Tag Archives: baking

WIAW – I’ll bring the hemp burgers

Happy Wednesday everybody!

Yep, it’s Wednesday again, which means it’s time for the lovely Jenn’s virtual WIAW  party where the guests post and share their eats.  If you haven’t visited before, you must check out all the amazing pics!

Okay, so here’s what I ate this Wednesday:

Breakfast

Glass of warm water and a slice of lemon (this week I’ve really been enjoying this gentle start to the day, rather than the big cups of black coffee I had last week.  It’s reassuring to know that I’m no longer dependent on coffee to kickstart my day 😉 ) 

Big bowl of porridge into which I added some blueberry fruit spread, chopped walnuts, chopped pecans and sunflower seeds.  It was lush!  With the porridge, I drank a cup of nettle tea.

Lunch

I had to make a quick lunch before I dashed to school to teach my meditation classes, so I grabbed some Scottish oat cakes, celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, black olives and cashew nut butter.  I bought a jar of Meridian cashew nut butter for the first time last week, and I’m LOVING it!  I’ll definitely be buying it again 🙂  

Snacks

After school, I enjoyed a 5-minute sitdown with a cup of coffee and a piece of date and zucchini chocolate brownie (which I made last week).  It was a bit of an experiment but it worked out really well (unlike a lot of my experiments 😉 ) 

I’ve never been a big fan of brownies, but I absolutely love this one.  The taste and texture is lush!  Plus, by using no refined sugar, very little oil, and with the addition of dates, zucchini and whole wheat flour, it’s actually a healthy brownie!  What more could we want eh??  Lil’ L has been taking it to school for his lunchtime snack.  I’ve just asked him what he thinks of the brownie and he said “really, really, really nice” 🙂

 

Dinner

I’m really into hemp seed at the moment, and have been using the Good Hemp milk, oil and shelled seeds as a way of adding omega-3 into our meals.  From what I’ve read, hemp is a ‘super food’ as it’s packed with nutrition.  Here’s a few facts I found out about hemp today:

  • It is a complete protein, containing all the essential amino acids.  It also has a high protein content (see image below).
  • The globulin edestin in hemp seed closely resembles that found in human blood plasma and is completely compatible with the human digestive system, making it easily digested, absorbed and utilised. 
  • Hemp seed contains phytosterols, which have been shown to reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol.
  • Hemp seed has a high content of antioxidants (all part of the Vitamin E family).
  • Hemp seed has the perfect ratio of omega-3 to omega-6.

What an amazing amount of goodness packed into a little seed! 

I’ve been using the Good Hemp shelled hemp seed a lot lately, sprinkling it into breakfasts and on dinners.  For those interested, here’s the nutritional blurb found on the back of the pot:

Good Hemp also makes a hemp protein powder, which M has been trialling whilst mountain bike training.  I don’t think that I do enough exercise to warrant using protein powders, so I’ll leave it to him to review that one 😉

So, with my new love of all things hemp, on Monday I decided to create some hemp seed burgers.  I had very little time on Monday evening as we were going out trick ‘n’ treating, but as per usual with me, when I get the creative urge, I have to pursue it 😉  So, within 20 minutes I’d made the burgers, cooked them, served them, and we were out the door!  I made 8 burgers in total, so we had them for dinner tonight too. 

Lil’ L’s verdict on the hemp burger… deeeeelicious!!!  Yay another winner!   The burgers had a great texture and I thought they tasted a bit like the sausage meat that you find in veggie sausage rolls.  To make the burgers, I used tofu, hemp seeds, chopped onion, minced garlic, soy sauce, tomato puree, ground oats and a little stuffing mix.  (If anyone’s interested, I can post the recipe).  As accompaniments, we had sunflower and sesame seed rolls, roasted butternut squash, red pepper and crispy kale. Delish!

Dessert

For dessert tonight, I had some stewed apples with natural yoghurt, cinnamon and pecans, while Lil’ L finished up the banana cinnamon icecream that we made a couple of weeks ago.  It had gone before I had time to take a photograph, so here’s the pic from last time we had it.

