Dairy-Free Frozen Chocolate-Flavoured Breakfast Smoothie Bowl

16D342DD-5171-499D-A90A-59CCFB55A00DI keep rescheduling this post because the weather insists on returning to winter temperatures!  Plus, I think the colour and the fact that it has spinach in it may put you off. If I hadn’t written ‘smoothie’ in the title, you would probably have thought it was soup!

However, I’m relegating porridge bowls for now, I need a change, and I have to hope that things will warm up sooner rather than later.

Admittedly, this smoothie doesn’t look very appealing, but appearances can be deceiving and it is chock full of the good stuff.  Using frozen instead of fresh banana makes the smoothie thicker and creamier. Slice over-ripe bananas and freeze them in the amounts you’ll want to use them. Bananas that start to have black spots on them are much easier to digest, fresh or frozen.

Use less milk than you would for a normal smoothie in a glass.

Vegan, Gluten-free and can be Nut-free.

All quantities approximate.

Ingredients

1 Banana (frozen)
½ cup of Blueberries, washed
1 small handful of Spinach, washed
2 Tbsp Peanut (or any nut or seed) Butter
1 Tbsp Raw Cacao Powder*
½ cup of Tiger Nut Milk (or any plant milk, click link for how to make)
Optional: 1 Medjool Date, but as I’d put one in the milk, I didn’t add another
Optional: 1 Tbsp Moringa**, or a scoop of Vivolife ‘Thrive for Her’ Green Superfood, Wild Berry flavour*** or any other flavoured Protein Powder
Toppings: I went for a crunchy mix to offset the creamy texture of the smoothie. Chopped nuts (I used Walnuts here), Mixed Seeds, (I used Sunflower, Pumpkin & Chia*), Cacao Nibs*, Blueberries or other berries, Buckwheat

Blend until smooth, but don’t overdo it or it will become too thin.

Sprinkle with chosen toppings.

Nutrients include: antoxidants, b vitamins, iron, magnesium, prebiotics, probiotics, protein, calcium, zinc, potassium, healthy fats, dietary fibre. Great for breakfast, dessert or a healthy pick-me-up.

Here are some links to other smoothie recipes:

Frozen Mango, Banana & Passionfruit Protein Smoothie

Monday Meditation: Two Year Old Frank’s Berry Good Smoothie – Made With Love & Smiles

Almond, Chia & Spinach Super Smoothie

Heart-Healthy Carob, Walnut & Lucuma Smoothie

Monday Meditation: Indulgent No-Banana Cherry & Chocolate Smoothie

The Mood Booster: Raw Chocolate Mulberry, Banana & Walnut Smoothie

Kumquat & Cacao Protein Smoothie

*I buy from The Raw Chocolate Company, their products are Vegan, Organic, Fairtrade, Kosher, Gluten-free, high quality, ethically-sourced and made in the UK.

**Also Vegan, Organic, Gluten-free & Kosher Aduna support African small businesses, often run by women.

*** From Vivolife also Vegan, Organic, made in the UK and Carbon Neutral.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

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Easy-Peasy Pasta, Pesto & Peas (& Sweetcorn & Carrot & Homegrown Tomatoes!)

29667840_UnknownAfter several hours of watching La Vuelta (that’s the Professional Cycling Tour of Spain to the uninitiated), it was time to refuel, it had been a stressful but exciting ride and I needed something quick and easy. Pasta is always good in this respect, there was a ripe avocado begging to be used and lots of spinach as well as a glut of homegrown cherry tomatoes, so pasta and pesto it was. I had asked for peas, but husband had forgotten to add them to the shopping list so frozen mixed veg it was. This is great for a midweek meal.

This meal is rich in minerals, B vitamins, Vitamin E, iron, potassium, omega oils, lycopene – a carotenoid said to protect from cancer – Vitamin C, protein, fibre, and much much more.

(Yes, this recipe has avocado and olive oil and walnuts in, but they all contain healthy fats, the ones your body, brain, skin etc. need, so don’t be saying it has too many calories or too much fat! See below for links to other avocado and pasta recipes)

Ingredients

Vegan, Gluten-free, Organic where possible. All measurements approximate.

Gluten-free Pasta, cooked in boiling water for required time, until al dente

Halfway through, add some Frozen Mixed Veg

Drain when cooked and tip into a warm bowl when the pesto is ready.

29667808_UnknownWhile the pasta is cooking, make the Pesto and chop the tomatoes – makes enough for 2-3, I froze what was left over.

In a chopper or blender, add:

Half a ripe Avocado, chopped

A Large Handful of Spinach (washed)

A good splash of Raw Virgin Olive Oil

A squeeze of Lemon Juice

A handful of Walnut Pieces

Black Pepper & Pink Himalayan Salt

Approx. 2 Tbsps Nutritional Yeast, (estimated, I actually tipped the container and it fell in unmeasured!)

Blend until smooth, adjusting seasoning to taste.

Mix required amount into the pasta and veg, serve with chopped cherry tomatoes, black pepper and a green salad.

See also:

Avocado: The Little Miracle Worker

Guacamole with Avocado, Coriander, Moringa & Chilli

Lemon Tahini Pasta with Pine Kernels

Midweek Vegan Bean & Vegetable Pasta

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Fruity Vegetable Curry with Lemony Almond Cauliflower ‘Rice’ or ‘Couscous’

29400128_UnknownOver the last couple of years, since I first became aware of the arsenic content of rice,* I have gradually cut down the amount I eat and swapped rice milk for homemade nut and seed milks**. I often use quinoa and buckwheat as gluten-free alternatives to rice. However, one option has taken some psyching up to try: cauliflower ‘rice’ or ‘couscous’. Recently, I decided to go for it and here’s how it turned out, plus the recipe (the hardest part was persuading my husband it was a good idea!).

We’ve been trying to have similar meals recently: my husband is vegetarian, I am vegan and gluten-free and we keep very different hours: he’s an early bird, I am a night owl, so our meals and mealtimes are often out of synch. But in an effort to cut down on bills and be more environmentally friendly, we are at least trying to make our evening meals at the same time either all in the oven or in the same pan on the stove. This time, my husband was going to have curry and rice but I presuaded him to have cauliflower couscous with me – I’m still not sure how that happened, because he’s not as adventurous as I am and has his rules about what goes with what – he was less than amused the other day when he defrosted what he thought was pasta sauce which turned out to be curry and he didn’t realise until the pasta was already on the boil!

Anyway, the cauli couscous turned out well and we both enjoyed it, my husband said he would have it again – success indeed! It was surprisingly filling, more so than rice, I think.

This recipe has all the essentials for a nutritious vegan meal: protein, b vitamins, healthy fats, antioxidants, fibre, minerals. It is vegan and gluten-free and can be made nut-free.

Makes enough for two large portions.

Here’s how we made it:

(All ingredients organic where possible, all amounts very approximate).

Ingredients

For the Cauliflower Rice/Couscous:

1 Heaped Tsp Coconut Oil, melted but not smoking

Half a Cauliflower, lightly processed until resembles breadcrumbs, add to oil

Half a Cup of Almonds, preferably pre-soaked but not esential, ground and added to cauliflower rice

Add Heaped Tsp Curry Powder

Stirfry, cover, stir frequently for a few minutes, may need to add 1 Tbsp Water

Check seasoning, add a light squeeze of lemon juice or lime and serve.

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For the Curried Vegetables:

1 Heaped Tsp Coconut Oil, melted but not smoking

Add:

1 Large Spring Onion, with greens, chopped; Half Courgette (zucchini), sliced; A few Green Beans, chopped; 2 Large Chestnut Mushrooms, sliced; Half a Carrot, chopped very small; some Sweetcorn

Together with:

Generous Tsp each of Curry Powder, Cumin, Ginger

Mix together, stirfry for a couple of minutes

Add:

Handful of Raisins or Sultanas, 1 Cox’s or Bramley Apple, chopped; 1 Tbsp Strawberry or Raspberry Fruit Spread (no sugar or artificial sweetener)

Squeeze of lemon juice

black pepper

Approx. 300mls Vegetable Stock, (mix 1 Heaped Tsp Cornflour with a little cold water to make a paste, add a little of the hot stock, then mix in with the rest of the stock), add a good Squeeze of Tomato Purée

Cover and cook for about 40 mins. until the veggies are cooked and flavours well-blended.

Adjust seasoning and serve with Cauliflower Rice.

Top with some toasted Sunflower Seeds or Pine Kernels and Desiccated Coconut, serve with some yogurt and chutney, if liked, and a small green salad.

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* See Dr Michael Greger’s excellent articles on this topic

Also:

**How to make Almond Milk

How to Make Cashew Nut Milk & Why You Should!

How to make Horchata (aka Tiger Nut Milk)

How to make Smooth and Creamy Hemp Milk

Copyright: Chris McGowan

 

Cumin-Spiced Sweet Potato Crisps with Lemon Tahini Dip

29398480_UnknownOne afternoon, I was craving crisps, as I do every once in a while. Yes, I know, I’m supposed to be a juice nut and a health nut, but I’m human!  About twice a year I indulge, and then remember why I don’t eat them: they give me indigestion and I always want more!

Normally, though, I toast some sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds with some buckwheat and add tamari to make them salty*. That usually does the trick. It’s the salt and the crunch I’m craving not the actual potato bit.

This particular afternoon, I decided to make some sweet potato crisps. I’ve had sweet potato chips and wedges often, but never crisps. And in all the decades I’ve had a food processor, I’ve never used the slicing attachment – no, really – so I thought I’d give it a go. I couldn’t believe how quick it was and how thin they were. Honestly, all these years, we’ve sliced by hand and it took a split second to do one sweet potato, which produced more than enough crisps for one person.

The surprising thing is that they are so filling and satisfying, unlike commercial potato crisps which always leave me craving more. I actually didn’t require any dinner afterwards, but then, I probably ate a few too many!

Sweet potatoes contain tons of Vitamin A, in the form of beta-carotene, essential for good eye health, are good sources of Vitamin C, B vitamins, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Potassium and dietary fibre.

Sweet Potato Crisps:

I melted a little coconut oil, rubbed it into the sweet potato slices, spread them on a baking tray, and sprinkled cumin, black pepper and pink Himalayan salt over them.

They went in the oven at about 190C (fan oven) for about 20 mins (turning a couple of times) until crisp – some were a bit charred, but my husband ate them, that’s how he has his toast! You have to keep your eye on them, I got distracted by the cycling on tv!

Lemon Tahni Dip:

This is very approximate because it’s a question of adding, tasting, adding a bit more!

So, about 3 heaped tbsps Tahini (sesame paste)

Juice of half a small Lemon

A little Water

Black Pepper

Pink Himalayan Salt to taste

Blend until it’s the required consistency, adding a little more of anything you think it needs. I use a small chopper/grinder for this rather than the big blender, it’s only a small amount and you waste a lot in the blender.

Serve in a pretty Chinese rice dish (optional!).

Enjoy!

*See Quick, Plain & Simple, Savoury Vegan Snacks (Gluten-Free Too!)

Copyright: Chris McGowan