Quinoa Pancakes

vscocam-photo-4So taking a break from posting on the blog due to being exceptionally busy, I am back with lots of new clean and simple recipes! You can look forward to chocolate fudge brownies, raw chocolate, peanut butter cups, plus the usual abundance of smoothies. The past couple of months I have been getting back into my research at University, as well as attending medical interviews and trying to stay on top of work. I was so happy to find out I have been offered a place at Kings College to study medicine so hopefully I can incorporate a wider knowledge of nutrition once I start…!

Now onto the recipe… I realise this may have been much more appropriate to post a couple of weeks ago before Pancake Day but I couldn’t get myself organised enough to get it up on time.. but I don’t think you ever need an excuse to eat pancakes so for me, any time of the year is perfect! I think these are the healthiest pancakes I have made to date, and pretty protein rich!

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The flour I use is quinoa flour- so it gives a much lighter pancake rather than using oats which is what I usually use. Quinoa (or KEEN-wah for those who have trouble with the pronunciation) has had a lot of media attention recently, and quite rightly, it is extremely nutritious. Containing all the essential amino acids our bodies need, which is great for vegetarians or vegans who struggle to get enough protein into their diets. It has a low glycemic index which is great for those watching their weight, or diabetics. You won’t get that blood sugar spike that comes with eating high glycemic foods (and the invertible crash that comes after), that is associated with obesity and hunger stimulation. It is also my favourite grain, and can be eaten in so many different ways! I like cooking mine in apple cider vinegar to give it extra flavour.

You can buy quinoa flour in health food stores or online, but I think the cheapest way to use it is to make it yourself. It means you can only make what you need, as quinoa flour is one of the most expensive flours. It is incredibly simple to make, but you do need a food processor, so if you don’t have access to one of these I would suggest buying from Amazon as the cheapest option. If you live in Bristol, the health food shop just off Cotham Hill, Earthbound, is a dream and you can source the flour from there. If you can’t afford quinoa flour, brown rice flour is a cheaper alternative great for gluten free cooking.

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vscocam-photo-3-1Ingredients

1/2 Cup Quinoa Flour
3/4 Cup Almond Milk
1 Egg (or a Flax Egg if Vegan)
Pinch of Salt
Coconut Oil

Combine all the ingredients together in a food processor (except the coconut oil).
Let this mixture sit in the fridge for half an hour.
Heat up a teaspoon of coconut oil in a pan, once melted pour a scoop of the pancake mixture into the frying pan.
Once you start to see ‘pores’ appear on the face of the pancake, which should take a few minutes, flip it over.
Cook for a few minutes and keep warm in a preheated oven at a low temperature until you have cooked them all!

I served mine with peach chia jam, strawberries, goats cheese and spinach, but choose whatever toppings you fancy!

Butternut Squash, Kale & Goats Cheese Superfood Salad

vscocam-photo-2vscocam-photo-1My body is no longer craving the cold refreshing salads it did in the summer, I want warming with rich comfort food, which is why I created this salad. With the soft sautéed kale mixing with the cooked tender butternut squash and cooked quinoa, this salad will keep your taste buds happy, combining gorgeous textures together. Another thing I love about this dish is how colour it is, there is so much going on, making it an incredibly beautiful meal. Plus, as we all must of heard, eating more colour equals more nutrition (unless your talking about smarties…)!

As you might have been able to tell from previous recipes, I am a huge fan of butternut squash. You name it, it can be done with butternut squash. From adding to curries, salads, using as a pizza base or topping, the possibilities are endless!  Being incredibly rich in Vitamin A, it can help maintain optimum eye and skin health! The tender texture of the squash combines perfectly with the butter beans, making sure to leave you full after your meal.

vscocam-photo-3Ingredients 

1/4 Cup Butternut Squash Cubed
1/4 Cup Cooked Butter Beans
1/2 Onion Diced
1 Garlic Clove Diced
1/4 Cup Quinoa
2 Big Handfuls of Kale
2 Tbsp Pine Nuts
2 Tbsp Cranberries
1 Tbsp Soft Goats Cheese
1 Tbsp Honey
1 Lemon
Olive Oil
Apple Cider Vinegar

