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Saturday, 29 April 2017

Lemon, Garlic & Thyme Hasselback Potatoes

Hasselback potatoes are the tastier, prettier sibling of the plain old jacket potato. Jacker potatoes are great but let's face it, they can be a little bit 'samey', whereas hasselback potatoes are deliciously flavoursome, have a wonderful texture and are far more interested to look at!

The recipe for these lemon, garlic and thyme hasselback potatoes is a new favourite of mine and a real crowd-pleaser. I made these potatoes for my whole family and they loved them, so I'm excited for you to try them out too!

The recipe for these scrumptious hasselback potatoes is easy to follow, easy to make and tastes amazing. Before cooking the potatoes you cut deep slices across the top, drizzle with good quality olive oil and lemon, then scatter fresh thyme and garlic on top to create a delicious flavour combination that goes perfectly with avocado, salad, poached eggs, baked fish, steamed veggies, etc.

These potatoes go beautiful crisp in the oven yet are soft and fluffy on the inside, and the slices in them ensure that all the flavours seep deep into the potatoes so every bite is full of garlicky, lemony, herby goodness! I also advise using a really good quality extra virgin olive oil in this recipe as it creates such a wonderful taste and adds something special to these potatoes. I've attached Jamie Oliver's new 'The Buyer's Guide To Olive Oil' below which has been beautifully crafted and features cooking suggestions, a how to guide to professional tasting and facts on where your olive oil is sourced from. Super helpful!


Thursday, 27 April 2017

Honesty - My Mental Health

I've always been very honest and upfront about my struggles with mental health, I've talked about suffering with both depression and anxiety for the majority of my life and how adapting my lifestyle, changing my eating habits and becoming more active helped improve my mental health dramatically.

I want to write this post to tell you those things weren't and aren't a miracle cure for any mental health issue, that I don't just have happy days full of smiles and laughter and that I do still suffer with both depression and anxiety. It would be wrong and irresponsible of me not to address the fact my mental health is still an ongoing battle, and although my lifestyle changes did help bring me out of a very deep and dark depression, helped boost my confidence and improved my relationship with my body, I do still struggle and I do still have very bad days. No mental health issue can be fixed over night and it's completely normal to have set backs, which I myself need reminding of sometimes. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be okay all the time, to be strong 24/7 and to carry on when sometimes we need time to be sad, we need time by ourselves and we need time to heal without any other added pressures.

I'm talking about this now as the past few days I've experienced several panic attacks and very dark spells of depression that have really impacted my life. I was due to start a new job this week, which I was so excited about and really thought would be ideal for me to go alongside my blog/freelance work - it was part time and local so I wouldn't have to travel. Unfortunately I missed my first shift due to a depression breakdown that was completely terrifying, exhausting and traumatic. Somehow I made it in the next day (even though it was difficult), and you know what? My first day went okay, the job isn't my dream role but the people were lovely and the work area was nice. However, the following day when it was my second shift I suffered a bad panic attack in the morning, followed by dark feelings and a pain in my chest that I can't even begin to describe. I couldn't make it in.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Currently Loving: GoodLife Burgers & Falafels

Ready made veggie products that are both delicious and don't contain lots of artificial or processed ingredients can be hard to find in your everyday supermarket, but sometimes we need something quick and easy we can just throw in the oven after a long, busy day. I'm always on the lookout for new brands to try  and today I'm sharing with you one of my favourites.

Goodlife Foods produce frozen, veggie based products that really do make vegetables the star of the show! Their products only contain natural ingredients with no preservatives or artificial ingredients to be they really do taste scrumptious.

Having healthy food options in your freezer you can literally just whack in the oven and it be ready within 20 minutes is always a good idea - it means there's always a quick dinner waiting for you after a long day that's going to satisfy your tummy and make you feel good, it makes preparing packed lunches super easy and it reduces the risk of ordering in takeaway or throwing a pizza in the oven (which is perfectly fine occasionally but maybe not something we want to be aiming for regularly!).
I have to admit I find it difficult to find gluten free, vegan, natural frozen food products such as burgers, sausages and falafels in mainstream supermarkets but that's where Goodlife comes to the rescue!  I've been a fan of Goodlife Foods for a while now so I thought I'd share with you two of my favourite products from their range that are both gluten free and vegan.


Sunday, 23 April 2017

Creamy Vegan Mushroom & Spinach Pasta (Feat. Biona)

Sometimes there's just nothing better than a bowl of pasta with a delicious creamy sauce, but finding a dairy-free option can be a little tricky. I'm bringing you a recipe that changes that and will satisfy your cravings for creamy pasta with none of the dairy but all of the incredible taste!

This pasta sauce is made using silken tofu with Biona which blends amazingly well with lemon juice, fresh herbs, garlic and plenty of black pepper to create the dreamiest, high-protein sauce for an unbeatable pasta dish. Add in the mushrooms and spinach for a balanced, nourishing, satisfying and scrumptious meal with plant-based protein, energy boosting carbohydrates and plenty of vitamins and minerals to make your body and your mind feel happy and healthy.

