Monday, 19 June 2017

Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream Milkshake


I don't often crave non-vegan food anymore but I have to admit that recently, with the arrival of warmer weather, I've wanted nothing more than to treat myself to an ice cold vanilla milkshake. Luckily, they can be quite easily made at home (and veganised!), with just a couple of ingredients - dairy-free ice cream, dairy-free milk and any other extras you want! I served mine with date syrup, vegan marshmallows and some strawberries because #health amirite? 


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Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Vegan Chocolate Pancake Recipe (New & Improved!)


In the four or so years since I first went vegan, I can count the number of weeks I've gone without eating a stack of pancakes on one hand. I really wish I was joking when I say this, but I'm not! The pancake life has well and truly ensnared me.

When I first went vegan I admit that I was still in the thralls of an eating disorder, but instead of restricting food in general (i.e. anorexia) I was now restricting my diet to only eating what I deemed to be 'healthy' or 'clean' foods (i.e. orthorexia). Refined sugar was a no-go, flour wasn't on the table unless it was gluten-free and fit into my idea of what was 'nutritious', and cocoa powder was the evil adversary of my beloved cacao powder. Luckily, I've now fully recovered from that disordered way of eating and I happily eat processed food and refined sugar pretty much every day, as well as takeaways a couple of times a month. No one's died, I haven't gained any weight (and who cares if I have, I'm cute either way) and I'm honestly happier than I've ever been. There is a point to all this rambling, I promise.

So, I was looking back through all my old recipes and wondering when I ever had the time/energy to come up with so many (being an adult is hard, guys), and noticed that a lot of my old pancake recipes are full of expensive, hard to find and also slightly pointless ingredients. I've been making my pancakes a bit differently in recent months, and to be honest they're so much better now.

I've learned a few things in my quest to create the perfect vegan pancake:

  • 'real' (refined etc etc, blah blah) flour is way easier to use and cook with than buckwheat or rice flour, and it has a much better texture
  • cocoa powder is tastier than cacao powder, sorry babes
  • please use sugar, don't deprive your gorgeous lil' body of the good stuff

Hope you enjoy the recipes, my lovelies! Do let me know what you think of it and if you have any opinions on the whole orthorexia deal. It sucks to have an obsession with food dictate every part of your life, but it's good to get people talking about it so we can all try and help each other!


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Thursday, 18 May 2017

Introducing Food Love Stories by Tesco & a Vegan BBQ 'Shroom Buns Recipe


When I first went vegan almost four years ago, it wasn't a particularly easy feat to try and find exciting and delicious food that was readily available. I wasn't the best of cooks so tended to shy away from complicated looking recipes, and stuck to the same old meals time and time again. 

However, in the years I've been vegan, I've noticed that companies (especially supermarkets) have been recognising and catering for free-from diets more and more. One such company is Tesco, who not only have a wonderful free-from range of ready made food, but also support vegan customers by providing tasty and simple plant-based recipes to try at home. They've recently started their 'Food Love Stories, brought to you by Tesco' campaign which features an amazing recipe for vegan BBQ 'Shroom Buns by chef Derek Sarno; I tried this recipe out myself and let me tell you guys, it is insanely good! My boyfriend and I devoured the buns in an embarrassingly short amount of time, not gonna lie. Not only do they taste great but they're also nutritious and filling, so are the perfect dinner if you can't be bothered with a long and arduous cooking session! 


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Saturday, 6 May 2017

Vegan Chocolate & Peanut Butter Oat Cookies


Oh my goodness, you guys - I can’t even begin to describe to you how addictive these cookies are! The combination of peanut butter and chocolate is always a winner and when you put them both into a cookie then it creates the ultimate snack or dessert. I used dark chocolate to make these (most dark chocolate is vegan but make sure you check beforehand!) because it’s cheaper and easier to source than other vegan chocolate but you can use whatever type you wish!

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Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Vegan Blueberry & Vanilla Pancakes


It's the last day of February and, in my opinion, the best day of the month; Pancake Day! Although pancakes aren't just reserved for one particular day of the year (I don't know what I'd do without my weekly Sunday brunch!), there's something so nostalgic about Shrove Tuesday. Some of my best memories involve my dad making the most amazing pancakes and flipping them with ease. This blueberry and vanilla variation doesn't really resemble the pancakes of my youth - crepe-style, doused with lemon juice and sprinkled with sugar - but they're delicious, regardless!

