Posts tagged raw
My top #Rawgust meal ideas & raw banana bread recipe!

It's coming up to the end of the month. The end of August.... and therefore the end of #Rawgust

I didn't announce it directly on my blog (kept that to social media) but I made the decision on the last day of their life to give Raugust a go - that's raw vegan for the month of August. My boyfriend was also up for playing along which helped!

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I felt very unprepared and aware that it may not run perfectly or smoothly but that's ok. It was the spontaneity that spoke to me in the moment when I saw a post by the Ethcs crew that I really resonated with.

Having spent time at Raw Fest on the last weekend of July, and more recently exploring the connection between a plant-based diet and our innate sense of creativity for my forthcoming book, I am learning that a raw vegan diet has the potential to bring you even closer to that connection with self, with source, with nature.

My good friend Rhiannon Van Der Griffin recently shared her raw journey with me a part of my book research and I was inspired more than ever to try it for myself. 

In moments like this I come back to this quote by Matt Cutts. It's simply about getting curious to explore what becoming the very best version of you could look like. For 30 days.

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So how did the month play out for me?

NOTE: more in depth update in this post!

Well, I admit I wasn't perfect. I wasn't 100% raw. Probably about 85% in reality. 

One of the biggest reasons for wanting to do it, was to increase my repertoire of raw meal ideas for the future, and that I did for sure. In particular, raw sauces, dips and dressings for salads can REALLY make a salad.... it doesn't often matter what veggies you have in the bowl if you have an incredible sauce to smoother them in, right? ;-) Make enough for the week and you have easy meals lunches you can make in moments. 

I am going to put together a separate post sharing a big roundup of raw recipes from a vegan community I am part of, but for now I'd like to share a few of my favourite discoveries and tips.

I'd also love to hear about your own 'raw' adventures...

Whether that might simply be incorporating a green smoothie each day, or a raw lunch Monday to Friday, or more raw snacks. It's not about hitting 100% perfect, what works for you?

Have you felt any benefits going more 'raw'? Or what are you currently struggling with?

My favourite things to make...

  • Raw sauces etc (as noted above) - make a weeks worth.

  • Deyhdrated flax crackers which are great as a snack in the go, as cracker as a 'bread substitute' and also as croutons in a salad when sliced into tiny squares- recipe here

  • Bliss Balls are also an obvious go-to, BUT I did have a tendency to eat a lot of them and then be too full for a massive salad- ooops!

  • Courgetti- spiralised courrgette and carrot for a fun pretty bowl. Also great with the chunky bolognaise- see pic above - recipe to come.

  • Smoothies of all kinds - green, berry or banana and raw cacao for a chocolate hit!

  • Overnight oats - this one is a little contentious as to whether it's actually raw, since rolled porridge oats are technically heated in the rolling process. But this was often nice to wake up to instead of smoothie or fruit bowl in the morning, or as lunch on the go.

  • Mushroom curry - so easy and so good (see pic above) based on this recipe using cashews.

  • Lettuce wraps with a peanut satay dipping sauce (technical the peanut butter component wasn't raw) note: gem lettuce leaves work best- those in the picture were from my veggie patch.

Still a few more days of #Rawgust to go, so I will see what creations catch my eye- I will be back with more raw recipes here soon!

For now, I'll leave you with this recipe for a raw banana bread... I totally made this up as I went along, but it worked so well as a spin-off on a bliss ball style creation.

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Recipe: Raw Banana Bread Slice

Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas

  • 2 tbs flax seed

  • 1 cup dates

  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon (to taste)

  • 1/2 cup oats

  • 1/2 cup nuts- chopped (I used macadamias*)

  • 1/2 cup nuts- ground (I used pecans*)

  • pinch salt

* I loved the flavour and texture of the chunky macadamia pieces, but I imagine cashews or almond would also work well. Any ground nut could be used.

If you want a more intense 'double banana' flavour, try using dried banana pieces (not banana chips) instead of dates - or half and half.

Method:

Blend the banana with the flax, cinnamon and dates until smooth. Add all remaining ingredients and mix well to form a stiff slightly sticky 'dough'. (I pulsed the mix together in a food processor but you could do it by hand). 

Form into a log on a liner and chill for at least an hour to firm up. Once firm slice into pieces and serve. Store in the fridge for up to a week. This freezes well too.

NOTE: It makes about three times the amount shown, but I gifted most of it to my boyfriend before I had a chance to shoot it ;-)

raw banana bread rawgust.jpg
 

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Chocolate Crispy Cake 'Bliss Bars'

So here's a super simple recipe that I first made a month or two ago and I think I have now made at least 4 times since! It's a great one to make with or for kids too.

They are soooooo moreish it's unreal.... a soft and chewy 'bliss ball' texture with loads of crispy flakes mixed through.