 

So, that’s me done!  Time to head over to Jenn’s now and check out the lush foodie photos 😉 

Happy WIAW everyone!

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Filed under Baking & Desserts, Breakfast and Elevenses, Dinners, Nutrition

Scrummy Vegan Chocolate Birthday Cake

For the past two birthdays, Lil L has asked whether we can make a home-made vegan chocolate cake as his birthday treat, rather than one of those fancy shop-bought birthday cakes.

Three reasons why I’ve considered this to be great news…

1. It means he actually likes the cakes I make 🙂
2. It’s saved me a small fortune 🙂
3. It means I get to spend some quality time with him in the kitchen 🙂

This year, he got heavily involved in all stages of the cake-making process, including the sieving, the mixing and, of course, the bowl licking. No guessing which bit he enjoyed the most 😉

Last year, he chose to have a plastic Frankenstein stuck in the top of the cake.  This year, we went for something slightly more sophisticated… berry and cherry spread in the middle, raw chocolate fudge frosting on top and 8 candles 🙂

The chocolate and fruity filling flavours went really well together.  For me, the cake also had the perfect consistency (moist, not crumbly, easy to cut).  In summary, this cake was totally delish! And, most importantly, Lil’  L loved it! 🙂

 

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WIAW – I’ll bring the falafel and flapjack :)

Firstly, I’d like to begin by saying ‘hi’ to all the lovely new subscribers to my blog and to everyone that’s left me comments this week.  I’ve loved reading every single one of them… so please keep them coming! 

So, how has your Wednesday been?  Hope it’s been a good one for you!

My Wednesday has been a day of two halves… a morning of frustration sorry, read that as ‘challenges’ and ‘opportunities’ brought about by my attempts to embrace technology (unfortunately it just doesn’t want to embrace me back 😦 ), followed by a blissful afternoon spent with the children in my meditation classes.  Today they truly were my ‘little saviours’ 🙂

Since this post is dedicated to the WIAW party, I’ll post later about the other events that unfolded this Wednesday.

For those of you that are new to my blog, I’ll quickly explain what the WIAW party is.  Basically, it’s a virtual party hosted by the lovely Jenn over at Peas & Crayons, where we share what we eat each Wednesday.  This event not only helps us to keep track of our own eating habits, but it’s also greatly inspiring.  Last week I book-marked so many gorgeous veggie recipes, that I reckon I could try out new meals each night for the next year!

So, here we go… here’s what I ate this Wednesday:

Breakfast
Cup of black coffee (I would have chosen the hot water and lemon, but we’ve run out of lemon.  Great excuse eh 😉 )

After the school run, I made myself a huge bowl of porridge, made with Flahavan’s organic jumbo oats, Alpro fortified soya milk, with a sprinkling of  cinnamon, chopped brazil nuts, pecan nuts, ground linseed, goji berries, and a drizzle of Crazy Jack’s organic brown rice syrup.

Goji berries are a recent discovery for me, and I’m absolutely loving them!  I’ve also just found out that they’re one of those extremely nutrient-dense ‘super’ foods.  According to the write-up on Detox Your World, they contain all 8 essential amino acids (so they’re a great protein supplement); they’re a rich source of carotenoids (containing more beta-carotene than carrots); they contain vitamins B1, B2, B6, and vitamin E; and up to 21 trace minerals (the main ones being zinc, iron, copper, calcium, germanium, selenium, and phosphorus).  If you haven’t tried them, you must give them a go!  As well as adding them to porridge, I’ve also been putting them in my energy bars, flapjacks and raw chocolates.

For breakfast, I also had a large glass of Innocent smoothie.  This smoothie is seen as a luxury in our house, but it’s half price in Tesco at the moment so I bought two 🙂

Lunch
For lunch, I had a large bowl of lightly spiced parsnip soup, leftover from Sunday.  This is one of the family’s all-time favourite soups and Lil’ L loves it!   We lightly spice it with garam masala and a sprinkling of smoked paprika. It’s a great soup for Autumn!

