Posts tagged beverage
Vegan food in Thailand!

I wanted to write my foodie experiences in a separate post to this one so here you go!

Fist thing I'm gonna put out there... Fruit! So much amazing fruit!! For example, on the last day I bought 4 beautifully sweet ripe locally grown mangos for the equivalent of less than £1 - you wouldn't even get one mango for that in the UK and it would not have tasted anywhere near as good either.

I also want to briefly mention here (though I'll also be writing a separate post at some point) about water! In Thailand everyone drinks bottled water. I knew it would be hot and I didn't want to be caught short. It just so happened a couple of weeks prior I had a conversation with a colleague about a water filter bottle called Puritii that is so sophisticated, you can even filter swamp water if you wished! Of course I was intrigued and I knew my trip to Thailand would be a perfect opportunity to try it. He gave me a bottle to put through it's paces and so I'll fill you in on that in due course, plus it makes an ideal opportunity to talk about water quality- a topic many have asked me about recently.

Anyway, back to Thailand food! Here are my overriding thoughts (obviously these are purely based on my limited experience)...

Things I found tricky/surprising about Thai food:

  1. Not many people understood what 'vegan' meant- vegetarian is very common but vegan not so. It seemed a little odd to me since it's a culture that naturally doesn't use dairy so it's only the egg (and fish sauce) that would need consideration.
  2. There is fish sauce and egg in many meat free dishes so I had to be very careful as it wasn't always obvious.
  3.  In hindsight I should have got familiar with the phrase for vegan- which is 'jai' however his refers to Buddhist veganism which also does not include garlic or onion and I feel that would have been even more limiting in options and flavour.
  4. There don't seem to be any beans and lentils anywhere! The veggie protein of choice is tofu which is eaten in abundance. I do not eat it much at home, but was happy to switch whilst I was there. I did miss lentils and beans though!
  5. Even though there is an abundance of veggies, their are very few leafy greens- I found I was craving some spinach and kale. Morning glory is the only readily found leafy green in the markets so I ate as much as I could.
  6. Chocolate- it did not seem to exist! I was surprised that I missed it, not so much in a craving for sweet things as there was so much sweet stuff, but more as a desire for a little indulgence since there was no dessert I could eat- other than fruit, or mango and sticky rice (so good!) I did cook a chocolate cake though- see below!
  7. Thai people put added sugar in everything, even many of the fruit smoothies have added sugar unless you specifically ask for them without. All the seemingly herbal teas come sweetened with syrups as well. It seems crazy to me since the diet is naturally sweet.

Things I loved about Thai food:

  1. The amazing fruit needs reiterating here! I also tried durian for the first time- an acquired texture, much more creamy that I anticipated. I also loved their mini bananas, much sweeter then what we have in the uk.
  2. Lots of veg heavy dishes with light sauces. Limited gluten as most are accompanied with rice or noodles of some description. I liked the lightness of the meals (but I did eat a lot!)
  3. Lots of veggie/vegan restaurants in Chaingmai, once you knew where to look. They all served plenty of delicious vegan options which made life much easier! One of my favourite restaurants we went to was Bamboo Bee. I tiny little research with only 4 tables and a lot of customers- we had to wait an hour before we could be seated. The place is run by Bee herself and the dishes are organic vegan, yet such amazing value. A huge meal for 4 people (and we ate a lot of dishes) was well under £20.  She also has an book with all recipes that I plan to buy and recreate- particularly the sauces as I could do with some new ideas in that department.
  4. Fresh coconut- I reckon if you were stranded on a dessert island you could survive a long time on coconut, drinking the water and eating the meat-such a perfectly packaged food!
  5. Mango and sticky rice. This was one of the first dishes I had at a little open air market. So so good, made with sticky rice, coconut milk, sugar if some kind and a whole fresh mango. Yes I know, total carb alert! I would love to try and make my won versions as a treat.
  6. I didn't feel very bloated through my trip, even though I was eating so much much sugar fruit, which is great as travel and change if routine often affects my digestion.

 

I made two big jugs of delicious fruit smoothie to share with everyone on my last day, the recipes are below of you fancy recreating some of your tropical bliss as we move slowly into summer!

