Easy Vegan Waffles & VonShef Waffle Maker UK Giveaway

I have always loved waffles. There’s something about those cute indented squares that makes them such a pleasure to eat. I especially love them this time of year, warm straight from the waffle maker or toaster. They make such a yummy breakfast or mid-afternoon snack.

Lil’ L shares my love of waffles and can easily get through a dozen a week. He says there are two Autumn/Winter foods that he’ll never get sick of and that’s apple crumble and waffles!

Easy Vegan Waffles (GF Option)

These vegan waffles are so easy to make! It’s simply a case of blending up the ingredients (I use my Froothie for this job), scooping the batter into the waffle maker and waiting 3-4 minutes. And then they’re ready to eat!

We use a slightly thicker version of our breakfast pancake batter for these waffles. To replace the egg, we use a banana or two small-medium organic apples. On balance, I prefer the texture of the waffles made with banana as it’s slightly firmer and more robust. The riper the banana, the stronger the flavour will be in the waffles. For the mildest flavour, use ripe yellow bananas rather than brown ones.

The batter also includes wholegrain flour and oats for protein and slow release energy. The waffles happen to be fat free and cane sugar free too. This means they’re scrumptious and healthy, so perfect for treating the kids (and yourself!) Lots of Lil’ L’s friends have tried these waffles and they’ve all given them a big thumbs up.

While his friends tend to prefer them with a simple drizzle of maple syrup, Lil’ L loves to fill his squares with little pieces of chopped walnuts or pecans, for some crunch…

Vegan Waffles with walnuts and maple syrup

… while I love to top mine with raspberries and chopped almonds

The waffles in the photo below were made using GF flour. I was so delighted to find that the recipe works gluten-free too as it means all our GF friends can tuck in too 😀

Vegan Waffles with Raspberries & Almonds

We make the waffles small enough so that they’re easy to pick up, fit in the toaster, and so you can scoff two or three at a time (‘cause one waffle is never enough 😉 ). We often make them as an afterschool snack, then leftovers get stored in the fridge for breakfast the next day. A quick warm through in the toaster and they’re ready to be served.

Here’s how we make our basic vegan waffle…

Forks are optional 😉

Vegan Waffles with walnuts and maple syrup

We purchased our waffle maker last October while it was on sale, and we’ve been really happy with it. It’s easy to use and, even with all our batter experimenting, we’ve yet to have a single waffle fail (which is pretty incredible!) The machine’s simple to clean too… while it’s still warm (but not scorching hot) I just wipe it over with a piece of kitchen towel.

While I’ve seen the waffle maker selling at a range of prices these past couple of months (the RRP is £64.99) you can get some amazing offers if you keep a watch out. It’s currently selling for £24.99 on Amazon and, at this price, you can’t really go wrong. We use ours 3-4 times a week and have made hundreds of waffles, so we’ve definitely had our money’s worth.

Vegan Waffles & VonShef Wafflemaker

Giveaway Time!

I’m not sure how many of my readers have waffle makers, and it seemed a bit unfair to share a waffle recipe without giving you the opportunity to make some yourself, so I contacted Designer Habitat and they have kindly offered to give away a VonShef Quad Waffle Maker to one of my lovely readers

To be in with a chance of winning, simply leave me a comment under this blog post answering the question featured in the Rafflecopter below. Do make sure you tick the box in the Rafflecopter to register that you have done so. There are a number of additional ways you can enter in order to increase your chances of winning. You will find these listed in the Rafflecopter. All entries will be verified prior to the winner being selected.

This giveaway is open to UK residents aged 18 and over (sorry international readers)

The closing date is Friday 16th January 2014 at midnight GMT. The winner will be selected at random and notified by email. The winner will have 7 days to respond. If they fail to do so, another winner will be selected at random.

New to Rafflecopter? It’s pretty easy! Simply click on ‘Use Your Email’ and enter a name and your email address (rest assured it won’t be published anywhere). You can also log in using your Facebook account, if you wish. A quick demo of how to use Rafflecopter can be accessed here.

* If you experience any technical problems when trying to enter the Rafflecopter, let me know in the comments section below and I’ll submit your entry for you *

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck everyone! xx

 

Chocolate Granola Clusters with Hazelnuts, Pecans and Cranberries

Today, I’d like to share another of my family’s favourite granola recipes. Filled with hazelnuts, pecans, cranberries and chocolatey goodness, this granola is perfect for this season.

