Lemon coconut cupcakes

Good afternoon lovely people! Hope everyone has had a lovely weekend- I certainly have! It’s funny that despite how busy life gets, if were passionate, we always make time for the things that we enjoy doing- and blogging deliciously healthy recipes is something I just love to share with you guys. These recipes are often developed through me standing in the kitchen, looking at a table of different fruits and plant-based ingredients and experimenting how good being healthy can really taste! I blogged a recipe a while ago- my vegan lemon & coconut loaf and just loved the way these flavours complimented each other. So today I give you, these deliciously flavoured vegan cupcakes made with plant-based deliciousness. They’re great for sharing (especially when you have a big family like I do :)). I find baking such a sociable way to spend time. I love creating recipes that I can share with friends and family, along with encouraging them to opt for the healthy ‘treats’ instead of the traditional kinds of ones that are packed with processed and refined sugars.

Ingredients (makes 12)

  • 2 1/2 cups of self-raising wholewheat flour
  • 1/2 cup of desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 cup of dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups of soya milk
  • 2 lemons (for zest and juicing)
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

For the icing-drizzle

  • 2 cups of icing sugar
  • Juice of half of a freshly squeezed lemon
  • 1/4 cup of coconut milk

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and line 12 cupcake cases.
  • In a bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, apple cider vinegar and soya milk, until smooth.
  • Mix in the coconut oil, then the vanilla essence and desiccated coconut.
  • Grate the lemon zest and fold into the mixture. Then squeeze in the juice from the 2 lemons. This will achieve a very lemony taste to the cupcakes so if you are not keen on a strong lemon flavour just don’t add as much of the juice.
  • Pour the mixture evenly into the prepared cupcake cases and put in the oven for 20 minutes.
  • Allow to cool completely  before drizzling with icing.

For the icing- mix all the ingredients in a bowl and drizzle over the lemon and coconut vegan cupcakes.

I hope you enjoy this vegan cupcake recipe as much me, my family and friends did!

SHK x

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Dark choc vegan bounty bars

Happy weekend everyone! After being away all week I’m very pleased to be back in the kitchen trying out and developing new recipes! I decided to take some time to finally perfect these healthy(ish) vegan bounty treats. The reason why I have labelled them ‘healthyish’ is because, although I have used nutritious ingredients, you only need small amounts of them to obtain the nourishing health benefits. I’m talking about the healthy fats- you can read more about these types of fat in a blog post I wrote here.

So this recipe is something I have been trying to get right for a while and didn’t want to post them until I was completely happy with the way that they tasted. It was a challenge to get the consistency I desired as I wanted to achieve a soft textured inside, however I still needed the mixture to be hard enough to mould.

So after a fair amount of trial and error… here you have it- dark chocolate vegan bounty bars.

Dark chocolate vegan bounty bars

These delicious healthy snacks are naturally filled with a dreamy flavour, purely achieved through the ingredients I chose to use- you can see the benefits of coconut oil here.

Ingredients (makes 8-10)

  • 1/4 cup of coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk (unsweetened)
  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup dsiccated coconut (plus extra for decoration)
  • 150g of dark chocolate (I used 90% cacao)

Method

  • In a bowl, mix together the coconut flour, dessicated coconut and milk- I used a wooden spoon to gently beat it.
  • Add the maple syrup and the coconut oil. Then mix in the oil until it starts to merge together.
  • Gradually take out parts of the mixture, and mould 8-10 bars- this is easier if you use slightly wet hands. If you find it difficult to put together, then just smooth over the creases with water and they will mould nicely.
  • Leave the bars to cooling on baking paper in the fridge.
  • Whilst they’re in the fridge, melt the dark chocolate, ready to dip the bars in. It is easy to use a tool that doesn’t mean getting messy (see picture above).
  • Once all covered- leave them to cool for up to 2 hours and then enjoy!

These are great for keeping in the fridge and eating to satisfy your sweet tooth craving! They will last up to 5 days in the fridge.

SHK x

Raw cacao- health benefits

So today I made chocolate and coconut cupcakes and thought I would blog about the delicious nutritiousness of the recipe! To achieve such a rich chocolate flavour I use raw cacao powder which is just packed with antioxidants! It can also supply us with great long-lasting energy and has high levels of calcium. However, this product may vary in nutritional value so make sure you track down a good organic powder. The one I recommend you can find here.

healthy cacao cupcakes

Personally, I love chocolate- the darker the better! It’s nice to treat ourselves to indulgent foods but I always keep in mind two things… 1) moderation is key 2) what are the health benefits of what I’m eating? Although chocolatey foods are considered a ‘treat’, you will be happy to know that it also provides us with certain health benefits. However, this does not apply to all things chocolatey… I’m talking about the great quality, organic raw stuff that contains a high percentage of cacao– anything over 70 percent is considered dark chocolate but I always go for 85-90 percent. Raw cacao contains almost 4 times as much antioxidant content than regular processed dark chocolate. So when I start baking anything chocolatey, I use organic cacao powder that can do a lot of good for your insides and is also 100 percent plant-based!

