Seriously Tasty Time Saving Porridge Topper

Oats are amazing! They are great for the bacteria in your gut, give you loads of energy, keep you full up and are loaded with fiber. Being vegan I don’t really need to worry about fiber because everything I eat has it in, but you can always do with more right?

Mykey and I live a very hectic lifestyle. We are guardians to five cats and one very lively American Bulldog called Bailey. We also work full time and train twice a day everyday at the gym. A little while ago I decided we needed to cut down on the amount of time we spent getting ready in the morning for work, so I came up with this great time saving idea that gives porridge an extra health boost and tastes great.

I make up a jar full of super foods that I then sprinkle on top. Before I used to spend and extra twenty minutes in the morning making sure our breakfasts were as packed with nutrients as possible. Now I stick my spoon in my jar and throw it on top of my bowl of oats, before smothering in soya milk and sometimes heating in the microwave.

Yum!

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The jar lasts about a month if two of you are eating porridge everyday for 5 out of 7 days a week. I also like to put different things in it each month, but this month I’ve gone with flaked almonds, pecan nuts, pumpkin seeds, dried goji berries, shredded coconut, walnuts, milled flaxseed, chia seeds and if I put anything else in there, I can’t remember!

Enjoy! 🙂

Vegetable Paella

Sorry I’ve not posted in a while! I’ve unfortunately had a lot of anxiety issues lately but fear not, I’m back on track to being a super fitness fiend.

Seeing as we’re all feeling the squeeze at the moment, I thought I’d do another one of my Cheap as Chips meals. Most of the ingredients you should have in your cupboard or fridge and if you don’t, you should be able to source them from your local corner shop.

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion
  • 2 bell peppers (you can even go for frozen ones if you’re super skint.)
  • A large handful of frozen peas
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 fresh tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 pint of long grain rice
  • 2 pints of vegetable stock
  • A good pinch of black pepper

Method

Chop your peppers, onion and garlic and place in a heated pan with some oil. Add your frozen ingredients (which for me was just peas) and mix.

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Then create a well in the middle of the pan and fill with your two chopped fresh tomatoes and the paprika.

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Now pour the vegetable stock straight into the well in the middle and mix everything around thoroughly.

Add the rice and mix through thoroughly.

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Allow to simmer on the lowest heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. In this time the liquid will start to be absorbed by the rice, so make sure it doesn’t burn to the bottom of the pan.

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Once 20 minutes has passed, sprinkle with pepper and allow to stand for another five minutes. (The longer you leave it the thicker it will become.)

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Stuffed Tomatoes

A while back I asked my friend on Facebook to come up with three cheap ingredients and I’d make a simple, healthy meal out of them. The first person to post was my friend Pete. He suggested that I make something out of twigs, leaves and water in traditional vegan style. Of course he was joking and subsequently posted tomatoes, pine nuts and tofu. What a great combination! Tofu is rammed full of protein and calcium, pine nuts have loads of vitamin E and tomatoes have loads of vitamin C. A healthy and affordable combination. 

I went to Asda and brought two pack of beef tomatoes. They are currently out of season so they cost more than I was hoping. I also brought just one pack of silken tofu. I already had a bag of pine nuts at home. They are the expensive part, but once you buy some you will find many uses for them and they last for ages. Total basic ingredient cost approximately £6.80 and that will feed two people for lunch or four people for a starter.

Turn on your oven and heat to 200 degrees.

 

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Now the problem i have is that on it’s own, tofu tastes of NOTHING. I figured most people would have garlic, onions and turmeric in the house, so I’m allowing them as ingredients because they are store cupboard staples. (If you don’t have them, they are pretty damn cheap from any local corner shop.)

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First things first; chop the onion and a couple of cloves of garlic and place in a hot pan with oil of your choice. I used sesame seed oil for some extra flavour.

 

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Stir lots and then place about half of the bag of pine nuts into the pan.

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Stir some more and then turn the heat off.

Next job is to prepare the tomatoes. Slice the tops off quite thinly and place to one side. (You’ll need them later.)

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Now slice a deep circle around the center of the tomato and scoop out with a knife or a spoon. (I used a bit of both.)

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Once you have completed this, place on a baking tray upside down to allow any extra fluid to drain away.

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Place any leftover tomato center that isn’t part of the hard core, into the pan with the pine nuts etc and turn the heat back on.

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Cut open the pack of silken tofu and squeeze into the hot pan. Mix well and then add a good sprinkle of turmeric. You can also add any other condiments that you have laying around here. Soy sauce, salt or black pepper would go really well and give it some extra flavour. 

