What a Whole Food Plant Based Day Looks Like (in pictures)

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I often get asked the question....

but, Lorna, what do you eat?

So today I want to show you what an average day for me looks like on a whole food plant based 'lifestyle'.

Here goes.

I like to start my day with a large glass of purified water followed by a detoxifying apple cider vinegar shot.  This morning ritual gets the pipes moving (if you know what I mean!), clears out the body and tickles the liver to start dumping out those toxins! You can read all about why I wouldn't go a day without this elixir drink here.  

First up for breakfast is a green morning drink, either a green smoothie or a green juice.  This is nature's most powerful supplement.  

That keeps me going until mid morning, but I really love my food so I wouldn't get through the morning without a pot of chia seed porridge.  Here's a simple recipe for this powerful breakfast along with all the reasons why I make sure soaked chia seeds feature on my plate most days. 

Next up is lunch. 

I never skip lunch or any meal for that matter. Skipping meals would set me up for a snacking feast (of the unhealthy kind) later in the night, right at the time when it's really not ideal to be eating. 

But when it comes to lunch I have zero tolerance for spending more than 5 minutes preparing it.  So most of the time I eat leftovers from last nights dinner, that I revamp with the addition of a nice large salad or a warm wholegrain pitta bread filled with warm leftovers.

Otherwise it's a simple avocado smashed on wholegrain rye toast with a squeeze of fresh lemon or a pasta n' salad lunchbox.

Ok, now it's confession time.

I don't spend hours on end in the kitchen.  In fact, meal prepping is not really my favourite way to spend my precious spare time.    

But but but........that doesn't mean that I compromise on quality or taste. No way!  

It just means that over the years I've come up with some neat little systems n' tricks to spend as little time as possible meal prepping but still eating a highly nutritious whole food plant based diet. 

My most prized 'not so secret' strategy is batch cooking.  I'll cook one dish, with several portions leftover and either freeze some portions or eat it fresh over the next couple of days with the addition of a fresh salad and freshly cooked wholegrains such as quinoa or brown rice.  

Here's a typical dinner in my house for the spring season.  Cooked quinoa with mushrooms and avocado........ 

Or a spring vegetable stir fry with wholegrain noodles. 

I tend to change my weekly menu with the seasons.  This avoids overwhelm and just about when I'm starting to get bored of my weekly meals it's time to switch.   

I hope this has inspired you to come up with your own favourite plant based meals.  But most importantly know that this lifestyle is not complicated, not time-consuming and doesn't even require any fancy exotic ingredients.   

As always I love getting your feedback. 

Tell me what your plant based day looks like or even what an ideal day would mean to you?

Sunshine Citrus Salt Scrub (for body & face)

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I love to apply this bright blend on days when my energy is lagging. The combined citrus scents impart a timeless cheer and sense of universal orderliness which is a welcomed feeling as we step out of the dryness of winter.

This can be used on your body and face.  But on the more sensitive areas such as the face & neck use very light motions. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups fine sea salt

  • 6 fluid ounces of oil (choose from sunflower, sweet almond oil or fractionated coconut oil)

  • 10 drops tangerine essential oil

  • 10 drops wild orange

  • 10 drops grapefruit essential oil

DIRECTIONS:

Mix the sea salt and oil in a glass or stainless steel bowl. The oil should coat the salt completely and evenly. Add the essential oils and mix thoroughly. Store in a glass jar and remix ingredients before each application, as the oil will settle. Use within 3 months.

10 Natural Plant Based Medicines for Anxiety

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When I started out teaching people how to use food and natural plant medicines to heal our bodies, I was expecting people to ask me questions about weight loss, disease prevention and other ‘big label’ stuff.  And I do get asked those questions.  But there’s one single question that I am asked more than anything else, one that I wasn’t expecting……

‘Can you help me manage my anxiety?’

I have met so many people that need help managing their emotions, particularly anxiety.  These people know they can help themselves but they need guidance on how to do it.  So this is a post I’ve being wanting to write for a long time.

Anxiety can come in many forms.  I experience anxiety when I know I have to speck in public, when I am hit with ‘mama overload’ (like every single day!) or when I sit down at my desk and I just don’t know where to start.  But there are also more serious forms that are often unexplained and can be debilitating. 

