NEW Workbook Launch.... and Sweet Potato Choc Orange Muffins!

Yesterday I finally completed something I have actually been working on for some years now!

As you will gather from the title of this website, and this little story I shared a few weeks ago... quitting refined sugar BUT still eating treats is a huge factor in optimising my own life! It's something of a mission for me to share with the world :-)

In my opinion it is in one of the BEST things you can do for your body and mind equally, regardless of what kind of diet you follow. Vegan, vegetarian, paleo, gluten free etc ....everyone can benefit hugely from cutting out refined sugar from their diets!

A couple of years ago, after immersing myself in countless books, data, articles etc all about sugar, and even having this article published in the first ever edition of Vegan Life Magazine (huge proud moment!) I wrote the copy for an 8-week course I planned to run through a dedicated Facebook group in the lead up to summer. I created all the graphics and promo too.

It was literally all set to go.... but then 'life' for in the way and I didn't run it at all. All the wonderful content lay dormant on my laptop, even though I knew it had the potential to change so many peoples lives.  I feel a little embarrassed now admitting this to you all.

But I never forgot about it.

A few week ago I saw Star Kechara's passive income challenge to create a interactive workbook. It suddenly clicked.... all that wonderful copy I had written could be remodelled (and added to of course with all my new knowledge) into a workbook that people could fill in and work through at their own pace. A resource for life. It felt such a good fit!

So here it is! Now complete in all it's glory!  PLUS as an added bonus I have written a (pretty incredible) extended version of my 'sugar-free recipe book' as the perfect companion to the 4-week workbook challenge.

AND...I am offering this HUGE bundle (pictured above) for the price of the workbook alone until January 31st 2017!

You can find all the info with a sneak peak of what you'll get in the details here!

Or if you want to check out just the recipe book alone... details are here!


In the mean time I want to share a new recipe a from the recipe book with you... a little gift! This is a direct page grab from the book so you can see exactly how the recipes are laid out. 

These mini muffins are perfect for Christmas but any time of year really.... and it just so happens to be my favourite flavour combo (remember my little story!) True to nature they also pack some veggies in. I used sweet potato but this is a spin on my classic 'crazy courgette cake' so courgette or even carrot would work well here too!

I hope you make them, and enjoy them.... please tag me if you do! It always makes me smile. :-)

chocolate orange muffins
vegan chocolate orange mufffins
Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF
Bliss Baubles... fun Christmas gift (and the Ultimate Guide!)

At the beginning of this month you may recall I launched a simple advent gratitude challenge on Facebook. I've been feeling festive now that all the adverts are on TV and the countdown to Christmas is in full flow...  I am also feeling very reflective and setting in motion what I want to create in 2017! Maybe this is what triggered the gratitude challenge.

I also ran another 'Bliss Ball' workshop a few weekends ago (we also had one on my last two retreats) and it was so much fun!  As I was making up all the mix I had an idea for a simple gift idea...

christmas bliss balls gift

Mini bliss balls in a bauble! Yay!

Simply, blend up some dates, nut butter and cacoa (or use your favourite bliss ball recipe) roll into small balls then dust in extra cacao. 

Below are the rough ratios (I rarely measure bliss ball ingredients these days!)... basically make sure you process the ingredients well and end up with a mix that tatses good and isn't too sticky to handle. Add more dry ingredient or chill for a while if too sticky.

The guide is my go too recipe when it comes to bliss ball making. The perfect beginning 'base'.

Guide recipe:

  • 2 cups medjool dates or soaked deglet noor dates (drain them very well!)

  • 1/2 heaped cup desiccated coconut, ground almonds or nut butter

  • 1/4 cup cocoa or raw cacao (plus extra for dusting)

  • few drops of flavour extract to taste (optional) - peppermint, orange and rosewater are my favourites!

Pop a handful of balls in a plastic bauble- the type made in two halves (I found a set of 8cm baubles on Ebay) add a ribbon and a gift tag with a little message if giving as a gift... or just hang on the tree! 