It makes you happy

Cacao boosts the serotonin levels in the brain. This is a chemical messenger that helps stabilise our moods, therefore when levels are boosted, so is our state of mind. Phenethylamine in cacao also triggers the release of endorphins and can increase libido!

It can help protect your heart

It contains anti-inflammatory antioxidants that help protect the heart. These antioxidants- flavanols– can also help fight cardiovascular disease and improve blood circulation.

It improves cognitive function

A Harvard study demonstrated that adults who drank 2 cups of cacao a day, increased the blood flow to their brain and improved their memory.

It makes your hair shine

It is an excellent source of sulfur, which is great for strong nails and shiny hair. The flavonols contained can also improve skin hydration, so you can look good on the outside and inside!

Read more: http://dailysuperfoodlove.com/2852/21-fantastic-benefits-of-cacao/#ixzz3yAwMD7KT 

Below are some little cakes I made using the above ingredients! You can try the recipe here.

Enjoy!

SHK x

 

Banana & cashew bread

Yay it’s the weekend- the days where I spare myself the most time to really work on and develop new recipes. I have found myself craving banana bread all week so decided to work on a new recipe that I hadn’t tried before. I have taken my banana and blueberry loaf recipe and made a few changes to give you this DELICIOUS banana and cashew nut loaf. Being that I’m such fan of banana bread I am sure there are new recipes that I will work on in the future but, for now, I hope you enjoy this nutritious loaf as much as I did!

Banana health benefits

  • Bananas are rich in potassium- an essential vitamin that aids a healthy functioning heart.
  • They are high in fibre and can relive heart burn symptoms and help indigestion.
  • They make you happy! Bananas contain compounds that provide the body with natural energy as well as increasing levels of serotonin which lessen stress and anxiety.
  • They are also high in vitamins such as vitamin Cvitamin B6 and magnesium.

 Ingredients

  • 3 cups of whole wheat spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup of coconut sugar
  • 3 mashed bananas
  • 1 whole banana
  • 3/4 of a cup of organic cashew nuts
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 cup of soya milk
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil (and extra for greasing the tin)
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon

 Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and grease a 1lb loaf tin with coconut oil.
  • In a bowl, mash 2 bananas and combine with the dark brown sugar and coconut oil (this can be done with a fork or in a blender, I used a fork).
  • In a sperate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and coconut milk and soya milk. Then add the banana mix and whisk until combined.
  • Gently mix in the cinnamon, then add the cashew nuts.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Then cut the whole banana in half down the middle of the banana, so you can split it on top of the cake (see picture above).
  • Bake in the oven for 1 hour (until knife comes out clean). Leave to cool for 10 minutes before removing the loaf from the tin.

 Enjoy!

SHK x

Raspberry coconut balls

Who doesn’t like treats like this?! They are easy and simple to make, there’s no baking involved and if you get the right recipe- they are sooo deliciously nutritious! I like using this phrase as this is what I try to promote through my recipes- foods we can eat that satisfy us, taste amazing, and we don’t have to feel guilty about it! It is so important that we do not deprive ourselves of ‘sweet treats’. But how great is it when we find a naturally ‘sweet treat’ that can provide us with some nourishing goodness?!

These raw raspberry balls taste like an absolute dream! I took my raspberry almond balls recipe and altered it slightly to create an intense coconut flavour rolled in with fresh raspberries for a naturally added fruity flavour. I made these raw snacks with organic coconut flour, which is great for boosting your fibre intake as well as providing rich amounts of trace minerals. I also used coconut oil, which is a great plant-based ingredient to have in your kitchen- you can read about the health benefits of this on my nutrition page blog post here.

Ingredients (makes 12 balls)

  • 3/4 of a cup of coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup of desiccated coconut
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut milk (unsweetened)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 12 fresh raspberries- mashed (or 1 tablespoon of raspberry jam)

Method

  • In a bowl, mix together the coconut flour, desiccated coconut and the unsweetened milk.
  • Add in the vanilla essence and oil.
  • Add the freshly mashed raspberries (or jam) until you reach a doughy paste-like consistency.
  • Roll the mixture into 12 evenly sized balls and place in the fridge on baking paper for an hour.
  • Enjoy these raw balls chilled! (They will last in the fridge for 4-5 days).


Peanut butter cheesecake bites

I’ve been wanting to try out some raw, vegan cheesecake bites for a while now and after seeing this delicious recipe on Melanie Lionello’s website, I thought I would give them a go- being that I love peanut butter! I made a few small changes to the ingredients but they went down a treat!

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Ingredients (makes 6)

For the base:

  • 1/2 cup medjool dates, soaked in hot water and drained
  • 1/2 cup almonds

For the cheesecake:

  • 3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked in boiling water for 30 mins and drained
  • 3 tbs coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup of raw cacao powder
  • 12 raspberries

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Method

  • Place the ‘base’ ingredients into a blender and pulse until combined. Holding in a ball, tear off roughly 6 equal portions and press them into a silicone cupcake tray to create the base of the cheesecake bite, place into the freezer.
  • Rinse out your blender and add all the ingredients except for the raspberries for the cheesecake.
  • Blend on high for 1 minute if using a vitamix (or similar) and until the mixture is completely smooth if using a processor. Take out your bases from the freezer, place 2 raspberries into each of the 6 cupcake holes.
  • Pour the cheesecake mixture into each cupcake hole equally freeze for 2-3 hours.
  • Pop out of silicone moulds and enjoy!

