Creamy Sweet potato, Black bean, Chia seed Soup

Hi all, hope you having a great start to your week. I’m always most energetic on Mondays. I feel like I can achieve just about anything on my way home from work. I could prepare all our lunches for the week, do some pilates or even finally put together my new compost bin. Unfortunately I didn’t get to do everything I hoped for this afternoon. But I did get around to making a selection of jarred cold pressed juices, boil some black beans and make a delicious healthy soup. Lucky for Marco he’s at work tonight. So I even managed to clean  up the huge mess I made in the kitchen by my self.

I’ve never added chia seeds to a soup before and I didn’t really know what to expect. But I was pleasantly surprised. They weren’t crunchy or gluggy at all. They also didn’t change the texture to the soup. What they did do is add some extra protein, fibre, antioxidants, calcium, vitamin C, omega 3, potassium and iron to my soup!

How do you like to include chia seeds in your diet?

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Creamy Sweet potato, Black bean, Chia seed Soup (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 brown onion, diced

1 large garlic clove, diced

1/2 green or red capsicum, diced

1 large celery stick, diced

1 large sweet potato, chopped and cubed

1.5 tablespoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (or more to taste)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

4 cups vegetable stock (I used 4 cups filtered water with 4 tsp Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon)

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt/ sea salt to taste

black pepper to taste

2 whole dried bay leaves

2 cups cooked black beans

juice from 1/2 small lemon

1/3 cup chia seeds

diced roasted peppers, pan fried corn kernels and sliced avocado to serve

Method:

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot. Then add onion, garlic, capsicum and celery. Saute for a few minutes.

2. Add sweet potato cubes, cumin, oregano and cayenne. Saute for another couple of minutes.

3. Add vegetable stock, garlic salt, black pepper and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then leave to simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the sweet potato has softened.

4. Add cooked black beans and lemon juice. Take off the heat and remove the bay leaves.

5. Place most of the soup with a high speed blender, leaving about a cup of the soup in the pot. Then combine again and stir through the chunky beans and sweet potato.

6. Add chia seeds and stir through.

7. Serve soup topped with diced roasted peppers, pan fried corn kernels and sliced avocado or whatever else you have on hand.

*Serves 4

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Coconana-chia Cake

Apparently I don’t make sweets enough. Marco promised me he won’t have his nightly chocolate binge if I make home sweets. So I made an effort to make him a cake this afternoon. My cake is oil free and has no added sugar (except for the icing). This cake is sweet enough with out the icing. But I went all out tonight. Its sweet, moist and utterly delicious!

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Coconana-chia Cake (vegan, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 cup self raising flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/2 cup white chia seeds, ground into a flour

1/2 cup moist coconut flakes or desiccated coconut

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1 overripe banana

1 cup coconut milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoon agave or other liquid sweetener

20g vegan butter

1 cup icing sugar

3 tablespoons coconut milk

2-3 tablespoons shredded coconut, toasted

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees and grease a ring tin.???????????????????????????????

2. In a large mixing bowl, sift self raising flour and baking powder. Then add coconut sugar, ground chia seeds, coconut flakes and shredded coconut. Whisk well and break down any large balls that may of formed.???????????????????????????????

3. In a small mixing bowl mash the banana so its nice and creamy, then add coconut milk, vanilla extra and agave. Whisk so that its nice creamy and thickened.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon.

5. Place the cake batter into the ring tin and make sure that it is level all the way round.???????????????????????????????

6. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.

7. Take the cake out of the oven and leave in tin for 10 minutes, so that it hardens a little.

8. Place the cake on a drying rack for 20 minutes or until the cake has cooled down.

9. Place butter and sugar in a small bowl and mash together with a fork. Then gradually add the coconut milk.???????????????????????????????

10. Whisk the icing well so that its nice and runny.

11. Drizzle the cake with the icing and top with some toasted shredded coconut.

Happy Blogiversary!

