2015 Vegan Gift Guide

Things have been silent around here for a while (same old, same old) and although I don't plan on updating much more in the future, I thought it would be nice to do a little vegan gift guide now that it's the holiday season. You see I have been struggling quite a lot trying to fully transition to a vegan lifestyle. Don't get me wrong, I've completely sworn off meat, dairy, eggs, honey and whatnot but I'm still surprised to find out how many different things in our everyday life contain animal products. That is why I've compiled this miniature guide to help you find your loved ones 100% cruelty free but nonetheless awesome Christmas presents.


Hopefully you'll find this guide helpful and perhaps even get some ideas for your own wish list. If you'd like to leave your own recommendations below, I would be more than happy to read them! So let's get to it!




I. Love. These. Watches. Classy, timeless and gorgeous timepieces that will make the perfect gift for anyone in your family! Literally everyone, as they have both small ones and big ones, ladies' and men's, classic styles and bolder colours. They also offer free shipping worldwide and my very own promo code "TILDASDW" will get you 15% off until January 15th! Yay! (Also, go for the Nato Wristbands to stay vegan!)


2. CLEAN Perfumes

Let's be honest, we can't always be bothered trying to find specialty vegan store and brands to buy all our stuff. As much as I love visiting these shops, it can really be a pain in the ass to have to go halfway across Stockholm just to find a vegan perfume. Enter CLEAN perfumes,  100% cruelty free, mainstream and absolutely wonderful! My favourite is the White Woods pictured above but all of their scents are beautifully fresh and well, clean. A vegan must-have.


3. Handmade Heroes Beauty and Skin Care

I was lucky enough to receive an adorable little care package from Handmade Heroes a while ago, filled with some of their vegan beauty products. Pictured above are their green clay face mask, coconut lip scrub and two different lip tints. The gorgeous packaging aside, I've genuinely enjoyed using these products and the lip scrub is so natural that you can eat it. It actually tastes really nice hehe. Though I would suggest you don't have it all for an afternoon snack. That would be a total waste of lip scrub.


4. Vegan Chocolate

Nowadays there are numerous vegan chocolate brands to choose from and getting your loved ones their chocolate fix doesn't have to involve any cow's milk whatsoever. I have included a few of my favourite kinds above, namely Pana Chocolate, The Raw Chocolate Company, Lovechock and Squarebar.  The Pana Chocolate is amazingly silky and has a softer texture than the other tree while The Raw Chocolate Company and Lovechock are both more like traditional dark chocolate but -obviously- better. My absolute favourite would have to be Lovechock's Mulberry Vanilla. Lastly we have the Squarers which are actually more of a chocolate coated vegan protein bar but I had to include them on this list as well as they're just so darn delicious. One of the best,most indulgent vegan protein bars out there!

Hope you've enjoyed reading this post and that you'll all have the best holiday season surrounded by family and friends! Much love to you all!

Fluffy Teff Flour Pancakes (Gluten-Free and Vegan)

I have a new favourite ingredient and it is called teff flour. Never heard of it before? I hadn't either until I started experimenting with gluten-free baking. There are numerous gluten-free flours out there: oat, buckwheat, sorghum, almond, coconut, corn; the list goes on and on and on. Now, I can't really go into any specifics on why teff flour is so popular other than share my own highly subjective experience: it works great in pancakes. I've had issues in the past with gooey, not properly cooked, gluten-free pancakes and let me tell you, it ain't pretty. But to my great surprise, these ones turned out really light, airy and fluffy! Triple yay!

So from what I can understand, teff is an ancient grain that has been used in Eastern Africa for ages. Ethiopians and Eritreans use the flour to make their special, sourdough flatbread called Injeera. Like many other seeds and grains, teff has an excellent nutrient profile. It's high in calcium, iron, zinc and many other vital trace minerals and provides all of the 8 essential amino acids. Also, for some reason it makes for an awesome gluten-free flour substitute which is the main reason I use it. Because pancakes, you know.

You can find teff flour in health food stores, the gluten-free section in many conventional grocery stores and online. (Try this one, from Bob's Red Mill, for example. You can get up to $10 off your first herb.com order using my promo code "PWF503"). Hope this recipe works as well for you as it did for me!



Pancakes:

- 1/4 cup oat or buckwheat flour

- 1/4 cup white teff flour (same nutritional stats as the dark one, just two different colours!)