As I mentioned above, Biona silken tofu is the star ingredient in this recipe! It's perhaps not an ingredient you'd think of to create a pasta sauce with but it works so well and adds a protein boost to a normally low-protein meal. Biona has been one of my favourite brands for a while now as I know they produce food I can trust - all their products are organic which means their farmers don't use any pesticides or chemicals on the crops they grow and only use sustainable farming methods.

In this recipe I also used one of my favourite Biona products - their coconut oil cuisine which is completely odourless, meaning none of your food will have that coconut taste when you cook with it but you'll still reap all the benefits from this superfood! For the pasta, I used wholegrain rice pasta from Biona's sister brand Amisa but you could also use any of Biona's pasta range if you're not avoiding gluten - I hear their spelt pasta is particularly tasty.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Strawberry Cheesecake Bites (Vegan) - Seasonal Berries

I'm the biggest berry fan, I eat some form of the delicious fruit every day without fail, so when Seasonal Berries contacting me asking me to create a delicious strawberry recipe for their #SpringStrawberry campaign I jumped at the chance!

The Spring months are the perfect months to be buying and eating juicy strawberries as they're readily available at all major supermarkets and are super great quality at this time of year. I love adding strawberries to my porridge, to yogurt bowls, throwing them into smoothies, infusing them into water and just munching on them as a healthy sweet snack throughout the day. I also love to bake with strawberries as they create an unbeatable taste that is combined so well with a variety of flavours and ingredients. Today I'm bringing you a recipe for vegan strawberry cheesecake bites - they're totally raw, refined sugar free and gluten free but truly indulgent, perfectly sweet and full of flavour.

Strawberries are the true star of this recipe, and rightly so as they're an everyday superfood! Strawberries are one of the healthiest fruits out there; they're low calorie, relatively low sugar for a fruit, they contain plenty of essential vitamins and minerals which include vitamins C, B6 and K as well as fibre, folic acid, potassium and amino acids! Strawberries are also rich in anti-oxidants including elegiac acid which helps to protect the skin.

I'm so excited to have collaborated with Seasonal Berries on this campaign and bring you a recipe I'm really proud of! The base of these cheesecakes are made out of almonds and oats which creates the most incredible biscuity texture with sweetness from the gooey medjool dates. The cheesecake layer is made using soaked cashews which when blended form this wonderfully smooth texture that will rival any other cheesecake. I topped these bites of heaven with a slice of strawberry to really add to the sweet taste!

FUN FACT - Strawberries are the only fruit with seeds on the outside!
(via Seasonal Berries website)

Monday, 17 April 2017

Chocolate Protein Cookies With Peanut Butter Frosting

These cookies really are the ultimate and I'm so excited to share the recipe with you!

Chocolate and peanut butter is a combination I never seem to get tired of - it's just total heaven! These Chocolate Protein Cookies with Peanut Butter Frosting are no exception; the taste is dreamy and the texture is perfection, plus they're pretty high protein thanks to the chocolate pea protein I used.

I adore the combination of crunchy yet slightly chewy cookie with the contrasting smooth, gooey peanut butter frosting and the crunch of the peanuts on top. These cookies are flour-less too as I simply blended oats (this keeps costs down too!) with chocolate protein from Nutristrength, coconut oil, maple syrup, peanut butter and almond milk. The frosting is purely peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract and a splash of almond milk. Simple.

I added Nutristrength's Roasted Cocoa Pea Protein to these cookies, not just to give them a boost of protein but also an amazingly rich chocolate taste. Pea protein is probably my favourite form of vegan protein as it doesn't have a strong taste like hemp protein, it blends really well with other ingredients and isn't too sensitive to heat so is a great option for baking. Nutristrength is a brand I've been a fan of for a while - you might remember by vanilla protein fudge recipe with their vanilla protein - and I'm so excited to be sharing another delicious recipe using their fantastic product with you.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Puffed Quinoa, Coconut & Chocolate Squares

These Puffed Quinoa, Coconut & Chocolate Squares are my healthy take on the classic rice krispy squares that you no doubt made as a kid. Yes, they may be a healthier alternative but they're still just as delicious, sweet, crispy and more-ish!

I made them with Indigo Herbs new puffed quinoa which is just 100% organic puffed quinoa - nothing added, nothing taken away. The quinoa is a great alternative to rice as it's much higher in protein, it's easier to digest and it doesn't play havoc with our blood sugar levels! It also gives an even more wonderful texture to these crispy squares and works perfectly with the coconut and chocolate.

To make these Puffed Quinoa, Coconut & Chocolate Squares I simply picked the puffed quinoa and desiccated coconut together, made a chocolate mixture then mixed it all together, placed in a tray and left to set for 40 minutes in the fridge. So simple, but so good!