Snacks
After school, we had a piece of cherry and coconut flapjack.  I first made this flapjack for the Macmillan Cancer fund-raiser event and it was a big hit!  It was the first goodie that sold out, and we received lots of great feedback and recipe requests.  I’ve finally got round to writing up the recipe and posting it.  Sorry it’s taken so long! 

People were surprised to hear that I don’t include any processed fat or oil in the flapjack.  It’s literally made with oats, dried cherries, coconut, a dash of vanilla extract and Sweet Freedom fruit syrup.  The fact that it’s low GI and low fat makes it a great snack as it helps sustain energy levels.  The dried cherries could be swapped for any dried fruits.  I often use goji berries (no surprise there) and dates.  If you try any other dried fruit combinations, please let me know as I’m always looking for inspiration.

Dinner
For dinner tonight we had falafel.  For the past year, I’ve been playing around with my falafel recipe and I finally think I’ve got it right…. not too spicy for Lil’ L, but still plenty of delicious flavour. 

I served the falafel with houmous, black olives, tzatziki (made with Alpro plain soy yoghurt), raw veggies, salad leaves, pieces of wholemeal pitta bread and wholegrain couscous (my boys eat so much!).  

By the time I served dinner, there was no natural light left, so here’s a shot of the same meal that I served last month.

Right, that’s me done!  Time to head over to Jenn’s party and get inspired 🙂

Happy WIAW everyone! 🙂

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The Big Budget Challenge – week I

With lots of fairly large expenses looming over the next 3 months, last Friday I decided to join ‘The Big Budget Challenge’ hosted by the lovely Laura @ Keeping Healthy Getting Stylish.  We set our own budgeting rules (mine are here) and, for the next 2 months, we’ll post a weekly progress update on how we’re doing on our budgeting adventure. 

It’s my first week into the challenge and I’ve been filled with enthusiasm about finding ways to cut our household food-related costs.  Here’s a summary of what I managed to achieve in the past week:

1. Avoid Waste.  I’m pleased to say that I’ve used up all fruits and veggies before they went brown, turned to liquid or grew fur. 😉  I also rummaged around in the kitchen cupboards and used up anything that was past its sell-by date, including 2 packs of ground almonds:

I was in foodie heaven when I saw these almonds on special offer. Please don't look at the BB date! They were fine, honest!

With these almonds, I made some vegan cocoa fudge (featured in yesterday’s post) and 4 fruit puddings made with home-grown apples, foraged blackberries, and an oaty-almond topping.  They were totally delish… although Lil’ L freaked at the purple coloured apple and said the dessert wasn’t attractive enough to eat! The cheek of it!

The idea was to freeze 3 puddings and eat 1 this week.  Instead, 1 found its way into the freezer, and 3 got eaten in less than a week!  Aren’t we a greedy bunch?

2. Shop around for the cheapest deals. I haven’t done an internet shop this week, so I’ll try www.mysupermarket.co.uk for price comparisons next week.

3. Make use of home-grown foods. On Saturday, we picked apples off our cooking apple tree.  M and Lil’ L had loads of fun, with M balanced up the tree throwing apples down to Lil’ L.  The idea was to carefully catch them and place them in the box, so we can overwinter them.  Unfortunately, most got dropped, some bounced off his head, and the picked apples definitely got mixed in with the windfalls!  I’m not holding out much hope for the overwintering now. 😦

We filled up 3 boxes and there’s still hundreds of apples up the tree.  If anyone that lives near me would like some apples, please give me a shout as we have way too many for a family of 3.

 So far, I’ve made all the puddings mentioned above, plus lots of apple sauce, which I’ve been using to make apple cinnamon breakfast pancakes. 

I normally buy at least one bag of organic apples a week and a couple of jars of organic apple sauce per month, so this little harvest is going to save us a fair fortune!

4. Go Foraging! I couldn’t wait to go foraging, so straight after school last Friday, Lil’ L and I put on our wellies and went to see what we could find.  Just a short distance from our house, we found a small strip of land literally covered with cob nuts!  We gathered them up, brought them home and weighed them.  In total, we had 2 kilos’ worth of nuts!  In Waitrose, cob nuts are currently selling for £3.99 a kilo!

Fortunately, I know someone who absolutely loves cracking nuts. 😉

So far, I’ve used the nuts to make veggie burgers.  This weekend I’m going to try roasting them with a little sea salt.  Again, if anyone living near me would like some cob nuts please let me know as we have way too many.

Last weekend, we also combined a bike ride along the Bath-Bristol cycle route with a foraging trip to gather blackberries.  We managed to gather 3 containers’ worth.  Some went in the puddings, the rest I stewed.  I adore stewed blackberries and ate 2 bowlfuls today.  I should be zinging with nutrients now! 🙂

5. Make use of vouchers and deals.  This is where we made a huge saving.  In preparation for our Friday night out, I exchanged some Tesco vouchers for reward tokens and we went to Pizza Express.  We asked for the £10 for 2 course menu (in our local P.E. you don’t get this menu unless you ask for it!) and Lil’ L had the children’s menu.  For drinks we had tap water (P.E. must hate people like us 😉 ).  The bill came to £27, which was paid for in tokens… thus FREE!  Normally we spend £35-£40 on a night out, so a bargain all round!

Outside of my 5 rules, we also came up with another way to save significant amounts of money… by parking 10 mins out of the city centre and walking in.  This week, we’ve needed to go into the city twice by car (normally we cycle).  By parking a little out of the centre, we saved £10 in parking charges!  I also enjoyed walking through parts of Bath that I never normally visit.  I especially enjoyed stomping through the crunchy leaves. 🙂

That big leaf in the middle just had to come to come home with me 🙂

It’s amazing how many ways you can save money with a little bit of thought.  I’m going to pop over to Laura’s now and see how everyone else is doing on The Big Budget Challenge.

What’s your favourite money-saving tip?  I’d love to hear it! 

 

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WIAW – I’ll bring the Korma :)

Happy Wednesday everybody!  Hope it’s been a good one for you!

My Wednesday started much slower than I would have hoped.  It’s been so dark  in the mornings this week that I’m struggling to get out of bed.  While I’ve significantly reduced my coffee drinking in order to kick my caffeine addiction, this was definitely one of the those mornings where I needed to smell the coffee in order to even open my eyes. 😉

I was way too sleepy to take a photo of my coffee, so this one is courtesy of Savit Keawtavee

The coffee was quickly gulped down while I made Lil’ L’s breakfast, got dressed and literally sprinted to school.  This is the third morning on the trot that we’ve only just made it to school before the bell stops ringing.  I MUST do better tomorrow. 😦  

For those of you who have been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that Wednesday is the day that I join the ‘What I Ate Wednesday’ party hosted by the lovely Jenn @ Peas and Crayons. Not only do I use this event as a way to take stock of my own eating habits, but it’s also a great way to draw inspiration from all the wonderful eats that are on display at the WIAW party. 

I’m really late joining the party today.  Tardiness has been the theme of my day (my mum would say it’s the theme of my life. 😉 ).  Sorry everyone, I promise I’ll try and do better! 

So, here’s what I ate today:

Breakfast
The dark, wet morning definitely called for a warm breakfast.  I opted for a huge bowl of porridge, with chopped goji berries, pecan nuts, and ground flaxseed sprinkled on top, and a drizzling of Sweet Freedom Natural Syrup.

Rather than my usual Flahavans oats, I thought I’d try some of Lil’ L’s Ready Brek.  When I was young I loved eating Ready Brek.  I SO wanted to be the kid on the advert that glows on the way to school.  🙂  On the box, it says it’s ‘Great for Kids’ and, for me, this holds true.  It was way too smooth and creamy for me.  Plus I didn’t feel anywhere near as good as I normally do after breakfast.  I guess some things are best left in your childhood. 😉 

Lunch
I had my lunch back to front today.  The bread hadn’t finished baking by the time I had to dash to school for my meditation class, so I ate my pudding first.  I started with an apple off the tiny tree that grows out of the rockery in our back garden… this apple right here:

This was followed by a piece of cocoa fudge that I made yesterday.  This fudge is SO filling that you only need one little piece to fill you up!

This is my first attempt at making fudge and I packed it with goodness (ground almonds, tahini, raw cocoa powder, hempseed oil, fruit sweetener, and a goji berry on top).  I made up the recipe, using Shazzie’s ‘Little Fudge Cakes’ from her ‘Naked Chocolate’ book and Dr Fuhrmann’s ‘Vanilla Carob Fudge’ for inspiration.  Lil’ L loved it and gave it 5 stars but, for me, the tahini flavour was too over powering.  I’ll try again and post the recipe when I’m 100% happy with it.

When I got back from school, I had a slice of warm home-made bread with Natex low-salt yeast extract slathered on top (for a B12 boost).  (It was delish but I’m afraid there’s no photo; I woofed it down at soon as I got home! 🙂 )

Dinner
Tonight’s dinner was the left-over veggie korma from Monday.  It’s the first time I’ve made korma for Lil’ L and he absolutely loved it!  I basically used a bunch of veggies that I found in the bottom of the fridge.  It turns out that the combination of veggies works really well (IMO), so I’ll definitely use the combo again. 

In the pan went: onions, garlic, korma paste, cumin, red pepper, green pepper, courgette (zucchini) (thanks Ellie!), green beans (thanks Mum!), spinach, carrot, sweet potato, long life extra firm tofu (quorn or TVP would work equally work fine, or even cashews and almonds), some vegetable stock and a sachet of Patak’s coconut cream

While the veggies gently simmered, I boiled some rice.  I’d normally use brown basmati, but I found some old white rice in the pantry that needed using up.  When the veggies were ready, I roughly whizzed them with the hand blender, so that they blended together and made the sauce creamier.  I didn’t blend them to a smooth paste as we like a bit of texture, but I guess a fully blended curry would be great for kids that aren’t keen on veggies.

The korma was totally lush!  I’ve eaten it 3 times this week (twice with rice and once in a tortilla wrap) and I’m still not sick of it!   This dinner is going to be a regular feature in our house from now on. 🙂

Dessert was an apple pudding with an oaty-almond topping.  To save time, I made two puddings and will freeze one for next week.  The apples are home-grown. 🙂  

Right, that’s my eats done.  I’m off to Jenn’s party to see what you’re all eating.  Happy WIAW everyone!

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WIAW – Pancakes, Dhal, Pasta, Flapjack & Yoghurt Apple Surprise

Yesterday, after school, Lil’ L and I went apple picking down the orchard. Well ‘orchard’ is a bit of a grand name for one apple tree and one plum tree but, to us, it will always be known as our little orchard. 😉 Next year, I’m determined to plant some more fruit trees. (I’m quite fancying a greengage tree at the moment… I ate some of my sister’s greengages at the weekend and they were gorgeous!)

Last night, I made a large batch of apple sauce so I could surprise Lil’ L this morning by cooking one of his favourite breakfasts… apple cinnamon pancakes. They made the house smell wonderful! Lil’ L is a big pancake monster and he ate 3 large pancakes and I had a couple. The remaining batter is stored in the fridge and I’ll cook M a couple of pancakes for his supper tonight.

These pancakes are made with wholemeal flour, oats, baking powder, apple sauce, fortified soya milk, vanilla extract, and a little water. We love to serve them with a sprinkling of ground flaxseed and a drizzling of Sweet Freedom fruit sweetener or agave syrup.

For lunch, I ate the dhal with coconut and butternut squash left over from Monday’s nights’ dinner. This is one of our all-time favourite meals and costs only a few pence to make.  The recipe can be found here.

For a snack, we had a piece of home-made goji berry flapjack, which contains no fat and no refined sugar. Here’s the recipe.

On Wednesday’s, Lil’ L has his swimming lesson and I usually don’t start cooking dinner until we get back home. This means we eat dinner around 7.15pm then have very little time for a sit down and bed time stories.  THIS week, I’ve actually got myself organised and made dinner ahead of time. There’s a first time for everything! 😉

In the pantry, I came across a packet of long-life tofu, which I bought in France this summer. It’s made in Germany and I must see if we can buy it here in the UK. It’s got a very firm texture, which makes it suitable for pasta dishes as well as noodles.

For tonight’s dinner, I’ve chosen to make a simple 6-veg pasta. The tofu was chopped and drizzled in a little soy sauce for flavour. For veggies, I used a large carrot, a handful of mushrooms (both whizzed in the mini chopper), some courgette (zucchini), celery and red pepper (all finely chopped). (I would have used broccoli but we’ve run out. 😦 )  While the wholewheat penne was cooking, I added the veggies to a large saucepan, along with the tofu pieces, a squirt of tomato puree and a jar of Seeds of Change organic tomato and basil sauce.  When the pasta was ready, it was added to the veggie sauce mixture. After allowing it to cool slightly, a teaspoon of Good Hemp hempseed oil was mixed into each pasta portion (for an omega-3 boost) and garnished with a sprinkling of pine nuts and chopped basil. A super quick (15 minute), delicious and nutritious meal. I’m sure the boys will love it. 🙂

I’ve also made dessert ahead of time! Gosh I’m on fire today. 😉  I had this idea of layering Alpro Natural Soya Yoghurt, home-made apple sauce and sprinkling goji berries, dates, nuts and seeds on top (all whizzed together in the mini chopper). It looks quite cool.

If anyone can think of a good name for this dessert, please let me know! The best I can come up with is ‘yoghurt apple surprise’ which is a bit dull and predictable. Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated! 🙂

Right time to head over to Jen’s party and see what everyone else is bringing. Happy WIAW!

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Macmillan Fun Day 2011

Last Friday, M, Lil’ L and I helped out at the Macmillan Fun Day at The Verwood Hub in Dorset.  The event was organised by my sister Jodie and supported by a lovely team of volunteers. 🙂 

There were lots of stalls and fun activities running throughout the day.


I was tasked with running the ‘foodie’ stall.  In the week leading up to the event, I was busy making cupcakes, flapjacks and raw chocolates (another of my latest passions 😉 ).

My mum was an absolute star and helped me out by baking and frosting nearly 200 cupcakes! Her poor electric mixer blew up half way through our frosting frenzy, so the remainder had to be made by hand. Me, my mum, and sister Sandra were up to midnight on Thursday frosting the cakes. After this, none of us could get to sleep. I’m sure we inhaled far too much icing sugar… I was buzzing all night!

All our cupcakes were dairy-free. We used Alpro soya milk and Pure margarine instead of cow's milk and butter.

I didn’t want to skimp on the quality of the ingredients, so I chose to use all my favourite products including Alpro’s soya milk; Sweet Freedom’s award-winning natural sweetener and syrup; Crazy Jack’s organic natural syrups, dried fruits and nuts; Detox Your World’s organic raw chocolate liqueur, cococa powder, goji berries and nuts and Flahavans wonderful Organic Oats. 

 

I want to say a big ‘THANK YOU’ to all these wonderful companies for the fantastic support they gave for this event.

A big THANK YOU also to Dan and Paula from Elements for Life who kindly donated a tray of their award-winning ‘Yummy Scrummy’ Raw Chocolate Brownie. Since tasting Yummy Scrummy at the Frome Green Fair earlier this year, I’ve been hooked on raw chocolate!  I was hoping that a piece of Yummy Scrummy would be left over so I could bring it home, but no chance of that… the whole tray was snapped up within the first hour! 
 

Another popular item on my foodie stall was the goji berry flapjack that I made using NO fat and NO refined sugar. Instead, I simply used natural sweeteners, chopped goji berries and nuts combined with oats and barley flakes. Again, the tray was emptied in no time at all.  

A number of people asked me for the recipe, so I promise I’ll write it up and post it before the end of the week.

My final picture is a close-up of the Christmas Cake that my sister Sandra made for the Macmillan event. It was covered in delicate Christmas trees made of wafer thin icing. It was breathtakingly stunning! The lucky winner is sure going to have a great centrepiece for their dining table this Christmas!

All in all, it was a great day and, most importantly, we raised lots of money for Macmillan.  The ‘goodie’ stall raised £200, while the overall total was a touch over £1,100.

A big thank you to everyone that supported the event. We hope to see you again next year xx

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