The good news is regardless of what type of anxiety or stress you experience there are many natural remedies for anxiety that are safe and don’t cause any negative side effects. 

Anxiety is actually a normal response to a potentially dangerous situation, often called the ‘fight or flight’ response.  However it becomes problematic when it is constant or when it happens in response to an inappropriate situation or unexplained circumstances. 

Anxiety is typically described as excessive worry and tension, but there are many other physical and psychological symptoms which include;

  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Panic attacks
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Muscle tension
  • Heart palpitations
  • Digestive problems
  • Chest tightness
  • High blood pressure
  • Restlessness
  • Inability to socialize
  • Sweating

Essential oils have become an essential (pun intended) part of my ‘getting through the day in one piece’ toolkit.  There are so many wonderful and therapeutic reasons to use essential oils but in this post we are going to talk about my top 10 plant based medicines specifically for anxiety and stress.   

1. Lavender

Lavender is well known for its ability to bring on feelings of peace and relaxation.  It relaxes the nervous system, promotes sleep and relieves tension, restlessness and irritability. Research has also shown that lavender helps to reduce anxiety (study), depression and can even help manage pain (study).   But to get these affects you must be using 100% pure Lavandula angustifolia, rather than other Lavender species which can actually have a stimulating effect. 

2. Bergamot

Bergamot has both uplifting and calming properties, making it ideal to help with anxious and sad feelings.  It can be used to reduce feelings of stress and agitation. Bergamot creates feelings of joy, freshness and energy by improving the circulation of your blood (study). Bergamot can also help with stress induced loss of appetite, work related stress, anxiety among people with mild depression and even pain relief. 

Research has shown that Bergamot essential oil is a big deal for people under a lot of stress or who have mood disorders (study).  In fact following this study on school related stress, classroom teachers have started to use room diffusers with bergamot to help them to stay calm and patient with their students, while also preventing the negative physical effects of stress on their body.      

3. Roman Chamomile

The mild sedative and relaxation properties of Roman chamomile essential oil makes it ideal for calming nerves and reducing anxiety.  Roman chamomile is also gentle enough to use on children for anxiety. Roman chamomile can also help to reduce worry and over thinking.  

4. Clary sage

Clary sage acts as an antidepressant.  It boosts confidence and mental strength while alleviating feelings of anxiety and failure.  It also has euphoric properties, leaving you with a feeling of joy and ease. (Study)

5. Frankincense

Frankincense may help induce feelings of peace and relaxation making it an ideal choice for diffusing during mediation. Frankincense is well known for its anti-depressant, sedative properties and it helps with focus, minimizing distractions along with easing irritability, impatience and restlessness.  I love to diffuse Frankincense before public speaking engagements and if I don’t have access to a room diffuser I can diffuse it using the air vents in my car or just rub a drop onto my wrists and inhale it.    

6. Peppermint

Because peppermint is invigorating and stimulating, it can help fight fatigue and improve concentration.   Peppermint can also be used for calming nerves and easing the tension associated with stress.     

7. Rose

Rose is a beautiful smelling oil but it is also very effective in reducing anxiety and depression (study), inducing relaxation and reducing emotional distress (study).  Rose essential oil may also help with panic attacks, grieving and shock.  In terms of energy vibrations, Rose has one of the highest frequencies of any essential oil which is why many people believe that Rose opens your heart to welcoming love, stronger connections and a better sense of calm.   

8. Wild orange

One of my personal favourites, Wild orange is uplifting, energizing, it can ease anxiety, lower hypertension and help with chronic fatigue. This study showed that levels of anxiety were reduced within just 5 minutes of inhaling Wild orange essential oil.  You’ll find this one in my handbag!    

9. Ylang ylang

Inhaling Ylang ylang can have an instant positive effect on your mood.  It can act as a mild anti-depressant and can help release negative emotions, including anger, low self-esteem and jealousy.  Ylang ylang also has mild sedative effects and can lower stress responses like a fast heart beat and high blood pressure.  Also due to its mild sedative effects it can also help with insomnia.  

10. Vetiver

Vetiver essential oil is known to provide a calming and grounding effect on emotions – making it ideal for massage therapy and promoting restful sleep.  It can also alleviate emotional stress, panic attacks, trauma, anxiety, hysteria and depression (study).

