Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Dinner Party Dessert- Raw Berry Bowls

So happy with the beautiful little treats! I think they'd be superb for a dinner party served with a fresh raw coconut cream or drizzled in raw white chocolate! The idea came to me in the night having seen a baked berry something or other in a magazine a while ago.

I put coconut oil in the base along with the figs/date and ground almonds, but actually it was quite oily so I've omitted it from the recipe. If you find it's a little dry you could always add a little to yours.

The vanilla custardy filling  sitting underneath the berries is to die for. I deliberately put quite a lot of vanilla extract in, to replicate custard and it's worked a dream. I also added some chia seeds as they plump up puddings so well and help them 'set'. I made the sprinkly xylitol on the top by whizzing it up in the Vitamix to make it like icing sugar. 

I put the 'bowls' in the fridge for a while to slightly harden before adding the filling, and then returned them to the fridge before adding the berries on top so they didn't sink too far down into the custard.
I wanted to use blackberries as well but couldn't find any locally so ended up with blueberries and raspberries. I guess sliced strawberries would look good too. 

So here's the recipe :

Base :
 1 cup of ground almonds
  1 cup of mixed figs/dates , or fruit of your choice

Vanilla Custard : 
1/4 cup coconut cream
1/4 cup cashew nuts
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp Maca powder
1tsp vanilla extract
1tbsp Raw honey
1 tbsp coconut oil

Fresh berries for the topping
Ground xylitol 


Whizz up the  ground almonds and figs/dates to a soft paste
Press into individual cases, I used a bun tray
Place in the fridge to firm up

Whizz up all the topping ingredients in the Vitamix until it's a custard consistency
Spoon into the individual 'bowls' 
Return to the fridge to firm up

Place berries one by one on top of the vanilla custard, and sprinkle with ground xylitol. 


Honestly Healthy Cleanse - My Thoughts

I'm thrilled with my 5 day Honestly Healthy Cleanse, and so is my partner John. We planned, bought and prepared every meal we ate from scratch following Natasha's recipes, and there were only a couple I wouldn't rush to make again. In the main they were tasty, easy to make, nutritious beyond belief, and left us both with a 'clean' feeling.

Johns a big meat eater, and didn't miss it one bit! How amazing is that. He went to work with a spring in his step every morning after a juice and a breakfast, and his colleagues commented on the fabulous looking lunches he was eating in the the staff room each day.

My overriding favourite meal was the falafel wraps with tomato salsa! A massive success, and one I'll be making in bulk to freeze. 

This buckwheat granola is a fave too, I've had it several times since as we made loads, and it goes with any milk. Today I made cashew nut milk, and sprinkled some cinnamon on the top. Yum! 

The watercress, roasted onion and pistachio salad was yummy too - and the Aubergine dip absolutely delicious. So easy to make if you have a Vitamix! I thank the Angels every day for mine. They are expensive but worth the best investment. 

All the juices on the cleanse tasted great; I'm used to juicing but even if you're not I think you'll find them all very palatable. Not too heavy on the greens for beginners!! 

I'm now a fully fledge convert to fennel thanks to Honestly Healthy. It's never really appealed to me but having had it loads over the five days it's now going to be a regular addition to my diet.
Had to give my beautiful daughter Lauren a little slot in my blogpost, she helped with the juicing. She's asked lots of questions all week on the recipes, and even though she's not eaten everything we've had, it's raised awareness for her of how to keep balance in the body. Children are like sponges, and mine definitely learn best through getting involved! 

Overall I did I lose a few pounds, which wasn't the aim but is always a welcome side effect! I felt clean on the inside and out, and my energy levels were constant throughout the day, even though I'm used to eat two snacks a day. 

We're carrying on using the book, and loosely following the Lifestyle phase but really just picking out a recipe for each meal  for now. and we'll see how it goes. Tonight we're having mini pizzas, I'm taking the kids,  and my best mates dog to the woods after school so they'll be quick to make when we get back. Last night I also made the sweet potato brownies, OMG to die for!! Almost as good as the nutty ones in my first Ebook Bakes, Bites and Bars - available at www.amazon.uk. 

So  a big thanks to Natasha and Vicky for highlighting the importance of eating the alkaline way - sure we can all make some changes to bring our body more in balance, and this book makes it really easy to do.

