Chocolate Chilli Overnight Oats

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I love overnight oats because they’re quick and easy to make, are super versatile and you can take them on the go with you when you’re pressed for time!

Now that the weather is cooling down I like to keep my internal body temperature warm by using ingredients that help keep my internal fire going. This recipe is filled with super boosted medicinal foods which support a healthy immune system to keep the seasonal colds at bay.

The use of cayenne pepper in this recipe is to activate the healing benefits of the turmeric while also making you feel all warm and tingly inside. Turmeric is a superfood root which is dried and powdered, the benefits of using it are numerous. For me the most important thing is that it reduces inflammation in the body. Inflammation is your body’s response to injury which is great! However, our modern diets and lifestyles of eating highly processed sugars and dairy, drinking alcohol, feeling stressed etc can also cause inflammation in the body. Therefore by adding turmeric to our diets we can aid our bodies by reducing it’s workload. It’s not a cure all and it also helps to be more mindful of what we fuel our bodies with, both nutritionally and mentally.

Cacao is also a very powerful antioxidant, high in magnesium, which helps relax our muscles, hence why women crave chocolate when they are about to start their cycle. Please make sure that you use good quality raw cacao powder for this recipe as nutritionally it makes a big difference. Most cocoa powder you find in your local supermarket has been heated at very high temperatures which kills a lot of the nutrients. It is more expensive but a little goes a long way with so it’s worth investing in some as it will last quite some time.

If you don’t have all the ingredients don’t worry, get creative and substitute some or leave others out. Or better yet why not try your hand at making your very own signature version?!

Ingredients (Makes 1 large serving or 2 smaller servings)
3 Tbs chia seeds
3 Tbs rolled oats
1 Tbs almond meal
1 tsp cacao powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1.5 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 Tbs goji berries
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/2 Tbs cacao nibs
1/2 Tbs coconut flakes
1.5 cup non dairy milk (I used sunflower seed milk)
Pinch of Himalayan pink salt

Method
Mix everything into a bowl or jar using a fork, making sure it’s all well combined.
Place in the fridge overnight or for a minimum of 15-20 minutes.
Enjoy!
*This will last in the fridge for 2-3 days.

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Super Smoothie Bowl

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Now that the weather has started to heat up in Doha, I’ve switched from warming bowls of porridge to smoothie bowls. I prefer my smoothies in a bowl because it stops me from slurping it all up in one go, which can be quite a shock to the system. My theory is that by eating my smoothie one spoon at a time, I give my body some time to digest it slowly. Plus I like decorating my bowls to make them a feast for the eyes as well as my body. It really doesn’t matter what you add to the smoothie so long as you have a good high speed blender, I used my magic bullet and it works just fine!

I like to add a mixture of fruits and vegetables and generally try not to add fruits which have a high glycemic index just to keep my blood sugar levels in check. If you do add banana or mango for example, try to add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder to help stabilise blood sugar spikes.

On another note, I’ll be hosting a group cooking class at the end of this month focusing on healthful breakfasts, click here for more information.

Finally here’s the recipe for my super plant powered smoothie bowl filled with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, blood cleansing, gut friendly ingredients. This is guaranteed to boost your morning with nourishing, healing goodness!

Ingredients (Serves 2)

Smoothie:

1 fresh young coconut, water and meat
1 inch fresh ginger
1 inch fresh turmeric
1 small beetroot
2 cups frozen raspberries
Zest of 1/2 a lime
Juice of 1 lime

Optional add ins:
2 tablespoons maca powder
2 tablespoons acai powder
2 tablespoons Lucuma powder
1/2 teaspoon spirulina powder

Suggested toppings:
1/2 cup VTH Nutty granola
1 cup dices strawberries
2 teaspoons chia seeds
2 teaspoons hemp seeds
Raisins

Method:

1. Blend the smoothie ingredients, along with the superfood powders if using, in a high speed blender until you have a smooth consistency.
2. Pour into a bowl, and add the toppings.
3. Enjoy the super powerful benefits of this smoothie bowl!

Healing Savoury Turmeric Pancakes

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The past two weeks have been quite intense for me as I’ve been recovering from a concussion. I’ve been feeling rather nauseous followed by migraines, shoulder and neck pain so as a result I’ve been eating and drinking as much turmeric, ginger and cacao as possible to help heal myself naturally. As I was feeling much better today I was inspired to make us some savoury pancakes for brunch and decided to add in some turmeric, as a precautionary measure for the pain, and I’m pleased to say that they ended up tasting great (husband approved) so thought I’d share them with the world!

If you haven’t heard of all the incredible healing properties of turmeric here’s one example. It’s a great anti-inflammatory and has been used in many cultures for hundreds of years due to these specific effects which are caused by the chemical curcumin, that gives it the prominent yellow pigment. Recently studies have shown that it’s just as effective as taking synthetic anti-inflammatory medication and when combined with black pepper it’s bioavailability is boosted making this wonderful golden spice much more potent and effective in healing the body.