Tips for Choosing & Using Pure Essential Oils

Check the latin name: Trustworthy vendors will show the botanical Latin name on the labels.

Check the labels: There is no government regulation of essential oils, therefore any oil can be called “pure” regardless of the quality of its ingredients.  Beware of labels with “fragrance” or “perfume” these are most likely synthetic oils that won’t have the therapeutic qualities.

Choose therapeutic grade oils: When using essential oils therapeutically you need to make sure that you are buying therapeutic grade oils, rather than oils that just have a scent.  You will not get the desired effect from synthetic or adulterated oils. 

You can find out more about how to buy therapeutic grade oils here.

These are my 10 favourite and most commonly used oils for dealing with feelings of anxiety and stress.  I never go anywhere without been armed with at least 2 of these oils.     

Do you use essential oils for emotions?  If so, what are your favourites?

7 Benefits of Chia Seeds & the Best Way to Eat Them

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The demand for chia seeds is skyrocketing and with good reason.  When prepared properly they are easy to digest, loaded with an array of nutrients and pack a powerful energy boost.

In fact in ancient time’s chia seeds were known as ‘runner’s food’ because runners and warriors ate them as fuel to run long distances or when going into battle. 

The benefits of chia seeds have been widely researched and include improving digestive health, promoting heart health, boasting your energy and metabolism, and can even help treat diabetes.

But before we delve into the top 7 benefits that come from eating chia, let’s take a look at the nutrients available from chia seeds.

Chia seeds are;

  • High in antioxidants
  • High in vitamins and minerals (including calcium, potassium and magnesium)
  • Contains 37% dietary fibre
  • Contains 20% protein
  • High in omega-3 fats (20% Omega-3 ALA)     

But that’s just the highlights, chia seeds also contain vitamins A,B, E and D; minerals, including iron, thiamine, iodine, niacin and sulphur and essential fatty acids, alpha-linolenic and linoleic acid. 

7 Benefits from Eating Chia Seeds

Here are 7 powerful reasons to eat chia seeds.

1. Boost Your Metabolism & Lose Weight

Believe it or not, chia seeds are one of the most powerful sources of plant-based protein on the planet.  This plant based protein is vital for building muscle, balancing blood sugar and burning fat.

Not only that, chia seeds, which contain high amounts of zinc, help with your body’s production of leptin, which is your appetite regulating hormone.  If you’ve been on the diet merry-go-round then your body’s attempt to curb those cravings and manage appetite can be thwarted.  As well as that, studies have shown that chia seeds when consumed, reduces visceral adipose tissues (aka ‘belly fat’)…..giving you another great reason to include chia seeds in your daily diet.

2. Promotes Heart Health

By regularly consuming chia seeds you may be less likely to develop atherosclerosis (a build-up of plague in your arteries) due to this seeds ability to reverse oxidative stress.  In addition, the high amounts of omega-3s (the good fats) in chia seeds have been shown to reverse inflammation, lower blood pressure and regulate cholesterol.     

3. Improve Digestion

Been super-high in fibre, one serving of chia seeds every day can provide you with your daily recommended fibre intake.  In fact, the first thing you’ll notice when you start eating chia seeds (the right way, see more about that below) is it’s ‘poop effect’.  Fibre (which you can only get from plants) is essential for regulating bowel movements and making a healthy poo.  

Also, when consumed, or even better when soaked before consuming, chia seeds turn gelatinous.  This gel-like substance is the soluble fibre in the chia seeds.  Imagine the cleansing effect of this jelly going through your gut drawing out, soaking up and eliminating the toxins built up in your intestines, pure magic! 

And there’s more; chia seeds work as a prebiotic that will aid the growth of good bacteria in the gut, and clinical studies have shown that chia seeds can induce satiation, curbing hunger and suppressing that appetite.  

4. Skin & Aging

While we all know that you can’t halt the aging process, you can stop doing the things that is speeding it up.  Research has shown that chia seeds are one of the richest foods in antioxidants. Antioxidants are responsible for repairing your skin from daily oxidative stress. Adding chia seeds to your diet can prevent premature aging caused by free radical damage and inflammation.       

5. Fight Breast & Cervical Cancer

Another great reason to eat this amazing little seed is its ability to fight cancer.  A study published in 2013 in The Journal of Molecular Biochemistry found that alpha lipoic acid (ALA) found in abundance in chia seeds, limited the growth of cancer cells in cervical and breast cancers.  I look forward to seeing more research in this area. 