Today is Live Blissful’s 1 year Anniversary! I can’t believe my vegan journey has made it this far. A year ago I really didn’t know if I this was something that I could actually do. Although I’m not completely perfect, I have managed for the most part to completely change my diet as well as my reluctant fiance’s.  Now that I have made it a year I know that this is something that I can live by long term. I really want to thank all my fellow bloggers and readers for your encouragement that has kept me going.

Over the past year making the change to vegan has not been completely smooth. Although I have achieved more then I thought I would. I have discover new ingredients and different ways to cook without needing animal products. I have made a conscious effort to buy animal free products. I have also found and sampled many vegan/vegan friendly cafes and restaurants around Brisbane and other Australian cities.

The biggest challenges I  have faced over the past year seem a lot less insignificant now, then when I first began this journey. Unkind comments and awkwardness from family and friends were probably the hardest thing to swallow. But I learned to stop apologizing, because choosing to live a healthy life is not something to be ashamed of. The second biggest challenge was the feeling of despair every time I could not find something to eat in a restaurant. Now I try to make more informed choices when choosing a restaurant. When I have been invited out I try to organize something special with the chef and usually leave feeling happy and satisfied. As for cravings, these have been probably the easiest thing to over come. My tastes have really changed and I don’t really crave the same textures and flavors that I use to.

Another anniversary that I almost forgot about was Marco and my 6 year Anniversary. It actually fell on the 19th, but we both forgot. Now  we are engaged I’m not sure which anniversary we are meant to celebrate. Maybe we will just celebrate all of them. We had a pretty quite weekend. Poor Marco has had work at 4 am. So I wanted to make him some home cooked meals that I know he would like. I was going to also make a cake, but after he found a mysteries  jumbo muffin in my fridge (not sure where that came from), I thought we could both do without.

This breakfast was inspired  by the loads of apples in my fridge crisper. I only usually use green apples for juicing. But my mum keeps buying all these red apples that no one eats. This was surprisingly filling and very creamy. In fact I’m about to have it again for morning tea now.

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Raw Apple Breakfast Pudding (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup raw cashews

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon agave (or other natural sweetener)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 apples

1-2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons flax seeds

2 teaspoons chia seeds

fresh fruit to garnish

Method:

1. In a high speed blender add the cashews. Once they are starting to break down, then add the water, agave and vanilla extract. Don’t worry if its not really smooth.

2. Roughly grate the apples with the skin on.

3. Add some lemon juice to the grated apples so they don’t go brown and taste fragrant.

4. Combine the apple with the cashew cream. Stir through some flax seeds and chia seeds

5. Serve raw apple pudding with fresh fruit to garnish

*Serves 2

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This stew was inspired by all the leftovers veggies that needed to be used. I cooked up so many organic split kidney beans a few days back and then nobody was there to eat them with me.

I have never done a dumpling topping before. I was just flicking through a Jamie Oliver cook book and saw different stew toppings. I added Cheezly White Cheddar Style, which gave it a really nice savoury flavor. This is something else that I needed to use up. One bad thing about vegan cheeses is that they don’t last many days after opening.

I really loved the dumpling topping. This is definitely something I will make again for my next stew. It tastes so lovely and savory and just as nice as having fresh bread with an oven hot stew.

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Kidney Bean and Vegetable Stew with Cheddar Dumplings Topping (vegan, nut free)

Ingredients for Kidney Bean and Vegetable Stew:

2 tablespoon olive oil

2 large brown onions, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

1/2 bunch shallots, diced

2 sticks celery, diced

2 carrots, diced

4 baby or 1 red capsicum, diced

1/2 cup white wine

1 teaspoon sweet hungarian paprika

1 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)

1 teaspoon lemon thyme leaves

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced

1 can good quality tomato pulp

2 zucchini (diced)

2 cups cooked kidney beans

2 cups vegan chicken liquid stock

sea salt & black pepper to taste

Ingredients for Dumplings:

200 g self raising flour

100 g grated Cheezly White Cheddar Style/vegan cheddar

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced

6-7 tablespoons ice cold water

5 tablespoons Nutellex Lite/vegan butter)

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Method:

1. Heat a large oven proof pot with olive oil. Then add onion and garlic. Cook for 10 minutes and as it starts to brown, add celery and shallots and cook for a further 5 minutes.???????????????????????????????

