Nutty Chocolate Breakfast Bars 

Sweet, nutty, chocolatey, chewy…oh boy, these are good! These breakfast bars are great for when you are on the move, you can just pop them in your bag and eat them on your way to work if need be! They are delicious, filling and nutritious and the best thing is that you can experiment with what fruit and nuts you include. There’s no exact science with this, that’s why I just throw in the fruit and nuts as I please – you can find the combination and quantities that work best for you!

Ingredients – makes up to 8 bars

150g oats

5 neglet dates, chopped

Handful of almonds, chopped

Handful of raisins

Handful of pumpkin seeds

3 tbsp peanut butter

3 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax mixed with 3 tbsp water)

1 tbsp cocoa powder

Simply put all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Melt the coconut oil and add this along with the maple syrup, peanut butter and flax egg to the mixture. Combine well and then transfer to a lined 20cm tin. Press down the mixture tightly, making sure the sides have defined edges. You might doubt whether the mixture will set at this point but when the coconut oil solidifies in the fridge the bars will hold there shape perfectly. Put in the fridge for at least 2 hours before cutting into bars.

Enjoy!

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Recipe. Taste. Repeat

So this week I wanted to share with you some of the meals / desserts i’ve been loving lately. I’m making these things over and over again because 1) they are delicious 2) easy to make – win win!

First up – the pizza. Well me and Chris have dabbled in a bit of fake cheese in the past but to be honest, I wasn’t feeling it. I’d much prefer to make something different than try and replicate with a poor substitute. So I came up with a ‘recipe’ for a cheese free pizza, I use the word recipe loosely as I used a store bought pizza base mix (you just add water) ha! I added chilli tomato paste, nutritional yeast, onions, sundried tomatoes, lots of chopped garlic and then drizzled cheese-free pesto mixed with extra olive oil all over the pizza. I then put it in the oven on 180 degrees for about 10 minutes.

I find that the extra oil keeps the pizza moist and indulgent – standing in for the cheese. I can honestly say, hand on heart that we didn’t miss the cheese one bit. The pizza was absolutely delicious and went well halved with some home made chips! Well, it was Saturday 😉

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Deliciously Ella’s Chickpea, Quinoa and Turmeric Curry.

Oh this is very good, very good indeed. You can just throw everything in and within the hour you have a delicious and nutritious curry which will make six portions. We’ve been taking this to work for our lunch and I was surprised to see how well it reheats. It also keeps well in the fridge. Another bonus is that you don’t need to cook rice or cous cous in addition to this as it already has quinoa in. It’s an all round super curry, really.

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Deliciously Ella’s Sweet Potato Brownies

When I first heard about these I wasn’t completely convinced they would be for me as I have love hate relationship with sweet potato but I gave them a go and today I’ve just made my third batch – so good! You forget that there is sweet potato in them but they add a moistness to the brownies. They are also very chocolatey, which is great. I would recommend buying a good quality cocao powder as it makes all the difference. For the second batch I made a chocolate frosting to go on the top which was amazing. For the frosting I used 1 tbsp cocao powder, 1 tbsp coconut oil, 2 tbsp of pure maple syrup and a pinch of Himalayan pink salt. Mix it all together and spread on the brownies once they have cooled, then pop in fridge to set. We’ve been taking these to work for breakfast as they give us loads of energy and fill us up until lunch. I think these will be a staple in our house for the months to come.

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Jus-Rol Pain au Chocolat {Vegan}

So I said in my last blog that I was on the hunt for vegan Pain au Chocolat as it was the only thing I really missed, well… Chris was an absolute hero and found Jus-Rol in our local Sainsburys, and you guessed it – it’s vegan! When Chris came home with this small but wonderful package I was over the bloody moon and couldn’t wait to get them in the oven!

So in the box you get a tin, which you twist to reveal the raw pastry. You unravel the pastry, which is perforated, to lay out six rectangles. You also get twelve sticks of chocolate, two for each croissant. You place the chocolate sticks on each end of the pastry and then roll each end so that they meet in the middle – they look a bit like tiny binoculars at this point! Flip them over and then bake in the oven at 180 degrees for 12 minutes or until golden brown.

I let them cool slightly before tucking in but to be honest I couldn’t wait to get them in my mush! I remembered how addicted I was to these, gave myself a pat on the back for not having one for nearly three months and then ate three off the trot #sorrynotsorry. The Jus-Rol Pain au Chocolat are seriously amazing, I would say they are on par with the M&S freshly baked ones – if not better! It’s hard to believe there’s no butter in the pastry or milk in the chocolate. Good on Jus-Rol for creating such great products which are convenient, delicious and completely free from animal products.

 

 

Accidentally Vegan

So it’s Friday night, you’ve eaten well all week but now you’re in need for some serious, not-nessassarily-good-for-you-but-you-don’t-care, treats. Well I thought my store bought treat days were over when I became vegan nearly 2 months ago but I’m pleased to share just some of my findings above. For those of you who are just starting out like me, you might find these discoveries very comforting indeed – I know I did!

There are lots of snacks available that are labelled vegan, which is great, but sometimes discovering a snack which is accidentally vegan is the best feeling! It took a little time to get used to checking the labels of things but once we realised that everything to watch out for as a vegan i.e. eggs and milk is in bold, you can quickly scan for these ingredients (NB Gelatine and meat are not usually in bold so look out for this!). Don’t be put off by the name of some products, for instance Prawn Cocktail Skips do not contain prawns and Smokey Bacon Pringles do not contain Bacon – hurrah!

We have eaten out a lot since becoming vegan so I thought it might be useful to list the choices we made in the following  chain restaurants.

  • Nandos – veggie burgers *ask for no mayo* with chips
  • Handmade Burger Co. – Tex Mex Burger, Thai Burger, chips and Oreo Milkshake *ask for vegan ice cream and milk* This restaurant has amazing choice for vegans!
  • Las Igunas – Three Mushroom Fajita and Tembleque for dessert.
  • Leon – Sweet Potato Falafel Wrap *no non-vegan sauce* hummus on the side.
  • Wetherspoons – Pasta Pomodoro

So far we haven’t found it difficult due to the surprising amount of choice and options available in restaurants these days. The only thing that I miss and haven’t been able to find a substitute for is Pain au Chocolat, ahh man the M&S freshly baked ones were my weakness! If anyone knows any vegan versions please let me know!