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.

Ingredients

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.

*from http://www.therawchocolatecompany.com/

Copyright: Chris McGowan

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Apricot & Cacao Fudge Bites

 I recently discovered that the bag of sweet apricot kernels had been open for some time and really should be used up. We made some sweet apricot kernel milk and then used the pulp to make these bites.

You can of course use any nut or seed milk pulp –  a good alternative would be almond milk pulp – but it may behave and taste slightly differently, so you may need to make some other adjustments.

Please ensure you buy Sweet Apricot Kernels if you wish to follow the recipe and not the Bitter ones, which are often used in traditional medicines, taste bitter (!) and can cause nausea and a whole string of other effects.

Sweet Apricot Kernels look like a slightly smaller almond and have a similar taste. They contain Vitamin E and Iron.

Cacao powder contains many vitamins and minerals especially magnesium, which many people are deficient in, and is a natural mood enhancer and energy booster.

Ingredients

1 Cup Pulp reserved making from Sweet Apricot Kernel Milk

3/4 Cup Soft Dried Apricots, chopped

1/2 Cup Sweet Apricot Kernels,*chopped

1/2 Tbsp Chia Seeds*

1/2 Tbsp Cacao Powder*

Juice of a small Satsuma

1 Apple, peeled and grated

1/4 Cup Cacao Butter Buttons** – about a dozen, melted (or solid cacao butter)

1 Tsp Maple Syrup (optional)

Desiccated Coconut for sprinkling

Method

Add all the dry ingredients to a food processor (including the pulp) and pulse several times to break up the apricots and sweet apricot kernels. You still want a bit of bite, the sweet apricot kernels need to be roughly chopped rather than ground, so don’t overdo it.

Add the rest of the ingredients except the desiccated coconut.

Alternately pulse and mix on low for a couple of seconds, scraping the mixture down if necessary, until the mixture can be squeezed together to form a ball. Again, don’t overdo it.

If it’s too wet, add some more chia or other seeds, or a few ground sweet apricot kernels. If too dry, a few more drops of juice.

Roll into ball and then in the coconut. Makes about a dozen, depending on size and how many times you ‘test’ it!

(This one’s for you, K!)

*http://www.therawchocolatecompany.com/

**http://www.pulsin.co.uk/

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Apricot Chia Smoothie

It’s summer fruit season at last! I had my first apricots of the season last week and am salivating whilst awaiting the peaches in my organic fruit and veg box. Sorry, not a nice image, but there you go. I’m often loth to put them in smoothies, preferring to savour them whole, but one of the apricots looked like it needed using up so in it went.

Here’s the result:

image

The smoothie has lots of vitamins and minerals, protein, fibre and healthy fats. To find out the health benefits of chia seeds and other chia, recipes see Three Cheers for Chias!

(Tip: Put the oats and chia seeds to soak in the milk in the blender and leave for about 15 minutes, it will thicken the smoothie, make it easier to digest and keep you feeling fuller for longer)

Vegan and gluten-free.

Ingredients

1 Small Banana

1-2 Fresh Apricots depending on size

2 Tbsps Gluten-free Oats

1 Tbsp Chia Seeds*

1 Tbsp Peanut Butter

1 Medium Glass Almond Milk (see recipe here)

Blend and serve with a few chia seeds sprinkled on top for a bit of crunch.

Today’s video is an oldie but a goodie and will have you boppin’ away the cobwebs. The Summer of ’69… Ah, I remember it well… A Levels, Neil Armstrong, Woodstock, Crosby, Stills and Nash… Nuff sed 😎

*http://www.therawchocolatecompany.com

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Pink Oats, Anyone?

imageThis is my second post on savoury oats and this one might throw you for a loop: people tend to either love them or hate them but beetroot should be your new veg friend.

It has been shown that regular juicing with beetroot can improve your circulation and lower your BP by dilating your blood vessels. It certainly worked for my husband. I wasn’t too sure about using beetroot when I first began juicing, but now I have it every other day. If you add lemon or pineapple, or a couple of apples along with other veg, it makes a refreshing and very healthy juice. (See post and juice recipe here).

All well and good, you might say, but adding it to porridge is going a little bit far!

I wasn’t sure either, but I had tried courgette (zucchini) oats (recipe here) and was pleasantly surprised, so in for a penny, in for a pound! Don’t forget, the benefit of having veg for breakfast is you have one of your daily portions of veg to give you a head start and it keeps you fuller for much longer.

