Pitta Pizzas

This is barely even a recipe, more just an idea for a quick meal, and a great way to make a kid-size pizza!  It’s also great fun for kids because they can choose their own toppings for their pizza, and if they choose their toppings, they’re more likely to eat them, I find.  You can set up a make-your-own-pizza bar, with different ingredients chopped up in bowls, for example onions, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, pineapple, even things like broccoli, kale, chickpeas, anything really.  It doesn’t have to be traditional pizza toppings.

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You could use homemade sauce or try to find a store-bought pizza sauce with no added sugar or salt.  I love Janet’s Just Delicious sauces, which are really healthy!  And some grated vegan cheese if you like.  We love Violife for pizza!

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As you can see, the kids liked them!  They’re a bit messy for toddlers but so worth it.

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Ingredients:

Serves 4

A pack of 4 pitta breads

1 jar of pizza sauce (or homemade sauce)

A selection of chopped veggies (e.g. onion, mushroom, tomatoes, peppers, olives, etc.)

Grated vegan cheese (optional)

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Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Top each pitta with a few tablespoons of pizza sauce and spread it out to the edges.

Add your toppings and vegan cheese.

Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

Shepherd’s Pie Stuffed Baked Potatoes (with a cheat ingredient)

You might have seen videos (vegan and non-vegan) of shepherd’s pie stuffed baked potatoes.  I love (vegan) shepherd’s pie so thought it was a great idea, but I’m also busy (and lazy) so don’t get around to making it much.  Recipes that have several different steps and use too many pots and dishes are a bit of a hassle, so I decided to make it with a cheat ingredient.

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I had a few of these Amy’s Kitchen tins of soup, that I had bought to have easy food in the house while I have a newborn, and thought they’d make a perfect shepherd’s pie filling.  I’ve tried it with the lentil vegetable soup and lentil soup and they both work great.  They’re pretty healthy and nice and thick so were delicious.  You could use other lentil and vegetable soups too if you like.

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So it makes the recipe really easy, simply a baked potato, with a lentil soup filling, and mashed potato on top.  The perfect comfort food and a good portion size for one person.

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Ingredients:

Serves 4

4 large potatoes (I used roosters)

Extra virgin olive oil (or any oil you like)

Sea salt (optional)

1 tin of vegan lentil soup

Black pepper

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Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.

Use a fork to poke about 10 holes in each potato.  Rub a little olive oil and salt on the potatoes (optional).

Bake the potatoes in the oven for about 50 minutes.

When the potatoes are cooked, remove them from the oven and keep the oven turned on.  Let the potatoes cool slightly so you can handle them.

With the potatoes lying on their side, slice the top off and use a spoon to scoop out some of the potato.  Put this in a bowl and mash it with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.

Fill the potatoes with the lentil soup, there should be enough for four potatoes.

Top the potatoes with the mashed potato.  You can drizzle on some olive oil, salt and pepper if you like.

Put the potatoes back into the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until nicely browned on top.

Healthy Rice Crispy Buns

I made this recipe for my food demo at Cork Vegfest recently so here’s the recipe.  They’re our favourite treat at the moment, though the kids keep giving out to me because I keep eating too many.  But they’re so quick to make that I can just whip up another batch when I eat them all!  They’re really yummy but I can’t eat just one.

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Rice crispy buns were always my favourite thing to make for parties, because they’re so quick and easy to make.  These are a healthier version but taste just as good (or better) in my opinion.  I like to store them in the freezer so me and the kids have a quick snack any time we feel like it.  They’d be really handy to have in the freezer for if your kids have friends over or something.

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They’re made with wholegrain puffed rice, peanut butter (I use Meridian brand which is 100% peanuts), cacao powder and are naturally sweetened, so are really healthy.  They also have some extra healthy stuff added, so I know the kids are getting a lot of goodness from them.

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You could make different variations of them, use a different kind of nut butter if you don’t like peanut butter (hazelnut butter makes a nutella flavour rice crispy bun!), or sunflower seed butter if you’re allergic to nuts, you could leave out the cacao to just have a peanut buttery version, or add in different extra ingredients like chia seeds, chopped nuts, etc.  I think vegan mini marshmallows are delicious in this recipe!