Combine the butternut squash, butter beans, garlic and onion in a frying pan with a lick of olive oil. Cook until the butternut squash is soft, stirring frequently.
While the butternut squash is cooking, add boiling water to the quinoa and a splash of apple cider vinegar. This should take around 10-15 minutes to cook.
Add the kale with the honey and 2 tbsp of water.
After around 3 minutes the kale should have wilted and turned a vivid green colour, at the point stir in the cooked quinoa, and add the rest of the ingredients.
Serve with a squeeze of lemon on top, a dash of apple cider vinegar and olive oil.

Butternut Squash and Lentil Curry

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As I am posting this my mouth is watering, I’m craving this! I have just started a three juice cleanse, and although the day hasn’t differed much from usual, as lunch is coming up I’m craving something hot! My next post will be about this cleanse, sharing the recipes and my views! At the end of these three days I will reward myself with this, as it’s one of my favourite curries of all time! Such a perfect winter warmer, for these cold nights. Winter is the ultimate season where your body craves comfort food, which can often tend to make you stray towards unhealthy territories, but this gives you the perfect balance! Big chunks of butternut squash cooked in creamy coconut milk will leave anyone wanting more. You can feel guilt free as you tuck into this curry, while it warms and nourishes your body. No need for take aways when you have this beauty! Adding in the spinach when its cooked gives you extra nutrition as well as making it more aesthetically pleasing.

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Ingredients

2 Tsp Cumin
2 Tsp Paprika
1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp Fennel Seeds
2 Tsp Turmeric
1 Tsp Crushed Chilli Flakes

1 Butternut Squash, Peeled & Diced
500g Dry Lentils
2 Tins Coconut Milk
2 Onions Diced
3 Cloves Garlic Diced
1cm Cubed Ginger Diced
Handfuls of Spinach

Cook all spices in a large pan for a minute or so to release their flavour.
Add in a tbsp coconut oil, and fry the ginger, onion and garlic.
After frying until the onion is soft, add in the rest of the ingredients. Cook until the lentils and butternut squash have soaked up all the liquid, and everything is soft.
The curry will be quite thick at this point.

When ready to serve, throw in a couple of handfuls of spinach and stir until it has wilted.

Raw Vegan Carrot Cake

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I introduce to you these little carrot cake beauties! I have previous made a raw carrot cake, but I wasn’t very happy with the recipe, the loaf didn’t stick together too well and I still haven’t managed to achieve the perfect vegan cashew cream cheese icing… But I really fancied some carrot cake, and a quick and easy way to make it! My favourite raw snacks of all time are my chocolate truffles, and they have been a hit with everyone that has tried them! So I took inspiration from them, tweaked the recipe a little, and came up with these wonders.

With the only source of sugar coming from the medjool dates, you can eat these without any feelings of guilt at all, and a satisfaction that these balls will nourish your body. With hints of cinnamon and nutmeg, these would be perfect to serve at the Christmas dinner party in the festive season!

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Recipe 

(Makes around 15 balls)

1/4 Cup Oats
2 Large Carrots
6 Medjool Dates
1 tbsp melted Coconut Oil
Handful of Cranberries and Pumpkin seeds
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Nutmeg
Shredded Coconut for rolling the balls in.

It is as simple as throwing it all in a food processor, and processing until you get a mixture that sticks together, and you can roll into a ball.
Once rolled, coat in coconut and leave in the freezer for a couple of hours.
I store mine in the fridge, as they become a little too soft when left out!

Super Simple, Speedy Oats!

Oas

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My everyday breakfast consists of oats, I love them! They are so incredibly easy to make in a hurry, and considering I’m normally running quite late in the morning, they couldn’t be better suited to myself. I woke up super early this morning, and after attempting to get back to sleep and failing, I decided to get up and make a beautiful bowl of oats to share with you! I stir in banana before hand, mashing it into the oats before cooking them- and it makes them so deliciously sweet and mushy, making it nearly impossible to overcook them!

