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My Little Plant Based Adventures

I have to say that I’m not too surprised that I decided to do a little experiment and see how I would fair on a plant based diet for a week. But what prompted me to try plant based for a week wasn’t actually because I went in search of it, I just so happened to be on instagram and came across an amazing looking food bloggers account and she had this one post that drew me in and that was her grandmas perfect pasta sauce. My daughter loves pasta, I was looking for something simple yet tasty to make and so that’s what came to mind. My taste buds were so blown away that I visited Maria’s food blog Foodbymaria.com and she had an ebook of healthy plant based recipes and I thought oh yes and strangely enough I bought the ebook. Yes it was way affordable but generally I take a few weeks or months before buying into an ebook especially when it comes to food bloggers, I like to try out a few of their recipes first. 

This ebook came with many options to set me up for the week and was very gentle on the pocket. Nothing fancy, just good freshly cooked dishes that were plant based and surprisingly tasty for their simplicity. I have not tried every recipe as it all depends on my cravings for the day. I started off with a filling breakfast, an energizing lunch, a cleansing smoothie/drink and a delicious dinner. I was concerned about eating potatoes and grains since diets have made carbs the devils spawn but hey it gave me a break for the week in food meals. The meals were filling, satisfying, tasty, energizing, I never once felt bloated or had any stomach discomfort so you can imagine this ebook was heaven for me. Annnndddd drum roll please… I lost 2kgs. I was so surprised and I wasn’t even doing this for weight loss and I honestly never felt like I was missing out on animal by products. I’m so surprised and that’s because I once tried plant based for a week about two years ago for weight loss and I didn’t lose a single kilo.

I’ve gone for week two of following the ebook just to see how my body will respond but otherwise it is amazing. I am not afraid of carbs, carbs are my friend and no one can tell me any different. I have tried a few other recipes from Maria’s blog for some variety and they were all so delicious, and simple because simple is my thing haha. 

From here I will be doing a 5 day cleanse of which I’m looking forward to because I haven’t cleansed/detoxed in years and it’s probably high time especially coming out my flu I just want to give my body a flush and from there I will probably continue with my plant based adventures! Liquid diets suck but the recipes I have seem to be something quite tasty and four times a day should keep the hunger at bay. So exciting!

Papaya Boats with all the Extras

My baby papayas were still available and since I’m enjoying papaya this season I figured I’d make my first ever papaya boat with a crunchy banana bread inspired granola. It’s simple but very satisfying. Let’s get to it yeah?

Ingredients:

Small papaya halved and deseeded

1 frozen banana

1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1/4 cup plain yoghurt of choice

1 tsp acai powder

1 tsp honey or sweetner of choice

Banana granola-

4 Tbs gluten free rolled oats

3 Tbs blanched almonds

3 Tbs pumpkin seeds

2 Tbs sunflower seeds

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Pinch of Himalayan salt

1/2 small banana

1 squeeze vanilla paste

1/2 Tbs honey

1 Tbs natural peanut butter

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius. In a medium sized casserole dish combine oats, almonds, seeds, cinnamon and pinch of salt and mix well. In a small ball mash your banana and add vanilla, honey and peanut butter and mix. Add your wet ingredients to your dry ingredients and combine well and ensure that your granola is spread out flat. Place your casserole dish in your oven and every 5 minutes turn and spread your granola for even cooking. Now lets prepare your smoothie. In your blender combine all your ingredients and blend until smooth, I like to add in my probiotics at this point and mix with a spoon. Pour your smoothie into your papaya and the other half into your bowl. Remove your granola and allow to cool slightly. I prefer eating mine whilst warm because the flavour is still so fresh. Sprinkle some granola in your papaya boat and in your smoothie bowl and devour the first that looks more tempting, haha.

Enjoy!

Fragrant Pear Parfait and a Devine Pear Yoghurt

You know when you buy a pack of pears and you bite into them and they are soft and juicy and you wonder why you don’t eat more pears? This was my lucky pack and these are the best kind of pears to bake with or poach or accompany with any food combination. I once had these type of pears a long time ago and they made thee best pear tart ever. I really should’ve considered making a gluten free version before I finished them but anyway I had one saved for a pear parfait.