So here’s a quick recipe which is 100% plant based, gluten free and wonderfully healing. You can get inventive with the toppings and add whatever you have at home. we had left over mung bean curry from dinner last night so decided to use it again, this can be substituted with cooked lentils, chickpeas or left out completely and enjoyed simply with the avocado and cherry tomatoes.

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Ingredients (Makes 6)

Pancakes
3 flax “eggs” (1 flax “egg” = 1 Tbs ground flaxseeds : 3Tbs water)
1/2 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1 1/2 cups water
Couple pinches Himalayan pink salt
Pinch of cracked black pepper
3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil

Toppings
1 ripe Hass avocado, thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lime
Handful of fresh parsley
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
Cooked mung beans/lentils (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste

Method:

Make the flax eggs by combining the ground flaxseeds with water in a bowl, stir to get an even consistency and place in the fridge to set (about 10-15 mins).

Heat up your pan (preferably a non toxic non-stick pan like these) on medium – high heat.

Combine all the pancake ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

Once the pan is nice and hot pour a ladle full of the mixture into the pan, using the back of the ladle to spread the batter out making it nice and even. Leave to cook for 3-4 mins, then flip and cook for another 2 mins. Repeat until you’ve finished all the batter.

Heat up the coked beans or lentils if you’re using them. Pour 1/2 the lime juice and a pinch of salt to the thinly sliced avocado . Put the chopped cherry tomatoes in a small bowl along with the rest of the lime juice, sesame oil and a pinch of salt & pepper.

Add a little bit of each topping to your pancake and fold it over for a fancy looking crepe or add A LOT of each topping and eat it messily (my preference).

Enjoy!

Good morning Doha!

I finally made it to Doha and managed to come across a lovely little fruit and veg shop where I stocked up on crates full of delicious Lebanese clementines and crunchy royal gala apples. The hotel room we’re staying in looks like a mini market and the cab driver even asked if we were planning on selling the fruit and veg we bought as he couldn’t believe that we would manage to eat all it all! I may have gotten a bit over excited by the sight of beautifully ripe Indian mangoes and papaya as most of the food here is imported you have access to quite a lot of exotic produce. However I was told that there are a few greenhouses which have started growing local produce that is sold at a farmers market once a week, so as soon as I find out where that is, I’ll be there!

This fruit bowl is one of the first things I started making when I decided to try and eat more healthily about 4 years ago, and I would make it every morning for breakfast. I try to include at least 5 fruits, granola (homemade if possible), and yoghurt. I hope you incorporate this into your daily breakfast routine and feel the benefits of having fruit everyday. As my dad used to tell me when I was little “an apple a day keeps the doctor away!”

Ingredients (serves 2)

1/2 mango
2 clementines
12 black grapes
1 apple
1 banana
Granola
4 tablespoons natural set yoghurt

Chop up all the fruit and divide in two bowls.
Add granola and yoghurt.
Enjoy!

Juice Pulp Gluten Free Muffins

Juice pulp muffin

I posted a video on our Instagram page (@vegetariantreehouse) of me making some juice yesterday morning and a friend posted a comment asking whether I do anything with the left over juice pulp. The answer was yes, I’ve made a number of things with it including hummus inspired dips, soups, veggie burgers (watch this space I have a recipe coming soon), and crackers. Since the pulp has a lot of nutrients and fibre in it it’s a real shame to let it go to waste, so if you don’t have time to make something with it immediately after making your morning juice just store it in the fridge, and it should keep for a couple of days. His question got me thinking about what else I could do with the pulp I had just saved from my morning juice and so I started researching and came across this lovely recipe. I decided to give it a go with the ingredients I had on hand at home, and since I’m packing up the flat at the moment in preparation for the big move to Doha on Friday I improvised a bit.

The pulp I used was from a orange, carrot, apple, ginger, and parsley juice, I sifted through it to get as much of the parsley out as possible. So here is the recipe and I hope you try it out next time you make a juice. If you want to give the muffins a go and don’t have juice pulp just grate some carrot, apple and ginger and leave out the orange and parsley!

Ingredients (makes 12)

2 cups all purpose gluten free flour (I made my own, see recipe below)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup chopped raisins (or whatever dried fruit you have on hand)
2 tablespoons ground chia seeds
Filtered water
2 cups unsweetened soya milk (or non dairy milk of your choice)
1 teaspoon vanilla (fresh from the pod or extract)
1 1/2 cups juice pulp (or grated fruit)
2 tablespoons date syrup (or sweetener of your choice)

My Improvised Gluten Free Flour Recipe

Blend 2 cups quinoa flakes until it becomes a flour like consistency.
Then add 2 tablespoons coconut flour, and 1 tablespoon arrowroot flour to it.
The End.

So back to the muffin recipe…

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees celsius.
Grease the muffin tins, I would not recommend using muffin cups as I did because the muffins stick to the paper!
Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt into a large bowl and add the sunflower seeds and raisins.
In a separate bowl mix the chia seeds with about half a cup of hot water, stir well and add the soya milk, date syrup, and vanilla.
Then add the fruit pulp and another half cup of water, and mix well for a couple of minutes.
Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and mix together.
Then spoon the batter into the muffin tins, place in the oven and leave to bake for about 45 minutes.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a metal rack.
Enjoy!