I also made my much loved banana chocolate cake for both a leaving party and a birthday... I made 4 cakes in total (following the same recipe I first made here in Lanzarote!) I had very limited utensils, no oven (only a microwave) and no measuring tools BUT it still worked surprising well and everyone loved it! It certainly helped satisfy my chocolate craving.

The original choc-banana cake!

The original choc-banana cake!

My version making the best of what I had! (that say's '27' on top)

My version making the best of what I had! (that say's '27' on top)

I managed to track down the cake ingredients at a local market... But it took ages as hardly anyone understood what I was trying to say! We had to use a translation app on the phone and show them the Thai phrase each time. Even then we went from stall to stall until we found what we needed. I thing the stall holders were quite bemused ;-)

I did eat a lot more carbs during the last two weeks that I have in a long long time. However in the past when I have tried a carb heavy diet (a year ago I experimented gin 80/10/10) I felt very bloated and it did not work for me well at all. Yet I did not feel at all bloated in Thailand. The two main differences were lack of beans- not sure if this combination of food works better!? And also the difference in climate. I am a big believe in eating locally grown foods in accordance with climate for optimal results. I now feel as though it's less an issue of the ratio of carbs/fat/protein but more an issue of the relationship to climate. Something I'll be export more. 

I'll leave you with a few foodies photos taken thought out my time in Chaingmai. All photos were taken on my phone. 

Plus scroll down for my smoothies recipes... 

The only photo I took of the smoothies (alongside a yellow watermelon -  how cool?)

The only photo I took of the smoothies (alongside a yellow watermelon -  how cool?)

For the smoothies I used fresh coconut meat which was amazing as it left little chewy pieces of coconut in the smoothie. This was in large part accidental due to the power of the basic blender I was using, if using a more highly powered machine it will be smoother, unless you stop blending whilst there are still some visible specks of coconut.  

Recipe: chocolate, banana, coconut smoothie

Makes approx  1 litre

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup coca powder
  • 5-6 mini bananas (approx 3-4 regular)
  • Flesh of half a coconut (approx 1/2 packed cup)
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 cup water

Recipe: banana mango, coconut smoothie

Makes approx 1 litre

Ingredients:

  • 1 large mango
  • 3-4 mini bananas (approx 3 regular)
  • Flesh of half a coconut (approx 1/2 packed cup)
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 cup water

Do you want to know what my favourite meal was.... yup, mango and sticky coconut rice served from a street trader ;-)  I already have my sights set on recreating the recipe... but since I haven't yet had time since returning this recipe looks like an easy start... though this one is more traditional!

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Big juicing news and review... plus Apple Pie in a glass!

Today I have a new recipe alongside some exciting news about a little project i’ve been involved with behind the scenes these last couple of weeks.

It’s all about juicing!!

Those who have been long time readers may know I go back and forth when it comes to my thoughts on juicing... 

Are smoothies or juices better?

Do we really need to cleanse or detox?

What about the fibre?

Are juices too high in sugar?

What about the ‘wasted’ pulp?

These thoughts have gone round and round in my mind for sometime. But when it comes down to it i’ll be honest with you….. I DO think there is a valid place for BOTH smoothies and juices depending on your bodies needs at a particular moment in time BUT for me it often comes down to practicality day to day. I have always found smoothies much easier to blend up and clean up. Plus I like bulk freezing smoothies in thick portions to defrost and dilute with water in the go. 

That’s it the cold hard truth… I’m a smoothie girl largely because I am lazy, ha ha!

So, when I was approached by Thrive Magazine (who I regularly write for) a few weeks ago asking if i’d be interesting in testing a new juicer, I was curious. Indeed, my initial questions in response to the original email were: 

Is it a slow juicer?   

Is it compact for a worktop?  

Is it very easy to clean? 

I knew that if it didn’t sit neatly on my worktop and wasn’t a quick clean it simply wouldn’t get used. I know this for a fact as for sometime I have had the privilege of using the super duper Tribest Green Star Elite twin gear cold press juicer… BUT (and it’s a big one) it doesn’t matter how amazing the juice produced is if the juicer simply sits unused in the garage most of the time. The best juicer is the one you actually use!  The fact that the Juico juicer is a slow juicer (as opposed to a centrifugal type which typically yields less juice and nutritional value) was of course a huge bonus!