I don’t really see pear featured in many recipes but I still love them, they can be versatile and I decided why not use them in a breakfast parfait? This was worth saving, it was light but satisfying and providing enough energy to tackle an early morning. Let’s get started.


Ingredients:

1 pear (sliced and peeled)

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp coconut sugar

Water

Rawnola-

1/4 cup of mixed dehusked buckwheat, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and flax seeds

Pear Yoghurt-

Half poached pear

1/2 tbs honey

Sprinkle of cinnamon

6 heaped Tbsp lactose free yoghurt

Toppings-

1 Tbsp almond butter (additive free)

3 Pecan nuts crushed

Coconut flakes

Instructions:

In a small sauce pan add your slices of pear and water (just about less than half level of your pear slices) sprinkle you cinnamon and coconut sugar and bring to the boil until your pears are soft. In the meantime in your 1/4 cup add dehusked buckwheat (groats), flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. Mix until well combined. 

Remove your pear slices from the saucepan and keep your water on the boil until reduced. Using you hand held blender combine half of your pear, yoghurt, cinnamon and honey and blend until smooth. Remove your water from the heat. 

Now it’s time to assemble. Bring out your mason jar or whichever glass you prefer using and throw in your buckwheat mix. Next add your yoghurt. Then add your almond butter on top, your remaining pear slices, sprinkle with your crushed peanuts and coconut flakes and devour immediately!

Xx
GF | LF | RSF


Lactose Free Yoghurt?

There was a point in time when yoghurt didn’t bother me as much as milk. As some of you may or may not know, every persons degree of intolerance varies, some can stomach certain dairy products and some can’t – the very same way that the lactose proteins in Parmesan cheese are minimal whilst ricotta cheese may send some people on a downward spiral. For a while now I have been changing my yoghurt type because the present type I was using no longer favoured well with me and now I am due for an upgrade.

I am quite disappointed that I can no longer consume normal yoghurt because I relied on it for the probiotic contents and extra calcium seeing as milk was completely scrapped from my diet. I could only consume Ayrshire yoghurt for some reason and it was the only one that agreed with me. But now it no longer agrees with me. So I am now trying lactose free yoghurt and so far so good. It doesn’t have that tartness that I learnt to enjoy but for now I guess it will do. Now I say ‘for now’ because once upon a time I used to consume lactose free milk until it started making me feel absolutely horrible. So I am almost sure that there will come a time when dairy yoghurt will be non existent in my diet (secretly becoming vegan by force no?). I have also decided to purchase pre and pro biotics as I don’t consume yoghurt as regularly as I used to. And also I may have some almond yoghurt tricks up my sleeve in future so stick with me 🙂

This is the life you live when intolerant. It’s all about what works and what doesn’t, what works at the time and what substitutions can be made when it no longer does. It doesn’t get me down though just because I have an intolerance or two it doesn’t mean the world is ending.

Xx

Creamy Vanilla Polenta Porridge

I had a craving and an old school craving (just like the old breakfast sandwich). I thought I would make some quinoa porridge but I saw that jar of polenta all yellow and bright and I thought wow I absolutely need to have some warm porridge for breakfast. 

I used to eat porridge for breakfast in the mornings, it was some what of a staple if someone was up and feeling up to making it for me. The only difference was that I ate white maize meal and since I don’t stick that at home because of my polenta preference I decided how about some porridge with a twist? Growing up my breakfast porridge with white maize meal was prepared with water and a pinch of salt. Then when ready would be topped with some cold butter, milk and granulated brown sugar. Loved the taste and I can still remember it. 

But that was then and this is now. Just threw some things that I’m used to in my style of porridge making today.

Ingredients:

150ml water

Pinch of salt

1/3 cup polenta

1 Tbsp honey 

Squeeze of Vanilla paste

Splash of almond milk

Mixed frozen berries

Flaked almonds

Instructions:

Bring a small pot of water and salt to the boil. Once boiling slowly add your polenta and keep whisking to prevent clumps. Lower your heat to medium low at this point and add half a tablespoon into your bowl and mix. Keep whisking from time to time. Add a splash of almond milk if the porridge looks as if it’s hardening and mix gently. Your porridge is ready once nice and creamy at this point squeeze in vanilla paste and mix. Pour your porridge into your bowl, add remaining honey, add a splash of almond milk as required, almond flakes and frozen summer berries and enjoy your warm winter porridge bowl.

