Mint Choc Chip Smoothie

Now that Spring has well and truly sprung, it's time to refresh the breakfast routine.  This mint chocolate chip smoothie is super fresh and provides you with a pep in your step when you most need it.  It's so good that I'd happily have it for pud, too.

Ingredients
Makes 2

300ml coconut milk
1 frozen avocado
1/2 frozen banana
1 small handful spinach
25 mint leaves, save a few to garnish
2 medjool dates
1tbsp cacao nibs, plus extra for sprinkles

Method
- The night before, chop the avocado and banana and pop in the freezer.  I actually keep a bag of both topped up in my freezer throughout the spring/summer months - you never know when you're going to need some ice cream!
- Blend all ingredients, apart from the cacao nibs, until smooth.
- Add the cacao nibs and pulse to combine.
- Serve in a glass topped with some mint leaves and a sprinkling of cacao nibs.

Chaga Latte

Superfood powders are great fun and deliver some really interesting flavours.  They're generally not a staple in my kitchen but when I discover one that is delicious and extremely good for me (the nature of superfoods), I hold on to it.

If you're trying to cut down on your coffee consumption for whatever reason, I highly recommend you give this a try - it has a very similar flavour profile.  

Ingredients
Serves 1

1 mug cashew milk
1tbsp coconut oil
1/2-1tsp chaga mushroom powder (depending on how much 'coffee' you like to taste) - I use this one
1/4tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp maca powder
1tsp grass fed collagen powder (optional)

Method

-        Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and warm over a low to medium heat.

-        Using a stick blender, milk frother or hand whisk; blend until all ingredients are combined and lovely and frothy (the coconut oil and collagen helps with this).

-        Pour back into the measuring mug and sip away.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

It's a bit of a cheek calling this one a latte, as coffee is absent (not to say it has to be).  it's more of a warm and warming smoothie... It contains all of the spices you'll ever want for in winter and is the perfect hug in a hug for the most blustery of days.

Ingredients
Serves 1

75g pumpkin or winter squash, cooked
1 mug (approx. 200ml) cashew milk
1tsp coconut oil
1tsp (5ml measure) chai spice
Extra pinch cinnamon
To garnish – a dob of coconut cream and a dusting of cinnamon

Optional: 1tsp collagen (to boost gut healing properties)

I think this is perfectly sweet as is, but if you need to, add 1/2tsp raw honey

Method

- Blend all ingredients together until smooth.

- Heat gently in a saucepan.

- Serve in a mug, top with coconut cream and cinnamon.

Winter Warmers: Make Ahead Mixes

There's not much better than a mug of spiced, warm, frothy milk on a cold day.  get ahead of the game and make these mixes to see you through winter.

Golden Paste
Makes 1 small jar - 1tsp = 1 serve

8tsp coconut oil
2.5tbsp turmeric powder
2tsp cinnamon
1/4tsp of each of the following spices; black pepper, cardamom, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, vanilla powder

Method
- Gently heat the coconut oil in a saucepan until melted.
- Add the spices and cook for 2 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Pour into a clean glass jar, allow to cool, pop the lid on and store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Hot Chocolate Mix
Makes 1 small jar - 1tbsp = 1 serve

5tbsp raw cacao
4tsp ground cinnamon
4tsp ground ginger
2tsp cayenne

Method
- Add all ingredients to a clean glass jar
- Pop the lid on, shake to mix and store in your cupboard.

Chai Paste
Makes 1 small jar - 1tsp = 1 serve

4tsp coconut oil
4tsp ground cinnamon
2tsp ground ginger
1tsp of each of the following spices; green cardamom, nutmeg & fennel
1/2tsp of each of the following spices; black pepper & cloves

Method
- Gently heat the coconut oil in a saucepan until melted.
- Add the spices and cook for 2 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Pour into a clean glass jar, allow to cool, pop the lid on and store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

To make a milk...

Method
- Gently heat 1 mug of milk of choice – I prefer cashew or coconut – over a low-medium flame.
- Whisk in the required amount of paste or powder until dissolved.  If you have a milk frother, use it to get a lovely, decadent foam.
- If your making the chai, you can add some lucuma now (1tsp per serve)
- Sweeten with honey or brown rice syrup, to taste.
- Pour into your mug and enjoy.

Coriander Seed & Ginger Tea

Super grounding and great for your digestive tract, this tea is the bees knees.  If anxiety or feeling a bit flighty are over familiar to you, get a cup of this on the go.

You don't have to drink all 4 cups, obvs.  Toast the seeds and store in a jar for when you fancy a cup.

