Cheap as chips……but better for you

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So when I was a poor university student, leaving out of home and having enough money only for the important things (read beer and good times), I basically lived off this soup.  It was easy, fast, filling, tasty, and best of all, cheap.

This is the type of soup you make when you don’t want to make something but still need to eat.  Better yet, it makes enough for two hearty servings so you can have it again the next day.  WIN.

For those of you who don’t like to used canned veggies, you can still soak and cook the cannellini beans as you would, and instead of canned tomatoes, just blend about 6 ripe tomatoes.

But the whole point of this soup is that it’s cheap and easy and uses up most people’s pantry staples.

Tomato Veggie Soup with Basil & White Beans

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 can of diced tomatoes

1 can of cannellini beans

1 can of water (from the canned tomatoes)

1 carrot, chopped

1 small zucchini, chopped

1/2 medium leek, thinly sliced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 large stalk of celery, chopped

4 basil leaves, roughly torn

1 vegan stock cube

Himalayan pink salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

In a medium saucepan, put in all of the ingredients, except the cannellini beans & basil.

Bring to the boil, then lower heat to low-medium and cook until carrots are tender.  Add beans & cook for a further 5 minutes.  If it’s too thick, add some more water, but I like my soup thick. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.  Add basil.  Done.

Told you it was quick.   The longest part is probably cutting all the veggies.

I normally serve it with a scoop of wholegrain, like millet, quinoa or brown rice to make it extra filling if I’m really hungry or you can have it just on it’s own or add pasta to it when you add the veggies.

Another good cheap recipe that I make on a regular basis is hummus.

Here’s my recipe which has been adjusted since I first posted it a while back.  I really like this one.  It uses canned chickpeas because I always have them in my pantry and it’s quicker than soaking and boiling my own but you can certainly do that if you prefer.  Sometimes I do this, and it still tastes the same.

OHM Best Hummus 2.0

Makes approx. 450 mLs.

Ingredients

1 can of chickpeas, rinsed well and drained

2 TBS of unhulled tahini (or hulled, whatever you’ve got)

1 lemon, juiced

1 clove of garlic

1/2 tsp of cumin

1/4 cup of water

Method

Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth and creamy.

To make beetroot hummus, I just add 1/4 of a small beetroot to the mix.

Easy A.

Peas, love and mungbeans

xxb

Choc-Banana Bread with Coconut and Walnut

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Banana bread.  Probably the most made type of cake that ever lived.  Ok, yes, I’m totally exaggerating but with good reason.   Everyone knows that a good banana bread is where it’s at in terms of baked goods.

I also love it because it’s a good way to use up bananas that have lived and passed their use by date, and this coming from a lover of spotty bananas.

This recipe is easy, simple, quick and best of all,  apart from being plant based, it’s also gluten free.  You can make this sugar free by leaving out the choc chips or using sugar free chocolate chips.  I like to use dark choc chips which are dairy free and lower in sugar, and have a higher cacao percentage.  You could also replace the choc chips with dried fruit of choice.

It’s also a good one to teach the kids as there’s not many ingredients, so after making it a few times, they should start to remember what goes into it.

You can thank me later :)

Choc-Banana Bread with Coconut and Walnuts

Makes 1 loaf or 12 muffins

Ingredients

3 large and ripe bananas

1 cup of gluten free flour (I use Bob Red Mill and it’s the best IMO)

1 cup of gluten free oats, processed to make flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt

1/3 cup shredded coconut

1/3 cup raw walnuts, chopped

1/3 cup of dark chocolate chips (dairy free)

1/2 cup of coconut oil*

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celcius.

Depending on what you are making (muffins or loaf), spray your tin with coconut oil and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, sift the flours together, and then add the baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Mix well to combine.

In a small bowl, mash your bananas well, I try to leave only very small lumps but totally up to you and your taste.

Add the banana and oil to the flour mixture, as well as the choc chips, walnuts and coconut, and stir gently to combine.

*If you don’t like the taste of coconut oil, use grapeseed or sunflower oil, but I can tell  you that’s it’s hardly noticeable at all.

Pour the mixture into prepared pan, and sprinkle on some more chopped walnuts, coconut and choc-chips.  This part is optional but highly recommended.

Place in the oven and bake for approximately 35 minutes for loaf and 20-25 minutes for muffins.

Remember that all ovens are different so I would just check cake with a skewer when I reach the 20 minute mark to see how they’re travelling.

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I like making this recipe as muffins as they are good to pop into lunch boxes for the girls, and are a good treat size if you’re like me and cut just over the recommended slice size, oops!

I haven’t tried freezing them but I guess you could.  The bread would be lovely toasted and spread with some home made almond butter too.  Drool.