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Mix everything really well. Then turn your beef tomatoes over and fill with the warm tofu mix. Then place the lids you chopped off earlier on top.

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I also sprinkled a bit of olive oil over the top here so they would bake more quickly, but this is optional too.

Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Serve as a starter with some rocket salad or as a lunch on it’s own. Two will most certainly fill you up.

Enjoy! 🙂

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Golden Aubergine with Greens and Potato Gratin

This is a veganised version of Jamie Oliver’s 15 minute meal, “golden chicken, braised greens and potato gratin.” I could well have used some seriously decent mock chicken from Veggie World, but I firstly intended to do this with tofu. I looked in the fridge, the cupboard and the freezer and I had absolutely zero tofu, so I decided to go with an aubergine. If you are serving this for more than two people, use more than one aubergine.

Prep:

Boil the kettle

Pans out

Oven pre-heated to 200 degrees

Food processor setup

Ingredients:

800 g potatoes (I was lucky enough to have some that a work colleague had grown.)

Vegetable stock powder (or crumbled cube)

1 red onion

Rapeseed oil

Dried sage

A can of reduced fat coconut cream

Nutritional yeast

1 aubergine

Dried rosemary

Sea salt

Pepper

Frozen peas

Frozen runner beans

Method:

Finely slice the potatoes in the food processor.

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Then tip into a pan and cover with the hot water from the kettle. Leave on the heat, but do not allow to boil over.

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Peel the onions and also put through the food processor.

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Place in a high edged roasted dish and sprinkle with oil, stock, salt and pepper. Place this on the hob and turn up the heat, adding a dash of water to stop it from burning and then after you have stirred it thoroughly, turn the heat off.

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Slice the aubergine and place in a hot pan with a tablespoon of oil. Season with salt, pepper and rosemary.

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Leave for a few minutes and flip occasionally to allow both sides to brown. The aubergine will absorb the oil pretty quickly, so I added a dash of water here and there to keep it cooking without burning. You can turn the heat down and allow this cook whilst you get on with other things now.

Drain the potatoes well in a colander, then pour into the tray with the onions and turn the heat back on whilst you mix everything together.

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Pour over the coconut cream and a generous sprinkle of nutritional yeast. Turn the hob off and pick tray up with an oven glove and place on the top shelf of the oven for 10 minutes.

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In the meantime you can continue flipping your aubergine slices and adding water if needed.

Now you should use the rest of the water in the kettle to steam your peas and runner beans for about three minutes.

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Drain your peas and beans and season with herbs of choice. I used dried chives.

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Serve up and enjoy this creamy delight.

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Jamie Oliver reckons this meal is 600 calories. I’d say take away the single dairy cream and the fried chicken and it’s down to 450 – 500 calories. An ideal lunch or pre-17:00 meal. Enjoy!

Creamy Chic Pea Salad

This is a leaner version of a creamy chicken salad, especially if you can get reduced fat vegan mayonnaise. I used to really enjoy creamy foods before I went vegan, so it was great news to me that this can be achieved with lower fat, high protein and by not harming any animals. What a result ay?

Ingredients:

* Two romaine lettuces.

* Fresh or tinned pineapple cut into triangles.

* Half a jar of reduced fat, egg free mayonnaise. (If you can get garlic mayo, even better.)

* Fresh or dried parsley, chopped finely.

* A large handful of walnuts

* A can of chic peas or 300g of sprouted chic peas.

Method:

Rinse the chic peas under the cold tap

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Add the mayonniase

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Combine together with a spoon or a fork and add in the parsley.

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Leave to stand for a few minutes to allow the flavours to mix. In the meantime chop your romaine lettuce using scissors if possible to trim the leaves down to a reasonable size.

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Place the lettuce on a plate, then spoon the creamy mixture on top. Now grab your pineapple and walnuts and sprinkle over the top. How easy was that? Dig in!

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Chorizo “carbonara” with catalan market salad

I’ve placed the word carbonara in speech marks because on the Jamie Oliver page there is a massive argument about it not really being a carbonara because it doesn’t conform with the traditional Italian perception of that dish. Personally I don’t care what conforms to what norms. I didn’t event this recipe, but what I can tell you is that it was bloody delicious and nutritious.

I fed this to my fussy eating vegan parents, brother, grandmother and little sister and they all very much enjoyed it. It however took me 20 minutes because I had to double the quantity of pasta due to the amount of people I was serving. The recipe below is the quantities for 4 people.

 Ingredients

  • For the salad

  • 25 g pine nuts
  • 2 green chicory
  • 2 clementines
  • 100 g baby spinach
  • 4 sprigs of fresh mint
  • 45 g vegan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • For the pasta

  • 320 g wholemeal dried penne
  • 70 g vegan chorizo (My parents live in the middle of nowhere so I had to improvise and use Redwoods sausages with lots of chilli.)
  • ½–1 fresh red chilli
  • 2 teaspoons of dried rosemary
  • olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 heaped tablespoons vegan soya yoghurt
  • juice of ½ a lemon

Method

Ingredients out • Kettle boiled • Large frying pan, medium heat • Large lidded pan, high heat

START COOKING

Toast the pine nuts in the frying pan for a few minutes, tossing often

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Put the pasta into the lidded pan, cover with boiling salted water and cook according to packet instructions

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• Finely slice the stalk ends of the chicory and click apart the upper leaves into a serving bowl. Peel and finely slice the clementines, add to the bowl with the baby spinach, then pick over the mint leaves. Shave over a tiny bit of vegan cheese and scatter with the hot nuts.

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In a cup, make your dressing with the vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and agave nectar, then season to taste and put aside.

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Finely slice the sausages or chorizo, chilli and rosemary and put into the frying pan with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and a pinch of pepper, then squash in the unpeeled garlic through a garlic crusher and move everything around until lightly golden.

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Place the lemon juice, soya yoghurt and remaining finely grated vegan cheese together in a food processor and blend until it looks like the below image. I also added some nutritional yeast for extra cheeseyness.

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Drain the pasta, reserving a cupful of the starchy cooking water. Toss the pasta into the chorizo pan, remove from the heat and mix well with the creamy sauce, loosening with a splash of cooking water, if needed, then season to taste

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Dress and toss the salad, then serve with the pasta

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Then me and my Mummy went out for a walk to burn off the extra calories! (Approx 600 per serving which is fine if you are training or if you are not trying to lose weight. Otherwise do what I did and have loads of salad and only a little bit of the pasta.)

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Sausage gnocchi with warm spring greens & bean salad

I started this on Facebook, but I wanted all you guys here to see it too.

I was off sick from work for a little while so I sat and watched Jamie’s 15 minute meals because his recipes are often easy to veganise. I then set myself a challenge to veganise every recipe in the book that goes along with the series and do it all in under 15 minutes.

This particular recipe was what I made the very first time that Mykey came over for dinner. I had to modify the recipe slightly because he is allergic to hazelnuts and soya yoghurt and I didn’t have any kale. It was also the first time he tried gnocchi so I took a bit of a risk and it went down an absolute treat. I’d even be tempted to say it was exquisitely delicious….. oh whoops! I just did! 🙂

Ingredients:

* 4 vegan sausages. (I used Fry’s because I think they are the best and hold their shape very well.)

* 2 teaspoons of fennel seeds.

* 2 teaspoons of dried rosemary.

* 125 ml of red wine (I used a merlot from Co-Op.)

* 200 g tenderstem broccoli

* 700 g passata

* 400 g gnocchi

* pack of vegan bacon. ( I used Redwoods.)

* olive oil

* 40 g walnuts

* 1 teaspoon of maple syrup

* 200 g fine green beans

* 300 g spring greens

* 1 1/2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar

Ingredients out • Kettle boiled • Large casserole pan, high heat • Small frying pan, high heat • Large lidded pan, high heat

START COOKING
Cut the sausage into chunks and place in the casserole pan with the fennel seeds and rosemary.

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Finely slice the bacon, put into the small frying pan with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and the walnuts and cook until golden, then add the maple syrup and remove from the heat.

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Line the beans up and cut off the stalks, then put them into the large pan, cover with boiling salted water and the lid.

Cook for 4 minutes, then add the greens, tearing up any larger leaves.

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Pour the wine into the sausage pan and let it bubble away while you check on the beans and greens.

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If done, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a colander to drain, leaving the pan of water on the heat.

Tear the broccoli tips into the sausage pan, then slice and add the stalks, along with the passata.

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Add the gnocchi to the pan of water the greens were cooked in and pop the lid on.

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Mix the olive oil, vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper in a serving bowl, tip in the drained greens and toss to coat, then scatter over the crispy nuts and bacon.

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When the gnocchi have been floating for a couple of minutes, drain them and toss with the sauce.

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Season to taste and serve in the pan, or on a nice platter if you have such things. I had a plate. Haha!

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…..and that was what won his heart. 😉

Raw Millionaire’s Shortbread

Another great raw treat which is also great for pre and post workout food. I took this to the gym with me and about 15 people tried it seemed very impressed.

I first heard of this delight at a vegan potluck when my friend’s daughter Amy made a batch. Her’s were much more eye pleasing and tasted just as good. Unfortunately I don’t think I’m ever going to be good at making food look professional, but I’m learning with time.

Biscuit Base

Ingredients:

  • A large handful of dates
  • A large cup of almonds (preferably soaked for 12 hours and then rinsed)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

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Method:

Grind all ingredients in a blender until the mixture is sticky and has the consistency of crushed digestive biscuits (similar to a traditional cheesecake base). Grease a dish with coconut oil and then press the mixture into the dish, packing it tight.

Caramel Layer

Ingredients:

  • Half a  jar of light tahini
  • Half a small bottle of maple syrup
  • Two tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1tsp vanilla extract

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Chocolate Topping

Method:

Blend all ingredients until smooth and then pour over the “Biscuit” base. Put dish in freezer for around 15-20 minutes to allow the “caramel” to set.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp raw cacao (or unsugared coco powder)
  • 2 tbsp agave syrup
  • 3 tsp coconut oil

Method:

Simply put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix by hand. The mixture starts to set quite quickly, so it is a good idea to put the bowl inside a larger bowl filled with hot water to keep it soft. Once your “caramel” has set, pour the chocolate on top spreading it evenly and then return your shortbread to the freezer to set. Once the chocolate is hard, remove your Healthy Millionaires Shortbread from the freezer, cut in to squares and serve!

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Raw Coconut & Date Cookies

These cookies were a hit with everyone who ate them and we will definitely be making them again. They are stocked full of good carbs such as dates and bananas, so they are great to eat about an hour before exercise. They are also jam packed with protein from the flax and pumpkin seeds. Combine that with the good carbs and you also have a great post workout snack too, or you can just have them as a cheeky dessert.

We decided to make these cookies raw because we love raw food. It’s always so full of flavour and the health benefits are enormous. For example when you cook food, you denature (destroy) the enzymes contained within that food, some of which are very beneficial to your health. Also with green vegetables, the vitamins and minerals contained within them tend to be water soluble, so if you cook them in water you will lose a lot of nutrition. (Personally I prefer to roast, dehydrate or eat all of my veg raw.)

Ingredients:

2 ripe bananas.

A large handful of pumpkin seeds, chopped coarsely.

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200 grams of milled flax seed.

200 grams of shredded, unsweetened coconut.

8 dates, chopped and depitted. (We buy ours with the pits already removed.)

3/4 bottle of agave nectar

2 tsp. cinnamon

Method:

In a large bowl combine all the ingredients. We used a potato masher. Be patient with this because it can take a while to get to the right consistency. It was a workout making these cookies in the first place.

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Make into cookie shapes and place on grease proof paper on a dehydrator tray. (If you don’t have a dehydrator you can now choose to bake for 15 minutes or you can eat them just as the dough.)

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Dehydrate for approximately 15 hours if you want them to still be slightly soft and gooey inside.

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Everyday Chickpea & Quinoa Salad

The British summer is finally upon us and what do you need on a hot summer’s lunchtime or evening? A light, refreshing but filling and healthy salad. I got this recipe from, “Appetite for Reduction.” It is written by the guys who wrote Veganomicon and all the recipes contain less than 450 calories each. So it’s a great book if you’re working on a calorie deficit which you should be if you’re trying to lose weight and body fat.

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Ingredients: Salad

2 big handfuls of quinoa that you have already pre-cooked in boiling water for 20 minutes, drained and allowed to cool. (To make this raw you could use sprouted quinoa.)

1 small red onion, sliced thinly.

1/2 a romaine lettuce, chopped however you like.

1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed. (To make this raw you could use sprouted chick peas.)

Ingredients: Dressing

A large handful of cashew nuts. (The non-flavoured or salted kind.)

A large shallot, chopped finely.

A dash of balsamic vinegar.

2 teaspoons of dijon mustard.

1 teaspoon agave nectar

A pinch of sea salt.

Method:

In a large mixing bowl, mix all of the salad ingredients together and leave to one side.

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Then place the cashews and shallot into a food processor and pulse on and off  to get them chopped up quite finely.

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Add the rest of the dressing ingredients and pulse on and off for a couple of minutes until you have a type of paste to pour on top.

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Then eat your delicious salad which is only 375 calories and has 17g of protein. Get in!

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