The added bonus with the high proportion of flakes mixed in is that it helps lighten up an otherwise dense snack... that's the only problem with bliss balls/energy balls- they are very dense for their size and if like me you have a tendency to 'eat with your eyes' - it's very easy to overdo it!

crispy cake raw bars 1a.jpg

Guilty admission- as I sit here writing this post, I have a box of these bites beside to take on a road trip with a friend this afternoon, BUT I have already munched through the about four of them! Oooops.... ;-)

This most recent batch I made had protein powder added instead of the coconut flakes. This really helps bump up the protein count, if that's your thing for for it. One tip- I found they flavour was so much better the following day- on day 1 I could slightly taste the protein powder but by the second day onwards it had pretty much disappeared as the flavours had time to meld.

You can use any type of crispy flaked cereal you like, but for extra nutritional value I used these amaranth, quinoa and buckwheat cornflakes by RealFoodSource (amaranth is shown in the photos here) 

You can press the mix into a square pan and cut into squares/bars or roll into balls, both work great. They freeze well too, and can even be munch o straight from the feeezer (mind your teeth- you may prefer to defrost a little!)

Add any 'mix-ins' you fancy, some other dried fruits, nutty chunks or an extract such as peppermint, orange or almond always go down well. If using an extract- about 1/2 tsp should do mixed in at the start, with other ingredients pulse through at theed for a chunky texture.

crispy cake raw bars 3a.jpg

Recipe: Chocolate Crispy Cake 'Bliss Bars'

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chopped dates

  • 1/2 cup cocoa (or raw cacao)

  • 1/4 cup ground flax (optional but I like the hidden nutritional boost)

  • 1/2 cup ground almonds (or any ground nut)*

  • a pinch of salt

  • 1 cup flakes cereal

handful chocolate chips or cacoa nibs- optional for extra crunch and chocolateyness

* for the protein version I swapped the ground nuts for defatted almond protein powder- you favorite neutral protein blend would also work here.

Method:

Place the dates, cocoa, flax, nuts and salt in a food processor. process until you have a soft-ish, sticky and clumpy mix- you will likely need to add 2-3 tbs water to create the right consistency.

Add the cereal flakes and choc chips (if using) and pulse through to mix in evenly.

Press firmly into a tin or roll into balls, Chill for an hour until firm.

Will keep for a week or two in the fridge or you can freeze them.

crispy cake raw bars 2a.jpg
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The 'Bliss Cake' (aka a mega bliss ball!)

I have another Bliss Ball Workshop coming up this weekend and last weekend I was in full on recipe development mode last weekend which included making loads of Bliss Ball mix... but I fancied a different presentation to the norm to change things up a bit and so the 'Bliss Cake' was born.... Oh My Gosh..... a touch of heaven on earth!!

Recipe: The Bliss Cake 

Whaaaaaaa.... Why have I not create this before!

I love eating raw cakes BUT I am not typically big fan of making them, simple because of the time it often takes to make and freeze the different layers and also because they are often very neat and super slick and well, I guess I am a little more rough around the edges ;-) Basically, I like to keep things as simple and as quick as possible!

So this beauty ticked those boxes for sure. Be warned if you make it, it is VERY yummy and VERY moreish and a little slice is very rich and will go a long way!  As with blss balls themselves, you could literally make any cake base and then decorate with any toppings... as you can see I added as many colourful things as possible (I was trying out new freeze dried fruits from RealFoodSource at the time).

My base was a blend of dates, almonds, raw cacao and a touch of orange extract.

Other great options could be..... these turkish delight balls, these 'cake like' truffles, or a gingerbread slice. Or why not try a double-decker cake and layer it up- it will barely take any longer as you could just make the full mix without any cocoa, divide in half and add cocoa to the second half, press the first half into the plan followed by the second. 

If you wanted to add a frosting, then the raw frosting I used on these mini sweet potato muffins below (full muffin recipe here) would go down a treat!  Basically you mash slightly softened coconut oil, with a little syrup of choice and cocoa powder, the spread on top in rough peaks and store in the fridge.

vegan chocolate orange cupcakes

Or this lighter frosting (my classic go-to) uses silken tofu and is a total winner! (it just means the topping is not raw, if you were going for the raw cake thing!)

See... now you understand just how versatile the 'bliss cake' is! It;s going to be my new party piece for sure, I will be able to change up the flavours to suits my recipients favourite on a whim!

Recipe: The Bliss Cake 

Recipe: The 'Bliss' Cake 

Makes one 8" cake (or a deeper 6")

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups medjool dates or soaked and drained deglet noor dates (I use the latter)

  • 1 cup ground almonds (or any ground nut/seed base)

  • 1/2 cup cocoa (for a non choc option use a little extra dry ingredient)

  • 1 tsp orange extract (optional- rose water, mint or almond would be fab too)

  • Toppings galore!!!