Have a great day and if you just do one thing different today to move you towards greater healthy and vitality - JUICE!!! 


Thursday, 24 April 2014

Honestly Healthy Cleanse Day 2

Feeling great after yesterday's alkaline meals, up early this morning to begin again with some more! 

Hot water and lemon started the day, followed by another green drink- today's was The Ultimate Morning Wake Up smoothie. Verdict : Delicious!!! Mango, seeds, greens, super green powder and more. Mine was really thick, not sure if it was meant to be! It was like a meal in itself! 

Breakfast followed: Quinoa porridge with Macadamia nut milk. I made the milk myself in my new nut bag, it was so simple! Had goji berries with the porridge, and pomegranate (not had this for years, my gran used to give me a pin to pick out the seeds!) and felt satisfied all morning. 

Verdict : porridge has never been top of my breakfast list. This was good though, and the pomegranate added another dimension. Not sure I'd make it again though. 

Went for a long walk this morning with my mum and Millie , the golden retriever she looks after, and had plenty of energy! 

Lunch today was not something I ever would have picked - the combination of pear and fennel really didn't excite me at all. However, I'm determined to do these five days and stick to the HH recipes so I got stuck in and made it and ate it straight after. Verdict : It was amazing! It was so fresh, so creamy, so wholesome tasting, and the chunks of pear worked wonders in lifting the fennel to another level! I've frozen the rest and looking forward to more already. 
I put a pic on Instagram, and Natasha, from HH, commented that this is her 'fave'. It's rating pretty high on my list too! 

No pics for this afternoons snack - forgot again. Duh!!!! Hormonal brain very much in evidence this week. Anyway, suffice to say the spinach and hummus dip is the most vibrant green ever, and tastes like it's doing a power of good. I made the Raw Flax Seed Crackers to go with it, and started them off on the lowest temperature in the oven, but they appeared to be drying too quickly, so I tried to transfer them to the dehydrator. Not the best move; they were pretty stuck to the baking tray! Managed to get them off in bits, and once dehydrated the 'bits' tasted great, I just wouldn't be presenting them at a dinner party any time soon. 

Verdict : both tasted fab! No presentation prize for the crackers! 

Did PiYo this afternoon, hard core - with Melissa Mcallister. Lots of energy, still. 

Dinner: I gave John, my partner the book to make Watercress, roasted onion, and pistachio salad, with an oil dressing. Verdict : Simply delicious. 

So, day 2 over, thoroughly enjoyed it. Tummy not as flat as I feel it should be on such wholesome, fresh food, but that'll be my hormones again.... 

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Honestly Healthy Cleanse day 1

Ok so I did day 1 yesterday; and here's  how it went! My kitchen looked like an organic farmers market (wish I'd taken a photo) just before I started preparing all my food yesterday morning. There were a few bits I couldn't get hold of but in the main I've followed the recipes exactly. Swapped some of the meals and snacks around though, just because that's what I fancied doing, but I'm guessing it won't have a detrimental effect over the whole 5 day cleanse.

My day began with warm water and lemon, this is my norm anyway. It wakes me up, kick starts my metabolism and generally makes me feel good to go! 

The Toxin Reducer cleansing juice followed. Again, I juice every day so no changes here, but if have to say I've never used fennel in a juice before. Juiced with cucumber, ginger, an apple and some lemon juice the overall taste was very clean. Verdict : I'll definitely make it again. 

Breakfast was American Style Buckwheat Pancakes. I wasn't convinced these we're going to work when I read the ingredients but they turned out perfect. I didn't have rice flour, so just used all buckwheat ; no problem. The result; they were yummy! I spread them with Goats yoghurt and cinnamon but would have preferred some berries (not recommended for the cleanse). 

Verdict : I would definitely make them again.

Lunch took a while to prepare so I was pretty hungry by the time it was ready; I'd usually have a mid morning snack, but it's not on the cleanse so I didn't! 

Falafel Wraps were awesome! I've never made falafel from scratch before, but now I'll never buy them again. So easy to make, full of delicious veggies and nuts and seeds, and the recipe actually makes way more than enough for two people. I had three falafel, lots of tomato salsa (one of my fave all time foods) , and drizzled over goats yoghurt with some fresh mint leaves. 