Thanks granny 🙂

GF | LF | RSF

Spicy Winter Warmer Chickpea Curry

It’s been a cold winter off late and I’ve been enjoying time indoors rather than out. Actually I can’t even remember when last we just took a walk on the beach. We’ve had some sniffles and have been trying to get healthy and keep warm and what better than a filling chickpea curry with that added spicy curry to warm your soul? Winter cold be gone…

Ingredients (Serves 1):

3 Tbsp brown basmati rice (rinsed)

1/4 cup tinned chickpeas (rinsed)

1/4 cup coconut milk

1/2 Tbsp olive oil

1/4 tsp crushed garlic

1 level tsp mild curry powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon 

1/2 tsp ginger powder

1/2 tsp coriander 

1/4 tsp Himalayan rock salt

Black pepper

1/3 cup coconut milk

Handful of baby spinach

Cinnamon sugar (1/2 tsp cinnamon + 1/2 tsp xylitol)

Instructions:

Begin by bring a pot of salted water to the boil, you’ll only need about 150ml of water to start. Once boiling add your rice and boil until water has reduced to about half and add 1/4 cup coconut milk in your pot.

Whilst your rice is cooking in a separate small sauce pan heat 1/2 tbsp olive oil. Add garlic and curry powder and fry until just fragrant. Add your chickpeas and mix until chickpeas are completely covered. Add all remaining herbs and spices and add 1/3 cup coconut milk and reduce heat to a simmer and leave to simmer. 

Prepare your baby spinach by rinsing and shaking off excess water then add to your bowl. Once your rice has absorbed all liquid and is ready add to your bowl and then finish off with your chickpea curry. If you need a little more liquid in your curry you can add a splash of almond milk. Sprinkle some cinnamon sugar on your chickpea curry and mix gently. Enjoy your bowl and your warmth. 

Bon appetit!

GF | V | LF

My Obsession With Vegan Bloggers

When I log in to my instagram account @hiitandchips for those who don’t know, the first thing I’m looking at is vegan food posts! Why? Well I generally only follow vegan bloggers and that has influenced my cooking style and daily food choices. Another thing that I appreciate about vegan bloggers recipes is that they are usually gluten free, refined sugar free and always lactose free. Their recipes are just sensitive enough for my sensitive stomach – even prior to me finding out about my intolerances I had a sensitive stomach. I could never chance an expired or use by or best before date, I was always particular about which restaurants I went to and yes I’ve had painful food poisoning experiences (I even became temporarily blind and deaf) and so I’ve always approached food with caution and to normal folk who can eat beyond the best before or expiration date and be fine I’ve always come across as high maintenance but genuinely I just have to watch what I eat. So vegans are always encouraging less processed foods, healthy, fresh dishes and Whole Foods. It’s a no brainer. No Oreo mcflurry? Well I’m sure there’s a vegan version! Since my struggle with meat prior to finding out about my onion allergy I cut down on meat quite substantially. I used to eat meat every single day and with minimum two meals out of my 3 meals per day (that’s a lot now that I assess it) but now I probably eat meat maybe once a week and the rest of the week I’m eating vegetarian or vegan meals and I honestly don’t miss it at all. I come from a family of heavy meat eaters so becoming vegan will probably be close to impossible for me but if I’ve cut down too then I’m happy. It also encourages me to eat more veg in following vegan bloggers and I hardly ate veg the way I do now when I was big on meat, it would be meat and carbs maybe a few peas here, a little spinach there but hardly ever. So essentially I know that drooling over vegan food is good and healthy for me and hey if it works don’t fix it. 
High five to all the vegan bloggers I follow, you’ve changed my life. 

