#WIAW – Chocolate Porridge, Tomato & Lentil Soup & Speedy Falafel Wrap

Hi everyone! Hope you’re all doing well & managing to stay warm!

It’s WIAW party time again!  Thanks, all always, to lovely Jenn for hosting this shindig.  For this week’s virtual foodie fest, I thought I’d share my eats from yesterday. Here goes…

Breakfast
Hot water and lemon (pre school drop off)
No run today as it was too icy, so I came straight back home and made myself a warming bowl of chocolate porridge. I used 1/2 cup Mornflake superfast oats (which only take a minute to cook), 1 tbsp cocoa powder and 1 cup Alpro Almond Milk.  Once cooked, I left it to cool for a minute then stirred in 1/2 tbsp hemp seeds, sprinkled some flaked almonds, goji berries and grated dark chocolate on top, and finished it off with a light drizzle of agave syrup. Totally scrumptious!

Chocolate Porridge with Goji Berries - 500 1

Lil’ L had the same breakfast but made with Ready Brek. He prefers the smoothness of Ready Brek and I like the fact that it’s fortified with lots of minerals and vitamins, including calcium, iron and vitamins B12 and D.

Lunch
For lunch, I made some tomato and red lentil soup (recipe here).  I love this soup. It’s so warming and filling! Lil’ L and M took this soup in flasks today for their lunch 🙂

Tomato & Lentil Soup 500

Snacks & Drinks
2 nettle teas, 1 cherry & cinnamon tea, 2 black coffees, Innocent apple juice, water
2 tangerines
1 choc chip cookie (I made a batch of these for lunch box treats this week). This is another yummy recipe from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.

Choc Chip Cookies

Dinner
I raided the fridge tonight and we all had left overs for dinner. Lil’ L chose to have the last portion of sweet chestnut casserole with 3 dumplings; M chose the sweet n sour veggies with noodles and marinated tofu; and I had one of my all-time favourite super quick meals… falafels in a wrap.

Falafel Wrap

This consisted of 2 wholegrain seeded tortillas, caramelised onion humous, Cauldron falafels (which I warmed in the microwave to soften then broke in half), 1 avocado sliced, some salad leaves, sprinkling of sunflower and hemp seeds and a big dollop of Branston chutney.  It took less than 5 minutes to assemble and was totally lush!

This falafel wrap is also one of Lil’ L’s favourite meals (minus the chutney!) and he loves to take them to school for his packed lunch 🙂

Dessert
Lil’ L had some pineapple chunks and Alpro soya yoghurt. I was too full for dessert!

At the moment, I’m loving meals that have little ‘hands on time’. I’d much rather be playing table football with Lil’ L then standing in the kitchen chopping and prepping food! I don’t mind if the dinner needs time to simmer on the stove or bake in the oven, as long as I don’t need to be there standing over it! What’s your current favourite quick prep meal?

Sweet Kale Soup (Child Friendly!) #WIAW

Hi everyone!I hope you’re having a great week so far 🙂

Just for a change, I thought I’d share our eats from Sunday for this week’s WIAW virtual foodie party. Thanks, all always, to our glamourous hostess Jenn over at PeasandCrayon.com.

Here goes…

Breakfast

Warm water & lemon (usual gentle start to the day)
Black coffee whilst reading in bed (Sunday is the only day I get to lay-in now so I’m making the most of it!)
– Warming bowl of cinnamon porridge, made with Alpro almond milk and topped with ground linseed (flaxseed), chopped walnuts, flaked almonds, goji berries, candied citrus peel, and a light drizzle of agave syrup. This is one of my all-time favourite breakfasts. It’s so yummy!

Cinnamon Porridge with Nuts and Dried Fruits 500

Lunch

At the moment I’m on a mission to find new ways of encouraging kids to eat kale.  Now there’s a challenge!

As we all know, kale is a super food. It’s packed with antioxidant vitamins A, C and K, contains iron and is a great plant-based source of calcium.  However, at the end of the day, when you’re 9 years old, it’s still a slightly bitter tasting green leaf and, as such, doesn’t hold at lot of appeal.

One of the biggest successes I’ve had in encouraging Lil’ L to eat kale is in the form of crispy kale (aka kale chips). However, after the initial enthusiasm for it, he’s now getting a bit tired of eating bowls of crispy kale every week.