6. Stronger Bones

Calcium is a mineral that you can get in abundance from plant based sources.  In fact one ounce of chia seeds will give you 18% of your daily recommended intake of calcium.  

7. Can Help Treat Diabetes

A study has shown that chia seeds can help prevent metabolic disorders like dyslipidemia and insulin resistance, which are two factors associated with the onset of diabetes.  This is because of the rich supply of alpha-linolenic acid and dietary fibre contained within the chia seed.

How to Eat Chia Seeds the Right Way  

I’m a firm believer that ‘if you’re gonna do it, do it right’.  This is so true when it comes to eating chia seeds.

If you’ve been sprinkling a spoonful of dry chia seeds onto your meals here and there, you are not unlocking the power of this amazing little seed. 

Soak (AKA Sprout) Your Chia Seeds

Chia seeds contain digestive inhibitors (as do all seeds).  Digestive inhibitors are nature’s way of protecting the seeds as they lay on the ground waiting for the perfect conditions to germinate.  Only when the seed germinates are the digestive inhibitors removed and the full nutritional power released.   

So how do you germinate chia seeds before you eat them? 

Don’t worry, there’s no soil or potting involved.  All you need to do is soak the seeds in liquid (water or a plant-based milk), ideally overnight but even 20 minutes will go a long way to releasing its potential.

My 2 Favourite Ways to Eat Chia Seeds 

Just to be clear, eating chia seeds without soaking/sprouting won’t cause you any harm but you definitely won’t be getting the full blown benefits that I’ve talked about here.  Plus if you’re going to spend you hard earned ‘dough’ on fancy organic chia, then you really want to get the most out of it.      

Here are the easiest and my two favourite ways to prepare and eat chia seeds;

1. Soak them overnight & add to a smoothie 

Using a smoothie cup put in 2 tablespoons of chia seeds and add some liquid (aim for around a 1:8 ratio of chia seeds to liquid).  Stir the seeds for a minute until they’ve combined properly.  Then leave them to soak overnight.  In the morning add your greens and fruit to the same cup, add more liquid and whiz it up.  Easy peasy!

2. Chia seed pudding   

This is my staple breakfast; chia seed pudding or porridge as I mostly call it.  You can get my ‘go-to’ recipe over here.  I usually prepare enough for 3 days at a time using 1 large container that I will leave in the fridge. 

Chia Seeds Can Make You Dehydrated

Remember that chia seeds can hold up to 12 times their weight in liquid, so when soaked before consumed they’re wonderful for preventing dehydration.  But if eaten dry, they can absorb water from your body causing you to become dehydrated.    

They’re no better time to start eating chia seeds than now.  These are available in all good supermarkets today.  Just add some coconut milk (my favourite), a sprinkle of fruit, something for a bit of crunch and you’ve got an easy delicious breakfast.   

Your turn:  What’s your favourite way to eat chia seeds?

6 Major Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

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With the current surge in detoxing programs, the demand for apple cider vinegar is exploding today. Even though the benefits have been well documented since ancient times more recent studies have shown that apple cider vinegar can help with balancing blood sugar levels, support weight loss goals, lower cholesterol and even support healing of acne and scars.

Apple cider vinegar is made by crushing apples and squeezing out the liquid.  It then undergoes a fermentation process to form the enzymes and probiotics that are responsible for its health promoting effects.  The end result is a product that has much less calories than apple juice or apple cider.

With an extensive list of uses and health benefits this is a staple in my pantry and all I need is one or two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar every day to reap the benefits. 

My favourite of Braggs Raw Apple Cider Vinegar.  

Health benefit #1 Reduces Cholesterol

Apple cider vinegar can support heart health by keeping cholesterol levels low.  Dietary cholesterol is consumed in all animal foods (meat and dairy) and when consumed can lead to a build-up of a fat-like substance in the arteries forcing your heart to work harder to circulate the blood.  

Health benefit #2 Balances Blood Sugar Levels

This is one of the most researched benefits of consuming apple cider vinegar. 

It was found in one study that drinking apple cider vinegar after eating white bread reduced blood sugar levels by on average 31percent.  

