Vegan Chilli with Aduki Beans & Buckwheat

29401376_UnknownI know I’ve already posted a recipe for chilli (see 3 Vegan Meals with Chilli, Quinoa, Tacos & Steamed Veg (but no Quorn!) but this is a little different: it includes buckwheat rather than rice, which is cooked in the chilli rather than served separately, so most of the sauce is absorbed. I also used aduki beans instead of kidney beans.

BBuckwheat is one of my favourite alternatives to rice. It’s gluten-free, easy and quick to cook, you can toast it or leave it au naturel and add to trail mix or granola. It is rich in B vitamins, iron, protein, antioxidants and minerals and is reputed to help lower cholesterol and blood pressure whilst also controlling blood sugar levels.

Aduki beans are a good source of potassium, magnesium, iron, B6, protein and dietary fibre. They also contain many other essential nutrients like folate, calcium, manganese, copper and zinc.

Overall, this is a healthy, tasty and satisfying meal.

Ingredients

(Organic where possible, vegan and gluten-free, measurements very approximate.)

1 tsp Coconut Oil, melted but not smoking

2 Spring Onions, including greens, washed and chopped

1 Tsp Chilli Flakes (or according to taste, or fresh chilli, I’m a bit of a chilli wimp)

3/4 of a Courgette/ Zucchini, washed and chopped

2 medium Carrots, scrubbed and chopped

2 large Chestnut Mushrooms, washed and chopped

1 Cup Sweetcorn

Approx. 300mls Vegetable Stock + a good squirt of tomato purée

1/2 to 1 Tsp Raw Cacao Powder, mixed to a paste with a little water (not essential but it enhances the flavour)

1/2 Tin Aduki/Adzuki Beans, rinsed

1/2 Cup Buckwheat, rinsed

 Black Pepper & Pink Himalayan Salt, to taste

*

Heat the oil, add the onions and stirfry for a minute or two. Add all the other vegetables, stirfry, add chilli flakes and black pepper, cover and sweat for a couple of minutes.

Add stock and tomato purée, beans. Cacao powder and buckwheat.

Cover and simmer on a low heat until the vegetables and buckwheat are cooked and most of the liquid absorbed but not mushy.

Taste and adjust seasoning.

Serve with a green salad and live plain yogurt of your choice.

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Copyright: Chris McGowan

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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.

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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

Powergreen Plum & Banana Smoothie

We are getting a lot of plums in our Abel & Cole organic veg box delivery at the moment, so some are going into smoothies. The one used was a little under ripe, so a date was added for a little sweetness.

29133056_UnknownPlums are a good source of minerals and Vitamins A, C and K, which is needed for good bone health and blood clotting. (See also Vegan, Gluten-Free Plum Crumble – Nice, But Not Too Naughty!)

Our neighbour’s plum tree is so heavily laden with fruit at the moment, the branches look like they are going to collapse under the weight of them all. Must be all the rain followed by such hot sun.

Chia seeds are little powerhouses, full of useful nutrients:

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(See also Three Cheers for Chias! What Are Chia Seeds & How Do I Use Them? Recipes included)

Tahini is sesame seed paste, a vegan source of calcium, potassium, iron and magnesium.

Ingredients

1 Small Banana

1 Plum

3 Tbsp Oats

1 Tbsp Chia Seeds

1 Tbsp Tahini

1 Tbsp Juicemaster Powergreens

1 Medjool Date, pitted and chopped

Small to Medium Glass Coconut Water – more or less, depending how thick or thin you like your smoothie

Allow the oats and chia seeds to soak in the coconut water for 15 minutes to aid digestion, then blend with all the other ingredients.

Mine’s a thickie, so I ate it with a spoon!

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Copyright: Chris McGowan

Mixed Beans with Avocado, Pomegranate & Wilted Spinach

img_2566We had a pomegranate and some spinach in our organic veg box that needed using, as well as some homegrown mung bean sprouts,* and this is what I came up with.

This is such a colourful, nutritious and satisfying salad, full of antioxidants, protein, fibre, B viamins, minerals and healthy fats.

Vegan, Gluten-free, Organic where possible.

Ingredients

Romaine lettuce leaves

Thinly Sliced Cucumber

Grated Carrot

Sliced ripe Avocado

Spinach

Tinned Mixed Beans, drained and rinsed

Mung bean sprouts (or any other sprouted beans or seeds, but not the commercially packed long beansprouts)

(See * Sprouting for Health, Energy and the Environment!  For how to make homegrown sprouts and their benefits)

Pomegranate seeds*

Tamari and Virgin Olive Oil Dressing

Black Pepper

Method

Arrange the torn Romaine leaves around the plate, leaving a space in the centre

Place the thin cucumber slices, then the grated carrot and avocado slices on top around the circle

Lightly warm the beans, stirring gently to prevent them sticking or over-heating, and gently wilt the spinach – this releases the iron in the spinach and makes it more bio-available.