- 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

- 3 tbsp - 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

- 1/4 tsp baking soda

- 1/2 tsp baking powder

- Optional: 1 tbsp granulated sweetener of choice (I use a sugar alcohol called erythritol which I absolutely love!)

- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Toppings:

Anything you want really, here are a few suggestions:

- Fresh fruit and/or berries

- Drizzle of maple syrup

- Coconut chips and raw cacao nibs

How to:
1. Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and make sure that the baking powder and soda are evenly divided throughout the mix.
2. Add the applesauce and almond milk and stir well. Let sit for a few minutes to thicken.
3. Pre-heat a non-stick frying pan or a regular frying pan with a spoonful of coconut oil over medium to low heat.
4. Add the apple cider vinegar to the rest of the batter right before cooking.
5. Fry small spoonfuls of the batter for a couple of minutes on each side. Don't make them too big/thick, they might not cook through!
6. Serve with toppings of your choice!

Fluffy Carob Banana Ice Cream

It's about time I posted another banana ice cream recipe on here! Especially since I practically live off this stuff. A life without 'nana ice cream is not a life worth living. That is why you simply have to give this a try if you haven't already. Before I first tried this I had myself convinced that I absolutely hated bananas and that my feelings toward these yellow little fellas were never going to change. But it all changed as soon as I:
a. Learnt to wait for those beautiful specks to appear, meaning the bananas were fully ripe and ready to eat.
b. Sliced them, froze them and gave them a good ol' blend.
(I now like (love) raw bananas as well but it's been a long process.)

So have a go at it and let me know what you think! Cheers!

Naked.

Dressed.

Behind the scenes.

Fluffy Carob Banana Ice Cream

Ingredients:

- 330 g frozen banana coins (about 3 medium sized bananas)

- 50 ml or a little less than 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

- 1 tbsp carob powder

- 1 pinch pure vanilla powder

Toppings:

- Fresh berries, raw cacao nibs, quinoa pops or whatever you like

How to:

1. Place all ingredients except for the almond milk in a powerful food processor or blender.

2. Process on high until all of the frozen banana coins have reduced to tiny pieces, this usually takes around one minute.

3. Stop to scrape down the sides with a spatula if necessary, then blend on high again and slowly pour the almond milk, little by little, into the food processor while blending (through the hole on the lid).

4. Once you've added in all of the almond milk, the mixture will eventually turn into a fluffy, wonderfully creamy ice cream! Spoon it all up in a bowl, top with whatever you desire and serve immediately! You may have to scrape down the sides a few more times but be patient and you'll end up with the most delicious treat ever :)

Healthy Vegan Chocolate Mousse (Low-Carb Alternative!)

Blogging just got so much more exciting - I've finally begun to grasp the very basics of Adobe Lightroom which makes my pictures look a teeny bit more professional and I don't have to be embarrassed about posting them anymore. Half a year after getting my camera hehe. You know what they say, better late than never!


This obviously calls for a celebratory (and nowadays rare) new recipe by yours truly. Apologies for taking so long but here it is, my vegan chocolate mousse recipe! It's vegan (duh), can be made low-carb and tastes absolutely d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s if I may say so myself. Although the recipe calls for fresh berries, I could highly recommend squeezing some passion fruit over this beauty as well since chocolate and passion fruit were made for each other (we all know it).

Hopefully it won't be long before the next recipe and if so, please give me remind me of what a lousy blogger I am and I will get to it immediately. Pinkie swear!
'

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

- 300 g silken tofu

- 2 tbsp cocoa or cacao powder

- 1 tbsp mesquite powder (could possibly sub for lucuma powder or omit)

- 25 g 80-90% dark chocolate

- 5-6 dates (50-60 g depending on how sweet you like it) or 3 tbsp erythritol for a low-carb free version

Toppings:

- Fresh strawberries and blueberries

- Coconut chips or cacao nibs for crunch

How to:

1. Place all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and blend until entirely smooth. Scrape down the sides with a spatula to make sure that no unblended pieces remain.
2. Top with berries and a sprinkle of coconut chips or cacao nibs if you wish and serve immediately or keep in the fridge for a couple of days at most.







Zucchini Noodles with a Zesty Broccoli Dressing

Sometimes it just so happens that you throw a bunch of ingredients in a bowl, blend them up and end up with some unexpected awesomeness you didn't see coming. I'd like to think that was the case with this dish so I'm going to share the recipe with you even though I've only made it once. This is a perfect side dish to go with anything really, and makes for a nice, refreshing addition to any meal. Because you just can't go wrong with zoodles. Yum. Let me know if you give it a try!



Serves: 2

Zucchini Noodles:

- 2 large zucchinis

Dressing:

- 200 g broccoli florets (about small head)

- 100 g silken tofu

- 1 tbsp lime juice

- 3 tbsp unsweetened plant-based milk

- 1-2 handfuls fresh basil leaves

- 1 1/2 - 2 tbsp sweet white miso paste

How to:

1. Peel (optional) the zucchinis and spiralize them to make zoodles or make 'zagliatelle' t´ribbons using a carrot peeler.
2. Steam the broccoli until just cooked through.
3. Place all the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl and blend with a hand blender until fairly smooth. This would probably work even better in a real blender so go for that if you, unlike me, have access to one.
4. Dress the zoodles/zagliatelle in the broccoli sauce and add some fresh basil leaves on top for decoration!

Vegan Sweet Potato Burgers

These past couple of weeks I've been completely stuck in a dinner rut, unable to get out. Or rather, I've been too lazy to cook any proper meals, making hummus and rice cakes my go-to din din companions for better or worse. So today was finally the day to put an end to the dreary repetitiveness and get my ass in the kitchen to actually cook, and not just blend things together and hope for the best.

You see, there was this sweet potato that had been sitting in the fridge for almost a week, glaring at me each time I neglected to acknowledge its existence, giving me a hard time for not putting its beautiful, sweet flesh to good use. So, I pondered. Sweet potato brownies (I'll probably never be able to top Deliciously Ella's, so no), sweet potato pie (come on Tilda, 'tis not the season), sweet potato gnocchi (been there, failed that) or ... sweet potato burgers! Yes, I'd gladly watch your metamorphosis into a burger, sweet potato o' mine.

I got so excited over these burgers, I even went ahead and made my own whole grain spelt buns! Sadly, there won't be a recipe for those as they were a disappointment but I'll try my luck again sometime in the future. As for now, I suggest you either find a better bun recipe on your own, or go buy some from the store. I won't judge. (But the sweet potato might o_o)

Now, time to stop with this nonsense and get down to business. The recipe's right here below, enjoy!

Vegan Sweet Potato Burgers












Burgers:

- 1 medium sweet potato (200 g peeled)

- 1/2 can chickpeas (120 g)

- 1/4 cup quinoa flakes (could sub for oats but then you may have to start with a little less than 1/4 cup)

- 1 tbsp sweet miso paste (you can omit the miso paste if you don't have any but it really takes away from the flavour...)

- 1/4 small bell pepper, finely chopped

- 1 tsp onion powder

- 1 tsp garlic powder

- Salt and pepper to taste

Condiments:

- 4 buns of your choice (bonus points if you make your own.)(I did.)

- Avocado

- Thinly sliced vegetables of your choice such as tomatoes, lettuce, red onions etc.

How to:

1. Start by peeling and chopping the sweet potato into large cubes. Steam until it's soft enough to pierce with a fork (15-20 min).
2. In a large bowl, mash all of the ingredients together with a fork until everything sticks together nicely. Blend with a hand blender for a smoother consistency. (Though I highly recommend keeping the chunks!)
3. Form 4 big or 6 small patties with your hands.
4. Fry the burgers in a non-stick pan or a spoonful of coconut oil over medium to low heat until the patties have a nice colour on both sides, approximately 5-10 minutes on each side.
5. Serve immediately and with all the toppings your heart desires! (That is, stuff as much avocado as you possibly can in there. So worth it.)




Pasta Pea-mavera

Now this isn't what you would call a traditional Pasta Primavera. Not even close actually. To be honest I just stole the name to fit a little pun in there. Puns make for infinitely catchier titles than mere descriptions do. Yes. This doesn't mean, however, that this Pasta Pea-mavera doesn't live up to the springtime feeling of the original. The wonderful greens combined with freshly squeezed lemon juice make for a great springtime dinner or lunch, so the cheeky little name appropriation wasn't entirely uncalled for. (My sincere apologies to any offended pasta connoisseurs out there!)

This dish is also a great way to get your greens in... Because they're literally everywhere in this recipe! Wohoo! The broccoli will provide you with an abundance of vitamins (namely, vitamins A, C, K and folate) plus a great deal of your daily fibre needs, while the peas contribute with protein and a wonderful sweetness to the sauce. Go super greens!

Here's the recipe!





Serves 2

Ingredients:

- 1 heaped cup frozen peas
- 1/2 cup vegan sour cream substitute
- 2 big handfuls fresh basil leaves + more for garnish
- 2 small heads of broccoli (approximately 250 g)
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Garlic powder (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste

- Brown rice pasta or pasta of your choice, enough for two servings (approximately 150 g)

How to:

1. Bring a small pot of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to instructions on package.
2. Divide the broccoli into small, individual florets and steam until it is almost cooked through but not mushy.
3. Meanwhile the broccoli steams and the pasta cooks, place the peas in a saucepan over low heat until they have thawed completely.
4. Add in the remaining ingredients (except for the broccoli) and blend with a hand blender until fairly smooth. You can go on for longer if you want an even smoother texture but I prefer it a little chunkier. (You may also have to re-heat the sauce before putting it on the pasta.)
5. Toss the cooked pasta in the sauce and add the broccoli. Top with a few fresh basil leaves and serve immediately!

Salted Caramel Oatmeal

Salted. Caramel. Oats. You like the sound of that? Oh yes you do. Having dessert(ish) foods for breakfast is what life is all about. Seriously, if you haven't tried the Creamy Chocolate Oatmeal that I posted some time ago, get on it, NOW! So next up is this sinfully indulgent beast of a breakfast that'll leave you fully satisfied and ready to take on a new day.



This recipe owes its sweetness to date paste, or date caramel as I prefer to call it (see below). I make mine by mashing a few soft dates with a fork but this may not be so easy if you don't have the right kind of dates. The ones I'm talking about here can be seen above; soft, un-pitted ones that are super easy to peel and have a melt-in-your-mouth consistency. If you can't find these where you live, soaking a few of the drier, pre-pitted dates overnight would probably work as well.

Date Caramel
The wonderful, caramel-y flavour comes from the amazing Organic Burst Maca Powder that I've been putting in everything lately. If you don't have any maca at hand then I suggest you sub it for a spoonful of mesquite powder or simply leave it out and let the dates work their caramel magic all on their own.

Salted Caramel Oatmeal


Ingredients:

- 1/2 cup rolled oats


- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

- 3-4 soft dates with the pits still in them or 3-4 pre-pitted dates soaked overnight (30 g)

- 1/2 tbsp Organic Burst Maca Powder (could sub for mesquite or omit completely)

- Salt to taste

How to:

1. Bring oats, salt and almond milk to the boil (in a small saucepan) then lower the heat to a simmer.

2. Peel (optional) the dates and mash them to a gooey mess using a fork and a spoonful of water.
3. Add the date paste to the saucepan and stir well until the paste has dissolved in the oatmeal.
4. Stir frequently as you wait for the oats to get to the desired consistency. Add in the maca powder right at the end to preserve its nutrients as much as possible.
5. Add toppings such as banana coins and/or peanut butter and serve immediately.

Raspberry and Cherry Crumble Pi(e) for one

Happy pi(e) day! I always love to celebrate otherwise insignificant days that have somehow come to revolve around food. There is National Cinnamon Roll Day (which is kind of a Swedish thing), Mardi Gras, several pancake days and so on. This day in particular kind is so geeky and amazing at the same time that you just can't help but loving it. 

I pondered long on which pie to make. There was an idea of making it a banoffee-thingy lurking somewhere inside my mind, and vegan key lime pie had a certain appeal to it as well. As I was brainstorming, I kind of ran out of time. So what better way to save the day than to whip up an extraordinarily simple crumble pie! All you need is frozen or fresh berries and a couple of pantry staples and you're all set and ready to go!


Before going in the oven


Now, I usually make sure to test my recipes more than once before posting them on here but as there is so little that could possibly go wrong with this, I'll share this recipe before pi(e) day has passed. Let me know if you give it a try!


Raspberry and Cherry Crumble Pi(e) for one




Filling:

- 1 cup (roughly) frozen or fresh berries, I opted for frozen sweet cherries and frozen raspberries

- 1 tbsp cornstarch (potato starch/tapioca flour works as well)

- 1/2-1 tbsp sweetener of choice, such as coconut sugar or erythritol

Crumble:

- 4 tbsp rolled oats

- 1 tbsp coconut flour

- 2-3 dates (24g)

- 1/2 tbsp unsweetened apple sauce

- 1/2 tbsp melted coconut oil

- Pinch of pure vanilla powder

How to:

1. Preheat the oven to 350F/175C
2. Place berries in a bowl and toss in cornstarch until everything is coated.
3. Transfer to a small pie dish and add your sweetener to the berries by sprinkling/pouring it on top. (If you've gone for all sweet berries such as sweet cherries and strawberries, you may want to omit the sweetener.)
4. In another bowl, combine all the ingredients for the crumble -except for 1 tbsp oats- by blending them with a hand blender until a sticky dough forms.
5. Mix the remaining oats into the dough. It should crumble easily and if not, add a bit more liquid/flour until you've reached the right consistency.
6. Sprinkle the crumble evenly on top of the berries and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until it starts to brown.
7. Let cool for a few minutes and serve with a few spoonfuls of coconut cream (preferably whipped - mine wasn't) and even more fresh berries if you wish.



Sweet Potato Chocolate Spread

What if I told you that 2 tbsp of this spread provides you with all the vitamin A you need in a day? Sounds too good to be true? Well it isn't. Other than being delicious, sweet potatoes are packed with this super important nutrient that keeps your eyes in good condition and your skin beautifully radiant. Plus this recipe is so simple and quick to make and only requires five ingredients! No excuses!




Ingredients:

2 medium-sized, peeled sweet potatoes (380 g)

3 tbsp melted cacao butter or coconut oil

10 dates (100 g)

2 tbsp cacao or cocoa powder

Pinch of salt


How to:

1. Cube the sweet potato and steam until entirely soft and easy to pierce with a fork, approximately 15-20 minutes.

2. Transfer the cooked sweet potato to a medium-sized bowl, add the remaining ingredients and blend with a hand blender until smooth. This could also be done using a food processor.
3. Spoon up the chocolate spread in a mason jar or any airtight container of your choice and store in the fridge.

Enjoy this spread on peanut butter sandwiches, your oatmeal or eat it straight from the jar with a spoon! (That's what I do...)

Chocolate love from Tilda 

Creamy Dreamy Peanut Butter-Blueberry Sundae





Ice cream:

- 3 ripe bananas, sliced and frozen (300-330 g)


- 3-4 tbsp almond milk

- 1 heaped tbsp Arctic Berries Blueberry Powder

- 1 pinch vanilla powder or extract

Peanut Butter Sauce:

- 1 tbsp peanut flour (or peanut butter)


- 1 tbsp almond milk

- 1 pinch sea salt

Optional:

- Toppings such as mulberries, coconut chips or raw cacao nibs


How to:

1. Start by making the peanut butter sauce: in a small bowl combine the ingredients for the sauce with a fork until you're left with a thick yet runny sauce. Set aside while you make the ice cream.

2. Place all the ice cream ingredients except for the almond milk in a food processor or high speed blender and blend on high*. Blend for approximately 60-90 seconds or until the frozen banana slices have all been broken down to tiny pieces. Stop to scrape down the sides if necessary.
3. Carefully remove the top cap from your blender and slowly pour in the almond milk while blending. Blend on high until smooth and again, stop to scrape down the sides if you need to. Be patient and don't add more liquid unless you really have to. The ice cream will be much creamier and not as runny this way.
4. Spoon the ice cream up in two bowls and drizzle generously with the peanut butter sauce. Top with whatever you desire and eat immediately before it melts! (And feel free to just have it ALL for yourself. That's what I did.)

*I find this the most effective way to get a creamy, completely smooth ice cream but if it seems too complicated to you, simply place all the ice cream ingredients in the blender/food processor and blend until smooth.

Berry-Boosted Blueberry Jam (Naturally Sweetened)

There's something oddly comforting about jam. That sweet, slightly sour taste adds another dimension to basically any carb-y meals. On top of a steaming hot bowl of oatmeal is how we usually enjoy our jam here in Sweden but I have always loved to spread a thick layer of raspberry preserves on top of a crispy, golden brown slice of toast. Mhm. And I know I just said raspberry even though this recipe specifically calls for blueberries. Confession: I didn't like blueberries as a kid. I loved spinach but not blueberries. Yes, I was weird. Moving on.



I must say I'm very pleased with this recipe. It's thick, just like jam is supposed to be. Don't want any of that runny, slimy stuff, no thank you. So it's thick, packs a punch of blueberry flavour only rounded off by a hint of vanilla. I even got my mom hooked on it so now it's a battle against time to have as much as possible for myself before she eats it all up!




Also, I finally got to use a jar from the collection featured throughout this post. To say that I have an obsession with jars is an understatement. This recipe makes one small jar but if you feel like you're likely to finish it soon after making, feel free to double the recipe. You could probably even freeze some for later if you wanted to, even though I haven't tried this myself yet.

Finally I want to point out that this jam is even more nutrient-dense than your average Homemade-healthy-jam all thanks to the Arctic Berries powders! I added some of the blueberry powder and some of the sea buckthorn powder in this but combine them however you want for your own personal touch! Hope you enjoy the recipe!


Berry-Boosted Blueberry Jam

-1/2 lb (225 g) frozen or fresh blueberries

- 6-8 fresh dates (75 g)

- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla powder

- 1/2 tbsp  any Arctic Berries Powder (I used the Sea buckthorn and blueberry powders)

- 1 tbsp chia seeds

How to:

1. Place the blueberries in a small sauce pan and slowly thaw them over medium heat.

2. Meanwhile, pit the dates and put them in a small bowl. Blend the dates with a hand blender until smooth and set aside.
3. Once the berries start to release their juices, bring it up to the boil and let boil for about a minute.
4. Remove the blueberries from the heat and stir in the date paste, vanilla powder and Arctic berries powder(s). If the date paste feels very dense and hard to incorporate into the berry mixture, start by transferring a few tablespoons of blueberry juice into the bowl with the date paste and mix the two to make it a bit looser in consistency.
5. Lastly, stir in the chia seeds and make sure they're evenly divided throughout the jam.
6. Spoon the jam up in a glass jar, seal it and let sit on the countertop to cool off before putting it in the fridge.



My favourite way to eat this jam - thinly spread on top of a rice cake.


Best Granola Ever (no oil!)

Prepare yourselves for the crunchiest, sweetest, most delectable granola ever! Though you could never tell from how they taste, these caramel-ly clusters are 100% refined sugar-free and contain no added syrups or oils whatsoever! That's just how we do it around here. ;)



The added nutrient-boost from the sea buckthorn powder gives this granola an extra umph, a je-ne-sais-quoi that is hard to beat. I know that I'm going to add this beautiful orange powder to many more recipes from here on out and after tasting this granola, I hope that you are as well.


Sea Buckthorn & Buckwheat Granola

1 cup raw buckwheat groats (175 g)

1/2 cup quinoa pops (15 g)

1/2 cup raw almonds (75 g)

14 dates, pitted (160 g)

2 tbsp Arctic Berries Sea Buckthorn Powder

2 tbsp water

How to:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 130C.
2. Chop the almonds coarsely and pale them in a large bowl along with the buckwheat groats and quinoa pops.
3. In another, smaller bowl, blend the pitted dates, water and the sea buckthorn powder with a hand blender until completely smooth.
4. Transfer the date paste into the bigger bowl and mix well with the grains and almonds until you have a chunky 'dough'.
5. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes. Remove to stir around every ten minutes to prevent the clusters from burning!
6. To make sure the clusters stay crunchy, leave them in the oven overnight to dry out, preferably with the oven lamp on.
7. Store in an airtight container and enjoy on top of your smoothies, oatmeal, banana ice ream or anything really!







Healthy Vegan Caramel Slice

I've never seen myself as a particularly outgoing or even social creature really. It's not that I'm overly shy or anything, it's more of an active choice I've made to keep a smaller circle of close friends rather than being surrounded by a whole bunch of people whom I barely know at all. (Of course some people manage to have six hundred besties at once but needless to say, I'm not one of them. How do they even?) But thanks to Instagram I've had the opportunity to connect with and befriend so many amazing, inspiring and crazy talented girls from all over the world! How this little story relates to the raw caramel slice? Well this recipe would have never seen the light of day had it not been for one of these Instagram girls and her #twistmytreat competition.


 Who she is? Well the one and only EatLikeEloise of course! This slice was 100% inspired by hers and guess what? If you want in on this fabulous competition where you can win Loving Earth chocolates, all you have to do is reinvent or put a twist on Eloise's caramel slice! I'd do anything for chocolate hehe. Also, this is positively the best competition I've ever participated in. Look at that oozy caramel. Just look at it and tell me you don't agree.

One more thing before we get to the recipe: it looks longer and more complicated than it actually is! Mostly because I've included two different ways to make the chocolate layer. I was way too eager to get to taste this to bother making my own chocolate but if you want to keep this recipe raw, I highly recommend you spend those extra five minutes on this!



Base:

- 7 dates (around 80 g)

- 1/4 cup oat flour (30 g)

- 1 tbsp tahini (20 g)

Caramel layer:

- 10 fresh/soft dates (110 g)

- 2 heaped tbsp all natural peanut butter

- 2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk

- 1 tbsp lucuma powder

Chocolate layer raw version:

- 1 tbsp melted coconut oil or cacao butter

- 1 tbsp cacao powder

- 1 tbsp liquid sweetener of choice

Chocolate layer non-raw version:

- 2 oz. (56 g) vegan dark chocolate (preferably refined sugar-free)

How to:

1. Blend all the ingredients for the base in a food processor until you're left with a ball of raw 'cookie' dough. Add more oat flour if the dough is too sticky and more dates or tahini if it's too dry. (This depends a lot on how moist the dates are!)
2. Press it out into a small rectangle to about 1/4-inch or 5 mm thickness on a non-stick baking sheet. Set aside.
3. Peel and pit the dates for the caramel layer. This is easier if they have been soaked in hot water for at least 10 minutes or if you're using really soft ones. 
4. Place all the ingredients for the caramel layer in a small bowl and blend with a hand blender until smooth. (This step could be done using a food processor but I prefer the hand blender.)
5. Spoon the caramel on top of the base and level it with a spatula. Place in the freezer to set for at least one hour.
Raw version: 
6. When the caramel and base have set, make your own raw chocolate by mixing equal quantities coconut oil, cacao powder and sweetener in a bowl until combined. Wait until it's not super runny, then spread an even chocolate layer on top of the caramel. This will hopefully set immediately as the caramel is frozen so go ahead and cut as many slices as you want before placing them in an airtight container to store in the freezer or fridge if you prefer a gooey caramel.
Non-raw version:
6. If you're a lazy ass like me, then melt your (store-bought) chocolate over a hot water bath and spread it out on top of the frozen caramel base. It can be a bit trickier to cut neat squares this way (as is shown by the cracks on mine) but they're just as delicious, I promise. Store in the fridge for gooey caramel and the freezer if you want it solid.



Creamy Chocolate Oats

Finally got this recipe up on the blog! A lot of you have asked how I make my everyday chocolate oats (literally every single day) and now the wait is over. It's not a revolutionising recipe or anything, just a simple but dangerously delicious and addictive one. Once you're stuck with one breakfast, it's hard to make a change. And let me tell you, I have been stuck with these oats for quite some time now. Hopefully you guys have more will power and determination than I have... 

Topped with banana slices, a peanut butter sauce and raw cacao nibs


Ingredients:

- 1/2 cup oats 

- 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

- 1/4 cup water

- 3 fresh dates (30-35 g)

- 1 heaped tbsp cacao or cocoa powder (or a tiny bit less if you find the taste too strong or bitter)

- salt to taste

How to:

1. In a small pot over low heat, bring the oats, almond milk, water and salt to the boil and let simmer. Stir often so the oats don't stick to the bottom.
2. As the oats are cooking, prepare your date paste. Peel and pit the dates, this is easier if you have really fresh, gooey dates or have soaked the dates in hot water for about 10 minutes beforehand.
3. Place the peeled dates in an itty bitty bowl or glass and mash them with a splash of water until smooth. (I like to use a shot glass for this!)
4. Transfer the date paste into the pot and stir until it's been well incorporated into the oats. 
5. Add the cocoa powder and stir again.
6. Let simmer until you have reached desired consistency, then spoon up in a bowl, add toppings of your choice and serve immediately!

Pinwheel Cookies




Pinwheel Cookies

- 1/2 cup whole wheat spelt flour (65g)

- 1/3 cup almond flour (50g)

- 2/3 cup oat flour (87 g)

- 1 chia egg (1 tbsp ground chia seeds mixed with 3 tbsp water)

- 3 tbsp melted coconut oil (42 g)

For the chocolate dough:

- 1 tbsp cocoa or cacao powder

- 2 tbsp date syrup or any other dark syrup of your choice (40 g)

For the vanilla dough:

- 1 generous pinch pure vanilla powder (could sub for 1 tsp vanilla extract)

- 2 tbsp brown rice syrup or any other light syrup of your choice* (40 g)

How to:
1. Make the flour blend by mixing all the flours together with a fork. If you have to make flour of your oats and/or almonds, place the oats, almonds and spelt flour in a food processor and process until you get a well-ground flour.
2. Divide the flour mix into two different bowls. Transfer about 1/2 tbsp of flour from one bowl to the other. To this bowl, add the vanilla powder and to the other bowl (the one with less flour in it), add the cacao or cocoa powder and mix well.
3. Make your chia egg by mixing/whisking the ground chia seeds with 3 tbsp of water. This will swell pretty quickly if you're using ground chia seeds but if not, let the seeds swell for a couple of minutes before proceeding.
4. Melt the coconut oil and pour half of it into the chocolate bowl and the other half into the vanilla bowl. This is much easier if you have access to a kitchen scale so that you can tell when half of it has gone in. Also add chia egg into two and add one half into each bowl.
5. To the chocolate bowl, add the date syrup and stir until you have a thick dough. Repeat with the vanilla bowl but add brown rice syrup instead. *Note: Since brown rice syrup isn't as sweet as other syrups, you may want to add 1/2 tbsp of coconut sugar as well but that is completely up to you.
6. Wrap the doughs in cling film and chill for about 20 minutes in the fridge or until they're fairly firm.
7. Make one rectangle out of each dough by rolling it out with a rolling pin to 1/8-inch thickness. Put one on top of the other and roll lengthwise to create the swirl. Once again wrap the dough in cling film (reuse the old ones!) and place is in the freezer for about ten minutes.
8. Remove the dough from the freezer and slice into separate cookies (1/4-inch thick). At this stage I like to press down on the cookies using the bottom of a glass to flatten them out a little.
9. Bake in the oven (175C) for 18-20 minutes and let cool completely. Store in a cookie jar!







Frank Body Scrub - A Review

For the last two months or so, I've been using this unique body scrub called Frank. He's a pretty cool guy if I may say so myself. Not only because of his good looks but his inside as well. Frank is all natural, paraben-free and smells absolutely scrumptious. So forget about those nasty chemicals that you can't pronounce anyway. Pardon my French but this is the real shit that we're dealing with here.



The ingredient list is actually so simple that I can write it all in this post without boring you to death. Which is exactly what I intend to do. Frank contains: coffee, almond oil, water, salt, brown sugar, orange oil, vitamin E and natural fragrances. That's it. Are you impressed yet? As if that's not enough, this scrub leaves you with a scent as if a ginormous coffee bean with arms and legs were to give you a long, cuddly hug, and leave its dark, musky aroma for you to keep. Oh, it even brings out the hugely embarrassing poet residing deep within me.

How does it feel on your skin then? Well, amazing. There's no irritation at all plus the scrub leaves you soft as a baby's bottom even if you forget to apply body lotion afterwards. We have the almond and orange oils to thank for that I guess. I could also add that I have very sensitive, dry skin that won't stay silent if treated badly. I swell up like a balloon, get glowing red marks everywhere and physically hurt if I use the wrong products. Though I can't speak for everyone, I can certainly assure you that Frank has been very kind to my skin, unlike many of his counterparts.

I know what you're thinking now, "She is totally getting paid to write this!" Let me be 100% honest and say that I will not receive any compensation whatsoever for this post. Frank Body did send me a free sample of their scrub to try and review but that was it. Mark my words, I will never ever recommend anything that I don't believe in. Ever. I do turn down product proposals on a daily basis, just because I don't believe in what some companies have to offer. Anyways, I hope this post wasn't all too boring to read and that some of you might even find it helpful.

Have a great day!