I've worked with Indigo Herbs to bring you this indulgent recipe, and used their cacao powder, cacao butter, raw almond butter, coconut oil and maple syrup to make these chocolatey squares! I've been using Indigo Herbs products for a long time and truly trust the brand - their products are of the highest quality without the mammoth expensive! I also love that Indigo Herbs has every healthy baking ingredient I could ever need on their website, it makes shopping so much easier knowing I can get it all from the same place!

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Hot Cross Cookies

Easter weekend is only a few days away, so I'm sharing my second Easter recipe with you ready for you to recreate in time for Easter!

I'm a massive hot cross bun lover; there's just nothing better with a cup of English Breakfast Tea. I decided to adapt the classic hot cross bun recipe and make Hot Cross Cookies, complete with the same mouth-watering spices and sultanas as hot cross buns but in cookie form. Yes, they're as good as they sound.

These cookies are family friendly and free from dairy, gluten, eggs and nuts. They're sweet enough to satisfy that sweet tooth without being sickly sweet, they're got the perfect combination of spices and just the right amount of juicy sultanas. They've got a slightly crispy outside but a soft, chewy inside and each mouthful feels so heavenly! 

The cookies are also very easy to make and don't take much time at all. A great recipe to make with kids, as a gift for family members or to take to your friends for a cup of tea and a chin-wag.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Plant-Based Lasagne Feat. Schwartz

Vegetable lasagne was always one of my favourite meals growing up. I'd always choose it on special occasions and especially requested it on my birthday! I loved it and never got bored of the dish. It's a meal a really miss since having to cut out gluten and dairy, so I took it upon myself to create a free-from lasagne that was totally plant-based but not lacking in any of the delicious lasagne flavours.

This recipe has been made in collaboration with Schwartz, as they're recently brought out an exciting range of gluten free recipe mixes that still have all the flavour of Schwartz but with none of the gluten! I was inviting to the launch of these new products and was super impressed with the quality of them, and I think it's fantastic that such a well-known brand has brought out a wide range of recipe mixes that are suitable for those on a gluten free diet!

The Schwartz gluten free recipe mixes are really versatile too; in this lasagne recipe I actually use the spaghetti bolognese mix which worked like a dream and created the perfect flavours! If you do eat dairy you could also use the Schwartz gluten free cheese sauce mix, but as I'm dairy-free I created my very own vegan friendly cashew cheese topping which is out of this world. You've gotta try it!

If I'm honest, I didn't quite know how well this recipe would turn out. Could a gluten free, vegan lasagne really be anything special? I thought I'd miss the pasta and the real cheese topping, but honestly this recipe is one of my favourites ever. The courgette and aubergine layers in place of the pasta sheets create a really wonderful texture and taste to the dish, the cheese sauce doesn't taste like it's vegan whatsoever and the Schwartz bolognese mix adds so much rich flavour to the lasagne without needing to buy loads of different ingredients.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Healthy Easter Rice Crispy Nests

I used to love making chocolate rice krispy cakes when I was little! Melted the chocolate and stirring in the rice krispy's was so much fun, and of course I always ate some straight out the bowl before they were set in the fridge! They're such a classic treat - great to make with kids and everyone loves them, so this Easter I decided to make a healthy chocolate rice krispy cake alternative that's just not (if not more) delicious, complete with marzipan mini eggs!

These healthy easter rice crispy nests are super easy and fun to make, they look seriously cute and both kids and adults are going to love them. They're 100% vegan, gluten free and refined sugar free but also 100% scrumptious and sweet!

I don't hate gluten or dairy and try to keep my refined sugar intake as minimal as possible, so instead of using Rice Krispies in this recipe I used Brown Rice Puffs from Rude Health, which are basically like the healthy, unrefined version of Rice Krispies and available to buy from most supermarkets in the 'free from' aisle. For the chocolatey goodness I simply melted together cacao powder (my favourite is Sevenhills), coconut oil and a pure maple syrup to create a wonderfully rich, sweet and mouth-wateringly delicious chocolate liquid that sets hard in the fridge.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Five Steps To Smoothie Success

A vitamin packed smoothie is a great breakfast or afternoon snack as you can really cram in so much goodness, they're quick and easy to make and they're super delicious too!

If you're a smoothie novice or find your smoothies don't have that thick, creamy consistency you're after then this post is for you. I'm a bit of a smoothie-queen (if I do say so myself), so I thought it was only right to share my top tips on how to make the best smoothies ever!

1. Frozen Banana
Using frozen banana in your smoothies is a total game-changer, if you're yet to try it then prepare to have your life changed. Simply chop up a super ripe banana and pop it in the fridge, the next day add it your blender (along with don't want to break the blender!) with your other ingredients and it'll create a much thicker, creamier smoothie than just using a regular blender. If you don't use quite as much liquid you can even get an ice-cream like consistency which is a total dream!
Live Happy, Live Healthy


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