Vegan Mixed Bean Salad While the Kitchen’s Under Wraps!

29134960_UnknownLast week, the kitchen was covered in dust sheets and all the appliances – juicers, blenders, pans, etc. – were scattered about in other rooms. HB had been painting the ceiling, walls and doors all day, the windows were closed because the Men in Orange were laying smelly tarmac on the drive and it was quite a hot sticky day too, so a quick, cool salad was in order for dinner at the end of a long day.


The bottom layer of this nutritionally power-packed salald bowl is a combination of leaves: romaine, rocket, watercress and spinach – did you know romaine and rocket contain protein? Watercress and spinach are a good source of iron and Vitamin C, too. Vitamin C aids the absorption of iron in the body.

Layered over the leaves are chopped celery and cucumber, then celery leaves, chopped spring onion (a prebiotic for gut health), more protein and B vitamins in homegrown mung bean sprouts*, and topped off with basil leaves, which we grow on our kitchen windowsill. Basil is anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial and rich in anti-oxidants.

Alongside, we have half a can of mixed beans, rinsed well – another source of protein and B vitamins, as well as dietary fibre.

The whole salad is then dressed with tamari and olive oil dressing, and sprinkled with raw hemp seeds* and plenty of black pepper. Hemp seeds are high in protein and a good source of healthy omega oils.

HB had a large baked potato with his!

*See also Shelled Hemp Seeds: Superfood or Psychogenic?!

Sprouting for Health, Energy and the Environment!

Crunchy & Satisfying Black Bean, Red Grape & Hemp Seed Salad

Mixed Beans with Avocado, Pomegranate & Wilted Spinach

Rocket (Arugula) Salad with Sweetcorn, Walnut Slaw, Crisp Red Apple & Lemon Tahini Dressing

Oh-So-Chocolatey Hemp Seed Coins

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Raw Chocolate-Covered Orange & Vine-Fruit Slices

img_3091I realised we still had a large bag of mixed vine fruit and an open bag of Sweet Apricot Kernels left over from Christmas and as we were making almond milk and would have the pulp to use up, I decided to combine the two. My husband kindly donated the Raw Chocolate Company Goji and Orange bar from his Selection Box* for the topping and we made it extra orangey with some fresh orange juice and zest.

You could substitute the almond milk pulp for any other nut milk pulp or even use finely ground nuts and/or seeds, it will alter the flavour a little and you may have to adjust the amount of liquid.

The vine fruits can be substituted with any mix of chopped dried fruit, I would have liked apricots but we didn’t have any. Again, it will slightly alter the taste.

The Sweet Apricot Kernels can be substituted with chopped almonds or other nuts.

 Vegan, Gluten-Free and Organic where possible.

All quantities very approximate.


1 Cup Almond Nut Milk Pulp

1/2 C Sweet Apricot Kernels, roughly chopped

2 Cups Mixed Vine Fruits

1 Tbsp Chia Seeds

2 Tbsps Shelled Hemp Seeds

Juice and Zest of 1 Small Orange, washed, reserve a little for the topping

1 Tbsp Maple Syrup

1 Tbsp Melted Cacao Butter (about 5-6 cacao butter buttons)

22g bar of The Raw Chocolate Company Goji and Orange Raw Chocolate melted with 2 cacao butter buttons (about a tsp) + a tsp of Orange Juice

A Square of a 22g bar of The Raw Chocolate Company Orange Raw Chocolate, grated (it’s up to you what you do with the remainder, I won’t tell if you don’t;-))

More Orange Zest for topping


Add all the main ingredients to the food processor up to the melted cacao butter and process until it comes together, scraping down and restarting a few times.

img_3088Press firmly into a baking tin which has been lightly oiled with a little melted cacao butter.

Place in the fridge to firm up a little.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and cacao butter over a pan of hot but not boiling water. Add a little orange juice.

Remove the tray from the fridge and drizzle or cover the fruit img_3090mixture with the chocolate and grate a little orange zest and orange raw chocolate all over. Put back in the fridge for a few minutes.