If your kids have a nut allergy, just leave the walnuts out.   You could also cut the oil down to 1/3 of a cup if you wanted to keep the fat content down.  I haven’t done this yet but perhaps adding another banana would help to keep it moist if you do reduce the oil.

Let me know how you go if you try it out.

Peas, love and mungbeans

xxb

 

 

Skin Deep

I get lots of questions about my skin care routine so I’ve decided to write a post about it.  If you’re not into that kind of thing, then best skip this post.

Let’s start with my tips for keeping your skin in tip top condition:

Get plenty of sleep.  This is when your body heals from the inside out so help it by getting lots of shut eye.

Stay hydrated.  No brainer.

Wear a good sunscreen that has broad spectrum cover, natural if possible (I’m still working on this one).  Sun damage is a fast track to wrinkles, which are amazing and tell the story of your life, but in due time.

Eat a varied diet made up of whole foods, with healthy fats and lots of brightly coloured fruit and veggies for anti-oxidants.

Exercise to get your blood pumping thus improving your circulation.

Stress less.  It’s a know fact that stress can trigger a breakout so anything you can do to help with that will also help your skin.  Meditation saved me, and apart from the obvious mental benefits, my skin is benefiting too.

Don’t pick your imperfections!

Use mild, gentle products with no dyes or perfumes.

Don’t over cleanse.

Keep your routine simple.

You don’t have to use everything from the same range.  Pick what suits you.  All brands have a star product.

My skin care routine is super simple, and I use basic products that are not expensive, and after lots of trial and error, I now have it down pat with products that work well with my skin.

Cleanser:  Aveda kinetics cleanser (not my usual as it’s too expensive for me to buy, but this was a gift from my bestie).  When this runs out I’ll go back to using my trusty QV wash which I also use on the girls as it’s fragrance free and for sensitive skin so it doesn’t strip your skin of the natural oils.

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Moisturiser:  For daytime in summer I just spray my face with Jurlique rose water spray as my skin is oily so this is sufficient.  In winter I use a drop of Delicious Skin Serum after I spray with the rose water and it’s enough to do my whole face.  It’s a lovely serum that leaves your face dewy.

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For night time in summer, I spray with the rose water and then use Elucent night moisturiser which has AHA’s to gently exfoliate whilst I sleep.  I’ve only just discovered this cream and have just finished my first jar but it’s AH-MAZING!  I’ve put my sister and mum on to it and they love it too.  I noticed such a difference in about a week of using it, my face was brighter and smoother.  Love it!  I can’t wait to try some of the other products of this line but I have to wait until I finish what I’m currently using.

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In winter if my skin is dry, I’ll add 1 drop of the Delicious skin serum before I use the Elucent.

Under eyes:  Delicious skin serum (a teeny tiny drop for both eyes is sufficient).

Sunscreen: Biore Aqua rich 50+.  It’s not natural but this is the only sunscreen so far that dries matte and doesn’t leave a white mask on my skin.  If any one has a good one that they use that doesn’t leave you shiny and it’s all natural/organic, please let me know!

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Treatments:  I have just discovered this amazing peel that you do once or twice a week and it’s by a brand called Derma-E.  You put it on at night, sleep on it, and wake up to clear, soft skin.  True story.  Here’s me after my second application, first thing in the morning, after I washed my face.

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I also love to do a gentle mask/scrub maybe once or twice a month, more for the relaxation than because I need it.  I like Delicious Skin exfoliating mask.  It’s so lovely and leaves my skin super soft.  Perfect in winter, after which I spray some rose water, than rub in a drop or two of their serum.

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Make-up:  When I wear foundation, I use ID Bare Minerals powder, but most of the time I just wear a cheek stain by The Balm, curl my eyelashes with my Shu Uemera eyelash curler and fill in my brows with Anastasia Beverly Hills dipbrow Pomade.  I finish it off with a rose water spritz, specially if I’m wearing foundation as it helps to set it in place and gives your skin a dewy finish.

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I don’t wear eye make up because it doesn’t really suit me, except for the occasional cat eye for which I use a liquid liner by Marc Jacobs.

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I rarely wear lipstick, but my fave red shade is by Australis and it’s budge proof (which is totally necessary when wearing a red lippy IMO).  Sometimes I use my cheek stain on my lips for a dash of colour.

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For my body, I use QV or Dr. Bronner’s magic soap in Sandalwood and Jasmine.

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I moisturise with coconut oil and have been for years, it’s the best moisturiser I’ve ever used.  I also dry brush my body before I shower every day.  It really helps to keep your skin smooth and helps with detoxification.

banaban Dry-body-brush

I keep a hand cream next to my bed for when I remember but I never really buy hand cream, just when I’m about to finish one, someone gifts me another one, it’s purely by chance.  Currently I have one by Aesop which is lovely.

aesop

 

To the best of my knowledge, all of these products are not tested on animals which is good to know.

There you have it, all my secrets revealed :)

If you have any tips, or products you love that are natural and organic and work well with oily skin, hit me up, I’d love to hear about it, specially if it’s a good sunscreen, so on the hunt for that!

Peas, love and mungbeans

 

xxb

 

 

 

 

Spicy Kidney Bean & Sweet Potato Patties

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Don’t you just love it when you make something out of leftovers and it turns out the bomb?

That’s exactly what happened to me today.  I was stuck as to what to have for lunch, all I knew is that I wanted something tasty and filling but I wanted to just make it from whatever I had in the fridge.

I spied a little container of left over kidney beans at the back of the fridge, took a whiff of it, and knew that if I didn’t use it up today, it’ll die.  Then I saw a quarter of a sweet potato sitting all on it’s lonesome in the bottom of the veggie crisper so, bam! There it was.  It was like they were screaming at me: “turn me into a burger, turn me into a burger”.

Well, since you’re asking :)

Now, you’ll have to forgive me, as all ingredient quantities are estimations as I just chucked things together without measuring so fingers crossed it all turns out!

Kidney bean and sweet potato burger patties

Makes 2 patties

Ingredients

3/4 cup cooked red kidney beans (I used canned)

1/2 cup of sweet potato, diced

2 TBS red onion, chopped

1/4 tsp chipotle powder

1/8 tsp chilli flakes

Himalayan pink salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

Method

Cook sweet potato either by steaming or boiling.  Alternatively you can place them covered in a bowl in the microwave if you’re pressed for time, about 3 minutes but I don’t really recommend use of microwaves, but hey, sometimes you have to.

Whilst the sweet potato is cooking, you can organise your additions.

I used baby spinach, fresh tomato, grilled zucchini, grilled mushrooms, red onion,  chunky guacamole and hummus.

When the sweet potato is ready, place it in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients and pulse until combined well but not a mushy mess.

Take the mixture out and form into a big ball.  Cut this in half and shape each half into one pattie.

Place in the fridge to harden a little bit whilst you dance around your kitchen, or clean up the mess you’ve made (that’s what I do.  I know, I’m one of those people that cleans as they go).  This is when I put the grill on in my oven and grill the mushies and eggplant rounds.  You could also just cook the eggplant and mushies when you do the patties.

Heat a non-stick frying pan on medium heat, and place patties on to cook.  Flip after a few minutes.  It should be nice and brown before you flip it.  Be gentle as the top will still be soft so be careful so they don’t fall apart.  It’s ready when both sides are nice and golden brown.

To assemble, place the grilled mushroom on the bottom, this will be your burger bun, then just add your chosen veggies and sauces plus your pattie of course.

I had one for lunch, then for dinner I had the other one wrapped up in some wholemeal Lebanese bread with salad, hummus and the left over guac.  It was cold but it was still yummy.  Topped it with some sweet chilli sauce and it was so, so good.

The little pattie that just keeps on giving.  Sigh.

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This is a very easy, quick and cheap recipe that you can add to your plant based arsenal and probably uses stuff that you have in your fridge and pantry on the daily.

If you don’t have chipotle powder, you could use curry powder.  Or if you still wanted to give it a Latino vibe, you could add a mixture of ground cumin, coriander, paprika, oregano and chilli flakes.  Go experiment.

 

Peas, love and mungbeans,

 

xxb

 

 

Bircher Muesli

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Breakfast is probably my favourite meal of the day.  I look forward to it so much, I actually think about it the night before.  Yes,  I’m a breakfast freak.

Here’s a recipe for my bircher muesli which you prep the night before so that you can wake up to some awesomeness.

 

Bircher Muesli

Serves 1

Ingredients

1/2 cup wholegrain rolled oats (GF if required)

2 tsp of chia seeds

1/2 cup unsweetened milk of choice (I use coconut)

2 TBS coconut yoghurt

2 TBS shredded coconut

2 TBS flaked almonds

1 TBS raisins

1 TBS of goji berries

Juice from 1 large orange

Method

Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix well.  Cover and leave in the fridge to develop the flavours.

Serve with your desired toppings in the morning.  If it’s too thick for your liking, just add some more milk to adjust consistency.

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I always make a big batch, as it also makes a great little snack.

Some recipes add grated apple to theirs but I rather add my fruit freshly cut when I serve it.

You can also add some spices like vanilla and cinnamon, or some lemon zest.  It all depends on what type of flavours you want or have on hand.

This recipe is great because it’s plain (not bland) and allows for flavour variations.

 

Enjoy!

 

Peas, love and mungbeans

xxb