The answers to my questions came back YES, YES, YES…. so I was in!

Here’s the details…. I was sent a Juico Uno juicer to trial thoroughly- producing recipes, photos and videos and a review (you are reading it!) and in return for my efforts I got to keep it! So just to be clear, by that I mean I was gifted this juicer in return for my time and efforts BUT please let me be clear that this review is absolutely my own words, thoughts and feelings throughout!

You can check out my mini video having a look around Juico Uno.

(P.s this is my first time making 'in action' videos in my kitchen so they might be a bit cringey, ha ha!)

The other reason I was keen to trial this juicer was that I am always getting asked by friends and clients for juicer recommendations and up until now I have never really been able to give any since I didn’t have personal experience of a high quality yet budget friendly juicer. The Tribest juicer I have used previously is undoubtedly fantastic, but is something I would consider more of a commercial machine or for those who juice constantly and dedicate a large part of their diet and lifestyle (and kitchen space) to juicing.

The Juico Uno juicer really is for everyone. 

At a price point of under £300 (currently much less as it's on sale as I write this post) it is incredibly good value for a cold press juicer. (This blog post by Kris Carr is useful to understand the differences between juicer types). Plus at around 15cm circumference and a height of around 45cm (it fits nicely on the work top under the upper cabinets) and the fact that it’s easy to clean is in a winner in all respects that were important to me.

Any negatives?

Not really- though it took me a while to figure out how to dismantle it. It's not hard but seemed quite stiff and needed a fair wriggle to take the main section off the base. (you can see all the parts in this video though I didn't take it apart there). The pulp is wetter that the very high end juicers, (but dryer than centrifugal juicers) but when you take price point into consideration this is not something I’d mark down as being a negative. 

Phew…. at last I can give a genuine recommendation. In fact there is a little discount code for you at the bottom of this post if you are at all interested.

So… will I continue to juice?  Absolutely, though probably not every single day as it's not part of my routine. I still like smoothies after all. :-)

Even if it was just for the ginger juicing alone it’s worth it’s value in my eyes. (video here on why I juice ginger- it was the first time I actually used the juicer and I got white excited!) 

I enjoy both smoothies and juices and feel they both have a place in a healthy wholefood diet. Juices are perfect for times when you want to give your digestive system a little rest or re-boot or simply for a change of texture. Whereas I drink green smoothies day to day as more of a light meal replacement or snack. 

As with smoothies, I tend to focus on packing in the veggies as much as I can to balance sugars. That said, this little recipe below gives a super sweet kick…. it’s like dessert in a glass! Yum

You can check out the video of the juicer in action creating this juice below...

(Stay tuned for another juicer recipe on the blog shortly….. it’s a quirky concept and if you are a juicing fan you definitely won’t want to miss it!)

Enjoy!

Recipe: Apple Pie Juice

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 2 fist sized sweet potatoes
  • 2 apples
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (to taste)

Method:

Wash the sweet potatoes and apples thoroughly but no need to peel or core (unless the sweet potato had very rough chunks to cut off). Cut all into the skinny pieces and juice them together.

Stir through the ground cinnamon into the jug of juice or pour juice into a glass and sprinkle the cinnamon over the foam on top.

I was gifted this juicer in return for my time and efforts BUT please let me be clear this review is absolutely ALL my own words, thoughts and feelings throughout!


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Day to day you can always find me hanging out in these places:

 

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Healthy Pimms... with a quirky ingredient!

One of the ladies who joined my 30 Day Summer Drink Up Challenge (we're in the final week now!) suggested this idea to me last week. At the time it had me intrigued and I thought it sounded pretty genius but I wanted to test it out for myself to see what she was raving about!

Testing done and I concur it's pretty awesome for such a simple trick! 

It's the time of year when the weather is hotting up, so keeping hydrated becomes even more important. I's so easy to get sucked into drinking sugary sweet drinks so this is a beautiful twist on a classic and isn't really sweet at all except for a subtle aftertaste from the chopped fruits. Perfect if your taste buds prefer less sweet beverages or you are looking to make a shift. 