2. Add carrots, capsicum and white wine. Continue to cook until the wine is absorbed.???????????????????????????????

3. Add the paprika, liquid smoke, lemon thyme, bay leaves and parsley.

4. Saute the vegetables for a couple of minutes, then add the tomato pulp. Continue to cook until the carrots start to soften

5. Add the zucchini, kidney beans, liquid stock, sea salt and black pepper. Bring to the boil, then leave on a simmer for 30 minutes. ???????????????????????????????

6. In the meantime preheat the oven to 180 degrees. ???????????????????????????????

7. Before placing the stew in the oven, prepare the dumplings. In a large mixing bowl add flour, cheddar and parsley. Then add the nutlex and mix it through with your hands. Then add cold water one tablespoon at a time, until it forms a dough.

8. Roll the dough into about 12 balls.

9. Top the stew with the dumplings on the outer edge.

10. Bake for 30 minutes, then serve.

*Serves 6

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Early birthday gift…

Hi all, hope you’ve had a lovely weekend. Mine has been nice and relaxing. I got my early birthday present this week from Mum and Marco. They both put in to get me a Vitamix! So I finally got to try it out last night and have been blending ever since.

Last night I made some cashew cream, which was so lovely and silky. It was much nicer then what my Kenwood blender usually produces, plus it didn’t leak, which was a bonus. I showed my mum, who is also dairy free, but not as strict as me that cashew cream can be used just like cream for pasta. She was amazed. Sorry no photos of the actually pasta, we were so hungry by the time it was ready.

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I’ve only had a week of early mornings but my body clock has already changed which is great. This morning we got up early and went to the Northey Street Organic Markets at Windsor. We haven’t been here since before I went to Europe, which is over a year ago. I was really big on organics back then and am trying to get back into buying organic.

Before we left I made a special morning smoothie, with my garden Tuscan Kale. This is a Chocolate Peanut butter Kale Smoothie. I was delicious! Mum and Marco weren’t keen on the kale for breakfast, but they agreed it was a good way to get the kale in firs thing.

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Chocolate Peanut butter Kale Smoothie (vegan, raw, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

1/2 bunch tuscan kale

3 cups almond milk

2-3 tablespoon peanut butter

2 tablespoons cacao

2 tablespoons chia seeds

2 tablespoons agave or honey

Method:

1. Whiz all the ingredients in your blender until all the kale has broken down and the smoothie is nice and smooth. Then serve.

At the market I didn’t buy too much. Just two bunches of Red Russian Kale ($6 plus free bok choy), daikon, cherry tomatoes and sunflower sprouts. Unfortunately there was no more organic vegan brownies left, so we better be a bit earlier next time. I love these markets there are always so many interesting people and great food.

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I did get to see this in action and it looks like hard work to earn your smoothie.

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I have seen purple carrots but never these golden ones before. Regretting now that I didn’t get any.

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There are also a communal veggie patch here and the grounds are quite nice too.  This is mum and Marco as we are leaving.

For dinner I thought I would try out a few more meals with my new Vitamix. These patties are similar to my Red Lentil Patties with Kale Pesto, but I used cannellini beans and sweet potato puree. I also tried to make my delicious Kale Pesto. As beautiful as it looks, it came out really bitter. I think next time I won’t use the stems. On the side I made this a delicious mash to make use of my green cauliflower and a sunflower sprout salad. So in love with my new Vitamax! So expect to see it around a lot more.

Do any of you guys have one?

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Cannellini Bean & Sweet Potato Patties (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

2 medium sweet potatoes

1 tin cannellini beans

1 tablespoons grapeseed/olive oil

1 medium red onion

1 tablespoon cajun spices/other spices you prefer

sea salt to taste

1/2 cup quinoa crumbs (or other gluten free breadcrumbs)

1/2 cup sesame seeds

Method:

1. First cut and steam the sweet potato, until soft. Transfer into a bowl and place to the side.

2. Meanwhile,  preheat oven to 180 degrees  and heat a pan with olive oil. Saute the red onion and garlic for 5 mins or until the onion has softened.