Ingredients
Makes 4 cups

4tsp coriander seeds
Thumb sized piece ginger
4 cups water

Method

- Dry toast the coriander seeds.  Allow to cool and lightly break up in a pestle and mortar.

- Peel and slice the ginger.

- Add both to a pan with 4 cups water.  Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.

- Strain before drinking.

Beets + Blackberries

Ever since making my first batch of beet kvass, I've been experimenting with different ways of using it.  I'd say its one of the most simple fermented drinks to make, as it's simply the liquid that is a bi-product of delicious lacto-fermented/pickled beetroot.

It's full of gut healthy probiotics and has zero added sugar.  The taste is somewhere between salty, earthy and sweet, which makes is the perfect ingredient for a cocktail.  I think this would be wonderful blended and served as a smoothie too, which removes the need for straining.

Ingredients
Makes 2 shorts

40ml beet kvass
200ml freshly squeezed orange juice (approx. 1.5 oranges), plus slices to garnish
12 blackberries
2 stalks lemon verbena or mint, leaves picked, plus extra for garnish
Crushed ice
Sparkling water to top up

Method

- Either blend or shake the ingredients together until well combined

- Fill a glass with ice

- Strain the mixture into a jug before pouring into two tumblers/glasses (approx two thirds)

- Top the remaining third off with sparkling water

- Garnish with a small slice of orange and some lemon verbena/mint


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Avo Blackberry Smoothie

Writing recipes for smoothies sometimes seems like a bit of a cheat as the process is so easy.

This is another delicious way to reap the creamy benefits of avocado and makes for a super tasty smoothie.  This one's got a lot going for it too; protein, anti-oxidants and energy boosting.

I might try freezing it next time and see what happens, ice cream anyone?

Ingredients
Serves 2

200ml almond/rice milk
200ml coconut milk
1 avocado
150g blackberries (fresh or frozen)
2tbsp hemp seeds
3/4tsp maca - optional
3/4tsp baobab - optional

Method

- Blend all ingredients together until smooth.  

- Serve chilled.


JOIN ME AT A WORKSHOP


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Rhubarb, Ginger & Apple Water

If you're anything like me, the first signs of rhubarb get you all excited.  I feel like such a fraud when it breaks through the soil in my garden each year, as I've done absolutely nothing to contribute to that happening.  Obviously nature knows how much I love rhubarb!

I love a crumble as much as the next person but thought it only right that I explore other ways to use this season's crop...

This is more of an assembly than a recipe:

Method

Fill a jug with water and some sliced apple, ginger and rhubarb (quantities are up to you).  Let sit at room temperature and drink throughout the day, poured in a glass over ice if you so wish.


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Turmeric Shake

I've had a little wake up call with some patches of eczema creeping back and realised that I am more stressed than I was giving myself credit for.  As well as taking more time to relax, practice yoga and get out and about in nature, I will be upping my intake of anti-inflammatory foods.  Starting with this delish turmeric shake.

Choose the coconut water and added hemp/chia seeds for a great workout shake.

Ingredients
Serves 2

1 banana
1tsp turmeric powder
1tsp maca powder
1/2tsp vanilla powder
1/4tsp ground cinnamon
100ml full fat coconut milk
300ml almond or rice milk or coconut water

Optional extras
- 1tbsp hemp or chia seeds, either sprinkled on top or blended in.

Method

- Add all ingredients to a blender and blend.  Alternatively, blend with a stick blender in a jug.

Avo Cacao Smoothie

Smoothie or pudding, this one will need a spoon.  It's deliciously rich and thick, the Baobab adding a sharp citrus tang.

Baobab is an African superfruit that's high in Vitamin C, fibre and antioxidants.  I'm fully cheering on the current #MakeBaobabFamous campaign created by Aduna World which goes towards supporting the sustainable income of 10million rural African households.

Ingredients
Makes 2 glasses

1 avocado
2tbsp cacao
2 dates
3tsp baobab (optional)
1/2tsp vanilla powder
400ml plant based milk

Extras: chia and hemp seeds

Method

- Using a blender (stick or standalone), blend all ingredients until smooth.

- Pour into two glasses and top with chia and hemp seeds for an Omega and protein hit.

This is an energy rich smoothie so would be great to have before a workout.


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Mexican Hot Chocolate

Years ago I visited the west coast of America and somewhere along the way I got this incredible Mexican hot chocolate, which blew my taste buds.  Then years later, Green & Blacks released their Maya Gold chocolate bar - same thing happened.  This hot chocolate is everything America and G&B gave me, then some.  It's thick, creamy, indulgent, sweet, orangey... and pretty good for you, but keep that on the DL.

Tips: a cup is enough, even for a greedy guts like me.  Don't heat the milks too high, that way the cacao and lucuma will retain their wicked properties.  You'll notice that no sweetener is added - the combination of the milks give it just enough sweetness.