Chocolate Granola Clusters with Hazelnuts, Pecans & Cranberries

My garden is bordered by cob nut trees, and this year they produced the most amazing crop. I made a deal with the squirrels whereby I would collect nuts from the low hanging branches, and they could have the rest. They then got to work, burying nuts all over my lawn and flower beds, and in my plant pots. Invariably they forget where they’ve buried them and we end up with nut trees growing literally everywhere!

Cob Nuts

I’m not going to complain though. Nut trees are awesome!

And once they’ve matured, cob nuts are very similar in taste and texture to hazelnuts, so I put them to good use in yummy recipes, like this granola.

Hazelnuts

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Lil’ L loves home-made granola, especially when it’s formed into clusters. It’s so easy to make. You simple press down the mixture as if you’re making a thin granola bar then, once completely cooled, you break it into clusters.

Granola Cluster Making

Our favourite sweetener for granola is maple syrup. This adds a delicious caramel-like sweetness, rather than a ‘sugary’ flavour. I use Clarks Original Maple Syrup, which is a blend of maple and carob syrups. It’s widely available in the UK, and a fair bit cheaper than pure maple syrup. I really like its flavour and consistency, which is slightly thicker than the pure grade syrup.

Granola Clusters

These granola clusters are wonderful for breakfasts, snacks and desserts. For breakfast, we like to serve them with natural non dairy yogurt (such as Alpro) or milk. For an omega-3 boost, I often add a light sprinkling of ground linseed and finely chopped walnuts before serving. I also sprinkle in a few extra cranberries to brighten up the bowl.

Chocolate Granola Clusters with Hazelnuts, Pecans and Cranberries

Layered with yogurt and fresh or frozen fruits, the clusters also make a delicious dessert or after-school snack. They look really fancy yet take literally seconds to throw together!

Chocolate Granola Parfait

Products used in this recipe (UK stockists)
Mornflake Superfast Oats, available in Asda, Morrisons, Tesco and The co-operative (Gluten-free oats are available from the ‘Free From’ aisle in major UK supermarkets and health food stores)
Tesco Buckwheat (found in the wholefoods section) (Buckwheat is also available in health food stores and online)
Biona Coconut Sugar, available from health food stores and online
Dried Cranberries (sweetened with pineapple juice), available from the wholefoods sections in Tesco and Waitrose
Clarks Original Maple Syrup available in Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s
Essential Organic Virgin Coconut Oil (available in health food stores and online)

Enjoy! xx

Postscript
Sirilipons … ‘Secret’ nibbling eh? I wondered where the bottom right hand corner had gone. It looks like a giant mouse has been at it. You are so busted!

Granola Cluster Making

Healthy Snacking – ‘Crispy Kale’ (Kale Chips) with Gomasio

One of my first ever blog posts, back in June 2011,  was about ‘crispy kale’ and, to this day, it remains one of my all-time favourite snacks

While a lot of health food bloggers are currently enjoying raw kale salads or kale smoothies, my taste buds aren’t quite there yet. I do, however, LOVE crispy kale and will happily munch my way through handfuls of the stuff.

Crispy kale is also one of the best ways I’ve found to encourage Lil’ L to eat kale. I often put a bowl out as a starter or as a side dish and, before I even get to sit down at the table, the whole lot’s been demolished!

Kale

Over the past three years, I’ve been refining the way I make my crispy kale. In the early days, I had the oven temperature too high, so the kale would quickly burn on the edges. I’ve slowly lowered the temperature from 180C, and found 150C to be spot on – the kale becomes totally crispy with no burned edges or soggy leaf in sight.

Roasting the kale at the lower temperature also makes it stay crispier for longer. In an airtight container, it will stay crispy for days. (I’ve only trialled storing it for test purposes mind you, as there’s never any leftovers in my house!)

Crispy Kale

My favourite way to serve crispy kale is with a touch of salt, sugar and sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds. I tend to grind the sesame seeds first, as it helps them to stick to the kale leaves. As you probably know, ground toasted sesame and salt is a Japanese seasoning called ‘gomasio’. You can buy it ready made in health food stores, but it’s super simple and cheap to make yourself.

Gomasio (Toasted Sesame Seeds & Salt Seasoning)

I use gomasio as a seasoning for lots of our Asian dishes, including stir fries. Since I like to liberally sprinkle it on, I only add a small amount of salt. I find that toasted sesame has a great flavour anyhow. It just needs a touch of salt to make the flavour ‘pop’.

Thanks to the two main ingredients – kale and sesame – this is one super healthy snack! Just one cup of cooked kale provides 354% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin A, 89% of the vitamin C, and 1328% of vitamin K! Kale also provides good amounts of calcium and iron, as well as protein, dietary fibre and omega 3 essential fatty acids. Sesame seeds are also packed with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, rich in minerals including calcium and iron, and a good source of protein, dietary fibre and B vitamins.

Crispy Kale (Kale Chips)

Here’s the recipe for what is, for me, the perfect crispy kale. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Crispy Kale (Kale Chips)

Do you make crispy kale / kale chips? If so, I’d love to hear what your favourite seasoning is. Have you tried Chinese, Mexican or Indian spices yet?

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Gingerbread Cookies (Dairy-Free / Vegan)

Today, I am delighted to share my first post for the Suma Blogger’s Network  I’m sure a lot of you will have already heard of Suma or seen their products in your local health food stores. Suma are the UK’s largest independent wholefood wholesalers of vegetarian, vegan, fair trade, natural and organic produce.  Suma operates as a workers’ cooperative which means that the business is jointly owned and managed by the staff. Everyone is paid the same and they collectively do all the jobs that need doing, whatever they happen to be.

Suma-Bloggers-Network-LogoI love everything that Suma stands for, so when they invited me to become one of the first twelve bloggers in their new network, I was more than delighted to accept! Intrigued to find out who else is involved? Click on this page to check out their profiles (you’ll see I’m in good company!)

Every other month we’ll be sharing a recipe using one or more products from Suma’s product range. We’ll post the recipes on our blogs, and share them via Facebook, Twitter and a dedicated Pinterest board.

This month, I’m sharing a recipe using one of my all-time favourite ingredients and ‘super’ foods…. Blackstrap Molasses!

Meridian Blackstrap Molasses_740g

As you might know, Blackstrap is the dark, thick liquid that remains after sugar cane is processed to make refined sugar. While the end product – white sugar – has no nutritional value whatsoever, the molasses that gets left behind after extraction is literally brimming with nutrients. It’s rich in vitamin B6 and minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, manganese and selenium. Historically, this byproduct of sugar production has been used to feed livestock, while humans consume the empty calorie, unhealthy white sugar. Crazy eh?

Blackstrap Molasses from Wikipedia

[Source]

Flavour-wise, Blackstrap is rich and bittersweet. To me, it has a liquorice-like flavour which, I guess, is one of those flavours that you either love or hate. If you have Blackstrap lurking at the back of your cupboard, then this recipe might just tempt you to dust off the jar and give it another try. The Blackstrap adds a wonderful depth of flavour and colour to these ginger cookies, but it’s not overpowering at all.

Gingerbread Cookies | Bit of the Good Stuff #vegan

For the dry sweetener, you can use unrefined caster sugar or coconut sugar. I prefer the latter as it’s low GI (which helps to keep blood sugar levels balanced), plus it contains B vitamins and a range of minerals, including potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron. I also love its caramel-like flavour.

Feel free though to choose whatever sweetener suits your personal tastes and preferences. I prefer the coconut sugar cookies, ‘M’ prefers the cane sugar ones (which are slightly sweeter), and Lil’ L says he can’t really tell the difference and loves both!

Gingerbread Cookies | Bit of the Good Stuff #vegan

These cookies have been tried and tested many times over with my family and friends, and they’ve received a big thumbs up from everyone. I’ve been asked numerous times for the recipe and my standard reply is ‘sure, I’ll post it on the blog’. Well, it’s high time I kept my promise! Here it is…

NOTE: Recipe updated 25 March 2019 to bring it into line with the ‘Gingerbread Cookies’ recipe in the Bit of the Good Stuff Cookbook

I just need to work out how to make a gluten-free version now, so no one misses out! Any tips from the GF experts would be greatly appreciated! 😉

Gingerbread Cookies | Bit of the Good Stuff #vegan

 Enjoy! xx

Are you a fan of Blackstrap molasses? If so, what’s your favourite way to use it?

Disclaimer: I received some Suma’s products to use for recipe development but, as always, all opinions expressed are my own.

Easy Gingerbread Blender Pancakes (Vegan)

We’re still loving our ‘special’ Sunday breakfast of freshly made pancakes. Lil’ L now helps me in the kitchen and is enjoying making the pancakes as much (well, almost as much!) as he enjoys eating them. This week, we flavoured our pancakes with the same spices as our favourite gingerbread cookies. We couldn’t wait for the taste test!

Gingerbread Pancakes (Vegan / Dairy-free / Gluten-free)

And the verdict?

They were utterly delicious! And arguably the perfect pancake for this time of year. Spicy, warming and filling

They also happen to be filled with goodness… The Blackstrap molasses fortifies the pancakes with iron, calcium and other trace minerals, while the addition of apple adds a healthy dose of antioxidants and dietary fibre. We used a gluten-free flour mix for these pancakes to see how it would hold up (it worked perfectly!), but they could easily be made with wheat flour too.

Gingerbread Pancakes (Dairy-free / Gluten-free / Egg-free / Vegan))

We like to top our pancakes with chopped walnuts and pecans, and a sprinkling of ground golden linseed. As well as adding a lovely texture, these toppings ramp up the nutrient factor, providing more antioxidants, protein and omega 3. And, of course, there’s the obligatory drizzle of syrup 😉

The first pancake stack was devoured within minutes so, much to Lil’ L’s delight, I made a second batch to photograph. From the look of things, these won’t be around long either 😉

Gingerbread Pancakes (Vegan / Gluten-free)

 

Products used in this recipe:
Meridian Organic Blackstrap Molasses, available in health food shops and online stores
Doves Brown Bread Flour

[This recipe has been submitted to Ricki Heller’s Wellness Weekend]

Gingerbread Pancakes (Vegan / Gluten-free)

I’m sure these pancakes will make a regular appearance on Sundays now, in rotation with other favourites like Apple Cinnamon and Banana. We also love traditional crepes served with lemon and sugar. Lil’ L reckons that our ‘veganised’ version tastes as good as the crepes he eats in France. Now that’s a statement! I’ll make sure I post the recipe in time for Shrove Tuesday 😉

Do you like breakfast pancakes? If so, what’s your favourite flavour? If you’ve posted any recipes, please do share below.

Maple Pecan Granola Clusters

Today, I’d like to share one of Lil’ L’s all-time favourite breakfasts.

I started making home-made granola about five years ago in response to Lil’ L’s dislike for the dried fruits that appear in shop-bought granolas.  After a week of picking out the raisins from a granola before serving it to him, I decided that life was far too short to waste time picking out dried fruit and that I would have a try at making my own granola instead!  By making it myself, I would be able to tailor the granola to suit all our tastes.  Lil’ L loves nutty granola, I love a mix of nuts and dried fruits, while Mark will eat anything.

Maple Pecan Granola

By making our own, we could also omit the refined sugars and oils that are found in shop-bought granolas and replace them with healthy, natural alternatives.

Maple Pecan Granola Ingredients

For breakfast, we love serving this granola with non dairy milk or yoghurt.

Maple Pecan Granola

It is also delicious layered with yoghurt and berries in a parfait (we use frozen berries as they turn the yogurt a beautiful colour as they thaw!)  These can be served as breakfast, dessert or even a post-school snack.

Berry Granola Parfait

Please note that the recipe below has been updated in 2018 to bring it into line with the recipe that appears in the Bit of the Good Stuff cookbook.

Pin for later ⬇️

Last Christmas, I thought I’d treat Lil’ L to some “luxury” shop-bought granola.  I bought two different brands for him, both of which included a selection of his favourite nuts and no dried fruits.  It turns out he didn’t like either of them as they were “way too sugary”!  Instead, he asked whether he could have some of our home-made granola.  Since we’d run out, he was even prepared to postpone his Christmas Day breakfast for 45 minutes until a fresh batch was baked!  I wasn’t expecting to be making granola on Christmas morning but I was happy to oblige. Thank goodness it only takes a few minutes to prepare!  We won’t be buying shop-bought granolas any more.  Home made is best by a long shot!

And if you like chocolate, how about trying our chocolate clusters? Totally scrumptious and perfect for breakfasts, snacks and desserts 🙂

Have a great weekend everyone xx

Do you make your own granolas?  If so, what is your favourite flavour combination? If you have any published recipes, please do link up below.