In addition, apple cider vinegar can be used as part of a diabetic healing protocol. A study showed that apple cider vinegar ingestion improved insulin sensitivity by up to 34 percent in people with type 2 diabetes.  

To balance blood sugar levels take one or two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before consuming meals.

Health Benefit #3 Supports Healthy Weight Loss

There is a growing amount of research now confirming the weight loss benefits of apple cider vinegar.  

One study showed that over a 12 week period adding two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar each day, with no additional dietary modifications led to a weight reduction of 4 pounds.

However, do not use apple cider vinegar alone, purely for weight loss.  For maximum long term results combine it with a lifestyle filled with fruits, veg, nuts seeds and beans and legumes (which are particularly powerful for promoting weight loss).

Health Benefit #4 Lowers Blood Pressure

Like having high cholesterol, high blood pressure forces the heart to work harder.  Consuming apple cider vinegar daily will make your heart stronger.  Other natural ways to lower blood pressure include increasing your fibre intake by eating….you guessed it…more plants.  Plants provide the only source of fibre in your diet.

Health Benefit #5 Eases Symptoms of Heartburn

By introducing more acid into the stomach, the acid backflow that causes the discomfort can be relieved.  Also known as acid reflux or GERD, heartburn usually happens as a result of low levels of stomach acid.  The apple cider vinegar will help restore the acid levels for proper digestion.

For best results, take one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with water just before eating.    

Health Benefit #6 Supports Skin Health

Apple cider vinegar can also be used to treat acne and heal scars. It’s well known anti-bacterial agents are highly effective against bad bacteria that can be at the root of acne.  A study from the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology used lactic acid (a component of apple cider vinegar) to treat acne.  After three months the participants reported improvements in appearance, texture and pigmentation.      

Recipe: New Year New You Super Detox Drink

If you only change one thing this year add this drink to your morning routine. 

Ideally you would drink this first thing in the morning, before having breakfast. 

If you are using apple cider vinegar to combat any of the issues mentioned above, in addition to this daily morning drink you can consume apple cider vinegar throughout the day before your main meals.    

Ingredients

8 oz of warm water

2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

1 drop of lemon essential oil (equivalent to 18 lemons)

1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger

A pinch of cayenne pepper

To Make

Mix all the ingredients together and ideally drink at a warm temperature. 

Your turn: What do you use apple cider vinegar for? 

The Healthiest Marshmallows in the World

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This recipe is a little trickier than my usual super easy ones but totally worth is.  Also remember, sugar is sugar is sugar.....no matter where it comes from  So this really is for those special occasions.  

Ingredients

1 1/2 tbsp. agar agar

1/2 cup cold water

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/8 tsp. himalayan salt

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

 

Instructions

Lightly grease a baking tray with coconut oil and cover it with baking paper. Also grease the paper lightly.

Put ¼ cup of the water in a bowl and sprinkle in the agar agar. Put it aside to turn geletinous.

In another pot heat the salt,  maple syrup and the remaining water. Heat to about 120 degrees C (240 degrees F). It could take up to 10 minutes to reach this temperature. To check if it’s ready dribble a little of the liquid into a bowl of ice cold water. Allow the syrup to cool in the water, remove it from the water and form into a soft little ball, if it molds into a ball its ready. 

Remove the syrup from the heat as soon as it’s at the right temperature.

Slowly whisk the hot mixture into the agar agar mixture.  Start by pouring the mixture down the edges of the bowl.

Then add the vanilla extract and salt.  Increase the speed of the whisk.

Whisk for about 15 minutes, or until the mixture is fluffy and thick. 

Empty the mixture into the baking tray and leave uncovered overnight so that it can dry out. 

When ready cut the marshmallow into shapes.

Alternatively, you could grease some small moldings and let the mixture set in these molds for a variety of shapes. 

Share and enjoy!

My Top 3 Healthy Festive Treats

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I don’t know about you but we’re knee deep in Christmas stuff here – parties, shopping, decorating.  I love it though!

And like a lot of people I look forward to the sweet treats that come with Christmas. In fact, one of the things that make’s Christmas so special is that you get to eat food that you don’t normally get throughout the year.   

You may notice that already the sweets are flowing. But they’re likely of the synthetic/hormone interrupting/highly addictive kind.

But there is a much healthier way to get your sugar kicks over this festive season.