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Ingredients:

Makes about 15 buns

1 cup of peanut butter (preferably no added sugar or salt)

1/4 cup of cacao powder

1/4 cup of agave syrup (or other vegan liquid sweetener)

3 cups of wholegrain puffed rice cereal

Optional extras: I used 2 tbsp ground flax seeds, a small handful of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and raisins

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How they’re made:

Add the peanut butter, cacao powder and agave syrup to a food processor or large bowl and mix thoroughly.  (If the peanut butter you use is a little dry then you might need to add some extra agave syrup to make the mixture easy enough to mix.  A food processor helps for this recipe but isn’t necessary.)

Stir in the wholegrain puffed rice cereal by hand, and the optional extras, until well combined with the chocolatey sauce.

Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases and put in the freezer for 30 minutes or more.  I like to eat these straight from the freezer, though you can store them in the fridge too (they’ll be more sticky if stored in the fridge).

Warning, these are quite messy for toddlers to eat!

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Vegan Lactation Cookies

The other day I had some oatmeal cookies (ok, lots of oatmeal cookies) and within a couple of hours my boobs were pretty engorged and leaking milk, and were engorged all night after that, until the baby had a huge feed in the morning and then got sick all over my bed!  I guess it’s safe to say that my milk supply is good at the moment, but I decided to try making my own lactation cookie recipe anyway.  Well maybe I just wanted to eat more cookies, but I had been meaning to try making lactation cookies and they might come in handy sometime when I feel like my milk supply needs a boost.

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Lactation cookies can be a yummy way to try to give your supply a bit of a boost for people who already have a good supply.  If you truly have low supply then it’s best to contact a lactation consultant or a group like La Leche League for advice as lactation cookies won’t help people who really have low supply.

While there is no scientific evidence of oats increasing milk supply, many people say it works for them.  Lactation cookies also commonly contain brewer’s yeast and fennel seeds, which are thought to possibly increase milk production.  I’ve added lots of nutritious ingredients that I thought would also be beneficial to breastfeeding parents.  Even if it doesn’t work for increasing milk production, it’s a yummy treat that provides goodness and can be eaten one handed while holding a baby!  So I thought it was a recipe worth trying anyway.

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In my recipe I added ground flax seed, walnuts and pumpkin seeds to provide protein and omega 3’s (important for breastfeeding parents), ground almond to provide more protein and calcium, raisins and dried cranberries to make it sweeter and chewy and yummier, and dark chocolate-chips because I definitely need lots of chocolate when I have a baby to feed!  And ground fennel seeds, which adds a subtle flavour that I think goes really well with the chocolate.  I used coconut oil and coconut sugar to make them a little healthier than most cookies, and I think it gives them a nice flavour and the coconut sugar gives them a lovely golden brown colour.

I want to note that you don’t need to eat super healthily to produce enough milk or good quality breast milk.  As long as you’re not malnourished then your milk will usually be perfect.  But it is good to have some healthy stuff too (and cookies are always good!).  My aim was to make these cookies a nice balance of being healthy and a sweet treat.

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Feel free to change it up a bit, you could replace the chocolate with more raisins, or the raisins with more chocolate, use all walnuts instead of walnuts and pumpkin seeds, add chopped almonds, chia seeds, cocoa powder, or anything you feel like really!  If you don’t have coconut sugar, use granulated sugar or brown sugar, and you can use any other fairly neutral flavoured oil or melted vegan butter instead of coconut oil, if you like.

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I made these cookies gluten-free because I have coeliac disease, so if you want to make them gluten-free, simply use a self-raising gluten-free flour mix (I like Dove’s Farm ones), certified gluten-free oats, and omit the brewer’s yeast (which I believe is not considered to be gluten-free).  They might not be as effective without the brewer’s yeast, but hopefully still are quite good with the oats, fennel and all the other healthy ingredients.

I’ve been eating these all day and really like them.  The kids also love them and Rian calls them “superhero cookies”!

So let me know if you try them and how they worked out for you.  I’m going to try making a batch of them whenever I feel like I need a bit of a boost, or just feel like some cookies.

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Ingredients:

2 tbsp. ground flax seeds

1 cup of porridge oats

1 cup of self-raising flour

1/2 cup of ground almonds

1/2 cup of coconut sugar

1 tbsp. brewer’s yeast

1 tsp. fennel seeds

1/2 tsp. salt

4 tbsp. extra virgin coconut oil

1 tsp. vanilla essence

45g raisins, dried cranberries or a mix

45g vegan chocolate chips or chopped up chocolate bar

30g chopped walnuts

30g pumpkin seeds

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How they’re made:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Mix the ground flaxseed with 6 tbsp of water and set aside.