3. All the  sweet potato, cannellini beans, red onion, garlic, cajun spices (or other spices)  and sea salt into the processor. Blend until smooth.

4. Place the mixture into a bowl then add quinoa crumbs and stir through the mixture.

5. Form the mixture into 10 patties. Place the sesame seeds in a small bowl and dust the patties in the sesame seeds.

6. Place patties on a nonstick cookie tray, then bake for 20-25 mins. Turn once while they are cooking so that the seasame seeds on both sides get a little browned.

*Makes 10 patties

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Green Cauliflower, Potato & Leek Mash (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 small green cauliflower

3 potatoes

1 tablespoon grapeseed or olive oil

2 garlic cloves

1 leek

Method:

1. Cut the cauliflower and potato into small pieces, then place them in a steamer until tender.

2. Dice the garlic and chop the leek.

3. Heat a pan with oil, then saute the garlic and leek for 5 mins or until lightly browned.

4. Place cauliflower, potato, leek and garlic in the processor and blend until smooth.

5. Transfer into a pot and add sea salt to taste (and water if too thick). Heat through then serve.

*Serves 5-6

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Sunflower Sprout Orange Salad (vegan, raw, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

2 handfuls of sunflower sprouts

1 handful snow pea sprouts

segments of 1 orange

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon agave

sea salt to taste

1-2 tablespoons pepitas seeds

Method:

1. Wash all sprouts and roughly chop the snow pea sprouts. Place all in a bowl.

2. Juice orange for the orange juice and cut the segments from 1 orange.

3. Add the orange segments to the spouts.

4. In a small bowl, add the orange juice, sesame oil, agave and sea salt.

5. Drizzle the dressing on top of the salad.

6. Dry toast the pepitas seeds in a pan. Then top onto the salad and serve.

Pizza, Soup and a Chocolate Berry Breakfast Suprise

A  couple of nights ago we got invite out to dinner with some friends. But with the rainy weather and my cold feet about going somewhere that didn’t cater to me, we decided invited them over for homemade pizzas. We had some leftover pizza dough so last night I made the most delicious pizza with a few simple ingredients. This wasn’t the main event but to accompany this Red Lentil and Root Vegetable Soup.

For breakfast I prepared the most delicious overnight oats. I included a few extra healthy ingredients such as cacao, maca, chia seeds and goji berries.  I nice to be able to have guilt free chocolate oats for breakfast.

Just as I was writing this post, I got a call about a job. I’m going in for an interview tomorrow. I only send in an application yesterday to them for a different job, but they liked my previous work experience in mentoring and in a call centre. Fingers crossed they hire me!

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Browned Onion and Garlic Pizza (vegan, gluten free option, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

pizza dough for 1 pizza (wholemeal or gluten free)

1 large brown onion, thinly sliced

1-2 tablespoons olive oil (plus more to brush pizza)

2 garlic cloves, diced

1 tablespoon fresh/dried rosemary

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Method:

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

2. Heat a large pan with olive oil, then add the onion. Saute for 4-5 minutes or until onion has softened, but not browned (Its best to use a nonstick pan for this).

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3. In the meantime roll out pizza dough and place into a pizza pan/stone. Brush base with olive oil. (If you are using a pizza pan brush that with oil before placing the pizza ontop, so that the base will brown)

4. Take pan off the heat, then add garlic and stir though the onion.

5. Top pizza with the onion and garlic. Then sprinkle some rosemary, sea salt and black pepper.

6. Bake pizza for 15 mins or until the base is cooked and the onions are lightly browned.

*Makes 1 pizza

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Red Lentil and Root Vegetable Soup (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 large brown onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

2 carrots, diced

1 stalk of celery, diced

1 swede, diced

2 parsnips, diced

2 red skinned potatoes, diced

1 sweet potato, diced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground ginger

4 cups vegetable/vegan chicken liquid stock

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Method:

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot, then add the vegetables and spices. Saute for a couple of minutes.