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Sunday, 15 January 2017

Cath Kidston Health & Happiness Collection | Chocolate Overnight Oats Recipe


Hello, lovely people - it's been a while (again)! One of my goals for 2017 is to become more consistent with blogging so hopefully you'll be seeing a lot more of me from now on.

Today's post features something I'm very, very excited about; Cath Kidston's new Health & Happiness collection. I'm an avid Cath Kidston fan and have been for a few years now, so when they told me about their new healthy living range I could barely contain myself. Cath Kidston's signature floral prints combined with cute workout gear? A dream come true for this girl! They've made everything from leggings and tops, to gym bags and accessories, all featuring their beautiful Wildflower Bunch print.

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Thursday, 23 June 2016

Healthy Vegan Blueberry & Banana Flapjacks

Flapjacks have always been one of my favourite snacks and they were the very first thing I learned to bake as a child. The process of making them was very therapeutic; melting the butter and syrup in the saucepan, mixing in the oats, eating the leftover mixture in the bowl and on the spoon, and, of course, tasting the finished product! However, the flapjacks I made all those years ago weren't exactly what you'd call healthy, so I thought I'd have a slight throwback to my childhood and try and create a flapjack recipe that was as similar in method and taste as possible - the only difference being that these flapjacks are plant-based and are full of nutritious ingredients! Oats are the base of the recipe - they're full of complex carbohydrates and fibre, meaning they'll give you long-lasting energy and they'll keep your digestive system happy too! The bananas and date syrup are used to sweeten the recipe, so there's no need to use any unrefined sugar, and the coconut oil helps everything stick together while providing healthy fats. The result is a treat which is sweet and crumbly, bursting with juicy blueberries and finished off with a hint of banana. Believe me when I say that they're definitely my new favourite snack! 

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Sunday, 19 June 2016

Vegetable Pasta with a Simple Tomato Sauce

Pasta is definitely one of my all-time favourite foods and I still can't believe there was a period in my life when I refused to eat it, as I now have it multiple times a week! You can create so many delicious meals with pasta, whether you're serving it with a simple tomato sauce or enjoying it with some dairy-free pesto. Pasta gets such a bad rep and is often seen as being the enemy of dieters and health nuts, but if you start off with a base of wholegrain pasta (whether it's wholewheat, brown rice or buckwheat), throw in some veggies and make a homemade sauce, then you'll actually end up with a tasty and nutritious meal! 

This vegetable pasta with a homemade tomato sauce is quick, cheap and easy to make and it's my go-to meal when I don't feel like cooking anything complicated. If you use wholewheat pasta you'll be getting a decent protein hit, but if you fancy bulking up this meal a little bit then you can mix in a can of lentils or beans before you serve it. If you miss having cheese on your pasta then nutritional yeast will do the trick - I add it to most of my savoury meals! 

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Monday, 6 June 2016

Raw Vegan Lemon Cheesecake Squares (Sugar-Free)

Raw vegan cheesecake is definitely one of my favourite desserts - it's delicious and tastes super indulgent but has the added bonus of only containing nutritious ingredients such as dried fruit and nuts. Lemon was always my favourite cheesecake flavour so this recipe is a throwback to my childhood! It may not taste exactly the same as the original version but it's incredible all the same. These cheesecake squares are the perfect dessert to serve at a dinner party because they look and taste like you've spent a lot of time and effort making them but they're actually incredibly quick and simple to throw together. The filling is creamy with a hint of lemon and the base contains lemon zest so the flavour comes through beautifully.

I usually use maple syrup as a sweetener but even though it's natural and unrefined it still contains a lot of sugar which is where Natvia comes in! Natvia is a sweetener made with natural plant ingredients and absolutely no artificial nasties, so if you're watching your sugar intake then it's the perfect addition to snacks and desserts. If you don't want to use Natvia then you can definitely use any other sweetener (such as maple/rice syrup) and it'll still taste fab!


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Sunday, 22 May 2016

Sweet & Creamy Green Smoothie Bowl with Naturya Superfoods

I have a love-hate relationship with greens; I love them because they're incredible for my body and are full of so many vitamins and minerals but I hate them because, well, I really don't like the taste of them. Unless you're giving me spinach in a sandwich with avocado or hummus, I'm really not interested. Actually, I lie - pesto pasta with spinach is pretty damn tasty too. But what I'm trying to say is that you won't catch me eating a spinach or kale salad anytime soon. I'm a firm believer that a healthy lifestyle should be enjoyable and sustainable so I'm not going to force down something I don't like, even if it is amazing for me! So that's where green smoothies come in. Spinach has a wonderful way of not being detectable once it's blended with fruit and various other tasty ingredients, so you get to enjoy all the benefits of it without actually being able to taste it. Win-win, right? This smoothie bowl is quite sweet so it's the perfect introduction to green smoothies, but you can always increase the amount of spinach if you feel happy doing so. To take this smoothie to the next level I added a tablespoon of Naturya Organic Green Blend for extra goodness, so I was positively glowing afterwards! I also added some vegan vanilla protein powder for a protein boost but that's completely optional.

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Sunday, 1 May 2016

Raw Vegan Berry Chocolate Cheesecake

This raw cheesecake has got to be one of my favourite ever recipes! The combination of chocolate and berries is just heavenly and it's so aesthetically pleasing too. For the filling I used frozen berries plus a scoop of Organic Berry Complex powder from Neal's Yard Remedies. I'm absolutely in love with this powder and I really recommend it but if you don't fancy buying it then you can just use a tablespoon of any other berry powder (such as acai), or you can leave it out altogether - the cheesecake will still taste fab and have heaps of nutritional benefits!

If you have stubborn family members or friends who refuse to eat vegan food then this is the perfect dessert to serve - let them try it before you tell them it's raw and vegan though! As well as being delicious, this cheesecake is also one of the most nourishing treats you could have - it's full of healthy fats and protein which will help make your nails strong, your skin glow and your hair shine. What more could you want?


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Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Vegan Salted Caramel Milkshake


Hello everyone! The next Creative Nature recipe I want to share with you all is quite similar to yesterday's bliss balls as it uses Pink Himalayan Crystal Salt combined with medjool dates to create a delicious salted caramel flavour. This salted caramel milkshake could be a fabulous breakfast treat, an afternoon pick-me-up or a cheeky dessert; it may taste indulgent but every ingredient in it is incredibly nutritious and will benefit your body in so many ways! 


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Monday, 6 April 2015

Salted Caramel Bliss Balls and a Creative Nature Discount Code!


Last week I was lucky enough to receive an exciting parcel from the lovely people at Creative Nature containing lots of wonderful superfoods and some of their delicious snack bars, so throughout this week I'll be posting various recipes which make use of all the fab items I was sent; all Creative Nature's products can be bought through their website and, if you're in the UK, at Tesco and Ocado. They've also been kind enough to give me a discount code for you all - simply enter the code 'MEGHAN15' at the checkout of their website!

Today I'm sharing a recipe for some incredible salted caramel bliss balls - I used Creative Nature's Pink Himalayan Crystal Salt combined with medjool dates and maple syrup to create a nutritious replacement to a typically unhealthy treat. The maple syrup is used purely for taste (rather than as a sweetener) to add an extra caramel flavour to the bliss balls but if you don't have any or don't wish to use it then just leave it out without a substitution - the dates are sweet enough on their own!


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Sunday, 29 March 2015

Spiced Apple & Pear Oatmeal


It's almost April which means that spring is upon us and the weather in the UK should be getting warmer - should being the operative word! In fairness, the past couple of weeks have had a few sunny days which have been a welcome change to the chilly weather we experienced throughout autumn and winter, but unfortunately the last few days have been full of wind and rain. It doesn't feel very spring-like at all so warming breakfasts have been a necessity; one of my favourite comforting breakfasts is oatmeal, especially my apple pie version, but yesterday I fancied adding some extra fruit to the mix and so a wonderful creation was born - spiced apple and pear oatmeal. It's definitely a new favourite of mine!


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Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Raw Vegan Cookie Dough Banana Ice Cream


Before I transitioned to a vegan lifestyle and began eating a plant-based diet my all-time favourite ice cream (other than mint choc chip!) was definitely Ben & Jerry's Cookie Dough; there was just something so incredibly satisfying about the creamy vanilla ice cream mixed with chewy chunks of heaven. Unfortunately I can no longer dig into a tub of it and I'm sure a lot of you are in the same boat for various reasons, but what if I were to tell you that you can still enjoy a bowl of cookie dough ice cream that's completely healthy, gluten-free, raw, vegan and utterly delicious? Believe it or not, it's true! This fab recipe uses the raw vegan chocolate chip cookies that I shared in my last post plus a couple of frozen bananas and a touch of vanilla extract - super simple and yet so effective.


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Monday, 23 March 2015

Raw Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten-Free)


Cookies are by far one of the most common comfort foods and almost everybody loves them, but unfortunately it's very difficult to buy vegan and gluten-free cookies which are also refined sugar-free. As with most plant-based treats, it's usually easier and more cost-effective to make your own at home; however, as much as I love baking, sometimes I just feel like throwing a bunch of ingredients together without having to worry about getting oven times and temperatures right - that's where these raw vegan chocolate chip cookies come in! They only contain five ingredients and they require very little time and effort to make, but they're still incredibly tasty. Technically they aren't 100% raw if you use regular rolled oats but fully raw oats are available to buy if you want to use those.


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Sunday, 22 March 2015

Optimum 9200A Next Generation Blender Review and a Choco-Cherry Smoothie Recipe


I'm excited to announce that I've recently become an ambassador for Froothie so today I'd like to share a review of my new favourite kitchen toy - the Optimum 9200A Next Generation Blender! I'm a self-confessed smoothie addict and the one piece of kitchen equipment I couldn't be without is definitely my blender; until a few weeks ago, however, I was still using a regular (and very cheap) one which worked fairly well when it came to smoothies but unfortunately didn't do much else, so when I was given the opportunity to test out the Optimum 9200A I jumped at the chance! 


The Optimum 9200A is a high-speed blender which creates delicious fruit smoothies with ease, but it doesn't stop there; I've made green smoothies and banana ice cream in it, and this blender has managed it all perfectly. My previous blender didn't cope with frozen ingredients and tougher greens very well, so I'd usually end up with annoying lumps of frozen fruit or unpleasant bits of kale in my smoothies; the Optimum 9200A, however, has no difficulty with those things at all so I end up with ultra smooth drinks every time. That's not all it does though - it also has the ability to grind nuts and grains for flour, crush ice and make nut butters, hot soups, spreads and dips! Not only does it power through most cooking/food preparation tasks, it also has a heat-resistant, BPA-free 2L jug so you can easily make bigger smoothie and soup portions, plus it comes with a tamper for pushing down stubborn ingredients.

Before discovering this blender I'd been toying with the idea of buying a Vitamix for a few months (well, a year actually!) but the Optimum 9200A actually rivals the Vitamix Pro 500 in terms of performance. This comparison chart was taken from the product page:



As you can see, it's a pretty impressive machine! The Optimum 9200A Next Generation is also much cheaper at a special price of £379 (the usual price is £429), as opposed to the £599 you'd have to shell out for a Vitamix Pro 500. It's still a lot of money but if you're like me and use your blender almost every day it's definitely a worthwhile investment. Plus it's so much more than just a smoothie-maker so I wholeheartedly believe it's worth every penny!

It's also incredibly simple to use and clean; there are 7 options you can choose from when you use the blender - you can either use the pulse function, pick an amount of time for it to blend on (20, 30 or 45 seconds) or select a motor speed instead (slow, medium or fast). To clean the jug you simply rinse it out then fill it halfway with warm water, add a squirt of washing up liquid and blend on 'fast' for 20 - 30 seconds (or more if you've been making thicker things like nut butter in it). Then just rinse out the bubbles and you're done! It's quick and easy so it's perfect when you don't have a lot of time in the mornings. The whole process of making a smoothie and cleaning the blender takes less than 5 minutes so there's no excuse to not make yourself a delicious and nutritious meal or snack!


As well as creating fabulous blenders and juicers, Froothie also have excellent customer service - once you've ordered your blender you can expect it at your door within 24 - 48 hours (if you live in the UK) for only £14.95 (usually £19). There's also a 30 day guarantee which includes delivery costs so if you aren't happy with your purchase you can return it without hassle and at no cost to you. The Optimum 9200A also comes with a 6-year warranty plus a raw vegan recipe book to get you started on your journey to a healthier lifestyle.

You can buy the Optimum 9200A Next Generation Blender here and view Froothie's other products here - if you're looking for a new blender which can handle almost anything you can throw at it then I thoroughly recommend this one! 

To celebrate my new blender I've created a delicious choco-cherry smoothie recipe for you; this is currently my favourite smoothie and it tastes like dessert but is incredibly nutritious. I've been drinking it almost every single day recently!


Choco-Cherry Smoothie


Ingredients
Serves 1 
  • 1 medium/large banana (or 2 small)
  • 1/2 cup frozen cherries
  • 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk (I usually use unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1/2 cup water (or more milk if you wish)


Method

Add all the ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth - if you have an Optimum 9200A blender then blend on 'fast' mode for 10 - 20 seconds. If you want the smoothie to be thicker then omit the extra water/milk - if you want a thinner consistency then just add more liquid. Enjoy!



Note: I was sent this product to review and all opinions expressed are my own.


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Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Vegan Blueberry Muffin Buckwheat Pancakes


I haven't posted a new pancake recipe for a few months but I think this one will definitely make up for that! Before I created this recipe I'd planned on adding blueberries to my pancakes for a while but wasn't sure how they'd turn out; luckily the experiment was successful and the result was a delicious stack of pancakes which tasted exactly like a blueberry muffin - plus they're incredibly good for you, so it's a win-win! I'll be posting a recipe on my blog every Monday and Wednesday from now on and vegan lifestyle tips or a product review every Sunday so don't forget to subscribe to my mailing list so you know exactly when there's a new post!



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Sunday, 8 March 2015

Back From a Break and a Lemon & Coconut Bliss Ball Recipe


Some of you may have noticed that I haven't been blogging recently - in fact, the last post I wrote was over two months ago! I decided to take a bit of a break due to various things that were going on in my life; I started a new job at The Lovely Room (which I adore!), moved out of my parents' house and into my very own home and I was just feeling quite stressed about everything. But now I'm ready to get back into blogging and I'm really looking forward to posting lots of recipes for you again!

Today I'll be sharing a recipe for my favourite flavour of bliss balls - lemon and coconut; I've mentioned before that bliss balls are a perfect snack because of the combination of dried fruit, healthy fats and protein that they provide, and I still hold to that. A lot of bliss ball recipes use nuts but if you need to avoid nuts then you can always replace them with seeds of your choice (sunflower seeds are a good substitution). Lemon and coconut is always a wonderful pairing, as evidenced by these pancakes and overnight oats. These bliss balls are incredibly delicious and they're a fab snack if you're in the mood for something with a refreshing flavour - plus they only contain four ingredients!


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Saturday, 8 November 2014

Peanut Butter Granola Bars with Spoon Cereals Cinnamon Granola


Buying pre-packaged granola is usually a mistake if you want to eat a plant-based diet filled with wholesome foods because they tend to be filled with unhealthy ingredients such as refined sugar and hydrogenated vegetable oil and unethical ingredients like palm oil (for more information about why I avoid palm oil visit this website and read this article). Even granola which is advertised as being 'healthy' is usually made with honey which, as a vegan, isn't an option for me. In fact, most of the time I'd encourage someone to just make their own granola at home because it's healthier and cheaper than buying it from a shop, you can choose exactly what ingredients to put in it and it's super simple! However, when Spoon Cereals asked if I'd like to try some of their Cinnamon Granola and use it in one of my recipes I was more than happy to oblige because their products are vegan-friendly and aren't full of junk. For example, the granola I was sent contains jumbo oats, coconut flakes, hazelnuts, maple syrup, rapeseed oil, vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt; I love the taste of maple syrup and definitely prefer it to refined sugar, agave and honey, and even though rapeseed oil wouldn't usually be my first choice (I'm a coconut oil kind of girl) I see no issue in consuming it occasionally. I managed to control myself and refrain from eating the whole bag of granola in one go (seriously, it's absolutely delicious!) and decided to use it to make some delicious and nutritious no-bake granola bars which are full of healthy fats, carbohydrates and protein - a perfectly balanced snack! I thoroughly recommend having a look at Spoon Cereals' website and products because they're a wonderful British company who make incredible breakfast food.




Ingredients
Makes 12 granola bars
  • 2 cups (270g) granola*
  • 1/2 cup (135g) natural runny peanut butter (or other nut butter of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup (120g) liquid sweetener of your choice**

* I used Spoon Cereals' Cinnamon Granola but if you don't have access to it then you could make your own (try this recipe) 
** I used rice syrup because it has a very subtle sweetness (the granola was already quite sweet on its own)




Method

Line a deep baking tin with greaseproof/baking paper (I used a 9 x 9" square tin) then put the nut butter and liquid sweetener into a small saucepan, mix them together and gently melt them over a medium heat until the mixture is smooth and runny. 

Place the granola into a mixing bowl and add the heated sweetener and nut butter. Stir well until everything is incorporated and a sticky mixture is formed, then pour it into the lined baking tin and flatten it down, smoothing the top over with a spatula or knife. Put the tin in your freezer for an hour or two to allow the mixture to set. Once it's set, remove the mixture from the tin and cut it into 12 bars. Store the bars in an airtight container in either the fridge or the freezer and enjoy!





Note: I was sent this product to review and use in a recipe and all opinions expressed are my own.
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