Verdict :  Seriously yummy! 

My day suddenly got really busy at 3pm and I forgot to photograph my afternoon snack, and evening meal! Duh! Also started with a migraine, don't think it's anything to do with this food, as I get one a month and it coincides with bizarre hormone fluctuations. 

Anyway, I made the Smoked Aubergine dip, and had crudités with it (didn't have time to make dehydrated crackers but they do sound good). I baked the Aubergine for 10 mins, chopped it up, put it in my Vitamix, with some lemon juice, olive oil and lots of garlic. Hey presto , a creamy dip in seconds. 

Verdict : Yes please! It made loads too, so I'm keeping it for another day.

Dinner was my least favourite food of the day, I have to say I was a little disappointed. Mixed vegetable and Soya Bean Hotpot. Lots of veggies : potatoes, peppers, carrots, pumpkin, courgettes all simmered in soya bean paste didn't really work for me. It was warming, which was the nicest thing but not really my bag. 

Verdict : wouldn't rush to make again.

Went to bed (with a worse headache than earlier) feeling like I'd definitely eaten enough... Looking forward to day two. 

Thanks Natasha (from Honestly Healthy ) for liking all my Instagram photos.


Monday, 21 April 2014

Honestly Healthy....Eat with your body in mind, the alkaline way

I've had the Honestly Healthy book by Natasha Corrett and Vicki Edgson since it first came out in 2012, and I've dipped in and out and looked at all the fabulous recipes but never really done as much with it as I wanted to. 

The philosophy behind it makes perfect sense, eating for balance is definitely the way forward, and most of us don't eat this way. All the processed foods, refined carbs, sugars, dairy and alcohol throw our systems out of line, and the more we eat of this 'stuff' the greater the scales are tipped towards an acidic imbalance.

I can tell when my body is acidic; I get bloating, I get headaches, I get moody, I get aches and pains, and just a general lethargic feeling creeps in, and that's where I'm at right now! Urrgh! I can't wait to do something about it and today is the day to start! 

Natasha and Vicky give details, in chart form, of which foods are acid forming and which are alkaline but to be honest I didn't find many surprises. Green veggies, and other non starchy ones are great , most fruits, a few starchy grains such as barley, and millet, and coconut oil and almonds. Raw honey is alkaline - phew! as it's my preferred sweetener, sea veggies are good, herbal teas, lemon water, apple cider vinegar (maybe that sounds surprising , think we assume anything to do with vinegar would be acidic) .

So,the opposite end of the scale, the very acidic foods, you can probably guess: alcohol, meat, eggs, coffee, sugar, tea, peanut butter, breakfast cereals in brightly coloured boxes, cows dairy, wheat..... no surprises there!! 

Nuts fall mainly in the mildly acid forming category apart from almonds; also sweet potato, buckwheat, lentils, quinoa, oats and rice . 

So hopefully you're getting the picture. In an ideal world we should follow the 80/20 rule, as with everything, and eat mainly alkaline. When we veer too much towards the acidic foods and get out of balance, dis-ease starts... Well that's the theory behind the book, and it's one that I can understand and take fully on board. 

I know if I have too much to drink I don't feel good. I know if I eat too much wheat I feel bloated and lethargic. I know if I indulge in too many refined sweet things (very rare these days) I feel shocking. So for me, eating 80% alkaline sounds like the way forward. 

The cleanse aims to remove all those foods and drinks that we consume in a regular or addictive pattern, to lighten the load on the digestive system. I've read through it, it sounds time consuming, but only because it's all new and obviously all the recipes are made from scratch.

I'm starting today but have swapped today's breakfast with tomorrow's as shopping on Easter Monday for everything I needed probably wasn't the best idea! I'm short of a few ingredients but I'm guessing that mixing up the days foods abit won't hurt!? 

The best thing about this cleanse is the daily green juice - I always start my day this way, after a warm lemon water, so this is the easy bit! There is food for breakfast each day too! I know I'm not going to be  going hungry, I've got three meals and a snack to look forward to and the recipes sound delicious. 

So I'm off to do some yoga, and then make my juice and breakfast : Toxin Reducer Juice and Amercian Style Buckwheat Pancakes. Sounds yum! Photos and a full report later.

Have a great day!