Method:

Simple blend everything together in a food processor, you may need to do this in two batches defending on the side of your processor (mine is a 2 litre Thermomix). You want a fairly smooth texture with no big pieces, some texture if ok as it makes it 'cake'.

Press fairly firmly into a springform cake pan (or a silicone pan works too) then press into lots of amazing toppings. Or feel free to first it (you will need to keep in the fridge if frosted).

Keeps in the fridge for a couple of weeks (unfrosted) or on the counter for a few days. 

Let me know if you make your own 'bliss cake' tag me @johodson on Instagram as I'd love to see!

Recipe: The Bliss Cake 
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Easy raw chocolate brownies

Guess what... it's national chocolate week! Time for a little celebration with a new recipe I think! 

I wanted to give you an indulgent chocolatey classic, yet something easy to whip up in minutes.

I have just the thing.  Actually it's a spin on these chocolate balls which are always a winner with people whenever I make them and so  a pressed a sliced version was a nice alternative. For some reasons changing the format of things always makes them taste different! I always remember when I was younger how much more I loved Maltersers in the cardboard box compared to in the regular packets! (anyone agree or am I just a weirdo!!)

You could add walnuts here for an even more authentic brownie if you fancy. I dusted the top with a raw cacao and coconut sugar blend.

Eve though they are not baked, these slices have a beautiful cake like quality to them, deeply rich, slightly crumbly and melt in the mouth. Keep them in the fridge and they'll stay more robust. They also freeze very well too not that they'll be around for long enough!

Easy raw chocolate brownies

Recipe: Easy raw chocolate brownies

Ingredients: 

Makes approx. 12 slices

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup ground almonds
  • 1 cup almond or cashew butter
  • 2 tablespoon coconut syrup
  • 12 pitted dates( based on deglet noor dates but if using larger medjool dates reduce to 7 dates)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup raw cacoa powder (plus extra raw cacao to dust- optional)
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts (optional)

Method:

Soak the dates in hot water for 5 mins and then drain. In a food processor, process all the truffle ingredients together to form a thick paste, it should be sticky but not to sticky to handle. Add the walnuts to the mix last and stir through by hand (or a couple of pulses) so they don[t break up too much.

Press the mix firmly into a lined 8" square pan. Dust the top with cacao if desired. Chill until firm before slicing. Keep in the fridge.

Easy raw chocolate brownies
Easy raw chocolate brownies
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Salted peanut butter glaze (on chocolate balls) ...keto friendly!

This is a crazy simple recipe.. and accidental one if I'm honest!

I made some raw chocolate balls and felt they needed pepping up a bit. They probably didn't really but because I make so many of these types of snacks for people I felt the need to 'add' something to this batch. I was also in the midst of a nut butter craving at the time! :-)

Enter the salted peanut butter glaze! 

This would also make a great drizzle topping over a loaf, a cake or ice cream!! Raw treats that are served chilled or cold are best as the nature of the cocoa butter is that it needs to be cool to form the glaze.

I made a batch of these nutty truffle balls for a friend, but since the glaze itself if totally keto friendly, you could by all means make these keto choc hemp bites into balls and dip them in this glaze for another twist.

Recipe: Salted peanut butter glaze

Makes approx 1/3 cup of glaze

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbs cocoa butter
  • 3 tbs peanut butter (smooth or crunchy) 
  • large pinch sea salt (less if PB is salted or to taste)
  • 3-4 drops stevia for a slight sweetness

Method: 

Melty the cocoa butter then stir through peanut butter and stevia until melty and well mixed. 

Ensure the glaze is fairly cool and starting to thicken before dipping or drizzling to get the thickest coverage. Chill the balls to set the glaze firmly and then best keep chilled (or frozen) to prevent potential softening.

Note: you could also use other nut butters of choice... roasted hazelnut or almond would be amazing!

Raw cocoa butter... love this stuff! I ground up a large chunk and then melted it (quicker too melt down that way)

Raw cocoa butter... love this stuff! I ground up a large chunk and then melted it (quicker too melt down that way)

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Quick hemp and avocado 'coodles'

Want a rich and filling lunchtime snack ready in five minutes? This is perfect for Spring, requires no cooking and is a great base for any toppings you might have to hand.

I had fun with my spiraliser... feel like its been a while! Now we are getting closer to the warmer weather I think it will be making a more regular appearance again.

I've played around with avocado-based sauces and dips on numerous occasions but here I blended it with shelled hemp seed and a generous squeeze of lime for a tasty twist and an extra protein boost. Olives and tomatoes seemed the obvious topping to me but you could use what ever you fancy. Why not try some roasted veggies for a 'hot and cold' flavour combo. You could also use ground almonds instead of hemp if you prefer- usually tasty!

This would also make a great picnic dish for a lunchtime snack at the office or a tapas dish to take to a party.

This recipe was one of my keto experiments. I'm still playing around with the keto style of eating but I am trying to reintroduce a few beans and pulses back into my diet- patly because I really missed them (more than sweet things!) but also because they are such a useful protein source. Some days I am likely to be out of keto because of this, I am simply finding a balance that works well for me.

Avocado is such a versatile ingredient for all types of diet, it's mild and creamy and full of healthy fats. What's your favourite way too use avocado?

p.s I don't think I'll ever get bored of taking photos of tomatoes... perfectly photogenic :-)

Recipe: Hemp and avocado 'coodles'

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 courgette
  • 1 small avocado
  • 3 tbs ground almonds/shelled hemp
  • 3 mint leaves- finely chopped (or other herb- such as parsley or basil)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2tsp oilve oil
  • Toppings: chopped olives and sliced cherry tomatoes plus a little salt and pepper

Method:

Spiralise the courgette and set aside. Blend the avocado with the almond/hemp seeds, lime juice, chopped mint leaves and olive oil and mix through the courgette noodles.

Serve into a bowl and top with cherry tomato halves and olives with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

 

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Hemp and almond chocolate bites

I've found that the easiest way for my to monitor my protein and carb intake whilst following a ketogenic eating plan (without continuously counting every macro) is to focus on getting the bulk of my protein via my snacks and hemp porridge as constants in my day to day routine and then focussing on maximising the low carb veggies (which is still the largest carb proportion of my day) in my main meal and green smoothie. 

High protein but low carb snacks that also qualify as a treat are therefore always going to be a winner for me!

These raw hemp and almond squares are also perfect if you are trying to minimise your sugar intake since most snacks of this type are high in fructose and packed with dates as the binding ingredient. A few drops of stevia is the only form of sweetener here, but you could add a small amount of dates or a little coconut sugar to add a touch of caramelly flavour if you prefer whilst still offering a low overall sugar content.

You could also try adding flavour extracts such as orange, rum or almond if you fancy. I often find adding flavours such as these gives the impression of sweetness and covers any potential aftertaste of stevia (for those who are sensitive to it). Make sure you use oil based extracts and not alcohol based ones in raw goodies for best flavour.

 Recipe: Hemp and almond chocolate bites

Recipe adapted from Leanne's Rum Balls

Makes approx. 10 squares/balls

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup hemp hearts
  • ½ cup ground almonds
  • ½ cup cocoa
  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • a few drops of stevia (or 2 tbs coconut sugar)
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean powder 

Method:

Process all ingredients together until slightly sticky and press into a small pan or roll into small balls. Press in a few extra hemp hearts to decorate. 

Chill the pressed mixture before slicing. Store in the fridge.

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Chocolate peanut bars

The last 'Chocolate Week' recipe is here!

I used my very own Wholeplus Toppers as i've been wrapped up in the depths of festive flavour experiments and so my classic chocolate sprinkle was on my mind. But have no fear, I have also noted instructions below so you can simply make your own version too.

This no-bake bar is a variation of a traditional 'bliss ball' and in this instance peanut butter is the champion. We all know how well chocolate peanut butter go together! Of course you could use any other form of nut butter- how about hazelnut butter for a ferrero rocher style bar (oh my gosh I might just have to do that!!), that would be amazing... 

You can form balls instead if you prefer and dust lightly with cocoa to make a chocolate peanut butter truffles. Super duper indulgent and perfect for parties for halloween if you press a round nut for an eyeball in the top ;-)

If you do try making your own 'Toppers' they should look like this before you mix the peanut butter into them:

Why not keep some aside for a tasty porridge or dessert sprinkle as well. They store for weeks in a sealed container and are perfect have on hand when you simply need a little natural sweetness.

PS. for those of you in UK I'm launching my Wholplus Christmas Range of flavours in the next couple of days so keep your eyes peeled. It's exciting time of year!!

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Recipe: Chocolate peanut butter bars

Approx. 10 bars (depending on size)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chocolate Wholeplus Toppers mix (dates, cocoa, flax)*
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • ½ cup crunchy peanut butter (crunchy is best for nutty flecks and texture)

Method

Blend ingredients together until sticky. Press into the bottom of a line small pan or loaf tin making sure the mix is around 15mm-20mm thick. Chill until firm and slice into bars. Can be frozen.

*To make your own similar version of my Wholeplus Toppers process dates, cocoa and flax together until you have small slightly sticky pieces.

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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