Ingredients
Makes 1 cup

Use the cup you are drinking from to measure the liquid.  If you’re using a mug double all ingredients but increase the spices to taste (just under double should do it).

1/4 cup rice milk (sweetener, thickener, cr*p free – I use Rude Health)
3/4 cup good quality coconut milk (sweetener, thickener, cr*p free - I use this one which is deliciously thick and just coconut and water)
3 Slices orange peel (use a potato peeler and try not to get any white pith)
Generous pinch ground ginger
Generous pinch ground cinnamon
Knifes tip vanilla seeds
1.5tsp cacao
Optional: 1/2tsp lucuma

Method

- Warm the milks, orange and spices over a low heat – do not allow to boil.  Use a whisk to remove any lumps formed by the spices. 

- Remove from the heat and whisk in the cacao and lucuma, if using.  If you’re worried about lumps, crate a paste with the cacao (and lucuma) and some cold rice milk before adding to the warm milks.

- Serve in a cup with a splash of coconut milk, some cinnamon and orange zest.


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Easy Eggnog

I have always loved eggnog - I was given a small glass once at Christmas when I was a child and thought I was SO grown up!  

Ingredients
Serves 6-8

600ml coconut milk
400ml almond milk
10 cardamom pods
1tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1 large or 2 small cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla pod – seeds and pod
1tbsp maple or brown rice syrup
5 free range eggs

Optional - a shot of Bourbon or espresso

Method

- Pour the milks into a saucepan and add the spices and syrup.

- Bring to a boil and then remove from the heat.  Leave for 20-30 minutes to steep.

- Sieve the milk to remove the spices. 

- Whisk the eggs in a bowl or jug.  Trickle in two ladlefuls of the infused milk, whisking as you go. 

- Slowly pour the egg and milk mixture back into the rest of the milk, whisking as you go.

- Blitz with a stick blender or whisk with beaters until there is about an inch of foam floating on top. 

- Serve warm in glasses with a little nutmeg and cinnamon sprinkled on top.


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Turmeric Milk

If you were ever given hot milk and honey before bed time as a child then you will love this Turmeric Milk.  It's warm and just sweet enough and very comforting.  Not to mention it has great anti-inflammatory properties.

My favourite milks to use in this drink are rice, almond or coconut.  I like a combination of coconut and rice milk best.

Ingredients
Makes 1 serve - multiply ingredients for more

1 mug of plant based milk
1/2tsp coconut oil
1/2tsp turmeric
1tsp lucuma (optional)
1/4tsp cinnamon
Grated nutmeg and cinnamon to sprinkle on top

Method
- Add the milk and coconut oil to a saucepan and warm gently over a low-medium heat.
- Mix the turmeric, lucuma and cinnamon to a little cold milk in the glass and stir to create a paste. 
- Add a little of the warm milk from the saucepan to the paste, stir, then add back to the pan.
- Whisk the milk until it reaches drinking temperature - warm but not hot.
- Serve in a glass with a sprinkle of cinnamon and ground nutmeg.

NB: If you have a stick blender, simply add the turmeric, cinnamon and lucuma to the milk and coconut oil in the saucepan and blend to combine.

I think this drink is perfectly sweet, without adding any sweetener.  If you think it needs more, then add some raw honey or maple syrup to taste, towards the end of the warming process.


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Super Hot Chocolate

Cold weather calls for one thing: hot chocolate.  Before you go rushing to Starbucks, try making this super(food) version at home.  It's free from any sugar (depending on whether your milk is sweetener free) but is still sweet enough to dampen any cravings due to the lucuma and cashew butter.  I'd actually go as far to say this is a hot chocolate that is good for not only your soul, but your health too.  I love lucuma - it's a super superfood in my book and I have a serving most days.  It's a great anti-inflammatory and is said to aid in healing the skin as well as keeping it supple.  Read about why I love cacao here.

Ingredients
Serves 1 - simply multiply the ingredients for more servings

1 mug plant based milk, such as almond
1 level tbsp. raw cacao
1 level tbsp. *lucuma
1 level tbsp. cashew butter

Method

- Add 1/4 of the milk to a saucepan, along with the cacao and lucuma.  Whisk until a smooth paste has formed, then add the cashew butter and whisk to combine.
- Gradually add the rest of the milk whilst whisking, to avoid lumps forming.
- Turn the hob on and continue to whisk over a medium heat until warm/hot.
- Serve in a mug with a dusting of cacao.

*Available at most health food stores and online.

NB: The whisking gives a smooth and frothy hot chocolate, so is well worth the extra effort!