Arrange them in the centre

A few twists of black pepper over the salad

Pour over some Tamari & Olive Oil Dressing

Scatter the Pomegranate Seeds around the beans**

Top with beansprouts

**To remove the seeds, gently roll the whole fruit between your hands, cut in half, invert over a bowl and whack the end with a wooden spoon. If it’s ripe, the seeds should fall out. Otherwise, scoop them out with a metal spoon. See The Healing Powers of Pomegranate + Recipes for the health benefits of this bejewelled fruit.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Vegan Curried Lemon Rice

c8e6b5a8-06de-4166-8ef1-83cec7da0edeThis recipe was inspired by Masala Vegan’s Lemon Rice. She has such wonderful spicy vegan Indian recipes, I have a long list that I want to try but I can’t keep up!

In our version, we added stir-fried veggies and left out the green chillies, mustard seeds and apple cider vinegar because my stomach won’t take the vinegar or chillies, and my husband says he doesn’t like them although he’s never had them!  We didn’t have any curry leaves or mustard seeds, but we’re going to make sure we have them for next time.

I like a fruity curry rather than a hot one, so we added some raisins as we didn’t have sultanas, my preferred option.

This is such an easy, tasty recipe and so quick to make. As always, measurements are very approximate, in fact it’s taken me so long to write this down that I have to rely on the photos, so you may just get a ‘few of these and a bit of that!’

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Ingredients

for 2-3 generous servings (organic where possible):

1 Cup Organic Basmati Rice, soaked and rinsed to remove any arsenic (yes, most rice absorbs arsenic from the ground)

Cook the rice in twice as much boiling water, keeping the lid in place for about 20-25 minutes until the water is absorbed and the rice cooked al dente, not split open or mushy. If it is cooked and there is water left, either remove the lid and leave on a low heat to allow it to evaporate, or if there is quite a bit, drain it off and put into a hot dish, fluff it up gently with a fork to allow the moisture to evaporate.

(If you’re cooking more than one Cup, you’ll need under twice as much liquid).

As many chopped veggies as you need, in any combination, providing they will stirfry easily.

We used:

Chestnut mushrooms, washed and unpeeled

Courgette (Zucchini), ditto

Broccoli (including stem, where most of the nutrients are), washed

Green Beans, topped and tailed, washed

A good squeeze of fresh Lemon Juice and a little Lemon Zest

Raisins/Sultanas or Chopped Dried Apricots

Chilli Powder

Turmeric Powder

Ginger Powder

Black Pepper

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds or Peanuts or Sunflower Seeds

Desiccated Coconut

1 Tsp Raw Virgin Coconut Oil

Method

When the rice is cooked, melt the coconut oil in a large frying pan or wok.

When it’s hot but not smoking, add the combined spices according to taste, then the chopped veggies. Mix thoroughly.

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Stirfry for a couple of minutes then cover and allow to cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

img_2388When they are ready  (they should still have a little bite to them to retain the nutrients and give texture to the meal), add the cooked rice and mix throughly but gently.

Add the lemon juice,  toasted seeds and raisins, taste and adjust the seasoning.

Transfer to a hot dish to serve, or on hot plates, top with desiccated coconut and serve with yogurt and a green salad.

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Copyright: Chris McGowan

Warming Sweet Potato & Ginger Soup

img_2883This is a favourite in our house, it is so simple and quick to make and makes a very welcome lunch or dinner on a cold winter’s day. It takes less than an hour to make and you can make it as thick or thin as you like and spicy or not according to your tastes. We prefer to blend it with a stick blender to thicken it up, but leave it a little coarse. We steamed a little broccoli for garnish and extra nutrients.

Sweet potatoes and carrots are a good source of beta-carotene, for healthy eyesight, while sweet potatoes also contain Vitamin D, B vitamins, iron and magnesium – necessary for relaxation of mind and muscles; celery contains potassium, B vitamins and, like carrots, is a good source of Vitamin K, necessary for bone health; ginger is anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. Broccoli is a good plant source of calcium, B vitamins and protein. The yeast extract contains protein and B vitamins, including B6 and B12, important for vegans. So now you’re good to go!