Open your mind and embrace its uniqueness. It's so simple, it's worth giving it a go to find out one way or the other... I loved it, but my mum wasn't such a fan.

I can't wait to hear what you think!

What's your favourite classic summer time beverage?

Recipe: Heathy 'Pimms'

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 litre good quality sparkling water 
  • 1-2 tsp good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbs apple, grape or cranberry juice (if desired)
  • large mixed handful of chopped strawberry, cucumber and fresh mint

Method:

Mix the lowed together and add the chopped fruit. Allow to sit for at least minutes for the flavours to infuse before adding ice to serve. Alternatively, prepare a few hours in advance and let sit in the fridge to chill and flavours to muddle a little more.


Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers plus my FREE ebook. If you are new round here check out my 'About' and 'Getting Started' tabs up top. To buy nibbles you can also find me over at Wholeplus. 

Day to day you can always find me hanging out in these places:

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Drink Up Challenge.... swap out the sugar!

We're into week two of my Summer Drink-Up Challenge... and this is where is gets really interesting! Week one was all both creating awareness and increasing water intake... the process of adding in and not taking away.

Reflecting back to the reason I wanted to create the challenge, it was the idea that so many people focus on eating a healthy diet, yet the choice of beverage is often overlooked. 

Whether it be the indulgent takeout coffee from Costa, a couple of cans of Coke or even the sugar laden protein shake you chug down after your epic gym workout. 

Many of these beverages could be seen as ‘meals’ in themselves themselves and even those that aren’t of that caloric density often contain huge amounts of sugar or chemicals sweeteners that mess with our bodies and minds just as powerfully as eating the wrong types of foods.

This what I’m passionate about.

I’m passionate about helping you create curiosity and awareness around your choices, make simple swaps that will super-charge life without feeling restricted or compromised. I’m not saying you need to give it all up, of course not! But it’s about making that choice to be informed and in control.

All week all week long over in the Facebook event group I’ll be posting links to recipes, tips and information to help inspire your creativity in all forms of beverages. I'd love you to join us there ... still plenty of time to take part!

I was also inspired by fellow healthy vegan bloggers who have created their ow versions of some of the classic. I have shared them below with permission.

Some top tips for cutting back on the refined sugars and chemicals...

  1. use fruit tea bags mixed with fizzy water (plus a little sweeter as necessary and wean yourself back over time)
  2. make your own shakes and smoothies with fruits and nut butters...BUT remember to that those as a meal not a drink!
  3. coconut water is perfect for hydration and it's naturally sweet and mild flavour makes great option when blended with other fruit such as berries, lemon, lime or ginger. 
  4. vanilla goes the impression of sweets in food and drink so get creative.

 

These are my favourite fruit and coconut water blends. Sweetness without too much fruit.


Healthy recipes from around the web!

Are you in to juicing? Check out this Citrus Energizer by Mason Jar Salads

Are you a kombucha fan?  Why not add it to a very smoothie by Veganosity

Protein peanut butter banana smoothie are always a winner by Win-Win Food

Or why not this peach cobbler protein desert shake by Noshed

Pink lemonade for classic summer time chilling by Ribas With Love

You can never go wrong with simple strawberry milk (try each and mango too!) by Peppers and Peaches

A skinny choc shake.. a great base for flavour options! By Simple Green Moms

Lavender lemonade gives a refreshing summer twist by Green Evi

Fruit Kool aid without the crap by Lexie's Kitchen

Last but not least... I am loving this spin on orange squash! by Kiip Fit

What would be your perfect summer time beverage? 


Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers plus my FREE ebook. If you are new round here check out my 'About' and 'Getting Started' tabs up top. To buy nibbles you can also find me over at Wholeplus. 

Day to day you can always find me hanging out in these places:

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Coconut Macadamia milk

I'm following the theme of beverages since my Summer Drink Up Challenge is at the forefront of my mind! 

It might seem strange but I don't actually drink much 'milk' of any kind.