On Sunday, I thought I’d experiment with making a kale soup. To make it more appealing to Lil’ L, I used sweet potatoes to make the soup creamy and sweet tasting. I also added some grated ginger to give it a little warming kick.

Sweet Kale Soup 1 - 500

The verdict?

He loved it!! After tasting it and declaring it to be ‘really yummy’ he proceeded to devour the whole bowl 🙂

While not the prettiest of soups, the taste more than makes up for it. For me, it’s a great Winter warming soup, perfect for keeping those cold bugs away!

Sweet Kale Soup 2 - 500

Here’s the recipe…

Lunch was followed by a delicious Ghirardelli chocolate. These chocolates were a gift from my wonderful American blogging friend Rachel. A parcel arrived on Christmas Eve filled with a whole host of goodies, along with a batch of her delicious home-made vegan ginger biscotti. What a star she is!

Gifts from Rachel 500

Snacks

A fruit smoothie, made with Kara Coconut Milk, fresh organic blueberries and frozen banana slices.

One tangerine & some walnuts

Dinner

For our main meal today, I wanted to make some comfort food, so I opted for one of our all-time favourite Winter warmers… Sweet Chestnut Casserole with Herby Dumplings.

Chestnut Casserole with Herby Dumplings

This was just what the boys needed after playing outside and making fire!

Dessert

For dessert, we had a Chocolate Banana Chia Pudding. A lovely, quick dessert that’s totally scrumptious (and healthy!)

Chocolate Banana Chia Pudding 500

That’s me done for another WIAW! Time to dash off to school now to teach my Wednesday Workshops 🙂 Enjoy the rest of the week everyone xx

Question of the day: What’s your favourite Winter comfort food?

#WIAW – Favourites Eats from the Festive Holidays

During the past two weeks, I’ve managed to munch my way through lots of my favourite festive foods. Lucky me! 🙂  Since I’ve been missing from the WIAW parties for a couple of weeks, I thought I’d play catch up and share some of my favourite eats from the holidays. Thanks, as always, to our beautiful host Jenn over at PeasandCrayons.com.

Christmas Dinner
This consisted of a red lentil and cashew nut roast, glazed with cranberry sauce, accompanied by roasted potatoes, parsnips, carrots, steamed broccoli and brussel sprouts and a drizzle of roasted onion gravy.

Nut Roast Dinner 500
It was totally lush! Lil’ L loved it too and cleared his plate (bar the 1 brussel sprout that I’d optimistically placed on it).

Christmas Pudding
We love Christmas Pudding, served with Alpro Single Cream or Alpro Vanilla Custard. It’s very calorie intensive though so I’m glad we only eat it at Christmas. This year I tried Tesco’s budget range Christmas pudding as it was dairy-free.  As expected, it didn’t have as many nuts or fruits in it as the deluxe puddings but I thought it tasted good, especially for the price.

Mince Pies
I made my own mince pies this year, using my favourite wholemeal chapatti flour. They were really yum, especially when served warm with Alpro custard. Apologies for the lack of pics. In a blink of an eye they were all gone!

Christmas Cake
For the third year in a row, I made the Christmas Cake using my mum’s trusted old recipe. When we finally got round to decorating it (on Boxing Day!), we opted for a ‘snowy scene’ so we could add Santa and his sleigh on top. Lil’ L used the left over marzipan to make a  snowman 🙂

Christmas Cake 2 2012 - 500

Even though I baked it slightly later that I had planned to, it turned out just fine. It cuts really well and tastes scrumptious! I’m rubbish at baking cakes so all credit has to go to mum’s recipe.

Christmas Cake 2012 - 500

Grapefruits and Tangerines
I seem to only eat grapefruits at Christmas time. I have no idea why! They’re so refreshing. The tangerines have been really tasty this Winter too. I’ve been eating at least one a day 🙂

Grapefruit 500

Rocket Salad with Beetroot, Orange, Pomegranate and Walnuts
I made this salad for our Christmas evening buffet and it was really yummy! It looked really pretty too.

Whole Nuts
For me, a bowl laden with whole nuts and a nutcracker is synonymous with Christmas. I love freshly shelled walnuts. They taste so much better than the pre-packaged nuts. And there’s something very satisfying about cracking open the shells yourself… or watching a strong man do it for you 😉
Lil’ L has been loving pistachios this Christmas.  If you don’t watch him, he’ll easily devour a pot in no time at all!

Walnuts 500

Wasabi Peas
I only recently discovered wasabi peas and they quickly became my number 1 evening snack during the holidays. The hotness of the wasabi makes me pull funny faces and makes my nose tickle but I keep going back for more. Anyone else share my strange obsession with these hot little peas?

Hisaki Wasabi Peas

[Source]

Drinks
At Christmas, four years ago,  I quit drinking alcohol.  I never imagined that I’d be able to quit but, to be totally truthful, I haven’t missed it for one second. I’m very glad to say that Christmas hangovers are well and truly behind me now!

Instead of alcohol, this Christmas I’ve been loving warming drinks, such as home-made warm lemon & ginger sodas, and the bottle green spiced berry cordial.  

bottlegreen spiced cordial woman and home

[Source]

At meal times, instead of wine, I drank Shloer sparkling juices.

We also drank lots of frozen berry smoothies. Since Lil’ L is still refusing to eat whole berries, blending them into a smoothie has been a great way to get him to eat these antioxidant and vitamin-C rich fruits. We’ve also been blending chia seeds into the smoothies for an omega-3 boost (plus they make the smoothies even creamier!)

Well, largely thanks to the puddings and cakes, my clothes are feeling a little snugger this week.  I’m not worried though as I know that the Christmas pounds will soon come off now I’m back into my regular eating habits and morning runs 😉

For the month of January, I’m looking forward to cooking lots of easy, minimum prep, cheap, tasty, healthy, plant-based foods… and then sharing the recipes with you guys 🙂  I’ve got lots of ideas for quick meals and I can’t wait to test them out.

What was your favourite festive eats? And what sort of recipes are you looking forward to trying this month?

 

WIAW – Planning a Scrumptious Veggie Christmas Dinner

Have you seen the date today?

12.12.12. 

That’s pretty special isn’t it? We won’t be seeing another one of those in our lifetime!

Seeing today’s date also reminded me that it’s not long until Christmas!  I really want to be organised this year and have the festive meals planned well in advance (I imagine my that my mum has probably burst out laughing at this moment. Me being organised? That’ll be a first!)  However, this year I really am going to try my best.  My parents-in-law are coming to stay with us for Christmas (for the first time in years) and I really want to make it special for them. While they’re meat eaters, my plan is to prepare lots of veggie dishes that are so scrumptious that they won’t miss the meat for one second. Hopefully my plan will succeed 😉

I’m planning to make some of my family’s festive favourites – including a cashew & red lentil roast and a leek, chestnut and mushroom strudel – but I’m also looking forward to trying out some new recipes.

This morning, I checked out the websites of two of my favourite vegetarian charities – Viva! and The Vegetarian Society – and I was amazed by the array of festive recipes that they have on offer.  Both charities have set up dedicated sections for Christmas on their sites.

For this week’s WIAW foodie party, hosted by the lovely Jenn over at Peas and Crayons, I’d thought I’d show you some of the festive treats from these two wonderful charities that would be perfect for Christmas Day dinner 🙂

Nut roasts are the classic centre piece of veggie Christmas dinners. This year, I’m thinking of serving two different nuts roasts, baked in mini portion sizes in ramekins or muffin trays. Viva! has two new nut roast recipes that I’d love to try…

Individual Mediterranean Nut, Olive & Marinated Tofu Roasts with Caramelised Red Onion & Wine Reduction

Luxury Festive Roast

And how about serving them with roasted veggies and some Vegan Yorkshire Puddings? I was really pleased to come across this recipe on Viva!’s site as I’ve always wanted to try a vegan version of this British classic.

Strudels are impressive centre pieces for the festive dining table and they make a great alternative to nut roasts. They’re very easy to prepare, especially if you buy the pastry!

Viva!’s Deluxe Chestnut, Port and Thyme Strudel

The Vegetarian Society have got an amazing Vegan Christmas Pie recipe, which I will definitely be trying. They’ve even produced a step-by-step film to show us how to make it.

Another yummy looking festive centre piece from The Vegetarian Society is this Festive Filo Pillow. Again, they’ve produced a helpful step-by-step video…

Moving onto Christmas Day desserts…

For me, the classic Christmas Day dessert has to be Christmas pudding, served warm with non-dairy cream or custard. There are lots of dairy and gluten-free puddings available in the supermarkets and health food stores in their ‘Free From’ sections. I discovered that Tesco’s budget ‘Every Day Value’ Christmas pudding is also vegan. It only costs £2 for a 900g pudding. I’m not sure what it tastes like though, so I’ve bought one to try in advance. If it’s any good, I’ll report back.

Christmas pudding seems to be one of those desserts that people either love or hate. So, in case you’re in the latter camp, here are a couple of delicious-sounding alternatives that I came across today:

The Vegetarian Society’s Mincemeat Orange and Cranberry Strudel

Doesn’t it look delicious? A printable version of this recipe is available from the BBC website.

Soft Caramel & Black Cherry Bombe with Hot Chocolate Sauce
This dessert really does have the ‘wow’ factor. The name alone is enough to get me drooling 😉

Chocolate & Brandy Truffle Torte
This Viva! recipe looks so decadent!

And finally, if you fancy going raw, how about trying Shine on Raw’s Yuletide log?

As you can see, there’s a huge array of yummy vegan alternatives for Christmas Day.  Whether you’re planning a veggie Christmas for yourselves, or will be entertaining veggie friends over the festive period, do check out the Viva! and The Vegetarian Society’s websites as they’re truly inspiring. Even if you usually eat meat, maybe these recipes could tempt you to try a veggie Christmas this year 😉

Have you started planning your Christmas Day dinner yet? If so, I’d love to hear what you’re planning to serve. 

And don’t forget to enter my Magic Mayan Raw Chocolate Giveaway. It’s international, so all my lovely readers are very welcome to enter. On Sunday 16th December, 3 winners will be selected at random to receive their chocolate bar of choice!

Enjoy the rest of the week everyone! xx

 

 

Deer Spotting and Biking at Ashton Court (plus WIAW!)

Due to all the rain we’ve had lately, I haven’t been out on my bike for weeks. So, when we woke up on Sunday morning and saw that the sky was bright and clear, we decided to make the most of it and head to Ashton Court with our bikes 🙂

Before we set off, we all had a huge bowl of porridge to fuel us up. Me & Lil’ L opted for cocoa porridge, which is one of our current favourite breakfasts. As you can see, I add lots of toppings to my porridge, including flaked almonds, chopped walnuts, goji berries, citrus peel, ground flaxseed and a sprinkling of grated raw chocolate. Yum!

There are two ways I make cocoa porridge depending on what milks I have available. I either use Alpro’s Chocolate Milk (which is really yummy!) or add 1 tbsp cocoa to the porridge along with some non dairy milk (I use Alpro’s Almond or Soya milk) and a drizzle of agave syrup to sweeten it up. Both methods are equally scrumptious!

After breakfast, we strapped 3 bikes to the car and headed to Bristol. As soon as we arrived at Ashton Court I paused for a few moments to say hello to the deer.

Check out this little cutie.

I then hopped on my bike and did my best to catch up with the others!

I might still be able to beat Lil’ L on hills, but it’s impossible for me to catch him on the trails. Yes that’s me in the pic below, trailing behind…

Here I come!

It was so exhilarating to be out on the bike. I’ve really missed it!

For lunch, we stopped at the Golf Hub Cafe, which is near the mountain  bike trail. It had a great selection of food for veggie mountain bikers 😉

‘Doorstep sandwiches’ and all-day cooked veggie breakfasts are great re-fuelling foods. However, this time round, Lil’ L and I opted for the veggie burger. We both agreed, though, that next time we’ll have the cooked breakfast. That was M’s choice and it looked amazing!  For dessert, Lil’ L chose to have a piece of Victoria sponge cake. The slice was huge. And this is what a 9 year old boy looks like on a sugar rush 😉

Luckily the sugar didn’t wear off until he was back at the car 😉

Even though I’m very rusty at mountain biking, I managed to get round the trail without falling off.  However, back at the Ashton Court manor house, whilst stationary with my left foot on the ground, I managed to lose my balance, fail to unclick my right foot from my pedal, and slammed down on the ground.  Durgh! So not cool!  I cut and bruised my knees but fortunately I managed to avoid tearing my leggings. phew!

Back home, we fancied something warming and filling for tea so we opted for a butternut squash, chick pea and apricot tagine served on a bed of couscous. This is one of our all-time favourite Moroccan tagines and I promise to post the recipe soon!

For dessert, we had fresh pineapple, served with a drizzle of Alpro soya cream. Delicious!

So that’s a rundown of Sunday’s activities and eats for the WIAW foodie party. Thanks, as always, to our wonderful host Jenn. If you want some inspiration for new eats, do check out her WIAW posts, published every Wednesday. There’s literally hundreds of entries to browse through!


Have you ever had a Moroccan tagine before? If so, what’s your favourite?
I had my first tagine in Istanbul a few years ago and I loved the combination of sweet and savoury flavours. Last Christmas, a friend of mine bought me a tagine pot and it’s been put to a lot of use this year.  I love trying out different combinations of veggies, dried fruits and spices. I’ll write up the recipes for our favourites and post them very soon!

Enjoy the rest of the week everyone 🙂 xx

 

 

 

WIAW – Cinnamon Porridge, Celeriac Soup & Colourful Pastry Bake

Hi everyone!

I hope you’re having a good week so far!  Life has been pretty hectic for me this week so, at meal times, I’ve had to rely on trusted, old recipes which I know I can whip up in next to no time. For this week’s WIAW foodie party, I’d like to share our eats from today. All the food we consumed took minimal preparation, but was absolutely scrumptious! Here goes…

Breakfast
Warm water and lemon (before school drop-off)
It was cold this morning, so I was looking forward to getting back home and making myself a huge bowl of steaming hot cinnamon porridge. I topped it with an assortment of nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds), ground linseed (for an omega-3 boost), goji berries and a little candied peel. This was topped with a drizzle of agave syrup. Yum!

I love adding candied peel to my porridge this time of year. Not only does it add a burst of citrus flavour to the porridge, but it also makes me feel just a teensy bit festive 😉 That reminds me, I MUST make the Christmas cake this week. I should have made it last weekend and totally forgot!

Lunch
For lunch, I had some celeriac soup left over from last night’s dinner. This is one of my absolute all-time favourite soups. It tastes AMAZING!! It’s so creamy and sweet.  Celeriacs are widely available in the UK now and they’re really cheap. I only use half a celeriac in this soup, so it only costs about £1 to make a huge batch!

Snacks & Drinks
Berry smoothie, peppermint & nettle tea, 1 black coffee, water, 1 orange

Dinner
For dinner, I made a colourful pastry bake, but cheated by using ready-made puff pastry. I tried Clive’s organic rough puff wholemeal pastry (bought from our local health store, Harvest). It tasted wonderful (far better than white pastry) but it didn’t puff up. I’m not sure whether this is due it being wholemeal, or because I left it defrosted for 48 hours rather than 24. Next time I use it I’ll have to make sure that I follow the instructions!

Unfortunately, it was too dark to take a picture, but it looked similar to this one…

This time round, I topped the bake with finely chopped red pepper, yellow pepper, courgette (zucchini), red onion, mushrooms, olives and pine nuts. I also made some lightly spiced, crispy potato wedges to go with it.  It was a very yummy dinner indeed and Lil’ L has ‘bagged’ the fourth portion for his packed lunch tomorrow 😉

Dessert
For dessert, we had some tinned peaches in natural juice, topped with Alpro pouring yoghurt and some home-made granola. It only took a few seconds to prepare yet it tasted really special.

I discovered the new Alpro pouring yoghurt in Waitrose last week where it was on special offer. When you bought a fresh Alpro soya or almond milk, you got the pouring yoghurt for free. Bargain! I bought both the plain and vanilla versions and the family loves both of them.

So that was our day of quick prep meals. For me, it felt more like a day of feasting than ‘make do’ dinners. I’m glad to hear that the boys felt the same way! 🙂

I’d love to hear about your favourite quick prep dinners. If you’ve published them, please do link up below as I’d love to check them out!

Right time to head over to Jenn’s and get inspired 🙂

Enjoy the rest of the week everyone xx