Ingredients

1/2 Cup Oats

1/2 Cup Home-made Almond Milk (see recipe)

1/2 Cup Water

1/4 to 1/2 Small Beetroot, peeled and grated

2 Medjool Dates, chopped

1 Tbsp Chia Seeds*

1 Dsp Açaí Powder*

Pinch of Pink Himalayan Salt

*

Method

image

Add all ingredients except chia seeds and açaí powder to a pan and warm up stirring occasionally, then cook for 5-10 minutes, keep giving it a stir.

Add chia seeds and açaí powder.

Stir well.

Transfer to a bowl.

Top with the fruit of your choice. I had plum and banana with raw chocolate mulberry chips.*

Add a drop of milk if you like it thinner.

imageBon Appetit!

Convinced? No? My husband will make it for me but won’t go near it himself. Although he has a daily beetroot juice, he draws the line at beetroot porridge. He prefers his plain, nothing added.

Watch out for my next version of Zoats, which turned out the best I think. It really does need practice to work out the right combination for your tastebuds.

*http://www.therawchocolatecompany.com/

Copyright Chris McGowan

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie, Anyone?

image

This was an indulgent smoothie when I was feeling a bit down, you know those days when you feel a bit emotionally overwhelmed by life, when you want to move things along but everything seems to conspire to hold you up? I needed to step back and let it all go for a while. This was my time-out.

It was also the morning the shopping was to be delivered but the fridge on the van had broken down and all our chilled items had to be removed from the order, so no coconut water and there was no nut milk left. I had to have some of my husband’s rice milk. This was very much an improvised smoothie, but it turned out really well! I felt comforted and like I’d had a loving hug from the inside. Even better that it was served in a peanut butter jar!

It might seem a little indulgent, but it is still full of healthy ingredients including protein, healthy fats, potassium, B vitamins, magnesium and fibre.

 It’s a thin smoothie, in fact it would make a very good chocolate sauce!

Measurements are approximate.

Vegan, Gluten-free and Organic where Possible.

Ingredients

1 small ripe Banana (use frozen if you want a thicker smoothie)

1 Tbsp Peanut Butter (or any other nut butter)

1 Heaped Tbsp Gluten-free Oats 

2 Tbsps Raw Hemp Seeds*

2 Dried Apricots

Small Glass Organic Rice Milk – but I would have preferred to use Almond Milk

1 Tbsp Raw Cacao Powder*

Blend and pour into a glass jar.

Top with 1 Tbsp Raw Chocolate Mulberry Chips* &/or Grated Raw Chocolate 

and 1 Tsp Finely Ground Raw Almonds Or Peanuts

Only one musc video for this: it reminds me of all those evenings I laid with my tranny under my pillow trying to stay awake long enough to see if Radio Caroline DJ Johnnie Walker would pick me to say goodnight to at midnight with this Percy Sledge track. (He never did, but I never stopped hoping and listening).

(If you’re reading this via email you’ll need to visit the blog to play the video).

*http://www.therawchocolatecompany.com/

Copyright: Chris McGowan

A Sweet Distraction: Almond Apricot Chia Treats

image

Mug from The Raw Chocolate Company website.*

These were created the day our beloved piano was going to a new home and we needed a distraction and something sweet! (Ok, I needed the distraction and something sweet – see Ode To Our Piano, a Faithful and Long-Suffering Friend). I apologise that this is a short post, I’m too emotional to write anything sensible!

All ingredients are organic except the maple syrup. Vegan and Gluten-free.

Ingredients

1 Cup Almond Milk Pulp (residue of approx 1L of nut milk)

1/3 Cup Dried Apricots

1/3 Cup Almonds

3  Medjool Dates, pitted

1 Tbsp Chia Seeds*

1 Tbsp Golden Linseeds, partially ground

1 Tbsp solid raw Coconut Oil

1/2 Tbsp Maple Syrup

1/4 Cup Raw Chocolate Mulberry Chips*

Raw Cacao Powder for Dusting (that’s dusting the treats, not the piano)

Method

Place first 5 ingredients in food processor and process for about 30 seconds until it comes together and almonds are chopped into small pieces but not ground.

Add partially ground Golden Linseeds, solid Coconut oil and Maple Syrup and process for a few seconds to mix in and further break up the almonds but still leaving bits for bite.

Add in Mulberry Chips and whizz for a few seconds to mix them in but not pulverize them!

Take small pieces and roll into balls in the palms of your hands, then dust with Raw Cacao Powder.

Place in the fridge for a few minutes to firm up.