All measurements are approximate and all ingredients are vegan, gluten-free and organic where possible. Hence, we scrub the veggies and leave the skin on for more nutrients and more flavour.

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Ingredients

1 Tsp Raw Virgin Coconut Oil

3-4 medium Sweet Potatoes, chopped

3-4 Medium Carrots, chopped

1/2 a Stick of Celery, chopped

1-3 thin slices of Ginger Root, depending how thick the root is and how spicy you want the soup, very finely chopped

1 Tsp Yeast Extract, we use Natex as is low salt and has a slight herbal taste.

1 Low Salt Vegetable Stock Cube

dissolved in about

500 mls of hot water (enough to cover the veggies)

Black Pepper

A few small florets of Broccoli to steam for garnish

Method

Melt the oil. When hot but not smoking, add the ginger and stirfry for a few seconds before adding all the other veggies except the broccoli.

Add some Black Pepper.

(Black Pepper aids absorption of nutrients as well as adding flavour).

Stirfry for a minute or so, mixing them up as you do, then turn down the heat, place a lid on the pan and allow to sweat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the stock and Natex, turn the heat up a little, but try not to allow it to boil. Replace the lid and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.

Leave to cook for about 40 minutes, until the veggies are done but not falling apart.

Steam the broccoli.

Turn off the heat, remove the pan and blend with a stick blender.

For a more substantial meal, you could place some cooked orange lentils or organic brown basmati rice in the bottom of the bowl before ladling the soup over the top. 

Top with the broccoli or, alternatively, some bean sprouts.

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Serve with crusty bread.

PS. Look out for Zesty Orange Squash Soup, coming soon!

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Zingy Kale Salad Juice

Are you ready to ditch the festive food yet and get healthy again? 

I am.

Food is a real problem for me when all the family get together. My juicing routine is interrupted and meals take so much time and preparation that I end up compromising and eating things I know are going to leave me feeling uncomfortable if not in great pain.

Yesterday was one of those days.

With a houseful of meat-loving teenagers, there are only so many times you can get away with vegan nut roast or pizza, fruit salad, and raw chocolate treats, before you have a mutiny on your hands. So yesterday, their final lunch was fish and chips from the local chip shop! There was no time for juicing or making salads as they were on a tight timetable for their journey home. I ended up having a few chips, my first potatoes of any kind for 18 months. They were crisp and freshly made and tasted good with Himalayan pink salt. I ate them slowly and mindfully. I asked them to be kind.

Those few chips caused me so much heartburn and acid reflux, I was in pain all night and had no sleep! What’s more, the skin on the back of my hand began to itch (see How I Juiced My Skin Clear: A Rash Decision?).

This morning, I decided that was it. Back on the juice.

*

This is one of my husband’s concoctions. It’s a throwback to summer days in the garden. Sometimes you have to take a deep breath, hold your nose and cross your fingers, but this turned out really well!

Wash all the ingredients, keep the peel on unless you’re using a waxed lemon, in which case pare it very thinly to leave as much pith as possible, this is where the micro-nutrients live and we need them in the juice. It helps the kale to go through the juicer more easily if you chop it roughly and feed it through in scrunched-up batches between apple and cucumber. Feed the lemon in with another item and leave the celery to last if your juicer doesn’t cope with it too well.

This juice has protein, antioxidants, B vitamins, healthy omega fats, electrolytes, fibre and is hydrating and good for your skin.

Ingredients

Large handful of Kale

2 Apples

Half an unwaxed Lemon with peel

3″ Cucumber

1 Stalk of Celery

Handful of Green Beans

1/4 of Avocado

Wash and juice everything except the avocado which is blended into the juice.

(Begin with apple and end with apple for best results).

You can chop and freeze the remainder of the avocado to use for future blended juices or in guacamole etc.

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Juicing in the garden during the late summer while hb mends bikes – it’s his thing. It’s very messy and that’s as close as he gets!

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Vegan Gluten-Free Tiger Nut Loaf/Bread Mk III

img_2467This is the second post describing our quest for a moist, tasty gluten-free loaf that doesn’t sound like a lab experiment or dry out and break up after the first day. If you’d like to read the original post first, click here.

I rarely eat bread and I rarely miss it, but just ocasionally I get a craving for it. I buy some new product that maintains it isn’t like any other gluten-free bread, costs the earth and inevitably it is such a disappointing experience, I go back to being bread-free. On Sunday, we decided to have another go at making a tiger nut loaf.

We have been using BBC Food’s Dan Leopard’s recipe as a guide but mixing up the flours for more flavour and nutritional content. Which flours we used tended to be those we had in at the time.