Today I want to share with you my simple strategy for satisfying my sweet tooth but staying true to my wholefood pIant-based lifestyle during this time of year. 

It’s very simple.  I keep my kitchen well stocked with delicious, wholesome treats.  These come out whenever we have visitors or I bring them with me when we’re going visiting.  And sometimes they come out when the kids are tucked into bed and I’ve got my feet up at the fire……..bliss!

But these recipes are under lock and key from January to mid-December.   These are my special ‘Christmas only' treats.  That way I still get that feeling of Christmas been really special. 

I’m going to share with you today my top 3 recipes for healthy festive treats.    

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.  

 

#1 Snow Ball Surprise Energy Balls

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Don’t these just look amazing! And they taste just as good as they look.

Makes 18 balls

 

Ingredients

1.5 cups of desiccated coconut (for the mixture)

½ cup of desiccated coconut (for rolling the balls in)

6 tablespoons of coconut yogurt (or another dairy free option)

18 fresh raspberries

 

To make

In a mixing bowl combine the 1.5 cups of desiccated coconut and the yogurt until the mixture becomes a firm thick consistency.

Once combined, take a spoonful out and place a raspberry in the centre of the mixture.  Roll the mixture in your hand to form a ball around the berry.

Roll the balls onto a plate covered with the remaining desiccated coconut until they are completely coated.  This will prevent the balls from sticking together.

Place the balls in the fridge to set for 6-8 hours.   

As these are made with fresh berries they will only keep for up to 3 days.  However you could put them in the freezer.  They can be eaten straight from the freezer or leave them to slightly soften for an hour or two on your kitchen counter.

 

#2 Crisp Chocolate Slab

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You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to actually make your own slab of chocolate.  This is a classic recipe and will show you just how easy it is to make delicious natural chocolate without all the additives and preservatives found in commercial chocolate.

 

Ingredients

195g cacao butter

120g cacao powder

10 tablespoons of maple syrup 

1 ½ teaspoons of vanilla powder

½ teaspoon of salt

250g pistachio nuts

250g goji berries

 

To Make

Place a glass bowl into a pot of simmering water.  Make sure the bowl is not actually touching the water but just sitting above it.

Melt the butter in the bowl.

Once melted, add all of the other ingredients except the pistachios and goji berries.

Stir the ingredients in the bowl until they have combined evenly and you have a smooth chocolate.

Line a tray (such as a baking tray) with greaseproof paper. 

Roughly chop the pistachios and add half of the nuts and the goji berries to the mixing bowl.

Pour the mixture into the tray until the chocolate is about 1/2 cm thick deep. 

Sprinkle the remaining nuts and goji berries over your chocolate slab.

Once it’s cooled down, place the tray into the fridge to set for at least 3 hours. 

Once set, break into chunks and store in airtight container in the fridge.

 

#3 White Vanilla ‘No Cheese’ Cake

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This is a real luxurious desert.  Ideal for entertaining your guests over Christmas. 

 

Ingredients

 

For the Base

180g pitted medjool dates (or regular, but medjool dates are amazing!)

120g blanched almonds

100g wholegrain oats

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

 

For the filling

500g cashews (soaked in water for 8 hours)

125ml maple syrup

2 teaspoons of vanilla powder

Juice of ½ lemon

120g melted raw coconut oil.

 

For the top layer of jam (optional but worth it)

500g red currants

60g coconut sugar

Water

 

To make the base

Using a food processor blend all of the ingredients until they form a sticky mass.  Then pour into a pie tin (or I like to use a muffin tray so that I end up with individual portions), scraping down the sides of the blender bowl. Spread the mixture so that the entire base of the tin is entirely covered.

 

To make the filling

Drain and rinse the soaked cashew nuts.  Blend all of the ingredient for the filling, except the coconut oil. Blend until the mixture is really well combined and smooth.  Add the coconut oil and blend again. 

Pour the mixture over the base.  It should evenly cover the entire base. 

Put the tray into the freezer to set for 3 hours.  Defrost at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. 

This will store well in the fridge.  Or you can just leave your individual portions in the freezer and use as needed.

 

To make the jam

Put the currants and sugar into a large pot.  Add enough water to just cover the base of the pot, so that just the bottoms of the berries are wet. 

Heat the mixture on a medium heat, stirring frequently until they have softened and turned into a jelly-like consistency.