I didn't take a great photo as I hadn't initially planned to blog it (only Instagram it), but I thought it was such a lovely idea, I wanted to share it here too!

They'd make great stocking fillings, thank you gifts or healthy Christmas tree candy! 

Here is a pic from the workshop in Lanzarote.... messy hands!

Here is a pic from the workshop in Lanzarote.... messy hands!

As I am such a big lover of bliss balls/power balls/energy balls... (whatever name floats your boat). I made a fun guide 'The Ultimate Bliss Ball Guide' and you can buy it here for just $5. You can simply view it digitally or print as cut into a card set as I have designed it be used :-)  No excuse for not having healthy, indulgent, energising snacks to hand any more!

Packed full with 20 EASY NO-BAKE RECIPES. Complete with lots of variations for endless fun and exploration!

Enjoy... be sure to tag me if you make any of the recipes!


Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF
Baked 'Bakewell' Pie.... New favourite easy festive 'bressert'!

I have found my new Christmas breakfast for this year!  Or more accurately 'bressert' - when  dish i heathy enough for breakfast but indulgent enough for dessert!

It's a spin on my equally wonderful classic Christmas baked oats from over 4 years ago now (wow time flies!) and it's the new recipe I'll be making for my family on Christmas morning. 

Recipe: Baked 'Bakewell' Pie

This year we are spending Christmas Day at my brother and his girlfriend's house in Winchester, and knowing they both love 'Bakewell Tart' flavours I was inspired to create a breakfast in their honour. The mini bliss balls pressed into the top are added indulgence as I had some mix in my fridge from the recent workshop I ran (more workshops in the New Year if you want to come!) but you could omit these or simply use marzipan and roll into balls if you have that to hand! Or you could use Bakewell Nakd bars chopped up, ha ha (not a sponsored link!) I will say the balls do make an incredible addition to this breakfast so add them if you can.

The three big things I love about baked oatmeals are...

  1. They literally take minutes to mix up in one bowl and you can just as easily make breakfast for two or eight by just changing at the quantities (and the size of the baking dish)

  2. There are almost endless flavour combinations (I have loads on my blog already)

  3. They are healthy enough for breakfast but indulgent enough for dessert!

The bliss ball recipe I used is available here in my newly launched 'The Ultimate Bliss Ball Recipe Guide'. It has 20 recipes AND loads of alternative options for each so the ideas really are limitless... this guide will be a great addition to a January health kick too!  I made the book as a 'printable layout' so you can print and cut the cards up to give as gifts with a recipe you've made.  

It's the little things that make me happy! :-)

 

Now, back to the Bakewell Pie recipe...

Recipe: Baked 'Bakewell' Pie

Recipe: Baked 'Bakewell' Pie

Serves 2 (could just as easily be doubled or tripled....)

Ingredients: 

  • 3/4 cup porridge oats

  • 1 1/2 cup non dairy milk

  • 1/2 cup flaked almonds

  • 1 tbs ground flax seed or chia seed

  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

  • 1/2 cup roughly crumbled frozen raspberries*

  • bliss balls or marzipan balls (optional)

  • approx. 1 tbs maple syrup to taste (or any unrefined sweetener of choice)

*I didn't have cherries to hand (which would have made a more classic bakewell). I use frozen fruits as they are more readily available for me at this time of year. Their colour does not bleed so much as I mix then through, and they do not risk burning in the oven.

Method:

Mix everything together adding the raspberries in the final strokes. Spoon into a medium oven dish, add a few extra almond flakes into the top if you like. Don't addd the bliss balls yet! If you are making your own bliss balls, you have a 10 minute window to make them now.

Bake at 180C for a total of approx. 25 mins until the topping is golden. After 10-15 mins whilst the top is still quite soft (and not golden) add the bliss balls, pressing them lightly into the top. Continue baking until golden on top.

Serve immediately, alone or with non-dairy yoghurt, cream or (ice-cream for dessert!) Also great eaten cold the next day.

raspberry almond oatbake 3a.jpg
Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF
I am who I am meant to be...