I don't drink traditional tea of coffee so have no need for milk there. My smoothies and shakes tend to use nuts or blended fruits for creaminess.  I don't eat cereal for breakfast so no need for milk there either. I DO however eat porridge, and although it's fine with water or blended nut butters, sometimes I really fancy some milk to make it super duper creamy.

I previously shared this crazy beautiful idea for quinoa milk and cream. I still love it as it makes a great chocolate thick shake and it's so easy.

Recently I had a play around with other milk ingredients. This was one of my favourites. I blended coconut flakes and macadamia partly for flavour but also because introducing coconut helped keep the cost of the macadamias down (they are sooooo expensive).

I will say you do need a nut bag or fine mesh straining cloth to ensure you get a super creamy milk.  I bought mine on Amazon and it's a really useful purchase. 

I also want to mention here that the link above takes you to my newly created Amazon shop. I decided that because people so often ask me for recommendations for books and tools I love, it made sense to me to put them all in one place. It just means that any product you buy through my shop (at no extra cost to you) gives me a teensy weeny percentage of the affiliate fee.

Let's get back to the milk....

Recipe: Coconut Macadamia milk (all measurements are approximates depending on preferred viscosity)

  • 1/4 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup macadamias
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla bean

Method:

Blend all ingredients together until totally smooth. Set your mesh bag over a large jug or bowl and pour the creamy mixture into the bag. Using your hands squeeze and massage the mixture until the milk is filtered and you only have pulp left.

You can reserve the pulp for other baking use.

The milk will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge.  Other options for flavour include adding fruits or cocoa to the mix.  I also made a version for Real Food Source (pictured at the top of the page) with blended in bee pollen for an extra nutritional boost and slight caramelly flavour (I do appreciate this is not vegan).

 

What should I do with the pulp I hear you ask?

I haven't yet got a recipe on my blog, but these nut pulp macaroons from Elana's Pantry could be a great place to start!

I'd love to hear from you if you make your own milk and if so, what your favourite ingredients are!

Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers plus my FREE ebook. If you are new round here check out my 'About' and 'Getting Started' tabs up top. To buy nibbles you can also find me over at Wholeplus. 

Day to day you can always find me hanging out in these places:

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Creamy chocolate quinoa shake

It's National chocolate week in the UK… That's got to be the best week, right?

The perfect week to indulge BUT let this also be a week of mindfulness and creativity in making healthier sweet treats and also an opportunity to raise awareness of the benefits of the good old cocoa bean and in particular 'raw' cacao and healthy unrefined forms of sweetness.

I promised you a recipe and I won't disappoint but first I want to give you a quick round up of the heath benefits of cocoa... pin it to your wall as a little reminder! :-)

 
 

The real food source have a wide range of raw cacao products as fantastic prices... including this new 'raw' cacao powder and a blog post here to discuss the debate around whether cacao can truly be raw?  

What do you think?

What healthy chocolate treats do you like to make... feel free to link up and share in the comments?

 

Now.. here's your recipe. It's a spin off from my classic plain quinoa milk

This ones a keeper I promise!

... served with a few of my Wholeplus Squares in the side for a double choc delight!

... served with a few of my Wholeplus Squares in the side for a double choc delight!

Recipe: Chocolate quinoa shake

Makes approx. 1 ltr

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa*
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste or powder
  • 8 drops stevia (to taste) or another unrefined sweetener of choice
  • 8 deglet noor or 3-4 medjool dates
  • 3 tbs cocoa powder
  • 2 tbs fine oatmeal or 1 tbs nut butter (optional- to give extra thickness)

Method

Blend all together well until thick and creamy. Chill before serving for best flavour and to thicken up a little more. Use within 2 days.

*ideally soak overnight and rinse well before cooking to minimise any bitterness.

Options: add the flesh and juice of an orange in stead of part of the water for an choc-orange version! Yum!!

 

choc quioa milk 3a.jpg

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Beginners green smoothie

I love my green smoothies but tend to use much the same recipe over and over just changing the fruit or the leafy greens every so often.

Last weekend I felt a green smoothie craving but didn't have my usual freezer stash of portions pre-blended ready to defrost.  