When firm and the chocolate set, slice carefully and enjoy.

Will keep well in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.


Relaxing with James Arthur, my favourite green tea with jasmine in my new oversized cup and a raw slice treat or two. The chocolate bar is just for the photo, honest!


See Raw Treats – Recipes and Raw Chocolate Recipes in the menu for more raw treats.

The Raw Chocolate Company

Copyright: Chris McGowan

The Benefits of Baobab, a Fruity Protein Smoothie + Review of Aduna Bars.

img_1319Baobab powder may be new to many of you. I’ve only recently begun using it in smoothies and on porridge and I really like it.

It has a mild, citrus almost sherbet taste and contains protein as well as calcium, iron, thiamin, vitamin C, fibre and potassium.

I use Aduna* brand as I like their ethos: they use vegan, organic ingredients and support small producers in Africa, many of them women (here’s a link to a good article in The Guardian about their business and the impact of growing baobab on local African economies).

I also use their moringa leaf powder which is a green herbal-tasting superfood, a bit like spinach, also with a high protein content, vitamins and minerals.

(My first order came with a personal handwritten thank you note and a couple of recipe cards, which was a nice touch).

(Coincidentally, after I had written and scheduled this post, I won a box of Aduna Moringa and Baobab bars! I have to say, the family love them. The 22 month old who won’t eat anything vaguely resembling a vegetable but loves all kinds of fruit gobbled up a Baobab bar. It has pineapple in and is very flavoursome with a strong citrus taste. I love the Moringa bars with their mango and slightly herbal flavour. They are both highly satisfying. My husband takes a Baobab bar with him on cycle rides). 

Ps Since this post was published I ordered some Aduna Cacao bars – they are lush! They have walnuts, cacao nibs and hibiscus in them and it’s a lovely fruity combination with a bit of a bite from the nuts ‘n’ nibs.

The bars are organic, vegan and gluten-free.

Fruity Protein Smoothie

img_2349This smoothie recipe is also vegan, gluten-free and organic.

If you have time, soak the oats and cashews for 15-20 minutes in the coconut water in the blender. This makes them more digestible.

The grapes and plum contain the anti-ageing reseveratrol, banana is a good source of potassium and energy, the oats and cashews have calming magnesium and the hemp seeds are a good source of protein and healthy omega oils.


Half a Banana

1 Plum

Handful Red Grapes (washed well, they are among the most sprayed crops in the world)

2 Heaped Tbsps Oats

Handful of Cashew pieces

1 Tbsp Baobab Powder*

2 Heaped Tbsps Hemp Seeds

Coconut Water – I used quite a lot this time as I wanted a thin smoothie.

Add all the ingredients to the blender and blend well.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Ellen’s Latex-free Super Berry Smoothie (Just Look at the Colour!)

img_2355Ellen is a writer, she is funny, talented, a new follower and she also happens to have an allergy which causes anaphylaxis. When she told me this, it was in the context of being unable to try most of my recipes and I assumed she meant she was allergic to nuts. I then proceeded to give her a list of potential substitutions. However, I got it very wrong, it seems that Ellen is fine with nuts but allergic to latex.

Now, I assumed that being allergic to latex meant you just had to avoid wearing rubber gloves, but no, it means avoiding a long list of fruits and vegetables too. I decided to set myself the challenge of coming up with a tasty, nutritious smoothie that Ellen could enjoy with complete peace of mind. She warned me how difficult she was to ‘cook’ for, but I pointed out that as I was a vegan, juicing, gluten-free raw foodie, I know how that is!

I had a couple of days to ponder this conundrum while Hurricane Fremily (aka my 2 toddler grandchildren) hit landfall, and I did a bit of research to make sure I understood the issues.

Latex allergy is caused by a reaction to the protein in latex and can range from wheezing, itchy skin, hives to full-on anaphylaxic shock. Some people who have latex allergy may also have an allergic response to certain fruits including banana, cherries, plums, papaya, grapes, pineapple, avocado, chestnut, kiwi fruit, mango, passionfruit, fig, strawberry and soy.