Take the mixture off the heat. As it cools it will thicken even more. 

If your mixture doesn’t turn out as thick as you expected you can add a tablespoon of whole chia seeds to the mixture.  Stir them in and allow to sit for 20 minutes to thicken.   Store in an airtight jar in the fridge.

When serving your cake add a tablespoon of jam over each serving.

My Top 10 Vegan Cookbooks

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If you’re on the hunt for some wholesome vegan inspiration, this is the perfect time to expand your library.

I’m often asked what cookbooks I have in my collection, and believe me to list them all here would make for some rather devoted reading, so instead I’ve picked out ten books with great plant-based recipes, that I find myself going back to time and time again for ongoing inspiration. 

Some are oldies but goodies, others are hot of the press but destined to become classics.

In no particular order….because I love these guys and think they’re all doing an amazing job bringing nutrient dense delicious meals into our homes…….

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Deliciously Ella with Friends by Ella Mills

I’ve been following Ella’s blog from way back in the early days.  Honestly, it’s the first blog I ever really followed.  And I’ve stuck with her and have all of her books.  Not only are her recipes easy and delicious, her personal story is inspiring.   

The World Of The Happy Pear by Stephen & David Flynn

What can I say, I love these guys and the 'family' they're growing!  They’ve brought nutritious plant-based meals into the homes of so many people that otherwise may never even have heard of the term ‘plant based’.  

Crazy Sexy Kitchen by Kris Carr & chef Chad Sarno

Like Ella Mills, Kris Carr is an inspiration.  Her journey towards a plant based lifestyle was fueled by a life changing diagnosis.  She has appeared on Oprah, Dr. Oz and many other high profile shows. With this book you won’t just get mouth-watering recipes but a very deep education on life.

Oh She Glows Everyday by Angela Liddon

The Oh She Glows blog is one of the top rated plant-based eating blogs in the world.  This is Angela’s second book which focuses on convenience.  Angela Liddon makes plant-based eating simple.

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Raw by Bernadette Bohan

My good friend Bernadette Bohan may be the very reason why I am here today.  When I first started exploring plant based diets and when good information was hard to come by, I stumbled upon Bernadette's very first book 'The Choice'. I can honestly say that because of our many conversations I avoided getting lost down the rabbit holes that come in the form of misleading & inaccurate headlines about nutrition. Her latest book 'Raw' is jam packed full of tasty raw and cooked meals. 

Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking by Dana Shultz

What I love about this book is that each recipe only uses one pot or pan, has 10 ingredients or less and will take less than 30 minutes from start to finish.  If you’re just starting out and need quick and simple meals, this is a gem for you!

Keep It Vegan by Aine Carlin

Aine’s book is broken down into breakfast, brunch, midday meals and simple suppers, something special, sides, sauces and of course treats. There’s no hard to find ingredients, just regular supermarket produce.

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Eating for Beauty by Rosanna Davison

Rosanna Davison wrote this book after years of been asked to reveal her secret to looking beautiful. Rosanna knows beautiful skin, hair and nails comes from the inside.  Expensive beauty creams come nowhere near the power of plants!

Cornucopia At Home by Dublin Wholefood Restaurant

Ok, this one is not totally vegan but I wanted to include it because it was the very first heavily 'plant' focused cookbook I invested in.  And an investment it was. 10 years on I still take it off the shelf regularly. It's packed full of ‘Irish’ style dinners.  But I also learnt from it some basic fundamentals about cooking right when I needed it.  This has its place firmly 'planted' on my kitchen shelf.     

This Cheese is Nuts by Julie Platt. 

Confession time – I don’t actually own this book but it’s on this year’s Christmas list! You may not know this about me but I was a cheese addict.  I mean a serious cheese addict!  And I’m not talking about those crappy plastic coated slices of cheese. I’m talking deep fried, gooey on the inside, crispy on the outside kind of cheese.  Every weekend me and my girlfriends would go to our favourite restaurant for our brie fix.  When I made the choice to go plant based this is what I missed the most.  But then I discovered plant based ‘cheese’.  Up until now I usually only get to indulge in these types of nut-based cheeses when dining out but I’m ready to take on making my own.  And I can’t way to explore the recipes in this book.   

What are your go-to favourite cookbooks?  Let us know in the comments below.