I used what I had to hand in the fridge, and as it happened it turned out to be a pretty tasty mild and creamy green smoothie, one I would suggest would be perfect for beginners. If you are still feeling a bit hesitant simply change the ratios of fruit to greens a little so it is more heavier on the fruit, then over time you can slowly increase the greens.

Green smoothies are fab for packing in the nutrients in a slower releasing form than a fruit only smoothie that is much higher in fast releasing fruit sugars than can often overload the body with fructose. Here, the addition of nut butter (or avocado if you like) further helps sustain you and spread the sugar load and really gives it the smooth creamy quality. 

If you're a newbie this could be the perfect blend to try. The blend will last for a day in the fridge so you could drink a glass for breakfast and also as a later snack or simply for breakfast for two days running... or in one big glass!

A few extra tips for 'newbies' trying our your own blend- aim to use yellow to green coloured fruits such as orange, banana, mango, apple, kiwi or pear for the best colour. If you use berries along with greens the end result might taste great but you'll end up with a grey sludgy looking smoothie- not so pleasing in the eyes.

Also  it comes to the 'green part'- cucumber, courgette, lettuce, spinach are very mild in taste and are perfect to start with whereas kale, broccoli, rocket etc are stronger tasting or have a coarser texture so may take more blending or be too strong for a beginners palate- just a few thoughts to keep in mind and experiment with!

Also, for those you have already joined my '21 Day Lemon Water Challenge' starting in August 11th this would be a great follow up for breakfast or as a mid afternoon pick me up.

green smoothie1a.jpg

Recipe: Beginner green smoothie

Serves 1-2

 Ingredients

  • 1 cup water (or more to reach desired thickness)
  • 1 cup loosely packed spinach
  • ½ cup cucumber
  • 1 large orange- peeled*
  • 1-2 tbs cashew butter (more for thicker creaminess)*

 Method

Blend everything together until as smooth as possible. I find it easiest to add half the water first, blend well and then add the remainder and re-blend to get the smoothest consistency.

You could swap some of the water for part ice for immediate chill, This will be thicker so a little extra water may be needed. 

Chill  to serve. Will store in the fridge in an airtight container for 24 hours.

*You could substitute the cashew butter for some avocado. You could also try other fruits- banana, apple to mango are typically great options. If you use berries be warned that the red and green colour combo will turn into more of a greyish sludge.

green smoothie1a.jpg

 I'd love you to join me in other places too!  

Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers  plus me FREE ebook. If you are new round here check out my 'About' and 'Getting Started' tabs up top. To buy nibbles you can also find me over at Wholeplus.  Day to day you can always find me in these places:

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Creamy summer shake... only takes a minute!

Today I have a simple 'Summer Shake' recipe. After I'd been experimenting with ice cream combos I had some remains of a berry mixture in my blender. Never one for wanting to simply wash it up I like to use all the scraps, so in this instance I added some water to the plantain strawberry mix in the bottom of the blender and the result… a perfect creamy summer smoothie.

I then tried it again with more specific ratios to write up for you, but really I encourage you to play around with the ratios to see what suits you. Obviously the more liquid you add the thinner it is. I personally liked it both ways- either a thick smoothie or as a thinner milkshake, I added a little sweetener to the milk version as it is less sweet when more diluted, you may decide you want a little extra sweetness for the shake also. I used strawberries and I think these are the best berries as the fleshiness creates a great creamy texture and lovely light pastel pink colour, but you could try other berries or how about some of the fleshy stone fruits in season! 

This is a great beverage to make it's own or to use remains in your blender like I did. I chilled mine before drinking but you could blend up with ice to chill and also help thicken it further.


Recipe: Strawberry plantain shake

Serves 1-2 (measurements are approximate)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup plantain 
  • 3-4 strawberries
  • 1 tsp nut butter
  • a dash of vanilla powder or paste
  • a couple of drops of stevia or sweetener of choice
  • 1-2 cups water to suit your preference of thickness (sub some water with ice if desired)

Method:

Blend everything until smooth. 

I'd love you to join me in other places too!  

Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers  plus me FREE ebook. If you are new round here check out my 'About' and 'Getting Started' tabs up top. To buy nibbles you can also find me over at Wholeplus.  Day to day you can always find me in these places:

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