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Orange & Pomegranate Spritz

You've got a group of friends coming over but one of them doesn't drink alcohol and isn't a fan of 'pop' (yes, that's me!)  You don't want to offer them (your finest) tap water... what are your other options?  This, my friend...

This is one of those recipes that was a result of an accident... half way through pummelling the life out of the orange and pomegranate, I realised I'd added basil instead of the thyme I had intended to.  A quick taste and I had a little dance... it turns out orange, pomegranate and basil go very well!

Ingredients
Makes 4 short glasses

Kernels from 1 pomegranate
Juice of 2 oranges
Small handful basil leaves
Ice
Sparkling water

Method

- In a cocktail shaker or large glass add the pomegranate kernels (save a few kernels to garnish), orange juice and basil.
- Crush using a muddler until well squashed and combined.
- Add a little ice and place the lid on.  Shake well.
- Pour through a strainer into the glasses, add some ice and top up with the sparkling water.
- Garnish with a sprig of basil and a few pomegranate kernels.


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Blueberry & Nectarine Crush

As part of my efforts to get everybody drinking more water, I present to you a delicious combination of flavours - blueberry, nectarine and orange (and is way nicer than any squash you can buy).  Even when it's not hot and sunny, it's still important to get your daily quota of water.  This drink is so tasty, you won't even think about the fact that your drinking water.  Plus you get the added nutrition from the fruit and no added sugar.

Ingredients
Makes 2 glasses

Large handful blueberries
2 nectarines, de-stoned and roughly chopped
Juice of 2 oranges
Ice
Water

Method

Pop the blueberries, nectarine and orange juice in a cocktail shaker (or glass)

Crush with a muddler

Add a few cubes of ice and a glug of water

Pop the lid on and shake vigorously (or stir if it’s in a glass)

Pour through the strainer (or a sieve) into two glasses with ice

Top up with water and garnish with blueberries

#drinkmorewater


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Cucumber, Lime & Mint Spritz

It can sometimes be difficult to get a drink other than water in a bar when you're alcohol free and don't want a sugar/chemical laden potion.  It's also much nicer to hold something which slightly resembles a cocktail, or at least something a bit more fancy than tap water (if only to avoid the 'are you not drinking?' question).  A follower recently inspired me to make this cucumber, lime and mint spritz.  It's the perfect thing to make for a BBQ/party or order in a bar, as they usually have all of the ingredients to hand.  Failing those two, just make it for yourself at home... it's totally worth it.

Ingredients
Makes 1 tall glass

3-inch piece cucumber
Juice of 2 limes
2 sprigs mint, leaves picked
Crushed Ice
Still or sparkling water

Method

- Put the cucumber, lime juice and mint into a tall glass. 

- Use a muddler or the end of a rolling pin to crush. 

- Fill the rest of the glass with crushed ice.

- Top up with still or sparkling water.

- Pop in a straw, a sprig of mint and some cucumber slices (and some lime peel) to make it look extra fancy. 

This drink will be your saviour on a hot summers day...


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Carrot, Apple & Ginger Juice

Drinking carrot juice is a great way of helping to protect the skin from the negative effects of sun exposure, due t it's beta-carotene content (which our body converts to Vitamin A).  I drunk a ton of it before I went away and it definitely made a difference.

Drink a glass of this on a regular basis and you'll be adding a layer to your sun protection armoury.

P.S. Aside from being super good for you (anti-inflammatory and a good hit of veggies), it also tastes blummin' yummy. 

Ingredients
Makes 2-3 serves

6-7 carrots
3 apples
1/4 pink/red grapefruit, skin and pith removed
3 inch piece cucumber
1/2 lemon
2 inch piece ginger
2 sprigs mint

Method

Juice all ingredients and serve over ice.  Take it to the next level and hang a slice of ginger over the edge of the glass and whilst you're at it a mint leaf and a carrot stick to stir.  Bloody Mary eat your heart out.

#DIYRetreat

*Confession time... I don't wear suncream.  As in, I choose not to wear suncream.  Thats not to say that I am irresponsible with it - quite the contrary.  What's this got to do with carrot juice?  Quite a lot, as it happens.  Most of the suncreams that sold in Boots, Superdrug or your favourite supermarket are LOADED with chemicals which I'd rather not put on my skin.  And they damn irritate my it too, cause me to come out in hives and itch like crazy - an absolute no-no for anyone with eczema.  I am yet to find an all natural one which doesn't irritate my skin but am always on the look out in case of the one time that I get caught out.

Being responsible when not wearing suncream involves other ways of protecting myself from the sun... but that's all to be covered in Part 2 of my DIY Retreat Post.  If you missed Part 1, you can catch it here.