I found this photo taken of me by accident when scrolling through my client's (also a friend) Lanzarote retreat album from last year... so this was taken almost exactly a year ago today. 

I am not sure what it is about this photo that I love so much. 

Maybe the fact she caught me unaware, or the fact I was in the midst of living my bliss so wholeheartedly, the fact I was surrounded by the energy of the beautiful island and beautiful people, the fact that I look confident and reflective, the fact I am rocking my hippy pants, the fact that I have my beloved camera slung round my neck... or maybe the fact there is a touch of 'Lara Croft' about me, ha ha.

Maybe a bit of everything rolled into one. 

 

“I am me. I’m who I’m meant to be. I am my past, my present and who I want to be. I’m not anyone, I am all three. I am a work in progress, a destiny. I am who I choose to be. I am me.”

 

What photo captured of yourself do you love and why?

 

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF
Spiced Apple & Pear Porridge

Hey! I'm popping in quickly on this Saturday afternoon, (whilst steaming my Christmas puddings) with a little recipe combo I've been eating quite a bit recently... I hadn't initially planned to write a blog post but then figures these photos weren't actually too bad, and since it was a lovely wintery warmer full of festive spice, it was too good not to share!!

Recipe: Spiced Apple & Pear Porridge

P.s If you want to know what recipe I used for my Christmas pud I shared it here on Facebook. I thought it best not to blog it just yet since I won't know how well it's worked out until I taste it, but if you are going to make your own this is the latest time you should ideally be doing it, so that it can sit and mellow before the big day!  Fingers crossed it's as tasty as the non-vegan one I remember so well from years gone by.

So, back to the porridge... I used ingredients from two of my favourite companies for purchasing ingredients. RealFoodSource and Steenbergs (this is not an affiliate post but I did get some ingredients gifted to me to try in my recipes).

The freeze dried apple powder is great as an alternative whole food sweetener to syrups, it's literally ground up freeze dried apple! Teamed with Christmas Chia spice (regular ground cinnamon or mixed since would also work) it was delicious... I made two different variations, one with a sprinkle of cranberries an extra spice and another with dark chic chips and a drizzle of almond butter. Both were yum!

I sliced my pear longways and griddled it, but you could also cut into cubes and pan fry to warm through or serve raw.

Recipe: Spiced Apple & Pear Porridge

Recipe: Spiced Apple & Pear Porridge

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup porridge oats

  • 1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk of choice

  • 2 tbs freeze dried apple powder (more to taste if needed)

  • 1/2 - 1 tsp christmas chai spice (or cinnamon/mixed spice)

  • 1 pear- sliced and griddled in a touch of coconut oil

  • Topping: dried cranberries or choc drops and almond butter (or everything!)

Method:

Add the oats, non-dairy milk, apple powder and spice to a small saucepan, bring to the boil then simmer for five minutes or so until cooked. Meanwhile griddle (or pan fry) the pear until softened.

Serve the porridge into a bowl then top with the pear slices and other toppings of choice. 

Recipe: Spiced Apple & Pear Porridge

If you love porridge... check out my book 'Not Just For Goldilocks'  for over 50 unique porridge recipes with options to suit all tastebuds and dietary requirements.

Porridge is amazing and so versatile... it's literally my favourite meal ;-)


Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF
Baked Falafel Pie... an easy meal to feed a crowd!

Wow... you're getting two recipes within a week.... it's like the days when I first started my blog when I often used to get three recipes up here per week! That's when I had a full time job as an architect too.... crazy days, how did I find time to do it all!

Recipe: Baked Falafel Pie

These days I develop so many recipes for destinations beyond this blog itself... such as for Real Food Source, my own ebooks and other publications that sometimes this space loses the battle of priorities. I am looking to charge all that again- with one new recipe per week from the New Year onwards- an early resolution of sorts?

Anyway, back to this recipe!