Gluten Free Mini Donuts

Let me sit down instead of pace type this one. My daughter loves donuts, but because of how much fat and sugar there is in the store bought ones I let her have one maybe once every 6 months (haha I know poor child) so recently they’ve been displayed in the grocery store and I’ve tried every type of detour known to moms to avoid the beautiful “pllleeeeaaassseee” eyes and so I decided to look up some gluten free baked mini donuts recipes that we could indulge in together! These may as well be called coconut mini donuts because they were made with coconut flour, coconut oil and coconut sugar. They were so scrumptious and by ‘were’ yes I mean they’re already done haha, it’s both of our faults. It brings my joy to see her happy about the donuts and next time I know she’ll be asking me to bake her mini donuts instead of asking me to buy them! Who says kids can’t enjoy a guilt free pleasure? Next time I’ll try sub almond flour and see how those taste. 

Mom of the year, I’ll take that haha. Xx

Black Forrest Banana Pancakes

Oooooh have I got a recipe for you! So backstory is that I had an impromptu travel and I left a new box of bananas in the pantry and upon my return they were all spotty and ripe so 2/3 went into the freezer and the other for porridge but since they’ve now become overripe I needed to try other things. These banana pancakes are so delicious and the black Forrest toppings were just the added bonus. This recipe also includes Waldens Farm Strawberry Syrup which is my favourite flavour compared to the caramel flavour because it just enhances the flavour of the berries. Very simple ingredients and very quick with your blender. So let’s go because I think I want to make some more, haha.

Ingredients: (Serves 1)

1/2 small banana

1/2 cup rolled oats – gluten free

1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk

Toppings-

Half cup of frozen or fresh blackberries, mulberries, black cherries and strawberries

1 70% dark chocolate square (I use Lindt)

Waldens Farm Strawberry syrup *

Instructions:

In your blender combine all your ingredients excluding the toppings and blend until puréed. Place your small non-stick frying pan on medium heat and pour the batter and spread (like you usually do for pancakes). You should get about 3 pancakes depending on size. You do not need any oil in a non-stick pan, you can use a small amount of coconut oil if your pan usually sticks. Now it’s time to layer. Add berries, syrup and dark chocolate shavings (using a peeler or zester) then close with a fresh pancake. Repeat until you’re done. 

Dig in and enjoy. Although I doubt I have to tell you!

GF | RSF | LF | Oil-Free

Transitioning To Plant-Based Milk

I remember when I first showed signs of lactose intolerance and that was when I was eating an Oreo McFlurry which used to be my guilty pleasure- the immense pain I experienced was nothing I had every felt before. Upon the second attempt to see if maybe it wasn’t just that batch boy did I feel the pain and quickly passed my favourite on (something I never used to do). I also remember my transition to dairy-free milk haha, I hated Almond milk! Honestly I thought it tasted like watered down milk, almost as disappointing as skim milk but soy milk gave me painful gas (haha, yea I said it) and almond milk and I would just have to be friends. I experimented with different brands and the variation that worked best for me was the sweetened version. And so I stuck to sweetened almond milk and it helped me to avoid adding sugar into my cereal which was a bonus and I developed a taste for it. But then when it came to savory dishes my sweetened almond milk spoiled the food and so I bought the unsweetened variation – it was still not to my taste but it was way better than eating sweet polenta for dinner. Ultimately I just stopped buying sweetened almond milk because I stopped needing it as much in my cooking and just like that I developed a taste for almond milk. Sometimes in making the transition from dairy milk to plant based milk you have to give it a chance and time. If you were like me consuming dairy most or all of your life, your tastebuds will not easily welcome the taste of plant based. But in my biased opinion I would recommend trying rice milk first, I had one carton of delicious rice and coconut milk combination and I loved it but the reason it only ended as one carton was that I couldn’t resist the fact that almond milk contained more protein and at that time I was obsessed with getting in my protein intake and so naturally almond milk and I stuck together. My father transitioned to soy milk which he enjoys and prefers unsweetened to the sweetened variation. Another option would be coconut milk (which is an acquired taste for some because some people just do not enjoy the taste of coconut). 

So for whatever reason you may consider changing to plant based / dairy free alternatives my advice would be to try them all and choose the one which resonates better with your palette and your cooking.