Keep in an airtight container in the fridge or freeze for later.

 *http://www.therawchocolatecompany.com/

Choco Almond Truffles

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Every time we make almond or tiger nut milk, we can’t bring ourselves to throw away the leftover pulp – we are of the waste not, want not generation – and it’s become a kind of subconscious challenge to come up with a different recipe everytime!

These came about by accident as often happens. It’s the end of the month and as we searched the cupboard for likely ingredients,  we weighed and measured what happened to be left, which wasn’t very much – it was definitely a case of Old Mother Hubbard finding the cupboard almost bare! – and what was there we used up.

We reached for dried apricots, but found one had gone very mouldy and had to throw the rest away. We went for figs, none left. Dates, 3. No seeds. A quarter cup of almonds was all that was left after making the milk. We even ran out of cases!

 My husband kept saying we couldn’t do it, but I refused to be defeated. Stubborn is my other middle name! He was going to visit our son’s family and I wanted him to take some treats for our daughter-in-law. Try that, what’s in that jar? No, we haven’t any apple juice but we have an orange needs using. So, all in all, these turned out pretty well given the severity of the challenge.

They are little balls of protein, healthy fats, minerals and B vitamins, and taste moist and chocolatey.

But I’ll have to see what my daughter-in-law’s verdict is as I’m a little biased. Husband liked them though!

All ingredients are organic except the Maple Syrup. Makes about a dozen. Vegan, Gluten-free.

Ingredients

Approx. 1 Cup Almond Milk Pulp, squeezed as dry as possible

Half a Cup Raisins

3  Medjool Dates, pitted

Third of a Cup Almonds, ground

Quarter Cup Desiccated Coconut

Quarter Cup Goji Berries* lightly moistened in fresh orange juice + a few dry ones for decoration

2 Tbsps Melted Raw Coconut Oil

2 Tsps Maple Syrup

Small pinch of Pink Himalyan Salt

1 Mini Bar Goji and Orange Raw Chocolate*

1 -2 Tsps melted Raw Cacao Butter*

Method

Process all ingredients except the chocolate and cacao butter until it comes together when you press it.

Form into balls and place in the fridge to firm up while you melt the chocolate.

Melt cacao butter in a bowl over hot – not boiling- water and stir in broken up chocolate bar.

When melted remove from heat and dip treats in, placing them in small cases to keep them from rolling over.

Decorate each with a dry Goji Berry.

Place in fridge.

Keep well in an airtight container in the fridge.

*

While I was writing this up on a very wintry sleety Spring day, I was coincidentally listening to James Bay ‘I Need The Sun To Break’ (‘been in the dark for weeks’) then Suede Snowblind came on! Click the links to see the YouTube videos. I need some Raw Hot Chocolate!

*from The Raw Chocolate Company

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Last Day of our Grip and Go Competition!

Today is the last day of our Earth Day Competition!

You can win 3 Grip and Go leakproof, dishwasher-safe glass bottles plus a fabulous double-insulated glass travel mug in whatever colours you choose.

They are great for storing juices and nut milks or carrying water around, much better for you and the environment than single-use plastic water bottles which inevitably end up in landfill and in our oceans.

All you have to do is Like and Follow Grip and Go on Twitter and/or Facebook and use #earthdaycomp.

That’s it!

Here are the links:

@gripandgouk on Twitter

Grip and Go on Facebook

Hurry!

The competition ends midnight tonight, Friday, 29th April, 2016.

Ditch the plastic!

Good luck!

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Earth Day Comp: Win Stylish Grip & Go Glass Bottles & Let’s Ditch the Plastic!

[ Thank you for visiting, this competition is now closed, but please do read the post anyway…]

Today is Earth Day and to celebrate our amazing planet, I am holding a competition to win a generous giveaway of 2 prizes of not one, not two, but THREE Grip and Go glass bottles! And that’s not all…

Many of you have admired my Grip and Go bottles that I use for storing nut milk and now you have a chance to win your own, thanks to their kind donation of some fabulously stylish bottles – plus an added extra…

But first, there’s a condition:

You have to Read ‘The Science Bit’!

We have all seen the warnings in the media about the piles of plastic clogging up our oceans, littering our hedgerows and harming wildlife. We read the articles and watch the news heralding predictions that there will be more plastic than fish in our seas by 2050 – whilst sipping from our plastic water bottles, popping the plastic takeaway box in the microwave and wrapping leftovers in clingfilm.

It is hard to contemplate a world without plastic, we have grown so used to it in every aspect of our daily lives.