This came about a couple of week ago as I was developing new recipes for my Lanzarote retreat.... I wanted something that was delicious, filling and easy to cook for 8-10 people (though the recipe below is halved to feed about four). This is a total winner and a lovely spin on the more traditional falafel balls.

It's not my brainchild- there are loads of similar creations across blog land- I got the idea from a general Pinterest search looking for meal image ideas rather than any one recipe in particular. I imagine you could tweak this to add in other herbs or spices to suit. You could also add a chunky salsa, guacamole or other topping instead of hummus if you preferred.

I realised this recipe would be also very similar to my classic nut roast (still a go-to favourite and great to have on standby in the freezer) and so I used that as the base and made a few ingredient tweaks.

Let me know what you think.... I'll let you know how it goes down with the guests on my retreat ;-)

Recipe: Baked Falafel Pie

Recipe: Baked Falafel Pie

Serves 3 portions with salad or 4-5 if serving as part of a larger dinner

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup chopped nuts of choice

  • 2 tbs olive oil

  • One onion diced

  • One large garlic clove minced

  • 2 sun-dried tomatoes (optional for extra depth of flavour)

  • 1 large carrot grated

  • 1 medium courgette grated

  • 1 cup chickpeas

  • 1 cup oats (or cooked rice or quinoa or dry wholemeal breadcrumbs- GF if needed)

  • 2 heaped tbs flax (or tapioca or potato flour)

  • ¼ cup fresh coriander

  • 1 tbs ground cumin

  • 2 tbs soy sauce (GF if needed)

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Topping:

  • 1 tub hummus (or homemade if possible)

  • 2 sliced avocados

  • a sprinkle of salt and pepper

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 180C. coarsely grind the nuts and set aside. Finely chop and sauté vegetables in olive oil for 5 mins until soft. Mix all remaining ingredients in large bowl and add vegetables and nuts to it.

Mix and mash together well. Add more oats (or another dry ingredient) if mixture is too wet or a little water or stick if too dry.

Press mixture firmly into a greased and lined medium baking dish (it should be around a generous inch thick). Bake for approx. 45 mins until golden on top, the inside will still be moist. Add hummus and avocado slices to serve with salad or cooked greens.

Recipe: Baked Falafel Pie
Recipe: Baked Falafel Pie
Recipe: Baked Falafel Pie
Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF
Mini pumpkins... speedy last minute halloween treat!

I have so many recipe photos stored up in my computer, ready for editing and blogging... finding dedicated time to do so is somewhat tricky at times!  But I promise I will get back on it much more consistently as we gear up to the end of the year since sharing recipes is something I love so much!

I made this pumpkin themed recipe yesterday AND I had to no choice but to get on here and share because otherwise Halloween would be over! ha ha

If you are planning a gathering of some sort over the weekend, or need to take a treat to one, these could be a great bet. I found the flavours a little more sophisticated than regular bliss balls, so adults taste buds may prefer them, but i'll let you decide on that!

These are really quick to make. I used roasted pumpkin for depth of flavour and a less wet mix, but for speed you could use fresh raw chunks or puree from a can BUT in that case you will likely need to add extra oatmeal (or a similar dry ingredient) since the resulting mix will be wetter than when using roasted pumpkin which has a lot less moisture remaining. I used a smaller culinary pumpkin but I don't see why regular larger carving pumpkins would not work just as well.

Don't skimp of dusting lightly in turmeric for the orangey glow, it won't be overpowering to taste and really makes them look the part (though take the clove out before eating!)

Enjoy your mini pumpkins and any festive fun you might be having the weekend! 

Recipe: Mini pumpkin bliss balls

Recipe: Mini pumpkin bliss balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 cups roasted pumpkin chunks or 1/2 cup puree

  • 1/2 cup ground oats

  • 1 cup dates*

  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans

  • 2 tsp mixed spice (or to taste) (note- this is pumpkin spice if in the US)

  • a pinch of salt

  • a light dusting of turmeric to coat

* Just using dates was sweet enough for me, but taste the mix and add a little coconut sugar or stevia if desired.