In our previous, second, attempt, we only used 1 oz of Tiger Nut Flour as the original had a much larger amount and had been a little too grainy. We also decreased the amount of water from the first loaf which spread too much.

This time, we used the much finer Tiger Nut Powder from The Tiger Nut Company (they ship overseas) and made it the main ingredient – by accident as it turned out since my husband thought we were out of cornflour but of course I later found it on a different shelf at the back of the cupboard, as you do! We substituted the cornflour with gluten-free self-raising flour bought for another recipe. As it happened, it was a lucky accident, because this loaf turned out to be the best yet.

We also decided to bake it in a loaf tin this time to stop it spreading so much and produce a deeper loaf.

It turned out to be tasty, firm, moist and still fresh the next day. And the next.

We sliced it up and put half in the freezer while a third was wrapped and kept in the bread box. On the third day, I got some out of the freezer to have with soup and to see how it had stored. Once thawed, it seemed just as fresh. No need to toast it.

I also tried a slice from the remainder of the loaf that had been wrapped and kept in the bread box. It too was still fresh enough to spread peanut butter on without having to toast it. This is a big deal in the world of gluten-free bread! You always end up having toast because it’s so dry.

It won’t resemble your average thin white sliced that you can make into sandwiches – homemade glutenfree bread is often the consistency of, say, a more dense madeira cake  – but I love it topped with yeast extract,  tahini, nut butter, avocado, banana, salad – or often a combination! We found it easy to spread and handle, it wasn’t as delicate as some gluten-free bread is.

This is such a nourishing, nutritious and satisfying loaf. It has so many good things in it, protein, calcium, healthy fats, fibre, probiotics and prebiotics, B vitamins – I could fill the page! And it doesn’t have anything artificial in it or need a chemistry degree to understand the label.

Here’s the new, improved recipe watch out nearer Christmas when we hope to produce a fruity tiger nut loaf.

(All measurements are approximate, you may need to adjust to suit your own tastes or your oven).

Ingredients

25g – 50g (10z – 1 3/4 oz) Organic Golden Linseeds

450 mls (16 fl oz) Warm Water

2 1/2 Tsps Quick-acting Yeast

1 Tsp Sugar

80 mls (3 fl oz) CoYo Plain Coconut Yogurt

100g Self-Raising Gluten-free Flour

100g Organic Chickpea or Garbanzo/Besan Flour

250g Tiger Nut Powder

1 Tsp Salt

50g (1 3/4oz) Organic Psyllium Husk Powder

50 mls (1 3/4 Fl oz) Organic Raw Virgin Olive Oil

A little extra olive oil and flour

Method

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4

1. Warm the linseeds on a tray for about 10-12 minutes, until they darken slightly (the toasted seeds will release a sticky gluten-like substance when mixed with the wet ingredients, and they give the loaf a wheatgerm-like flavour).

2. Switch off the oven.

3. Mix together the water and yeast, then stir in the yogurt and seeds. Set aside.

4. Mix together the flour, tiger nut powder, salt, sugar and psyllium husk powder in a large bowl.

5. Pour in the yeast mixture and olive oil and mix well until it resembles a smooth thin batter.

The liquid will turn into a sticky dough within a few minutes as the linseed, flours and psyllium husk powder become gel-like.

6. Once the mixture is firm enough, knead it for 10 seconds on the worktop to mix everything again, then place the dough back in the bowl, cover and leave in a warm but not hot place for 30 minutes.

7. Place the dough into a non-stick or lined 2lb loaf tin and brush with the extra olive oil, cover and leave it to rise for about 30-35 minutes.

8. Heat the oven to 240C/465F/Gas 9

9. Make some diagonal cuts across the dough with a sharp knife, sprinkle with a little cornflour and bake for about 40 minutes, or until rich golden-brown in colour.

10. Cool on a wire rack before slicing.

Here are the three loaves to compare:

 

Latest on the left, second attempt in the middle and first on the right. The middle one was good, but I think the latest is the most successful.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

This Green Juice Packs A Nutritional Punch! (Ft Jay Kordich Juicing Video)

(Please read to the end, there’s a special video feature for anyone interested in juicing).

As you know, I love juiced sweet potato, so forgive me for posting another one! Sweet potato on its own is so full of nutrients – vitamins including betacarotene, minerals, fibre, essential fatty acids – but combined with the carrot, broccoli, spinach and avocado, this blended juice packs quite a nutritional punch.

The apples add soluble fibre and all the fruit is high in vitamin C.

