Category Archives: Healthy Snacking

Chocolate Waffles with Crushed Nuts and Raspberries. Dairy free. Egg free. Vegan.

When it comes to weekend treat breakfasts, waffles are a firm family favourite. They are so easy to make and take very little time to prepare. We love experimenting with different ingredients and flavour combinations. I’ve already posted recipes for our Easy Vegan Waffles and Gingerbread Waffles and today, we’re sharing the recipe for our quick and easy Chocolate Waffles.

Chocolate Waffles with Crushed Nuts and Raspberries

These waffles have a decadent dark chocolate flavour, which works in perfect harmony with the nutty, berry toppings. Continue reading

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Filed under Breakfast & Elevenses, Healthy Snacking, Treats & Sweets

Healthy Snacking – No Bake Strawberry Tarts. Dairy Free. Vegan.

In today’s post, I’m sharing recipes for a delicious, quick and easy strawberry jam and ‘treat snack’ that the family has been loving lately: No Bake Strawberry Tarts

But before I do so, there’s an occasion that I must mark on this blog – Lil’ L’s first strawberry picking outing. I’d been dreaming about this moment for years.

Strawberry Picking

Continue reading

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Top Vegan 7 for British Sandwich Week

This week we’re celebrating British Sandwich Week. Do you know how the sandwich got its name? I remember as a kid thinking it was a strange name for a food. It clearly didn’t contain sand. Maybe it was what witches ate? Incredibly, I only learnt the meaning of the name this month (thanks to the May issue of Vegan Life).

John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, was fond of ordering meat tucked between two slices of bread, avoiding both the inconvenience of a fork and messy meat-covered hands, so he could easily eat while playing cards. His fellow gamblers saw the appeal and started ordering “the same as Sandwich”. The 18th century aristocrat’s clean and convenient way of eating is why we came to call any variation of filling between bread ‘a sandwich’

Sadly, here in the UK, the availability of ready-prepared vegan sandwiches is extremely limited. The supermarket aisles are filled with row upon row of chicken, cheese, ham, egg mayo and tuna. If you’re lucky, you might find a falafel sandwich, but then you’re likely to find they’ve added milk or egg into the dressing. I’m sure that one day the sandwich shops will catch up with the growing plant-based trend but, until then, we’ll just have to whip up some of our own.

Vegan Life Issue 5

This month’s Vegan Life magazine has a fantastic selection of sandwich recipes, including the Reuben, Buffalo Tofu Hoagie, Triple BLT, Spicy Wiener and The Peter Pan. There’s also a fun Sandwich Roulette on their Interactive App.

Vegan Life Issue 5 Sandwich Roulette

You spin the scroll bar and whatever recipe you land on has to be your next sandwich creation. I landed on Coronation Chickpea which is perfect for me as I love chickpea spreads (as you’ll see below).

Vegan Life Issue 5 Sandwich Roulette 2 500

In honour of British Sandwich Week, I thought I’d share a selection of my family’s current favourite creations. All of them are 100% plant-based and come together in a matter of minutes. I don’t know about you but, if I need a sandwich, I need it pretty instantly. I’m usually making sandwiches first thing in the morning for lunchboxes or I need to grab a quick bite at lunchtime between jobs, so I can’t be spending ages cooking or prepping the filling.

So, in no particular order, here are our current 7 top picks. Between us, we’ve eaten all of these already this week and we’re only on day 3 of British Sandwich Week!

Falafel Sandwich

1. Falafel, Caramelised Onion Hummus, Beetroot Salad and Sweet Pickle.
I always keep a stash of Cauldron Falafels in the fridge for quick sandwich making. At home, I love this filling in freshly baked or lightly toasted granary bread. For lunchboxes, we stuff it into wholemeal pitta breads so, no matter how much the school bag gets shaken, the filling stays neatly inside.

Cheese and Tomato Sandwich

2. Cheese, Tomato and Basil.
This is a pretty classic combination, except that we use vegan ‘cheese’. In our dairy-eating days, none of us actually liked cheese slices, but we really like the Violife version. They’re made with coconut oil instead of cow’s milk and are surprisingly tasty.  The slices come in a range of flavours. Cheddar, olive oil, herbs, pizza and smoked are our favourites. In the UK, Violife is currently available in health food shops, Tesco and Asda.

Chilli Chickpea Smash Sandwich

3. Sweet Chilli Chickpea Smash
Chickpea smashes are really versatile. You can flavour them in different ways and change the texture, making them coarse or creamy. One of my all-time favourite smashes is Sweet Chilli Chickpea, made with a can of drained chickpeas, glug of sweet chilli sauce, splash of fresh lime juice and salt whizzed in a blender or food processor until coarse. In this sandwich, I’ve served it with organic sprouts and freshly ground black pepper.

Mediterranean Veggie Ciabatta

Mediterranean Veggie Ciabatta

4. Mediterranean Veggie Ciabatta
This is one of our favourite ‘easy’ Saturday night teas. It’s also one of Lil’ L’s favourite school lunches (though we use pittas to keep the veggies intact). A selection of colourful veggies (red onion, courgette/zucchini, bell pepper, mushrooms) and seeds (sunflower & pumpkin) are pan-fried, then served on crispy, warm ciabatta slathered in sun-dried tomato paste. The veggies are either fried in a drizzle of olive oil with plenty of seasoning or a splash of tamari.

Smoked Tofu Sandwich

5. Smoked Tofu, Avocado, Tomato Salad
I was so pleased to find smoked tofu in the Spanish Hipercor so we could make one of our favourite sandwiches whilst in Marbella last month – organic smoked tofu, sliced tomato and avocado, beetroot salad and hummus, topped with a sprinkling of salt and freshly ground black pepper. For our return flight, we stuffed this filling into seeded wholewheat mini baguettes. It tasted so good and far, far better than any option available on the plane. Back home, I use the Cauldron organic smoked tofu, which is currently available from Waitrose, Ocado and health food shops.

Sunday Dinner Sandwich 6. The Sunday Dinner Sandwich
We used to call this The Boxing Day Sandwich as it was filled with our Christmas Dinner leftovers. However, I love this sandwich so much that I couldn’t relegate it to a ‘once a year’ thing. Now we use the leftovers from the Sunday roast dinner, or I even just make this sandwich instead of a Sunday roast, hence why Lil’ L calls it the ‘Sunday Dinner sandwich’. My favourite components for this sandwich are red lentil & cashew nut loaf or sage & chestnut stuffing, balsamic red onion and brussel sprout hash, served on soft granary bread slathered in cranberry sauce. Tastes. So. Good.

Nutella Banana Panini

7. Home-made ‘Nutella’ and Banana Panini
And here’s one of our favourite ‘Elevenses’ or mid-afternoon snacks, perfect for when a sweet craving strikes. Slather one side of toasted panini in home-made ‘nutella’ (hazelnut butter, maple syrup, cocoa powder, a little coconut oil and pinch of salt whizzed together) and the other side in mashed ripe banana and a sprinkling of ground cinnamon, then slam together and devour.

Happy Sandwiching everyone! xx

What’s your current favourite sandwich creation?

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Filed under Healthy Snacking, Lunches & Light Dinners

Cocoa Lime Energy Bites (Vegan / Gluten Free)

Cocoa Lime Energy Bites

As we head into Spring, I’ve started to crave lighter foods and fresh citrus flavours. For me, these Cocoa Lime Energy Bites are spot on for this time of year. They’re chocolatey but not too rich, they’re fresh and zesty thanks to the lime, and they’re lighter than the classic energy bite as I’ve cut down on nuts and substituted oats instead.

Lime Zest

I toyed between calling them ‘bliss balls’ and ‘energy bites’. They’re packed with mood-enhancing nutrients like magnesium, zinc, iron, B vitamins and omega 3, as well as cacao which triggers bliss-like chemicals in the brain. I always feel amazing after eating them. For these reasons, they definitely belong in the ‘bliss camp’.

Cocoa Lime Energy Bites

However, whenever I mention ‘bliss balls’ to M, he cringes. Maybe the name’s just too hippy or girly for him. ‘Energy bites’ got his approval though. It’s not very attractive or sexy, but if this name makes it a ‘man treat’ too, then that’s what we’ll go with. Men definitely deserve their share of these yummy snacks.

Energy bites is an accurate description anyhow, as they’re packed with fantastic ingredients like oats, nuts, seeds and dates that boost and sustain our energy levels.Cacao Nibs

I also like to add a handful of cacao nibs into these bites. They provide a lovely chocolatey ‘crunch’, as well as more of those amazing raw cocoa nutrients.

These energy bites make a great mid morning snack, afternoon ‘pick me up’ or post-school snack (Lil’ L loves them!) They’re very filling, so I find that one is usually enough for an energy boost and to stave off hunger pangs. They’re easy to transport too, so perfect for stashing in your bag for road trips and days out.

Cocoa Lime Energy Bites

Products used in this recipe (UK Stockists)
Mornflake Superfast Oats
Tesco Wholefoods cashewswalnuts  and soft pitted dates
Sevenhills Organics shelled hemp seeds, cacao powder, cacao nibs
Clarks original maple syrup
East End desiccated coconut
Suma coconut sugar (available in health food shops) or Biona coconut sugar from Amazon
Magimix 3200 Food Processor

Cocoa Lime Energy Bites

Do you crave different foods in Spring? As well as citrus, I’m loving fresh green flavours right now… mint, peas, asparagus, green beans. Two of my favourite Spring dishes are Mint Pea Soup and Risotto con Verdure. Hopefully I’ll get to share them with you very soon! xx 

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Gingerbread Men (Dairy-free / Vegan)

The recipes I most often share are firm family favourites that I’ve been refining over a number of years. So when I get inspired to create a new recipe that I want to blog now rather than in 5 years time, I end up obsessively testing it again and again over the course of a week or so to play catch up with the tweaks and refinements.

This week, the obsession has been these little guys…

Gingerbread Men

When Amy mentioned gingerbread under my waffles post, it reminded me that I hadn’t made gingerbread men in years. I decided it was high time I dusted off my old recipe notes and gave them another whirl.

So far this week, I’ve made 72 gingerbread men! Family and friends have kindly been helping me out with the testing. Lil’ L’s taken them to school, M’s taken them to work, and I’ve shared them with friends over coffee (not the classiest of cookies but hey it made them smile).

Making Gingerbread

All the batches got great feedback, but M thought they could be a bit ‘gingerier’ so the next batch had an extra ½ tsp of ginger. I’ve tested different thicknesses (the thicker men were the winners), different sugars and different oils/butters. All worked fine, so I’m guessing the recipe is pretty adaptable. I also tested different cooking times and I personally preferred the longer time as it made them firmer and crunchier round the edges.

The one thing I haven’t managed to test yet is whether they work with gluten free flour. As soon as my Suma order of GF flour arrives, I’ll get straight onto it.

Gingerbread Men

Even though I’ve eaten a ridiculous amount of gingerbread men this week, I’m still totally in love them and will be happily munching my way through more this weekend. Fortunately, as cookies go, these are pretty healthy as they’re wholegrain, plus they’ve got an extra boost of iron from the molasses. As well as coffee, they’re delicious with a cup of 3 Ginger Pukka tea. This has got to be the ultimate winter warmer. I can literally feel myself warming up from the inside out as I sip a cup

Gingerbread Men

 

If you try the recipe and make any adjustments, do let me know. I always love to hear your feedback!

Blogging friends, how do you go about testing your recipes before you post them? Are you an obsessive tester like me? How many times do you tend to make a recipe before you post it?

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Filed under Baking & Desserts, Healthy Snacking, Treats & Sweets