Method:

Chop a fresh pumpkin into small approx, 2cm chunks and roast for 15 mins or until golden. I didn't coat my chunks in any oil. Note: you'll need around 1.5 cups of chunks as it will shrink during roasting. 

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor until fairly smooth. If the mixture is very sticky add extra oatmeal or other dry ingredient. 

I allowed my mix to 'set' a little in the freezer for approx 30 mins so it was easy to handle. Roll into balls and toss lightly in turmeric- add a little extra mixed spice to the turmeric if you like.

Press to form a squashed ball (pumpkin shape) and add a clove to the top for extra authenticity ;-)

Keep chilled until ready to eat.

Recipe: Mini pumpkin bliss balls
Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF
My 'gateway' to veganism

I want to tell you a story.

A moment in time that became the gateway to my vegan journey.

Last night I gave a public talk around the topic I am most passionate about... "nutrition is the gateway to your optimal self”.

Towards the end of the talk I held up this Nakd bar, and mentioned that it became my gateway to understanding that a vegan diet was not just 'kale and cucumber', before then going on to give a 'bliss ball' demo!

Later, as I was driving home and reflecting on and processing the evenings events, I realised that comment held so much more gravity then I’d ever given credit, than I had ever previously acknowledged before in my life.

So, I'm going to tell you a little story...

Grab a mug of tea and get comfy, or maybe bookmark this for later when you have a clear ten minutes for yourself.

In 2010 my life was incredibly ordinary. Everything was very mediocre. Not bad, but really not great either. Towards the end of that year I met a guy, a vegan guy. Those of you familiar with my recipe blog posts from the very beginning may remember this guy often fondly referred to as 'the boy’.

One weekend on our third date, we went for a walk around a park which led into the town centre where his office building was based (he owned a graphic design company). We had grabbed some lunch from Marks & Spencer’s and were debating where to sit and eat it. He asked if I'd like to come up and see his office as it was on the 12th floor of the building and had a great view over the town. We could sit and eat lunch there.

He was right, the view was amazing, as were the wonderful fluttery feelings I was getting in my tummy. 

He took the Nakd bar out of his carrier bag and I looked over curiously, since I had already finished all my food! Breaking it in half he held out his hand, with a bemused and slightly quizzical look on his face.

"It’s just dates and nuts and cocoa all smooshed up together…it tastes exactly like chocolate-orange”, he told me.

"Yeah right" I smiled back.

But I very was curious, and to be honest didn’t want to offend since it was only the third date and all! So I took it.

Mind blown. It DID taste exactly like chocolate orange! 

In that precise moment in time, as I sat on a chair on the 12th floor of an empty office block with a guy I barely knew… my entire changed. In that precise moment I realised that a vegan diet was indeed about more than just kale and cucumber... I was holding the proof in my hand!

I still vividly remember thinking, 'maybe this guy is not so crazy after all!'

At that time veganism was not at all mainstream (I’d even had to ask him to explain to me exactly what it meant!) Vegan food options were not widely available and Nakd bars were pretty much the only type of vegan treat you could buy, and only typically available in health food shops. Plus they were very expensive!

From that moment forward my curiosity got the better of me. I made vegan cakes and cookies that he could eat at every given opportunity.  I went and bought a £20 food processor on Amazon so I could make my own chocolate ‘smoosh bars’. It wasn’t until about nine months later than my ‘Including Cake’ recipe blog was born, by which time I was now in the thick of it, following a 99% vegan diet myself and seeing so many shifts in all areas of my life.

In conversations with others, I often refer to myself as an 'accidental vegan', since it had never even been on my radar. 

Life simply presented me with a guy who turned my world around, who happened to hand me a piece of chocolate orange Nakd bar one day. 

A memory I will cherish forever, as it was the gateway that set in motion literally everything that I am today.

He lit the light within me to ‘always be curious’. It is now my deepest passion, and I urge you to get curious about everything in your life, especially the small things so often cast aside… they often have the greatest potential for change.

Loving you all. 

 

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF