Category Archives: Cooked Sweet

pancakes will make it better

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Pancakes.  Whether you like them thick and fluffy, or thin and delicate, there’s something to be said about the moorish nature of these lovely little pillows (or sheets) of yum.

I put them in the same category as oats: versatile, quick and with the ability to morph into any flavour combination that you can conjure up.

Yep, they’re a fave for a reason and now I’m going to share a really simple recipe which I adapted from this one that’s gluten and grain free and can be made either plant based or if you like eggs, you can use those instead.

Lemony Pancakes

Serves 2 (or 1) depending on how hungry you are

Ingredients

1 cup of almond meal

1 cup of milk of choice

2 tsp of baking powder

1 TBS of flaxmeal (or use 1 egg if you like eggs)

2 TBS of lemon juice

zest of half a lemon

pinch of salt

Method

In a small mixing bowl, add the milk and lemon juice and set aside to curdle.  In a large bowl, add the flax and almond meal, baking powder and salt.  Stir well to combine, then whisk in the curdled milk/lemon mixture.  Whisk until you have a smooth batter.  If it’s too thick, add some water or more milk to get a better consistency.  Add the lemon zest and stir it well to make sure it gets incorporated into the batter.

OPTION: if you like eggs, add it with the milk/lemon mixture.  You can also add 1 TBS of a liquid sweetener of choice, like maple syrup or coconut nectar but I didn’t add any.

Heat a small frying pan or skillet with coconut oil and use about 1/4 cup to make one pancake (or make smaller ones, up to you).

When it starts to bubble, turn over carefully and cook for a further 2 minutes.  Repeat until all the batter is gone.

Easy does it.

Now for the topping!  I made a simple Rose Berry Chia compote that went really well with the pancakes.  All you need is some frozen berries which you add to a pan, heat on low-med until the berries melt.  It will become syrupy and runny.  Add 1 tsp of rose water (or more depending on taste) and cook a little bit more.  Then take off heat and stir in 1 TBS of chia seeds.   Keep stirring until they swell and thicken the sauce up.  Done.  Again, you can sweeten it up or leave it as is.

Stack your pancakes, pop a big dollop of coconut yoghurt or cream on top and spoon over your compote.  SWOON.

For those of you who are wondering why I’m talking about eggs on a plant based blog, the truth is that I’ve been having an internal struggle for the past 6-10 months about whether to become more flexible with the way I eat.  You see, when I first started this journey, I had no expectations of what that journey was going to look like, or where it was going to lead.  All I knew was that I wanted it to give it a go.

Along the way, I have read so many ‘health’ books, so many different theories on what ‘clean eating’ is meant to look like, or which way to eat that will give the most health benefits.  Some are conflicting, some are similar, some share the same principles and ideas but have one stark difference that sets them apart.  All over social media and the internet I have come across individuals that swear by one way, others that shun that way and advocate a different  way, all with amazing stories, and some with good scientific data to back each of their arguments/theories/reasons.

To say I was confused for a long time is an understatement.  I was so overwhelmed, to the point that it started to cause me anxiety.  But one book really helped to put things into perspective and I highly recommend that if there is anyone out there who is going through the same confusion that I was, that you read it.  It’s call Nourishing Wisdom by Marc David.  Anywho, it literally blew my mind.

I’m of the believe that things happen for a reason, and I know that this book came to me at a time when I was feeling so lost.  It didn’t stop me from being lost, but it gave me a starting point as to how to find the way back to myself.  My inner wisdom.  Which it seems I had unfortunately lost somewhere a long the way.  You see, somehow I allowed my blog/IG to become bigger than me.  And whilst my journey was continuing, the nature of feeling pigeon holed into a box (of my own doing), had stopped me from continuing to grow.

I have had many discussions with one of my nearest and dearest about this, ironically, someone I met on social media, and her advice at the time, when I told her how I was feeling, was to stay true to myself and just continue my journey, where ever that may lead.  It seems my plant based journey has taken an unexpected turn, one which I was not quiet ready for as I was sure that I knew the path that was in front of me.

In reflecting on how I am feeling, I can see points a long my journey which have led to where I stand now.  The first mistake I made was delving too deep into the plant based subcultures and perhaps staying too long in some, not enough in others.  When you’re in the moment, of course it’s hard to tell.  After all, you feel great for the first few weeks,than after a while, you start to notice changes that are not so great, and you dismiss the alarm bells going off in your head because you let yourself be influenced by well meaning advocates talking about the wonders of the (insert eating philosophy here).  You go against your better judgement and continue along, all the time knowing it’s not working but really hoping it does because look at those healthy individuals who are thriving on this lifestyle. You still look healthy on the outside, but on the inside, your body and your brain are fighting a battle.  Your body is craving nourishment specific to you but your brain is trying to enforce the many rules that go with said eating philosophy.  Your body starts to rebel, it gains weight, it makes you feel low, worse, you start bingeing, something that you’ve never had an issue with in the past.  You start to wonder what the hell is going on?  All you can think about is food.  You have become food obsessed.  Like the rest of society.

When did things get like this?  You, a well informed, ‘health’ oriented, well adjusted 30 something mother, when did this happen to you?

I tell you when it happened to me.  When I stopped listening to my body and allowed the outside noise to take over my intuition.

I don’t know where this journey will take me, but I do know that I no longer want to pigeon hole myself into any type of restrictive eating patterns.  They are damaging to me, in mind and body and go against my own advice of finding a way of eating that sustains every part of your being,  and which you can sustain.

This doesn’t mean that I am going to go out and eat every type of food under the sun, it simply means that I will no longer be wearing a label.

I feel so relieved to be able to share this with you, and you can continue to expect lots of recipes that contain real food ingredients, most of them will probably still be plant based, it’s not like I’m doing a complete switch, I’m just choosing to eat instinctively.

I understand that for my vegan friends this will be hard to take and I completely get it, and I would like to take this opportunity to say I truly appreciate your commitment to animal welfare and if you decide to stop supporting me due to this, I totally understand and I just want to thank you for your support thus far.

I also want to point out that trying a plant based diet did not make me sick, I am not saying that they are bad, or inadequate.  I have reaped many health benefits, but I am simply not able to maintain it exclusively.  I feel like our bodies move from stage to stage and so what you eat will be according to that stage.  I think being 100% plant based allowed my body to detox and heal, but then it needed to rebuild and what I was giving it wasn’t enough.  That’s when I started to experience the side effects I’ve mentioned above.  This made me realise that for me, the way I eat will be in a constant state of change.  For whatever reason, I am becoming drawn to other foods outside the plant based realm and I want to feel like I can eat whatever that is without judgement or shame.

I want to be flexible in my eating, I want to be able to sit down with my family and have a traditional Peruvian meal that will probably include some type of animal protein at some stage.  I don’t want to lose that cultural connection that I have to my land and my family.  I don’t want to worry about what I can or can’t eat, it feels wrong for me now, specially when there are people in society and all over the world who are starving.  I no longer want to take part in the obsession with ‘health’ foods, that cost more than some people have to live off for an entire week.  Seriously, a cold pressed juice is $9 in Sydney! It’s just juice people.  Besides not all companies are ethical or even nice individuals, they are just grabbing on to a trend and exploiting it until the next one comes along.  Yes, it’s nice that they make ‘healthy’ options available, but the only people who are benefiting from it are those that have money.  I believe that health should be for everyone, not an exclusive membership based on your income.  Teaching healthy options within people’s means and within their cultural structure is more important because then it becomes doable.  Preaching to Inuits about the dangers of fat is useless as they don’t have a tropical forest with an endless supply of bananas.  They eat what is native to them and what they know to keep them healthy and alive.  I am not comfortable telling them that a plant based fruit rich diet is the only diet.  Nor would I be comfortable telling them that they are terrible humans for eating animals.  I know that it’s different here as all food is readily available, but the point I’m trying to make is that there is no one perfect diet.  EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT.

My beliefs haven’t changed, I still believe that we should be aware of where our food comes from and eat in a way that is ethical and sustainable, favouring local producers where possible.  I still believe that we should eat real food, not food like substances.  I still believe that together we can make positive change and above all, I still believe that we must look after Mother Earth for being able to provide us with food and water and an amazing place to experience it.  Which ever way you choose to do that is fine with me.

And whilst I won’t be rushing to buy another ‘health’ book any time soon, I do like the advice that Michael Pollan gives:

“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”

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

 

 

yum yum cinnamon buns

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Like the majority of kids I know, my minis just love to help out in the kitchen.  Whether it be stirring, (attempting) chopping, picking herbs or wiping down the tables, they’re always eager to be involved (here’s hoping it lasts forever).

So, when one of them says ‘let’s make someting’, I jump at the chance.  But what to make with toddlers?   There’s definitely criteria:  it needs to be something safe, something that smells good, something that calls for mess, all hands on deck and also creates an air of anticipation.

There’s only one thing that fits all of the above requirements and that something is baked!

I apologise to my gluten-free friends, but this recipe is not one of those.  Will have to keep experimenting with that one 😉IMG_2726 IMG_2725

So that is exactly what we did.  Here’s our recipe for some yummy cinnamon rolls with a twist.

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Sticky Date & Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Vanilla Cashew Frosting

Makes 8 rolls

Ingredients

Dough

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
3 Tbsp grapeseed oil
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 Tbsp coconut sugar
1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt
2 cups of wholemeal spelt flour
1 cup of plain flour

Filling

1 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree
Sweetener of choice to taste (I use liquid stevia)
2 tsp pumpkin spice mix
2 tsp cinnamon

Sticky Date Mixture

8 medjool dates, pitted
1/2 cup of water
handful of pecans, chopped (optional)

Vanilla Cashew Frosting

1/2 cup of raw cashews (soaked and rinsed)

3/4 cup of water

Sweetener of choice (I used liquid stevia)

1 tsp of organic vanilla paste

Method

In a small pot,  place the almond milk and grapeseed oil  and place on low heat until mixture is tepid (i.e, you can stick your finger in and it feels comfortable).  It should be warm but not too hot or it will kill the yeast, for this reason, be careful that it doesn’t come to the boil!

Pour milk mixture in to a large mixing bowl and sprinkle on yeast. Leave it in a warm place in your kitchen for 10 minutes.  This will allow it to activate.  Once the 1o minutes is up, stir in the sugar and salt.

Mix the spelt and plain flour together first and then start adding it, 1/2 cup at a time, to the yeast mixture, stirring as you go. The dough will be sticky and eventually turn into a ball, which you won’t be able to stir, so that’s when you transfer to a clean bench surface that you’ve lightly floured.  I still had about 1/2 cup left of flour when it turned into a ball so I just added the flour as I kept kneading and it was all absorbed into the dough, leaving me with a nice round, soft but bouncy ball of dough.  Put aside.

Get a clean bowl and add some grapeseed oil and move it around the bowl so that it nicely covers all the surfaces. Place the dough inside and roll around to coat all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

While dough is rising, prepare sticky date mixture by blending the dates with water until they are completely smooth, paste like.

Line a cake tin with baking paper, ( I used a round 8×8) and pour over the date mixture, spreading it evenly over the bottom with a spatula, and then sprinkle on the chopped pecans if using.  Put aside.

Now prepare the pumpkin filling by blending the pumpkin puree with the spices and sweetener ( I use liquid stevia and never measure it, sorry!).  Set aside
When dough is ready, place dough on lightly floured surface and roll it out into a thin rectangle.

Use a spatula to spread over the pumpkin mixture until it’s all used up.
Starting at one end, tightly roll up the dough and situate seam side down. Then with a sharp knife, cut the dough into 5 cm sections and position in your 8×8 dish with the date and pecan layer on the bottom (you should have about 8 rolls). Cover with plastic wrap and set on top of the oven to let it briefly rise again while you preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.
Once the oven is hot, bake rolls for 30-40 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Remember all ovens are different so just check that the middle is done by sticking a skewer in the middle and seeing if it comes out dry.  Start checking at the 20 minute mark to avoid burning.

Whilst the buns are baking, make the frosting by blending the rinsed cashews with water, sweetener and vanilla paste.  You want it to be super smooth and should be the consistency of custard.  Place in the fridge.

When buns are ready, take them out and leave to cool for about 10 minutes.  Add the cashew frosting on top, you may need a spatula as it will get thicker in the fridge.

Now pull apart the rolls, savour the sweet caramelised sticky date bottoms and devour!

I’ve made vegan cinnamon buns before but these were definitely a winner.  Hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

Peas, love and mungbeans

xxb

 

Breakfast is for champions

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I’ve always had a soft spot for a warm bowl of grains for breakfast.  There’s just something so nourishing and nurturing about the whole process of making a big bowl of porridge.  With the weather getting cooler, even though it’s meant to be spring, it’s been the perfect time to experiment with some different grains.

Enter the humble teff.  This tinie tiny grain, the smallest in the world in fact, is chock full of nutrition, which is probably why it’s eaten as a staple in it’s native Ethiopia.  Just 1/4 of  a cup of teff contains 7 grams of protein, which is super if you’re on a plant based diet, now you can go and tell everyone where you get your protein from!

Apart from protein, it’s also rich in calcium, phosphorus and magnesium, which are all essential for bone health.

So, for my first dabble in teff, I decided to play it safe and make a really basic and simple porridge.  I think this recipe is a good one if you’re starting off as it lets you get used to the flavour and texture and it’s minimally flavoured so you can use it as a base to add your faves and get super creative.

 

Basic Teff Porridge

Serves 1

Ingredients

1/4 cup of teff grain

1 1/2 cups of water

pinch of Himalayan pink salt

1/2 tsp coconut oil

Stevia drops as desired

 

Method

Heat up a small saucepan on medium heat and add the grain.  Toast the grain slightly (you will hear little popping sounds) to bring out the nuttiness of the grain.  Add the water (if the pan is really hot, it will spit and splatter so becareful), and stir to combine.  Add salt, stir and cover with lid.  Turn heat down to med-low and stir intermittently until it’s ready, about 15-20 minutes.  You may need to add more water if it becomes too dry.  Or you can add your plant mylk of choice at this time.

Once ready, stir in the stevia and coconut oil and stir to combine.

I served it with some cinnamon stewed apples and pears, which you can easily make by placing pear and apple slices in a saucepan and add some water (not too much as the fruit will drop it’s own liquid).  Add some cinnamon powder or a cinnamon quill, cover with a lid, and cook on low-med until fruit is soft and most of the liquid has evaporated.  Serve on top of your porridge with a sprinkling of your fave nuts/seeds.

 

Now let’s not stop experimenting, it is after all, the yummiest and most fun way of discovering new treats!  Next up I experimented making porridge with millet grain.

Millet is normally found in bird food, but this little round grain shouldn’t be kept just for birds, as they are rich in essential minerals, specifically copper, phosphorus, magnesium and manganese.

Hmmm, I think the birds are on to something!

 IMG_2483Creamy Coconut Millet Porridge with Rose Scented Strawberries

Serves 1

 

Ingredients

Millet

1/3 cup of millet grain

1 cup of water

1/2 cup of coconut milk

1 cup of water

pinch of Himalayan pink salt

stevia drops to taste

 

Strawberries

1/2 cup of sliced strawberries

2 Tbs of rose water

stevia drops to taste

 

Method

Make the strawberries first by mixing the stevia and rose water in a shallow bowl, then add the strawberry slices and make sure you swirl them around so that they get infused with the rose water.  Set aside to infuse whilst you make the porridge.

For the porridge, place millet grain in a coffee grinder or use the dry container for your blender.  Blend/grind until the grains are about 3/4 ground.

Place a small saucepan on medium heat, and add the semi-ground millet and the rest of the ingredients.  Stir to combine and cover with lid.  When it starts to simmer, take off lid, give it a good stir until it’s all creamy and smooth.  Turn heat down to low, cover with lid and leave to cook for about 8-10 minutes.

After the time is up, give it a good stir.  If it’s too runny, give it a couple of more minutes.  If it’s too thick, add a little bit more water or milk.

Pour into a bowl and add the strawberries, and pour a Tbs of the liquid on top.

I also added some coconut kefir yoghurt  and pistachio crumbs to mine for some texture and added coconut flavour.

 

But what about if you’re craving a sweet little treat?  Sometimes there’s nothing like a cheeky slice of toasted banana bread to get you going.

Here’s a recipe that I adapted from the lovely Caroline and you can find the original recipe on her blog here.

I like this recipe because it’s gluten, sugar, and oil free.  Can you believe it? So good!

I made this for my minis who are ravenous when they come back from school.  It went down a treat and lasted only two days, admittedly, I had three slices to myself but hey, the cook’s allowed some too right?!

Hope your family enjoys it as much as mine :)

IMG_2488 IMG_2493 IMG_2492 IMG_2474Coconut and Banana Bread

Serves 8

 

Ingredients

1 cup gluten-free oats, ground to flour
1 cup almond meal
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Pinch of Himalayan pink salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp of stevia
3 small ripe bananas, mashed
1 medium banana, sliced into coins
extra ground cinnamon
1 tbs of shredded coconut

Method

Preheat oven to 190 degrees.
Mix oat flour, almond meal, shredded coconut, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg & salt in a bowl.
In another bowl mix the mashed bananas with the vanilla extract, coconut milk and stevia and mix well. Add to the dry ingredients and stir with a spoon until everything is well mixed.

Pour the dough into a prepared loaf pan that’s been lined with baking paper.  Top with banana coins and sprinkle on some cinnamon and 1/2 Tbs of the shredded coconut.

Bake in the oven, middle rack, for about 40-50 minutes. Stick a skewer through the centre , it should come out mostly clean with only a little bit of moisture on the end.

Cool on rack and top with the left over coconut before slicing.

 

Let me know if you give any of the recipes a try and don’t forget to tag me if you’re on IG so that I can see your creations.

 

Peas, love and mungbeans

 

xxb

 

Matcha matcha matcha!

IMG_1694I always think that if people knew how easy it was to make their own granola, then they wouldn’t bother with store bought.  Truth is, granola is just about the easiest thing to make and the best part of it is that you can make whatever flavour you want.  How’s that for being the best thing ever?!

Being on a matcha trip as I have been of late, I decided to make a matcha flavoured granola.  Hey, why not?  If you’re a matcha lover, you’ll love this.

This is a very basic recipe with few ingredients, because honestly, I had ran out of everything!  But it works so I’m sticking to it.

 

Matcha Latte Granola

Makes 4 cups

 

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups gluten free wholegrain oats

1 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup raw sunflower kernels

1 tsp of matcha powder

1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt

1/4 cup rice bran syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 TBS coconut oil

 

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius and line a baking tray with baking paper.  Set aside.

In a small saucepan, add the syrup, vanilla extract and coconut oil.  Place over low to medium heat and stir until coconut oil dissolves.  Leave on the heat for a few minutes until it starts to bubble.  Take off the heat.

In a large bowl, add the oats, seeds, salt and matcha powder.  Stir well to combine, then pour in the liquid.

Stir well until everything is coated evenly.  Pour your granola mixture onto prepared tray, even it out with the back of the wooden spoon so that it’s roughly uniformed in height.

Place in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until you can see it start to turn golden.  Turn oven off and leave granola to cool.

DO NOT TOUCH IT.  I repeat, do not touch the granola.  Leaving it to cool will make it crunchy and delicious so don’t be a piggy!

Store in a glass container with a tight fitting lid.  Keeps well for ages, if it lasts that long.

 

Peas, love and mungbeans

 

xxb