The broccoli and spinach are good sources of bio accessible calcium.

img_3635The avocado also provides protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids, and contributes to a more satisfying, satiating juice.

These nutrient-packed, versatile fruit are very good for your skin, heart, eyes and regulating blood sugar levels. They fill you up so you don’t eat as much. I have some avocado at least once a day. It is one of those foods you could live off if you were stuck on a desert island (though when you were rescued you’d probably never want to see one again!).

This juice is high in antioxidants, helping to boost your immune system and ward off those winter viruses.

Metal straws protect your teeth when drinking juices, they are reuseable, can go in the dishwasher and don’t end up in landfill – and they’re not made of plastic, so no nasty chemicals. You can find them on Amazon, the ones I have came with their own tiny cleaning brush.

Ingredients

Sweet Potato, washed, chopped and peel left on if organic

Carrot, ditto

2 Sweet Apples, ditto

Slice of Lemon, ditto

1 Kiwi, peeled

3″ Broccoli Stem, washed

Handful of Spinach, washed

Juice all ingredients beginning with an apple and ending with an apple

 Blend with 1/4 Avocado

*

Jay Kordich is known as the Father of Juicing. As a very young and athletic man he was diagnosed with terminal bladder cancer. He chose to work with doctors who specialised in juice therapy. He is still alive today at the age of 93. This is his first video lecture fom 30 years ago on how to juice. I learn something from him every time I see him.

Please note he is using organic produce and using the skins. Please be sure to wash your produce thoroughly and consult your doctor if you are taking medications.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

The Healing Powers of Pomegranate + Recipes

img_2392There has been some debate of late as to whether pomegranates should be added to the list of so-called superfoods, those foods which are believed to help prevent, heal and recover from disease due to their powerful nutritional content. Studies both in labs, in test tubes and on small groups of humans show promising results. Many people now believe adding pomegranate to your diet can be nothing but beneficial in the prevention and treatment of chronic lifestyle diseases like Type II diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, weight gain, clogged arteries, certain cancers and so on.

Pomegranates are berries which grow on a small shrub and it is the bright seeds which are eaten or juiced, the flesh and peel being tough and inedible.

These jewelled fruits are high in antioxidants, coming in at a massive 3 x those found in red wine and green tea, they are good sources of Vitamin A, C, and K, potassium, B5 and other B Complex compounds as well as being high in soluble and insoluble fibre. This makes pomegranates an effective anti-inflammatory weapon to help protect against asthma, arthritis, breast and colon cancers and diseases of the digestive tract.

Some studies indicate that daily pomegranate juice (unsweetened) may lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart attack and increase blood circulation and even reduce accumulated fat in arteries. It is also suggested this regimen can benefit heart patients by improving heart function and boosting immunity.

Due to its fat-clearing and anti-inflammatory properties, pomegranates can also help with weight loss as the fibre content helps reduce extra fat deposits and keep bowel movements regular.

All in all, this berry appears to lift above its weight in terms of nutritional and health benefits, so how do we use it?

img_2394I only recently started using pomegranates so I am still a novice, I have so far sprinkled the seeds on porridge on salad and in a smoothie.

This porridge bowl makes an excellent  start to the day or if you prefer a lighter breakfast of juice or smoothie, you could have this later as I do and it will keep you going for hours.

This breakfast contains protein, fibre, calcium, magnesium, antioxidants, healthy fats, probiotics for a healthy gut and lots of vitamins and minerals.

All ingredients are organic, vegan and glutenfree.

Ingredients

1/2 Cup Porridge Oats

21/2 Cups Non-dairy Milk (I had homemade almond milk, see How To Make Almond Milk)

A Small Handful of Cashew pieces (presoaked if you have time, to make them easier to digest. Swap for seeds or tiger nuts if you are nut-free)

1 Tbsp Chia Seeds*

1 Tbsp Lucuma Powder* (it has a mildly malted flavour and is full of nutrients)

Seeds from Half a Pomegranate

Small Handful of Goji Berries*

1 Heaped Tbsp CoYo Coconut (ie non-dairy) Live Yogurt

Cook the oats in the milk on a medium heat, stirring to prevent lumps and sticking, when it’s nearly done add the cashews and mix in well

Remove from heat, add the chia seeds and lucuma powder, stirring well

Pour into a bowl and top with pomegranate seeds, goji berries and yogurt.

Of course, you could be really adventurous and try my Cauliflower Oats (Don’t Laugh, It’s a Thing!) with peanut butter, banana and pomegranate seeds!

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*https://www.therawchocolatecompany.com/

Copyright: Chris McGowan