Melt the coconut oil over a gentle heat.

Grind the fennel seeds with a pestle and mortar.

In a large bowl, mix the oats, flour, ground almonds, coconut sugar, brewer’s yeast, ground fennel seeds and salt.

Make a well in the centre and add the flaxseed mixture, the melted coconut oil, the vanilla essence and 1/4 of a cup of water.

Add the raisins/dried cranberries, chocolate-chips, chopped walnuts and pumpkin seeds and mix it all well with a wooden spoon.

Take 1 tbsp of the dough at a time and shape it into a cookie shape with your hands.  Place the cookies on a lined baking tray with a little space between them.

Bake for about 10 minutes until golden brown.

Leave to cool before serving.

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Blueberry Yoghurt Flapjacks

 

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I feel like this has been a really productive morning!  By 9am I had already made and photographed this recipe for a blog post.  Then I wasted about an hour and a half reading things online before actually getting around to writing the post…but here it is!

 

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I’ve made this before a few times and always meant to post it on the blog.  I made it before with coconut oil, but have changed a few things this time to make an oil-free recipe, with the addition of almond butter, which I think gives a really nice flavour and adds more nutrients than just using oil.

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These are really healthy, quick and easy to make, and make a lovely breakfast or snack.  They’re really handy for picnics or school lunches too.  They’re not too sweet, and my kids love them and so do I!  They provide lots of goodness from the oats, blueberries, almond butter and soya yoghurt.

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I made them with Alpro plain soya yoghurt, which has a little added sugar, but you could also make them with a plain soya yoghurt that has no added sugar.  You might want to add a little extra maple syrup if you do.  They’re definitely not as sweet as most flapjack recipes, but are much healthier!

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Ingredients:

2 cups of porridge oats

1/2 cup of plain soya yoghurt (plus extra to drizzle on top if you like)

2-3 tbsp. maple syrup

2 tbsp. almond butter

100g blueberries (fresh or frozen)

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How they’re made:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

In a large bowl, whisk together the soya yoghurt, maple syrup and almond butter until well mixed.

With a spoon stir in the oats and blueberries even well mixed so that the blueberries are fairly evenly distributed.  If there are a lot of blueberries in one of the flapjacks, it might not hold together so well, but will still taste great!

Spread the mixture evenly into a lined baking tray or cake tin and press it down firmly.

Bake for about 30 minutes until light golden brown on top.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool a bit before slicing.

Serve with extra soya yoghurt if you like.

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Chocolate Orange Energy Bites

I used to always make these kind of energy bites or energy bars before until my food processor broke.  I used the food processor almost every day so was so sad!  I got by with just a small smoothie maker for some things, but it can’t blend up dates and nuts.  I kept meaning to replace the food processor and finally did recently, so I can make a lot more healthy treats like these!  (My food processor is a Kenwood Multipro Compact which I love, but I think you could make these in any kind of food processor.)

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Oran has been a bit sick for a few days, just a bit of a fever and cough.  He’s still eating plenty but I wanted to make something to give him plenty of energy, and a nice treat for him.  And something to distract me from eating the kids’ leftover Easter eggs!  (They got bored of chocolate when they finished their white chocolate eggs, so there’s still dark chocolate ones.)

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These are really easy and quick to make, but taste great.  It’s easy to make different variations, and you can use different nuts or oats.  People usually use 1 cup of pitted dates to 1 cup of nuts/oats, then add whatever else you want to flavour it or add more goodness.  So it’s easy to remember that, and as long as you don’t add too much liquid ingredients then you can’t go wrong.  This time I made chocolate orange flavour.

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I made these with a mixture of walnuts and oats, and the dates, with some cocoa powder, orange zest, orange juice and ground flaxseeds.  The walnuts and flaxseeds provide omega 3, and I’m trying to eat more walnuts because I never remember to include them in my diet.  I think I like making this with a mixture of nuts and oats best, it gives them a nice texture and provides plenty of protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates.  So they’re very healthy and good to give you energy quickly, but also a nice sweet treat.  They’re also handy for kids’ lunch boxes (if the school is nut free, make them with just oats or try seeds like pumpkin and sunflower seeds).  They’re the perfect size for little toddler hands to hold, and are a good snack for baby led weaning too!