Ellen seems ok with berries, oranges, lemons, melon (but not watermelon) and apples but she also can’t have squash, turnip, swede or broad beans due to a lifelong phobia! (Which I can totally understand as I have my parsnip phobia – shudders at the very word! See Pears But No More Parsnips: In Which I Confront My Parsnip Phobia! )

So there you have it, my challenge.

This is my first attempt. It’s an amazing colour! It’s a little tart, so if you want to add a little sweetness, add a medjool date, or reduce the amount of blackberries and add another apple. To ring the changes, you can substitute different berries, use coconut water or other nut milk, add oats to make it more substantial and alternate the superfood powders. I read that açaí is ok, but please do your own research. I understand lucuma has a latex sap when immature so I’m guessing that would best be avoided.

Purple berries contain powerful antioxidants which aid healthy ageing, memory, help prevent cancer and other diseases caused by inflammation. Hemp seeds have protein and healthy omega fats and are smooth and creamy to taste (see Shelled Hemp Seeds: Superfood or Psychogenic?!) Cashews are a good source of magnesium, which helps keep us calm, is essential for good mental health and prevents muscle cramps (see Magnesium: Are You Getting Enough?). Apples are all-round good for us! They contain soluble fibre and are good for the lungs.

All ingredients are organic where possible, vegan and can be made gluten-free by substituting seeds or Horchata (aka Tiger Nut Milk) if you’re sure you’re not allergic.  Measurements approximate.


Large handful of Blackberries (I used frozen)

Handful of Blueberries

1 Sweet Apple, washed & chopped (peel on)

Heaped Tbsp Hemp Seeds*

Handful of Cashews

1 Tbsp Açaí Powder*

Generous glass of Homemade Almond Milk (click link to see how to make your own, it’s really easy).

 Blend until smooth, and may this gorgeous vibrant smoothie give you a bright start to your day!

(When I was looking for a video to accompany this smoothie recipe, I started typing ‘berry’ and it started coming up with Berry White songs which I found highly amusing and since his outfit matches the colour of the smoothie, I decided to go with it!)


Allergic To Latex? Foods And Products To Avoid

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Banana Plum Smoothie with a Warming Dash of Cinnamon

imageThis is a mineral-rich smoothie with protein, fibre and omega fatty acids and a little warming cinnamon spice added now that Autumn is creeping in. Cinnamon has many health benefits including reducing spikes in blood sugar and lowering insulin resistance, as well as helping to balance your metabolism. Yellow plums are reputed to improve iron absorption, possibly due to their vitamin C content. Those with nut allergies can substitute the almond milk with tiger nut milk or any other non-dairy alternative.

All ingredients are organic, vegan and gluten-free, all measurements approximate.


1 Banana

1 Yellow Plum

2 Tbsps Golden Linseeds (lightly ground)

1 Heaped Tbsp Raw Hemp Seeds*

Glass of chilled Almond Milk (see here for how to make your own, it really is very easy and tastes much better than bought)

1 Medjool Date, pitted and chopped

A Dash of Cinnamon + another on top

 Blend and enjoy.


Copyright: Chris McGowan

Shelled Hemp Seeds: Superfood or Psychogenic?!

imageWould it surprise you that this Spicy Raw Hot Chocolate is made with shelled hemp seeds, as are the Oh-So-Chocolatey Hemp Seed Coins? In fact, milk as well as paper, textiles, rope, plastics and biofuel can all be made from hemp. Paper from hemp is environmentally many times better than paper made from wood (it can be recycled over and over again), and the cultivation of hemp plants uses far fewer chemicals than cotton and 50% less water.


Hemp is undoubtedly one of the most versatile and environmentally friendly plants on the planet and its fruit are one of the most versatile, healthy seeds for the human body.


Hemp plants thrive almost everywhere and are grown all over the world including Canada, France and China. Benjamin Franklin grew hemp and The Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper.

If This is the Case, Why is Hemp Production Banned in the US?

Oh ok, you want to jump right into it! It’s a good question, the answer to which I, and millions of others, fail to understand.

So let’s deal with the thorny problem of whether or not this reputedly hippy dippy plant is a psychogenic and worthy of being listed in the US under Controlled Substances.

The problem for US authorities since 1950 when the growing of hemp was banned, is that they failed – and continue to fail – to see the difference between Cannibis Sativa L. (hemp) and its sister variety, Marijuana, which comes from the same species but is definitely not the same plant. They are very, very different. Marijuana is 20% psychoactive drug, Hemp 0.3%, and even less when processed into milk or oil.

Therefore, NO, hemp seeds will definitely NOT make you ‘high’! (sorry).

(The US failed, however, to ban hemp products in 1970, and as a result, Americans obtain most of their hemp products via imports from Canada).


Now We’ve Got That Out of the Way, What are the Health Benefits of Shelled Hemp Seeds?

Ah, now the good bit:

This little seed is so powerful in its health properties, you’ll wonder why you’ve never heard of it or used it before.


First, the nutritional content:

  • 2-3 Tbsps of hemp seeds contain about 10-11g of protein, providing all 9 amino acids essential for human health.
  • They are one of the most easily digestible sources of protein, not likely to cause bloating when used in protein shakes, unlike whey protein.
  • 25% of the calories is made up of protein, more even than chia or flax seeds (16% – 18%). (Hemp Protein Powder is an efficient way of getting more protein when blended into a shake, useful for post workout recovery).
  • Hemp seeds have a perfect ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 essential fatty acids. Inflammation occurs when there is too much Omega 6.
  • They provide Magnesium, Potassium, Phosphorous, Sulphur, Calcium, Manganese, Iron, Zinc, B Vitamins, Vitamin D and Vitamin E.

Why We Should Eat Shelled Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds have been shown to have many health benefits,  here are just a few:

  • Hemp seed oil has been used medicinally in China for 3000 years.
  • Because they are high in Gamma-Linolenic Acid, hemp seeds can be effective in reducing symptoms of PMS and Menopause, similar to Primrose Oil. It is believed they may help Regulate Hormonal Imbalances and Reduce Inflammation.
  • They may help reduce the risk of Heart Disease through the dilation and relaxation of blood vessels which lowers Blood Pressure and reduces Inflammation.
  • The ability to Reduce Inflammation can also help with symptoms of Immune Deficiency Diseases.
  • Other benefits include relief from Arthritis, Increased Energy, Normalising Blood Cholesterol, Better Skin.
  • Some studies show hemp oil can improve Eczema and relieve Dry, Itchy Skin.
  • Hemp seeds are more Allergy-Free than many other seeds.
  • They have been used as a treatment for patients with tuberculosis which renders them nutrient-deficient.

 Convinced? I Knew You Would Be! So How Do You Use Hemp Seeds? Here Are Some Ideas:


Hemp seeds are delicately nutty (a bit like the author!) and can be used to make Hemp Milk, eaten raw when sprinkled on desserts, breakfast cereal/muesli, or blended in smoothies or ‘baked’ into raw treats. There are a number of recipes on the blog. See below or in Menu above for links to other recipes.



Here is a simple and light breakfast or dessert recipe:

1 Frozen Banana

2 Dried Apricots

1 Small Glass Hemp Milk

Blend until smooth

Pour into a small bowl

Serve with sliced fresh Apricot, Sprinkling of Hemp Seeds & a Blueberry (or 2)

A wonderful, chilled start to a warm Summer’s day (I just know that as soon as I post this, it will be freezing and blowing a gale!)


There are more recipes using hemp seeds in Nut Milks, Shakes & SmoothiesMore Smoothies! and More Raw Treats!


Thank you to Timelesswheel for providing the prompt for this post!

Next up: Linseeds!

 We buy our hemp protein powder and shelled hemp seeds from

Sources: Body EcologyAuthority NutritionSeed GuidesDr Axe

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Oh-So-Chocolatey Hemp Seed Coins


Chocolatey Hemp Coins with Spicy Raw Hot Chocolate and The Raw Chocolate Company Chocolate Mulberries*

This recipe is for all of you chocolate fiends who don’t have a particularly sweet tooth but crave a chocolatey something mid-afternoon. They do have a small amount of raw coconut palm sugar in them but as it is low GI and unrefined it doesn’t produce the same sugar rush or have that tooth-rotting sweetness of refined white sugar. They are easy to make, involve no cooking and are full of raw energy, but be warned, less is definitely more! I can only manage 2!

These are a good protein pick-me-up containing hemp seeds and sweet apricot kernels (like mini almonds).

The only possible track to jig along to while making these is Choco Choco Latte, so you can sing your heart out and expend some of that Raw Chocolate energy!

Here goes:


1/4 Cup Shelled Hemp Seeds*

1/4 Cup Sweet Apricot Kernels*

1/4 Cup Cacao Powder*

1/4 Cup Raisins

3 Tsps Coconut Palm Sugar*

1/4 Tsp Cinnamon

Approx 2 Tbsps Apple Juice

Raw Chocolate Mulberries Snack Pack*


Put the Hemp Seeds and Sweet Apricot Kernels in the food processor and grind them finely.

Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix well, adding a little apple juice at a time until the mixture is just moist enough to come together but not too wet.

Take small amounts of the mixture and form into little balls then flatten out into coins on some greaseproof paper.

Press a Raw Chocolate Mulberry into the centre of each coin and place in the fridge for a short time to firm up.

What you do with the leftover Raw Chocolate Mulberries is entirely up to you – but I won’t tell if you don’t.


Copyright: Chris McGowan

Golden Cacao Shake

This Shake features some of my favourite nutrient-packed fruit: Peruvian Golden Berries and Blueberries.


 Golden Berries are regarded by some as one of the Superfoods, being nutritionally dense, and with their sweetly tart flavour they are delicious on their own as a snack, in your breakfast bowl or smoothie. (There is also a recipe for GoGo Berry Fudge on my Raw Treats Recipes page using both Golden and Goji Berries).

Also known as Physalis peruviana, Inca Berry and Cape Gooseberry, Golden Berries are comparatively high in antioxidants, fibre and iron – reportedly, they contain more iron than spinach – as well as protein and Vitamin A, whilst being lower in sugar than other berries.

They contain essential fatty acids that aid in insulin sensitivity and Dr Oz believes Golden Berries also aid in burning fat.* 

So here is a recipe for a delicious and nutritious protein-rich thick shake using The Raw Chocolate Company* raw, organic Golden Berries (as I write they are still in the sale). A spoon will be required!

Golden Cacao Shake

(All ingredients are organic where possible, measurements as always approximate). 


1 Small Ripe Banana

Handful Blueberries

2 Tbsps Raw Organic Golden Berries*

1 Tbsp Sunflower Seeds

2 Tbsps Gluten-Free Oats

Juice of 2 Apples

2 Tbsps Yogurt of your choice

2 Tbsps Raw Hemp Seeds*

1/2 Tbsp Raw Organic Cacao Powder*

Blend, Sip from a spoon, and be like the funky Jill Scott: Live Your Life Like It’s ‘Golden!’



Copyright: Chris McGowan

Gorgeous Goji Berry Smoothie


This protein-packed smoothie features Organic Raw Goji Berry Powder, Organic Shelled Raw Hemp Seeds and Organic Raw Goji Berries (we use The Raw Chocolate Company products*). It can be made in a small blender, we used the kind that can also be used as a flask, so you blend and go.

 All measurements are approximate.
I am a great believer in adaptation and substitution, so don’t panic if you don’t have everything on the list. You are advised, however, not to take this too literally as one family member did when missing out the peas from the raw Pea and Mint Soup and the lentils from the Lentil Stew! Continue reading “Gorgeous Goji Berry Smoothie”