Find Melanie’s recipe here!

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Non-dairy, calcium rich foods

Throughout our life, our bodies’ bones will continue to lose and create new cells in order to maintain good bone health. It is our responsibility to ensure this happens successfully, by suppling our body with the nutrients it needs to do so.

Calcium is an essential nutrient to our bones. If we do not intake the recommended 700mg a day, we put ourselves at risk of reduced bone mass, and potentially suffering with osteoporosis in later life. When people think of calcium intake, they tend to turn towards dairy products however, there are many other ways in which we can consume the calcium that our body needs, from plant based sources.
Here is an idea of how easy it might be to get your recommended daily intake of calcium:
Soya milk
Plant based milks such as almond and soya, provide around 300mg of calcium per 8oz.
Kale
Kale contains 180mg of calcium per 8oz. Kale is easy to blend into smoothies, and as well as providing calcium, it provides us with a lot of other autoxidising nutrients too.
Almonds
Almonds, being one of the healthiest types of nuts there is, contain 75mg of calcium per oz (this equates to about 23 almonds).
Oranges
As well as being rich in vitamin C, oranges are provides us with 75mg of calcium per one orange. They are also great for boosting your immune system!
White beans 
Legumes are also a great source of calcium. 1 cup of white beans contains around 190 mg of calcium.
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Organic Almond Milk- photo from www.huffingtonpost.com

Vegan berry pancakes 

I Love pancakes! I love the taste, the texture, the flavours you can put into them- and, it makes me feel a bit like a kid again! Making them was always so exciting when we were little because they were supposed to be a treat. But what if we made them just a little bit healthier… Take out all the processed ingredients- and replaced them with organic plant-based ingredient? That would make them A LOT more healthy right?! So that’s what I have done- developed a vegan recipe that includes no refined sugars and has nutritional value. The recipe that I have developed requires only a small amount of dark brown sugar that has not been refined like the white version has.

So, I’ve been trying out different vegan pancake recipes and this one (so far), is the most delicious! These are definitely a healthy version of traditional pancakes as they contain no refined sugars and are made up using organic plant-based ingredients. I also added fruit into the mixture for added nutrition and a naturally sweet taste…

Ingredients (makes 6-8 small ones)

  • 2 cups of wholewheat flour
  • 1 cup of soya milk
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon of dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 cup of mashed berries, and extra for topping (I used blackberries)

Method

  • In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar and baking powder.
  • Gradually add the soya milk and the coconut oil. Stir in the oil and be sure not to over mix.
  • Gently fold in the mashed berries, and leave the mixture for 5-10 minutes… This way you will have a ‘fluffier’ pancake mix.
  • Heat a saucepan, and use coconut oil to grease the pan. Spoon on a small amount of mixture (depending on how big you want your pancake) and allow to cook on each side. Once the pancake is cooked, transfer it to a plate and repeat with the rest of the mixture until you have a pile of vegan berry pancakes. Top with extra berries and enjoy!

 


  

I hope you enjoy this delicious vegan alternative and I am sure I will be working on similar recipes soon!

Enjoy!

SHK x

Coconut oil health benefits

As you may have seen- I use coconut oil in most, if not all of my recipes. I have previously written a blog post addressing the beneficial reasons of drinking coconut water, but I am now going to give some insight as to why I just love using coconut oil! Apart from the fact that it helps add delicious taste and texture to my recipes- it also adds nutritional value… Various human studies have confirmed that the combination of fatty acids that coconut oil possesses, have positive effects on our health.

It contains healthy fats

Although coconut oil is high in saturated fat, it is not the fat that you find in a block of cheese. The fat found in coconut oil is metabolised differently, meaning we can use these fats as sufficient sources of energy. These fatty acids are made up of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which not only provide longer-lasting sources of energy but also help burn fat in the body.

It kills off bad bacteria

Coconut oil contains something called ‘lauric acid‘. Studies have revealed lauric acids helps fight bad bacteria that lead to viruses in the body.

It may reduce risk of heart disease 

Studies have suggested that the good kinds of saturated fats that coconut oil possesses, can aid in raising the good cholesterol levels (HDL) whilst decreasing bad cholesterol (LDL) Over a long-term period, this can then lead to reduced risk of heart disease.

Boosts brain function

Coconut oil contains ketone bodies, which supply energy for the brain. Researchers have suggested that ketone can provide a unique energy for source for any malfunctioning cells, and aid in reducing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

Lastly, aside from the amazing health benefits that coconut oil provides us with, it is also great for dry skin and damaged hair… So you can also use coconut oil to look beautiful on the outside as well as the inside of the body!

SHK x