Date caramel slices

These bars are sooo dreamy, and the perfect treat (in my opinion anyway)! Made with a soft, chewy base, filled with a smooth date caramel and topped with rich dark chocolate… you really cannot go wrong! I have been wanting to make bars like these for ages, as a kid I was obsessed with caramel slices however, these were the kind that were high in fat and packed with sugar- not such a healthy treat! BUT I do believe a treat should be treat there are just healthier ways of enjoying them. These bars I actually prefer to the original ‘caramel slice’. They are sweet but not too sweet and they are made with ingredients that are actually nourishing our bodies… I have listed a few of the ingredients I use below with a little bit about their health benefits.

Oats… Among on the healthiest of grains, oats are packed with minerals and vitamins such as: manganese, phosphorus, magnesium and B1, as well as being a good source of carbs and protein. They are a great source of fibre, beta-glucan, which is suggested to increase the growth of good bacteria in the gut.


Ground almonds… Almonds are rich in vitamin E, which is essential for nourishing our skin (and slowing down the effects of ageing). They are also great foods for controlling our blood sugar levels, and are great for brain functioning. Almonds contain nutrients riboflavin and L-caterine, which are capable of having positive affects on brain function and preventing cognitive decline.

Coconut oil… I have a blog post on the health benefits of coconut oil- see my blog post here.  Please note, like anything, you should not consume excess amounts of coconut oil; to achieve the health benefits you only need to use 1 tablespoon a day.

Dates… Dates are good for our digestive health as they are a great source of fibre. They are also high in magnesium, which is known for its anti-inflammatory benefits.

Peanut butter… Although peanut butter is high in fat, you will be happy to know it is the good kind of fat- the type of fat that is good for heart health: monounsaturated fat. Peanut butter is also a good source of protein, potassium and vitamin E. (Note; not all nut butters are equal so look out for the brands that add sugars and sweetness to their nut butters. My preferred peanut butter is Meridian.

Dark chocolate… Yes, I LOVE dark chocolate (well most chocolate in fact) but dark is my favourite! Although we don’t need to be overdoing it on the chocolate front, you will be pleased to know that the darker the chocolate, the higher the amount of antioxidants it contains. So a few squares are actually deemed good for you!

So now you know that these bars our a lovely treat that also contain a number of health benefits.. you can start making them.


Ingredients 

Base

  • 3/4 cup of ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup of oats
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil (melted)
  • 4 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 1 pinch of salt (I use pink himalayan salt)

Middle

  • 10 medjool dates
  • 1 tablespoon of smooth peanut butter (I used Meridian)
  • Pinch of salt 

Top

  • 80g of melted chocolate of your choice (I used 85% green and blacks dark chocolate)

Method

  • Prepare a tin (roughly 8×8 inch) lining it with baking paper. 
  • Remove any stones from the dates and soak in boiling water for about an hour. 
  • In a bowl mix together the oats and ground almonds, salt and oats (I use Quaker Oats for this recipe as they are smaller oats). Then add the maple syrup and coconut oil. Combine the mixture until it’s almost dough like and spread across the bottom of your prepared tin, using your fingers to press and even it out. 
  • Put it in the freezer to set for 30 minutes. 
  • Drain the dates and use a food processor to purée them. If you’re like me and don’t have a food processor, you can use a sharp knife to cut them into small pieces, then place them in a bowl and use a fork to smooth them out (you will start to achieve a thick Caramel like consistency). 
  • Then add your smooth peanut butter and pinch of salt and mix in well with the date mix. 
  • Once the base has chilled, smooth the date Carmel on top of it and leave to chill in the freezer for one hour. 
  • 5 minutes before removing the base and Caramel from the freezer, you can melt your chocolate. Pour the melted chocolate over the caramel, using a spoon to smooth it over evenly (ish). 
  • Again, place in the fridge or freezer to set for 30 minutes. 
  • Using the baking paper, lift your caramel slab out of the tray and use a sharp knife to cut into slices. 
  • Note- you may want to leave it at room temperature before slicing as it can be very hard straight from the freezer. 
  • Store in the fridge. 


Enjoy!

Make sure you’re following SHK Instagram to keep up with my latest recipes! 

Chia Seed Jam

Hi guys!

Sorry it’s been a while… Living in LA for 3 months didn’t leave me a lot of time to develop new recipes let alone blog about them. However, I am back with a new and simple recipe that’s difficult not to love- (vegan) blueberry and raspberry chia seed jam! It’s easy to make, super quick, and you can store it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. And of course; it’s deliciously healthy!


Not only are you getting a whole load of antioxidants from the berries, but you’re packing in additional nutritional value from the chia seeds…

Chia seed nutritional value and health benefits

  • High in omega 3 and an excellent source of fibre.
  • Provides a great source of protein, calcium, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus.
  • Also contains potassium, zinc and vitamins B1, 2 and 3.
  • Studies have shown that chia seeds can help to improve type 2 diabetes.
  • Chia seeds can improve bone health due to the high amounts of calcium they provide- this is important for individuals who do not eat dairy.

vegan chia seed jam

Ingredients

  • 1/2 a cup of frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 a cup of frozen raspberries
  • 3 tablespoons of organic agave
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons of organic chia seeds

Method

  • Begin by placing the frozen berries and agave nectar in a saucepan on a medium heat.
  • Stir gently and you will see the berries start to break down and become syrupy. Mix in the chia and stir occasionally for approximately 10-15 minutes.
  • You will see the mixture begin to thicken- once this happens, remove from the heat and leave to cool for 5 minutes.
  • Transfer the jam into a jar and leave in the fridge for an hour before serving. This will last up to two weeks in the fridge.

vegan chia seed jam

This is my go to ‘scoop of nutrition’ as not only is it delicious but it’s super easy to eat… It’s great on toast, mixed in a smoothie, perfect to stir in to porridge and yummy to pair with peanut butter!

For more recipes you can follow Sophie’s Healthy Kitchen on Instagram.

 

Enjoy!

SHK x

 

Earth bowl

Earth bowl- vegan dinner

Hey guys! So I know I’m always hitting you with healthy ‘sweet treat’ recipes because I just love recipe developing so much… However, my diet in general is extremely healthy and full of plant based goodness- so today I am sharing one my favourite dinner recipes. You can read more about plant-based diets here.
Tonight my sister and I were cooking in our West Hollywood apartment a super easy and very healthy ‘earth bowl’.

Ingredients

So I haven’t given quantities, as my sister and I made a large batch to share… We did a two hour workout today so needed to fill up on lots of plant based proteins! There are different ways you can cook up the ingredients however I have given our particular method below…

Earth bowl- vegan dinner

Method

  • Firstly, rinse the lentils and boil for approximately 15 minutes. For every 1 cup of lentils use 3 cups of water.
  • Once the lentils are almost done, in a separate saucepan, heat the teriyaki sauce on a low heat and add the black beans. After 5 minutes, add the lentils and stir (still on a low heat).
  • You can then chop the vegetables and add them to the saucepan. It is best not to heat the veg for too long otherwise you risk losing nutrients. (I do not boil my carrots as I enjoy them raw so add them at the end). Once the dish is heated enough in the saucepan it can be served into a bowl and enjoyed! Super easy and packed with nutrients!

This vegan dish is full of plant based proteins (provided by the black beans, lentils and peas) and antioxidants from the vegetables. It is also high in fibre, potassium and vitamins B and C.

Enjoy!

SHK x

Frozen Berry Protein Smoothie

vegan protein smoothie

So I just loveeee smoothies… I find them a great way to pack in nutrients and they taste delicious!
The smoothie recipe I am sharing today is probably my favourite one to make before a workout- it is high in fibre, antioxidants and most importantly- protein! Protein is key to great workout! Is it essential for providing the amino acids to repair, maintain and build muscle. I used Pulsin Hemp Protein powder as this is a vegan protein. It is also gluten free and soya free with no added flavours or sweeteners.

Ingredients

  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 a cup of almond milk (unsweetened)
  • 2 tablespoons of hemp protein
  • 1 cup of mixed frozen berries

To read more about proteins and plant based diets read my blog post: plant based diets.

To check out more of my pre-workout smoothie recipes, you can read my featured blog post at http://www.thestylelane.com/pre-workout-smoothies/4592279831

You can also keep up to date with Sophie’s healthy kitchen via my instagram page.

Featured post: The endless benefits to a plant-based diet

I do not normally feature other blog posts on my site but I was approached by NOBA who are passionate about educating society in regards to heart health, and wanted to collaborate to help educate the public. Plant-based diets are extremely relevant to this topic, so I wanted to help spread valuable information…

The-endless-benefits-to-a-plant-based-diet-1

The Benefits

A plant-based diet will improve one’s general and overall health. Although, there are more specifics to consider:

  • Heart health

Harvard researchers tracked the health habits of roughly 110,000 people for the period of 14 years. It was found that people with higher intakes of fruits and vegetables have less chance of developing cardiovascular disease.

  • Aids in preventing diabetes

Roughly 387 million people are living with diabetes. According to the International Diabetes Federation, that number is expected to soar to nearly 600 million by 2035. Although reaching this number is preventable through a plant-based diet.

  • Weight-loss

A lot of research has been carried out regarding a plant-based diet and weight loss. The findings suggest that those who follow a plant-based diet tend to consume fewer calories, and thus weigh less than those who do not.

  • Fibre intake

Following a plant-based diet means consuming high quantities of fruits and vegetables, this means fibre is a key component of the diet. Fibre is an outstanding source for lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Fibre interacts with the ‘bad cholesterol’ in your digestive system and aids in removing it rather quickly from your body.

  • Hypertension control

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can lower blood pressure. This is due to the high quantity of potassium which is present within a plant-based diet.

The American Heart Association also gathered research regarding potassium. Potassium helps to reduce the negative effects of sodium, which in turn reduces blood pressure levels.

High blood pressure can create stress and anxiety within an individual, potassium can prevent this.

Meat and most animal-based products contain little to no potassium and actually do the opposite of a plant-based diet, and raise blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

  • Decreases cancer threats

Several foods such as meat and animal based products contain cancerous substances. Thus a plant-based diet, which is rich in nutrients from fruits and vegetables is advisable for those who have cancer; or have had cancer, in order to prevent it; slow it down; or never allow it to come back again.

Check out NOBA for more information on food for your heart health.

 

References:

http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/type-2-diabetes-guide/type-2-diabetes

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/how-eating-more-plant-based-foods-benefits-the-environment/

http://www.everydayhealth.com/news/8-ways-plant-based-diet-protects-your-heart/

Plant-based diets

plant based foods

Countless research has been carried out regarding the benefits of a plant-based diet. Not only is it good for the environment, but it is excellent for our overall wellbeing. Now, I am no vegan, but I am passionate about adding as many plants and as much colour to ones diet; so I thought I would share with you my knowledge of health benefits that go along with this way of living, and why it is so important to follow such a nutritious diet. This is not me encouraging a strict plant based diet but simply advising individuals to add more plants to their meals!

I know that a lot of individuals find the word ‘vegan’ rather extreme, so I always like to use the word ‘plant-based’. The issue a lot of people seem to have with a diet like this, is the amount or ‘lack of’ protein they perceive to be associated with this lifestyle choice. The obvious protein sources are usually animal based proteins like meat and dairy products. However, for individuals who have chosen a plant based lifestyle, there types of proteins are off the cards. So for a healthier alternative- I have listed some of my favourite sources of plant-based foods that can be combined to give equal amounts of protein….

Proteins are vital for both the structure and metabolic operations of the human body.

Functions of proteins:

  • Enzymatic
  • Transportation of cells
  • Hormonal function and regulation of metabolism
  • Immune function
  • Buffering function

So what are some delicious plant based proteins?

Quinoa- 1 cup contains more than 8 grams of protein and includes all nine of the essential amino acids that our body needs for growth and repair. Quinoa is great of either lunch or dinner, and is flavoursome mixed with different herbs or spices and vegetables.

Beans- Black, white, soy, kidney beans etc. all contain high amounts of protein. 2 cups of kidney beans will provide us with around 26 grams of protein. I regularly have kidney beans with my dinner- mixing them with lentils and plenty of veg.

Nuts and nut butter (such as peanut butter)- Nuts, I would go as far as saying, are an essential part of a plant-based diet. They are excellent sources of protein, and contain healthy fats. Make sure you choose raw nuts (not salted) and choose nut butters that have no added sugar or hydrogenated oils. I LOVE peanut paired with apple, or just snacking on a handful of raw almonds.

Soya milk- can contain up to 8 grams of protein per cup and is ideal to use with cereals, add to smoothies or simply drink on its own.

Green peas- legumes are great sources of plant based proteins. Green peas provide 8 grams of protein per 1 cup.

A lot of people think if you cut out meat- then what do you eat? But how wrong they are! There are so many other delicious foods that include proteins that provide far more nutritional value than a piece of steak. One of my favourite dinners to whip up in the evening is a mixture of wholegrains, lentils, kidney beans and a load of mixed veg! You’ve got various proteins, fibre, vitamins and minerals and a very low acidity level! By mixing up different plant proteins, you are providing yourself with an excellent variety of amino acids that also contain many other health benefits such as fibre, and various antioxidants.

plant based foods

This type of diet, naturally tends to be packed with plenty of fruit and veg… which is great! Fruits and vegetables contain countless antioxidants which are so important for our health. They aid in flushing out bad toxins from the body and attacking ‘free radicals‘ that can contribute to risk of diseases, including certain cancers. Antioxidants are also essential for ‘younger looking’ skin. Free radicals can attack cells and decrease the elasticity of your skin, causing your skin to age more quickly. Antioxidants will prevent this from happening.

Lastly, it is a lot easier (and healthier) to enjoy sweet treats, when you are following a plant based diet. I say easier, because they typically won’t contain as much saturated fat. For healthy sweet treat recipes- check out my recipes page. All recipes that I develop will have nutritional benefit, and taste delicious 🙂

To keep up with more of my recipe and nutrition posts, subscribe to my blog through the homepage or follow my instagram.

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Banana Nice-Cream

banana nice cream vegan

To make banana ice-cream (nice-cream) is so simple, so easy and so healthy! All that is needed is 4-5 frozen bananas, 1/4 cup of almond milk and maybe some deliciously healthy toppings…

Method (serves 2)

  • Chop your bananas into coins, and place in an airtight container or sealed bag. Leave to freeze overnight.
  • Place the frozen bananas in a vitamix/ food processor or powerful blender with the almond milk.
  • Blend and pulse at a high speed, and stop to scrape the mixture down every so often.
  • You will notice that the mix will start to become nice and thick. You can enjoy this instantly or put back in the freezer to enjoy later.
  • Add your desired toppings and enjoy!

I love banana nice-cream with nuts and seeds! They go so well together and provide loads more nutritional value- you can see the health benefits of nuts and seeds here.

I also added lots of cinnamon on top as I love the flavour and cinnamon acts as a powerful antioxidant for the body!

Fresh or frozen berries will add more delicious flavour and added antioxidants. Frozen berries have just as much (if not more) nutritional value as fresh ones do. Freezing fresh berries is a successful way of preserving their nutrients and phytochemicals.

This makes an amazing breakfast! Especially in this lovely weather we are having 🙂

SHK x

Homemade skin care

homemade vegan skincare

So, I have been in the kitchen, mixing up some different kinds of recipes recently… I have started making my own moisturising oils, body scrubs and hair care products- all vegan! The homemade vegan moisturiser I am going to tell you about today is my favourite one, that is great as a face and body moisturiser. I apply this every other night before I go to bed, and if I’m washing my hair in the morning, I will put some in my hair too as I find it keeps it looking so silky!