But its production and disposal is choking our planet and harming our health, with chemicals leaching into our food and water, potentially causing cancer, hormone disruption and asthma in children.

Plastic water bottles are a huge contributor to these problems.

💧💧💧💧💧💧

Warm Weather and Plastic Water Bottles

How many of us carry plastic water bottles in the car and leave them there in the sun, often for several days?

Chemicals from the plastic are slowly leaching into the water as the plastic warms up:

  • Antimony (causes chronic health conditions, including diarrhoea, vomiting and stomach ulcers)
  • Bromine (causes irritation to skin and mucous membranes)
  • Endocrine Disrupters affecting hormones, thyroid function etc.
  • Cancer-causing agents 
  • Phthalates used as plastic softeners, associated with asthma in children.

Those plastic bottles will already be old by the time you buy them, having travelled halfway around the globe before you put them in your supermarket trolley, transport them in your warm car and store them in your warm home.

Some well-documented statistics about plastic bottles:

  • In the US, 50 Billion plastic bottles are bought every year and 80% of them end up in landfill.
  • More than 60 Million plastic bottles are thrown away every day in the US alone.
  • Just 1 plastic bottle takes 450 years to completely break down – that’s 25 generations!
  • 17 million barrels of oil are used every year in their production.
  • Bottled water costs 1,000 times more than tap water.

  • In the UK, as of 2007, an estimated 13 Billion plastic bottles of water were sold of which only 3 Billion were recycled.
  • The UK consumes 3 Billion litres of bottled water per year.
  • Despite the UK bottled water industry using increasing amounts of recycled plastic, it still creates a huge waste problem from discarded bottles which litter our hedgerows, streets and streams and often end up in the sea via our rivers.

  • 1 refuse truck worth of plastic is dumped into the sea every minute and it is getting worse.
  • The Eastern Garbage Patch is an area of ocean 6 times the size of England and is the world’s largest refuse dump.

  • Last year, a report by The Ellen MacArthur Foundation announced that by 2050 there will likely be more plastic than fish in the sea.
  • Their research found more than 5 Trillion pieces of plastic floating in the seas, many just 5 mm across making it easy for sea life to ingest.
  • Toxic chemicals leached from the plastic when it breaks down may be ingested by sea life and end up in the human food chain.

Here’s one solution:

Reuseable Glass Bottles!

Grip and Go have very generously supplied 6 of their stylish, leakproof, dishwasher-safe glass bottles as prizes in our competition.

350 mls.                    500 mls.                        1 Litre.

There will be two prizes of three bottles each, one prize to be won on Facebook, one on Twitter. You can even choose the colours!

But that’s not all!

In addition to the bottles, there will also be two Double-walled Insulated Travel Mugs, one to go with each prize.

image

This is a fantastic prize.

All you have to do is Like and Follow Grip & Go on Facebook and/or Twitter (@gripandgouk) for a chance to win these gorgeous bottles.

The competition will run from Mid-day Friday, 22nd April, 2016 and end at Midnight on Friday, 29th April, 2016.

Winners will be chosen at random.

(NB Apologies to all non-UK residents: due to the nature and weight of the prize, unfortunately this competition is only open to UK-based followers).

Just click on the link below to go to their web site, have a look at the bottles and travel mugs, decide which colours you’d like, click on their Twitter and Facebook links, Like And Follow using #earthdaycomp.

Like and Follow. #earthdaycomp. Easy-Peasy!

Good Luck!

Grip and Go

Twitter: @gripandgouk

Grip and Go Facebook link

Sources:

 Treehugger

Ban the Bottle

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation

The Guardian

Io9 We Come From The Future

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Easter Weekend Offer From Grip&Go Bottles

This Easter weekend the people at Grip and Go are offering a 15% discount for my followers on their stylishly quirky glass bottles (click on the link to go to their website, discount code at end of this post).

They come in 3 sizes, are dishwasher safe and are great for storing juices, nut milks or water. They fit in the fridge door and the thin-waisted ones are fantastic if you have a grip problem or if you have wet hands.

The bottles are also available with easy-grip lids as well as stainless steel ones.

The one on the right has a chalking surface so you can write on what the contents are!

I love this fun twisty bottle:

image

The bottles come in several bright colours. There’s also a travel mug.

They have excellent customer service. Oh, and Free Delivery too!

So much better to have reuseable glass bottles, better for you, better for the environment – ditch the plastic!

Use Discount Code: JUICENUT15

Copyright: Chris McGowan