dried cranberries
1 TBS of sunflower seeds
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp of poppy seeds
1 tsp of dijon mustard
a few bits of alfalfa sprouts (optional)
 
Method
 
Mix the poppy seeds, mustard and lemon juice together well.
Arrange the rest of the ingredients on a plate and top with the dressing and sprouts.
How simple was that?!
 
As you can see, I’m all about fast and easy.  I don’t believe that good, healthy food should be tedious or time consuming.   I know the pressures of being a busy parent/person, that’s why I’m always trying to come up with delicious recipes that are time saving but still pack a flavour and nutrient punch.
Here’s a really good example of cutting time but still getting a really good, hearty meal into you.
All you need is some cooked brown rice or grain of choice and the rest is raw.  I always make a cup of brown rice or other grain and store it in the fridge for when I’m ready to use.  1 cup of uncooked rice usually yields 2 meals for me (1 cup each serve).
 
So let me introduce you to the humble Dragon Bowl.  This is the simplest and easiest meal to make, and best of all, you can add whatever vegetable you have in the fridge and it will still be so damn tasty!  The secret is in the dressing you use.
I chose to use a tahini dressing for this and gave it a bit of an Asian flavour by adding some raw coconut aminos, which basically tastes like soy sauce without the soy (duh!).
So, in this little dragon bowl I have 1 cup of brown rice, 1/2 cup of shredded carrot, 1 cup of shredded purple cabbage, 1 cup of chopped kale and 1 cup of shredded cos lettuce (under the avocado).  I added some avocado to it, not much because I’ve got the good fats of the tahini, and voila!
You could also add some sriracha hot sauce on this, BOOM!
 
So go do it!
 
Peas, love and mungbeans
 
xxb


Another reason that some people decide to do Raw til 4 is also based on their financial situation.  I get a lot of comments on my IG and that of others, that sometimes, buying large quantities of fresh fruit and vegetables, is not always feasible   
That’s fine, and I totally understand where you’re coming from if that is your situation, so here are a few dishes that won’t break the bank.  


Vegetable Stir Fry with Sweet Potato Noodles

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 large carrot, sliced 
1 large zucchini, sliced
handful of green beans, chopped into about 2 cm pieces
1/3 of a medium capsicum, cut into strips
1 cup of broccoli florets
1/3 cup soy beans (I used frozen)
300 g of marinated tempeh or tofu (optional)
1/4 cup of water
1 low sodium vegan stock cube
2 TBS of coconut aminos or low sodium tamari
1 TBS of coconut nectar
1 tsp of grated ginger
1 clove of garlic, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp of chilli flakes (optional)
250g of sweet potato noodles*


Method

Place a large pot of water on high heat to boil.  Once boiling, add the sweet potato noodles and stir.  Leave for 5 minutes.  Check that they are done, drain and rinse a few times.
Leave in colander to drain whilst you make the stir fry.

In a small bowl, combine the coconut aminos, nectar, garlic and ginger.  Taste and adjust according to taste (more aminos, more nectar, e.t.c).  Set aside.
In a medium sized frying pan or wok, add the water and dissolve the stock cube over medium heat.  Once the stock cube is dissolved, add the vegetables and place lid on top so that the veggies can steam, stirring occasionally.
Once the veggies become vibrant in colour, add the prepared sauce and tempeh/tofu. Stir, and place lid on again.  Lower to low heat until veggies are done.

Transfer the noodles back into the big pot and add in the contents of the frying pan.
Stir to combine vegetables, sauce and noodles.  Add cracked pepper to taste and season if needed.
Serve immediately with a sprinkle of the chilli flakes if using.
*I bought my noodles from the Asian supermarket.
P.S, feel free to use any veggies you have :)



Another great dish to make that is budget friendly (and raw) is nori rolls.  I’ve always loved sushi and going to sushi bars but if you can’t get there or your wallet won’t currently allow for it, try making them at home.
They are super easy, all you need is some nori sheets and a mat and you are good to go.
What I love the most about making them is that you can do just about any flavour combination that you want, like or desire.
I just love, love, LOVE them!
Here’s one platter I had for lunch today, it was divine!  They are also good to make ahead of time for those of you who need to plan and prep your meals.  They keep well as long as they are refrigerated.

The platter above has 3 types of nori, here are the combinations:

  • carrot, coriander and hempseed rice (process 1 carrot, 1 TBS of hemp seeds and a small handful of coriander with 1/8 tsp of garlic powder, 1/8 tsp cumin powder, 1/8 tsp of onion powder), apple, avocado, cucumber & capsicum.
  • baby spinach, capsicum, cucumber, mango, & avocado.
  • beetroot, cucumber, capsicum, apple, coriander and avocado.
If you need to learn how to roll, please youtube it, it’s pretty simple though.
These little parcels of goodness taste so good, no sauce required!

Time for some sweet, sweet, deliciousness!
This here was an epic breakfast parfait.  I don’t have a name for it so I’ll just tell you the layers and you can make it yourself if you wish.
But before I do that, I’ll just tell you that I used local hand picked and vine ripened peaches to make one of the layers.  Ok, so I’ve always thought I had eaten my fair share of good tasting peaches, but let me tell you, THESE peaches were out of this world!  They were so juicy and sweet, it’s like nothing I’ve ever tasted before.  It made me a little sad too because once upon a time all our fruit and veggies tasted like this.  Now we get a watered down version of everything because things have to be picked green and artificially ripened so that they can transport well.  But, let’s not dwell on the negative, the good thing is that these peaches were well, peachy!
The thing on top is not a cherry but a cherry plum.  Have never seen those before and they were also delicious!

Ok, but now for the layers:
  • banana beet ice cream: 2 frozen bananas, 1/4 of a small beetroot.  Process until smooth and ice cream like.
  • peach banana ice cream: 2 frozen bananas, 2 peaches.  Process until smooth and ice cream like.
  • Blueberry pear sauce: 1/2 cup blueberries, 1 pitted medjool date, 1 large ripe pear, water as required.  Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth, add a little bit of water at a time until you get the desired consistency.
Fruit I used to layer: kiwi fruit, cherry plums, monkey bananas.

So there you have it lovely people, some recipes to get your tummies smiling and your bodies moving.

Peas, love and mungbeans

xxb