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The reason I have started making my own creams and moisturisers is so I know exactly what products I am putting on my skin. I have done a lot of research on this and looked into what oils and vegan ingredients are best to keep your skin looking and feeling young, healthy and glowing. So I am going to sum up for you guys, why and what ingredients I have used and how exactly to go about making your own!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup of sweet almond oil
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons of pure shea butter
  • 1 teaspoon of argon oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vitamin E oil

Why…

Almond oil- This is enriched with vitamin E, A and B. It helps unblock pores and seal in moisture to the skin.

Coconut oil- This really will leave your skin feeling beautifully soft. Much research has indicated that coconut oil is great for dry skin and hydrating skin cells. You can read about more of the health benefits of coconut oil here.

Shea butter- This will keep your skin looking healthy, and is perfect for helping to clear up and hydrate any types of dry skin. (Make sure you buy unprocessed/unrefined pure, organic shea butter).

Argan oil- This will help soften and hydrate the skin which is great for keeping the skin’s elasticity; keeping the skin looking youthful.

Vitamin E oil- This acts as a cleaning agent for the skin and can reverse premature ageing

How…

  • Place all the ingredients into a jar, and place the jar into a saucepan of water- bring to a low heat.
  • Stir the mixture in the jar every so often and make sure the ingredients is all completely melted before removing from the water in the saucepan.
  • Then pour the mix into a different jar and allow to cool. I like to keep mine in the fridge as if it is not refrigerated, it can be quite runny!

This organic, vegan moisturiser will leave your skin not only feeling soft and beautiful, but looking lovely and glowing too!

I use this on my face and hair every other day, and on my whole body everyday.

homemade vegan skincare

SHK x

Vanilla & blueberry oat muffins

vanilla and blueberry oat vegan muffins

Another plant based recipe here! I decided to work off my oat and raspberry vegan muffins recipe to create these lovely blueberry oat vegan muffins with a hint of vanilla flavour. These are great for snacking, giving your body fuel before the gym, or for breakfast to kick start your energy levels for a busy day ahead. I chose the ingredients carefully because as well as wanting to make them as healthy and wholesome as I can, I also need to make sure they’re just as yummy! For me, eating organic plant based foods just tastes so much better than anything containing and processed or refined ingredients- who wants to put that into their body?! Not me!

The oats and wholemeal ingredients that I used are great for slow releasing energy. This type of energy comes from complex carbohydrates which also contain far more nutrients than simple carbs (these are the carbs you need to stay away from!). Complex carbs will keep your body moving and feeling more energised for longer.

These muffins are also packed out with deliciously fresh, organic blueberries. As well as being an antioxidant for the body, they help protect our brains from oxidative stress. Furthermore, they have been suggested to help reduce the effects of memory loss as we get older. Follow the link below for more information regarding the benefits blueberries can have on our brains: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf9029332 

Ingredients (makes 6 large vegan muffins)

  • 2 cups of self-raising wholewheat flour
  • 1 cup of oats
  • 1/2 cup of light brown muscovado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup of almond milk
  • 1/2 soya milk
  • 1/4 cup of agave
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of vanilla essence
  • 1 cup of fresh blueberries (may want to add more, this is optional)

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and line a cupcake tin with 6 muffin cases.
  • In a bowl, combine the wholewheat flour, muscovado sugar, bicarbonate of soda and porridge oats.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the plant-based milks and apple cider vinegar. Gradually add the wet mixture to the dry mixture recipe, folding in the ingredients gently. Be careful not to over-mix.
  • Once the wet mix is combined with the dry mixture, stir in the agave.
  • Now, you can either mix in the blueberries to mixture and then pour them into the prepared cases, or (what I did) is this: spoon some of the mixture into the prepared cases, filling them only half way. Now take 5 or 6 blueberries and place them on top of the mix in the cases. Then pour the rest of the mixture into the cases (over the blueberries), and top with more blueberries. This way, when you cut into the muffin, you will have a nice blueberry filling!
  • Bake in the oven for approximately 22 minutes and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before removing from the hot tin (still leaving them in their cases).
  • You can enjoy these vegan muffins hot or cold. Remove the vanilla and blueberry oat muffins from their muffin-cases when you’re ready to eat them!

Enjoy!

SHK x