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2. Add the liquid stock and bring to the boil, then cover and place on a simmer. Cook for 20 mins or until the vegetables begin to soften.???????????????????????????????

3. Add the red lentils and sea salt if you need. Continue to cook covered on a simmer, until both the lentils have cooked and the vegetable are completely cooked.

4. Take off the heat and puree the soup with a bar mix, until you have the desired consistency. If the soup is too thick add some filtered water to thin it out.

5. Reheat on the stove to you are ready to serve.

*Serves 6

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Chocolate Berry Overnight Oats (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup instant/rolled oats, preferably organic

3/4 cup plant milk (coconut, rice or oat;  almond or soy if you can tolerate)

1/2 cup mixed frozen berries

1 tablespoon cacao powder

1/2 tablespoon maca powder (optional)

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1.5  tablespoon maple syrup (I used blueberry maple syrup)

1 teapsoon goji berries to serve

1 teaspoon cacao nibs to serve DSC05483

Method:

1. Combine the oats, milk, frozen berries, cacao, maca, chia seeds and maple syrup in an airtight container and stir to combine all.

2. Seal the container and place in the fridge over night.

3. In the morning serve with goji berries and cacao nibs. If you don’t have these any other dried fruit, nuts and/or dark chocolate chips would go nice. If the consistency of the oats is too thick add a dash of milk.

*Serves 1

Sweet Veggie Dinner and a visit to KU-O

Hi all, tonight I experiment a bit and put some things together that I don’t usually do. Instead of making cashew cream like I have been doing a lot lately, I tried making almond butter cream. I made it to go with these delicious Japanese Sweet Potatoes that I got from the Rocklea market the other day. This variety is very sweet, but they taste a lot different to regular sweet potatoes. They have really deep purple skin, but the flesh is white inside. I really recommend them. On the side I made some roasted miso glaze vegetables and a quinoa salad. With the leftover almond butter I made a mousse with blueberries an chia seeds. Everything was naturally sweetened and entirely gluten free and full of nutrients.

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Whole Roasted Japanese Sweet Potatoes with Almond Cinnamon Butter (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

2 whole japanese sweet potatoes

grapeseed oil or canola oil

1/2 cup almonds

1/2 cup filtered water

1 teaspoon agave

pinch of sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons coconut oil

Method:

1. Preheat the oven. Clean and scrub sweet potatoes.

2. Coat in oil and place in a baking tray. Piece a few times with a fork along the sweet potato, then bake for 45 mins.???????????????????????????????

3. In the meantime bring a small pot to the boil, then add the almonds and boil for 10 mins.

4. Strain the almonds and rinse with cold water to cool them down. Then remove the skins.

5. Then place almonds in the blender/processor. First grind till the almonds break up as much as they can. Then slowly add the water and process until it becomes a smooth cream.

6. Add agave, sea salt, cinnamon and coconut oil/butter. Mix until combined the n set to the side.

7. When sweet potatoes are soft, slice down the center and serve with the Almond Butter.

*Almond Butter makes about 1 cup. Cook more sweet potatoes if serving for more people.

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Miso Glaze Roasted Brussel Spouts, Lotus Root and Garlic (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 tablespoon brown rice syrup

1 teaspoon white miso

8 brussels sprouts

6 slices lotus root

4 garlic cloves, peeled

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Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.???????????????????????????????

2. If your coconut oil isn’t liquid then lightly heat to liquidize  I just used a small stainless steel bowl over a pot of boiling water. Then combine the liquid coconut oil with miso paste and brown rice syrup.

3. Coat the brussels sprouts, lotus root and garlic  cloves with the mixture. Cook for 30 mins or until brussels sprouts are cooked. Season with sea salt before serving.

*Serves 2

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Asparagus & Cherry Tomato Quinoa Salad (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 bunch of asparagus, remove ends and chop

1/2 cup quinoa

1 red onion, sliced

olive oil

handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1-2 tablespoons minced parsley

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Bring a small pot of water to the boil, then cook the asparagus they are tender. Rinse with cold water and place to the side.

2. In the same water cook the quinoa, according to packet directions. Then strain.

3. Heat a drop of olive oil in a nonstick pan, then cook red onion for 5-10 mins.

4. Combine the asparagus, quinoa, red onion, cherry tomatoes, parsley and sea salt, then serve.

*Serves 1 as a main or 2-3 as a side dish

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Almond Blueberry Chia Mousse (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

Almond Cinnamon Butter (from above)

1/4 cup frozen blueberries

agave to taste

2 tablespoons chia seeds

Method:

1. Add frozen blueberries to the Almond Cinnamon Butter in the processor. Process until blueberries have broken down.

2. Add agave to taste and whiz again to combine.

3. Turn of processor then add chia seeds.

4. Place in the fridge for at least 20 mins. Then enjoy. Its even better the next day!

*Serves 1-2

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I also wanted to share another food find. In Sunnybank at the famous Market Square, a new Japanese Restaurant has opened. Its called KU-O Japanese Restaurant. It appeared really small from the front. But once you walk in it is very pretty. I noticed there were many tofu options to replace meat or fish in the dishes. I ordered the Tofu Teriyaki Don. It was quite nice and filling. We really like this place and will defiantly return. It’s a nice improvement to Market Square.

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Apple Pie Overnight Oats

For the past two days Marco and I have been enjoying this delicious sweet breakfast. I first saw this idea for  overnight oats on Oh She Glows, so I decided to try it out myself. I was very happy with the results. It doesn’t taste like the usually morning oat porridge. It is soft, cool, sweet and delicious. Perfect for hot summer mornings. It is also really convenient nutritious breakfast, that you can prepare the night before and eat straight out of the fridge in the morning. If you want a change from your regular oats try this out!

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Apple Pie Overnight Oats (vegan, raw, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup instant or rolled oats, preferably organic

1/2 cup plant milk (coconut, rice or oat;  almond or soy if you can tolerate)

1/2 cup apple sauce

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method:

1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir it all through.

2. Place in the fridge overnight and enjoy the next day.

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Coconut Vanilla Oatmeal

This is a simple breakfast I whipped up this morning. I was craving oatmeal last night, but after reading someones post about the dangers of binge eating I thought I better wait till the morning. I already had devoured some fruit and leftovers in the fridge. I go through phases of eating oatmeal every day and then not eating for months. I like it mildly sweet and very thick. I have seen a few savory oatmeal recipes that I would also like to try. How do you like your oats?

I always choose organic oats. This is because a while back when I was going to my nutritionist and trying to get over leaking gut syndrome, my doctor advise me that I only eat organic oats. This is because I had a mild gluten intolerance and organic oats are not cross-contaminated with wheat and other grains that have gluten. Although I can now tolerate gluten again I still prefer to avoid pesticides and herbicides in my food as much as possible and organic oats are quite cheap and available from the big supermarkets.

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Coconut Vanilla Oatmeal (vegan gluten free, soy free or nut free)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup instant or rolled oats, preferably organic

1/4 cup desiccated coconut

1 cup vanilla soy or almond milk

1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)

fresh fruit & shredded coconut to serve (optional)

Method:

1. Take a pot and add oats, cocont and chia seeds and stir though.

2. Then add soy milk and place on a medium heat. Cook for 5mins or until the oats have thickened.

*Serve with fresh fruit and shredded coconut on top. Serves 1.

Kiwi Slice

This was last nights dessert that I came up with, so I could use all the kiwi fruit in my fridge. Initially I was going to make jam. Only thing is Marco doesn’t like kiwi and I doubt he would eat the jam. So I decided to make a slice since he loved the Stone Fruit and Berry Slice I made a few days ago. He really liked the base of it. I changed the ingredients a bit. I really wanted to see how it would turn out with flax seed mead and wholemeal flour. The base was a lot firmer and the kiwi was really nice baked. It wasn’t too tangy and it was just sweet enough.

Kiwi fruit are really, really healthy for us. They have more vitamin C then an orange and a good source of fiber and potassium [1].  Some of the health benefits include: prevents Asthma; prevents wheezing and coughing, especially in children; protects our DNA from mutations; provides a healthy amount of antioxidants and vitamins; helps prevent colon cancer thanks to a high fiber content [2]. Another great study recently revealed the possitive effects of this fruit for people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. According to Michael Greger M.D, “Researchers found that eating 2 kiwifruit a day for a month significantly “shortens colon transit time, increases defecation frequency, and improves bowel function” in those with constipation-type.” [3].

Although we often associate them with New Zealand, they acually originate from southern China and still remain an national fruit. They didn’t appear in New Zealand until the 20th century, when a missionary,  Isabel Frasier, brought them from China. They began being cultavated in the USA in the 1970s and in more recent times are also cultivated in Italy, Chile, France, Greece, Japan and Australia [4].

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Kiwi Slice (vegan, gluten free option, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

8 kiwi fruit

1-2 tablespoons agave or maple syrup

2 tablespoons chia seeds

1.5 cups wholemeal flour (use gluten free flour if you prefer)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup raw sugar

1 cup desiccated coconut

1 cup ground flax seeds

1 cup ground rolled oats

1/2 tablespoon vanilla essence

9 egg whites replacer (OrgraN No Egg: 6 teaspoons egg replacer + 3 tablespoons water)

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup plant milk (coconut, rice or oat; almond or soy if you can tolerate)

Method:

1. Preheat the oven 180 degrees.DSC01031

2. First make kiwi jam. Place the kiwi in a small pot with 1 tbsp of agave. Bring to the boil and add another tbsp of agave if it is too tangy. Add chia seeds and cook on simmer for 15 mins. Leave to cool. DSC01033

3. Take a large mixing bowl. Add flour, baking powder, sugar, desiccated coconut, flax seed flour, oat flour and stir through.

4. Then add vanilla essence, egg replacer, canola oil and soy milk. Use hands to make a dough.

DSC010355. Take in baking tray (23cmx23cm square) and add the dough. Press down with a flip so that it is all even.

6. Top with the kiwi jam and bake for 40-45 mins. Serve warm or cold.

*Serves 9-18

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[1] WHFoods: Kiwi Fruit, <http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=41>

[2] Health Benefits of Kiwi Fruit, <http://kiwi-fruit.info/kiwi-fruit/Health+Benefits+of+Kiwi+Fruit>

[3] Kiwi Fruit for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, <http://nutritionfacts.org/2012/10/18/kiwi-fruit-for-irritable-bowel-syndrome/?utm_source=NutritionFacts.org&utm_campaign=cbd2f54acb-RSS_BLOG_DAILY&utm_medium=email>

[4] History of Kiwi Fruit, <http://kiwi-fruit.info/kiwi-fruit/History+of+Kiwi+Fruit>

Chia & Pepitas Banana Bread

I have been trying to incorporate more seeds and nuts into my diet lately, since they are so healthy. They also taste really great in baked goods. Tonight’s dessert was a bit experimental, but it turned out really well. The chia seeds have a slight crunch on the inside and the pepitas seeds taste really great roasted on the outside. I wanted to also put some dates inside, but I forgot, so that gives me an excuse to make something else baked and sweet this week.

Chia & Pepitas Banana Bread (vegan, soy free)

Dry Ingredients:

2 cups unbleached self raising flour

2/3 cup evavorated cane sugar or raw sugar

1/4 cup chia seeds

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 handfuls pepitas seeds

Wet Ingredients: 3 large ripe bananas

1/2 cup plant milk (coconut, rice or oat; almond or soy if you can tolerate)

1 teaspoon almond essence

1/4 cup filtered water

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

2. Take a large bowl and mix in all the dry ingredients (except pepitas seeds).

3. Take a smaller bowl and mash the bananas.

4. Add almond milk & vanilla essence to the bananas.

5. Add the bananas to the large bowl with the flour and stir it all through.

6. Add water to make the mixture more wet.

7. Place in a bread tin (with baking paper or greased with butter) and sprinkle pepitas seeds on top.

8. Cook in the oven for 45-50 mins (until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean). Leave to cool for 10 mins then slice and serve with vegan butter.