I paired this bowl of oats this morning with lemon and hot water- this is the best way to start your day as it flushes out tons of toxins, effectively giving yourself a mini detox! Lemon water aids the digestive system, as well as being a great for your immune system, protecting you from any infections and helping prevent inflammation.

oats2This morning I started to read ‘Eat Pretty’ by Jolene Hart. One of my closest friends Beth gave me this book for my birthday in August, along with a gorgeous lunch box from Urban Outfitters with ‘Healthy Snacks!’ embossed on the front. Although Urban doesn’t have it in stock anymore, they have a very similar one here which is just as cute! Although I haven’t got around to finishing it yet, I am very excited to read it all and hope to pick up on lots of tips on healthy glowing skin to share with you. Beth write a blog on fashion & food, which you can check out here! She has just filmed her first Lookbook, in which she looks utterly gorgeous, and will give you lots of inspiration for some Autumn trends.

Ingredients

1/2 Cup Oats
1/2 Cup Almond Milk
1 Banana
1 Plum
Handful of Blueberries
Sprinkling of Goji Berries, Nuts and Seeds.

Mash up half the banana in the porridge before cooking, then serve the rest slice on top.
Cook in a microwave for around 60 seconds, or a couple of minutes on the stove.

Apricot Rye Bread

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Oh bread. I LOVE bread. Some people have a soft spot for sweets, or chocolate, cakes…biscuits.. the list goes on. But I really don’t have much of a sweet tooth. I love baking desserts for friends, or to take to dinner parties, but that is defiantly more due to a love of feeding people and the happiness that can give. My guilty pleasure is a thick slice of freshly baked bread (my mum does a divine sun dried tomato loaf..), covered in butter. What I do not love about bread is this bloated, over full feeling I get after eating it. This is where rye bread comes in, as rye has a different form of gluten to wheat. Many people who are gluten intolerant (and I don’t just mean those with coeliac disease, I’m also including those with gluten sensitivity, which can lead to headaches, stomach upsets, and a bunch of inflammatory disorders) can eat rye just fine. Rye has a much lower gluten content, as well as having a low glycemic index. A low GI means your blood sugar won’t spike after eating it, so it can be a great alternative to wheat for diabetics.

I spent the previous weekend at home, and had my first taste of homemade rye bread. My boyfriend had planned my perfect breakfast, scrambled eggs with smoked trout (I’m not always this fancy..), on rye bread he baked the previous night. This was paired with lots of berries and greek yogurt- I was in heaven! For some reason his was a lot darker than mine, and going by your conventional rye bread colour- his seemed more aesthetically correct. I have no idea why mine is paler than usual, as I only used rye flour. I added in apricots, so maybe it was that… but anyway! On to the recipe..

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Ingredients

500 g Rye Flour (make sure this is unrefined)
10 g Salt (I used pink himalayan salt)
10 g Yeast
350 ml Cool Water
2 Tbsp Date Syrup
100 g Dried Apricots, Chopped

Start off by placing the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl.
Add the date syrup and half the water to the bowl, and mix together with your fingers.
Continue adding the water, a small amount at a time, and mixing in between.
You may not need all the water, or you may need a little more, but ensure all the flour is incorporated into the mixture, so the dough is soft.
At this stage, mix in the apricots.
Dust the surface with rye flour, and knead the dough for 5-10 minutes.
Place the ball of dough into a large bowl, ensuring the sides are covered in rye flour, and leave in a warm place with a tea towel on top, for a minimum of 8 hours- or preferably overnight.
When the dough has risen, grease a baking tray with olive or coconut oil, and slash a cross on the top of it.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until it is a dark golden brown colour.

Clean Eating Basics 101

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I live by the thought that’ ‘Clean Eating’ is not another fad diet, it won’t starve or deprive you or make you crave unhealthy food- it is purely taking nutrition back to basics, and eating to nourish your body. Essentially you are helping to fight disease living by this lifestyle, instead of feeding- could it get any better?!

I have had a lot of people asking me how to start out switching their diets to eat this way, and what are the basics and essentials.. so I thought I would write a blog post to make it similar for people to start out!

Pantry Essentials  

Olive Oil
Coconut Oil- Normally much cheaper at Asian Supermarkets, as brands from health food stores can be very expensive, or this one from Amazon is cheap!
Apple Cider Vinegar- Great for salad dressings, or adding into boiling water to cook rice or quinoa for more taste.
Tahini- This is sesame seeds ground into a paste, great for sauces, marinating vegetables, adds a lot of flavour!
A good selection of herbs and spices- my essentials are paprika, cinnamon, chilli flakes, nutmeg,  and fresh basil and parsley.

Grains/Staples

Brown Rice Pasta- This is a great alternative to the usual pasta made with durum wheat flour, as it is gluten free (read my views on gluten here..) and will leave you feeling much less full.
Brown Rice- great to pair with curries or with salads.
Quinoa- The grain that will make you fly.. Well not quite but it is incredibly full of nutrients and will do wonders for you.
Lentils- Buy dry lentils to put in curries.
Chickpeas- Make your own hummus, add them to salads, roast them, whatever- they are delicious!
Spelt Flour- Maybe not an essential, but you can make amazing pizza (here) with only 3 ingredients with this, and it is SO much better for you than a shop bought pizza, or using any other wheat flour.
Oats- Porridge and pancakes. Need I say more.

Baking

Ground Almonds- Now these ARE essential, I use them for SO many things! From chocolate truffles, to sweet potato brownies, to granola bars, they are so useful, and gluten free.
Walnuts- I love adding these to brownies, any granola bars, as well as topping salads.
Dates- Essential for clean eating baking! You can use these instead of sugar, and they bind everything together amazingly.
Cacao- This may be quite expensive, but it is worth the investment. You hardly have to you use any, I use it all the time and only get through 500 g every half a year. It is also INSANELY good for you.
Peanut Butter- Great to top on porridge, to add to pancakes, or any desserts. You can use it to dip apples, carrots and celery in as a filling snack.
A Sweetener- Go with honey, date syrup, or maple syrup. Make sure the sweetener you use is organic and not full of any nasties!

Fresh Produce

This is a tough one, because I would say every fruit and vegetable you can get your hands on, and enjoy, but I’ll just include my favourites.

Sweet Potatoes
Butternut Squash
Avocados
Tomatoes
Leaf Greens- My favourites are Kale and Rocket
Courgettes
Bananas
Pineapple
Mango

Equipment

Blender
- This is really my number one essential, I use mine most days and really couldn’t live without it! Such a great way to start your day is with a smoothie. It is incredibly common to not get any servings of fruit or vegetables with breakfast, but by drinking a smoothie, you can add more in where you usually wouldn’t get them. Especially with a green smoothie (recipe below). For more smoothie recipes click here.  You can buy cheap blenders from most supermarkets or from Amazon, starting at £20, which mostly do the job! The brand Vitamix is incredible, so if you have more money to spend I would recommend those.

Food Processor- There is a lot of confusion between a food processor and a blender- what is the difference and what do they each do? A food processor has much stronger, larger blades, so is great for making snacks or dips, where nut & dates can be easily processed. Another advance of a food processor over a blender is that you don’t need a liquid base, meaning to make things such as energy bites or granola bars is incredibly simple. You can buy an inexpensive and effective food processors from amazon, starting at around £30. I use this one, which is cheap but works great for everything I need. If you have more money to spend, Magimix is amazing.

Spiralizer- Although this isn’t an essential, it is incredibly useful. I use mine all the time, as do my housemates. Courgette (or zuchinni) spaghetti is such a staple of mine, and can be added to salad, or eaten alone for an amazing meal. I really think they are worth the investment, as they are such an easy way to get more vegetables into your diet!

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To end, here is a really simple recipe for a green smoothie- and personally my favourite, as pictured in the first picture.

GREEN SMOOTHIE RECIPE
Makes 500 ml

2 Bananas
1/2 Pineapple
2 Handfuls of Spinach
2 Handfuls of Kale
1/2 Cup Water
Ice

If you have any queries of the above, leave me a comment, or email cleansimpleeats@gmail.com!