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Ingredients:

Makes about 10 energy bites

1 cup of pitted dates

1/2 cup of walnuts

1/2 cup of oats

2 tbsp cocoa powder

2 tbsp ground flaxseeds (optional)

Zest of half an orange

Juice of 1/4-1/2 an orange

How it’s made:

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend.  I used the juice of half an orange but start off with adding the juice of a quarter and add more until the mixtures comes together so that you can roll it into balls, but so that it’s not too wet.

Form the mixture into balls with your hands and store in the fridge.

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Vegan Oven-Roasted Roots Frittata

This recipe is based on a recipe in the River Cottage Veg Everyday cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.  I have a few vegetarian cookbooks and love trying to veganise any of the recipes that aren’t vegan.  Some are really easy to veganise, just by leaving out an ingredient or using vegan cheese or something, and some are more challenging.  I’ve always wanted to try veganising some of the egg recipes and I’ve been making a lot of vegan frittatas lately so decided to try making a vegan version of this oven-roasted roots frittata.

I love this cookbook and even though not all of the recipes are vegan, and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is not even close to being a vegan, it has lovely simple but delicious recipes (most of which are vegan or easily made vegan) and it’s one of my most used cookbooks.  I do prefer buying vegan cookbooks, but I have quite a few vegetarian cookbooks so might try to veganise a few more recipes soon!

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If you follow my Instagram or Facebook page then you might have seen that we’ve been eating a lot of things made with gram flour lately.  It’s a really useful and versatile ingredient, and makes a great replacement for eggs in omelettes and frittatas.  It’s pretty magical.  And it’s healthy too, and high in protein, so nutritionally replaces the eggs in a meal, and is actually much healthier I think (no cholesterol) and of course cruelty free.  And a bag of gram flour can make several meals, so it works out as really good value.

The kids love these omelettes and frittatas that I’ve been making, and I love seeing them eating something so nutritious.  You can add lots of veg to them so it’s a great way to get kids to eat them if they’re fussy eaters.

This recipe is really simple to make, cooked in the oven instead of fried, so you can get other stuff done while it’s in the oven, which is my favourite kind of meal.  It also tastes good cold, so is great for picnics or packed lunches or eating cold the next day for breakfast or lunch.

I used beetroot, butternut squash, onion and baby potatoes in this one.  But you could also use other root veg like carrots, parsnips, celeriac, swede, shallots, etc.  Or I think it’d be really nice with mediterranean veg like aubergine, courgette, red peppers and red onion, which I might try next time!

The cheese I used was a mixture of Violife Prosociano with Parmesan flavour and Violife Mature Cheddar, which are both really delicious.   But feel free to use any vegan cheese that you like.

Anyway, I hope you like it.  If you try it, let me know in the comments or on Instagram or Facebook!

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Ingredients:

About 600g root vegetables or squash, I used beetroot, butternut squash, onion and baby potatoes

1 large clove of garlic

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 cups of gram flour

Fresh or dried herbs, I used thyme

1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)

About 20g vegan hard cheese, such as Violife Prosociano or Cheddar

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

A pinch of kala namak/black salt (optional)

How it’s made:

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.

Peel the onion and any vegetables that need peeling, and chop them all into 2-3 cm pieces.  Peel the garlic and finely chop or crush.

Put all the vegetables in an ovenproof dish, about 23cm square.  Drizzle with the olive oil, garlic and some salt and pepper and toss the vegetables to coat them in oil.  Roast in the oven for about 40 minutes, stirring them about halfway through cooking.

Meanwhile, put the gram flour in a large bowl with the herbs, some salt and pepper and the nutritional yeast and kala namak if using.  Whisk together with 2 cups of water until it makes a smooth batter.

When the vegetables are done, take the dish out of the oven but don’t turn off the oven.  Pour the gram flour mixture over the vegetables evenly.  Grate the vegan cheese and sprinkle on top.  Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until it’s cooked through, checking occasionally so that it isn’t burning.

Slice the frittata and serve warm or cold.

*Based on a recipe from River Cottage Veg Everyday by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall