National Vegetarian Week is upon us, so why not try one of these delicious meat-free meals?
These dishes are full of flavour, texture and colour so you won't feel like you're missing out on anything at all.
For the Pasta and Cheese lovers..
Mac and three cheeses recipe
1 x 410g tin of evaporated milk
200g cream cheese
2 tsp English mustard
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
3 tbsp chi coconut oil
1 small garlic clove, crushed
175g Comté or cheddar, grated
75g stilton, crumbled
500g green beans
1 tbsp chopped chives
45g sourdough breadcrumbs
150g sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
Whisk the evaporated milk, cream cheese and mustard well. Add the nutmeg and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
Bring 3.5 litres of salted water to a boil, and add the macaroni, slowly, making sure the water is always boiling. Stir for a minute to stop the macaroni sticking together. Test after about eight minutes – the macaroni should be very al dente. Drain well and add to the cream-cheese mixture.
Mix a tablespoon of coconut oil and garlic and use this to grease a deep 20 x 20cm (8 x8 in) baking-dish. Spread half of the macaroni on the bottom of the dish. Scatter on half of the Comté and all of the stilton, cover with another layer of macaroni and finish with the rest of the Comté. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until bubbly and golden.
Boil or steam the green beans until tender with a slight crunch – about five minutes. Drain, place in a bowl and sprinkle with the chives.
Heat the coconut oil in a frying-pan. When hot, add the breadcrumbs and pecans and cook for two to three minutes, until crisp and golden. Add the beans and toss to coat them well.
Serve the macaroni with green beans and, if you wish, a few tomatoes on the side.
Mushroom, spinach, and blue-cheese lasagne
This creamy vegetarian lasagne full of chesnut mushrooms is perfect served with a big salad and some fresh crusty bread
3 tbsp olive oil
2 x 250g packs chestnut mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large clove of garlic, crushed
2 x 240g packs pre-washed fresh spinach
1 large jar ready-made white sauce (710g)
12 sheets ready-to-bake lasagne
125g blue cheese, crumbled
Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan, add half the mushrooms and fry until golden, about five minutes. Transfer them to kitchen paper, add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and fry the remaining mushrooms, also transferring them to kitchen paper after five minutes.
Add the final tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and cook the onion and garlic for about four minutes, until soft. Add the spinach to the pan, cover with a lid and allow it to wilt for one to two minutes. Return the mushrooms to the pan, mix together and season.
Use a rectangular dish about 24 x 18cm and spread a layer of white sauce on the base. Place three lasagne sheets on the sauce followed by a third of the mushroom mixture, another layer of white sauce and some crumbled cheese.
Add another three sheets of lasagne and continue layering, finishing with the final three sheets of lasagne, a good covering of white sauce and a sprinkling of crumbled cheese.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until it is cooked through and the topping is bubbling and golden. Serve with a side salad or garlic bread.
Aubergine, pepper and yogurt stacks with coriander pesto
3 red peppers
chi coconut oil
2 large aubergines
8 heaped tbsp Greek yogurt
sprigs of coriander to serve
For the pesto:
60g (2oz) coriander leaves
40g (1½oz) blanched almonds, lightly toasted
2 garlic cloves, chopped
juice of ½ lemon
125ml (4fl oz) extra-virgin olive oil (not too grassy)
60g (2oz) feta cheese, finely crumbled
1 red chilli, halved, deseeded and finely chopped
1 green chilli, halved, deseeded and finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5. Halve the peppers and remove the seeds and stalk. Put into a small roasting-tin and brush with olive oil. Season. Roast for 35 minutes, or until the peppers are tender and the edges of the flesh are slightly scorched.
Meanwhile make the pesto by putting everything, except the feta and chilli, into a food processor. Whizz to a purée. Season to taste, then scrape into a bowl and add the feta cheese and chilli.
Bean chilli with chocolate and walnuts
2 tbsp chi coconut oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp cumin seeds or 1 tsp ground cumin
1 fresh chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (more if you like it hot)
1 tsp ground paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1 red and 1 yellow pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 sweetcorn cobs (kernels cut off) or 150g thawed frozen sweetcorn
2 large celery sticks (use leaves too), finely sliced
150g walnuts, very finely chopped
300g dried mixed beans, such as kidney, black-eye or borlotti, soaked and cooked (or 3 x 400g cans cooked mixed pulses, drained)
2 x 400g cans whole plum tomatoes
2 tsp sea salt
60g dark chocolate (minimum 80 per cent cocoa solids), broken into pieces
Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan or casserole over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, spices and oregano and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally, until the spices smell fragrant and the onions are soft but not browned.
Add the peppers, carrot, sweetcorn and celery and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the walnuts, beans, tomatoes, 250ml (9fl oz) water and salt, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Stir in the chocolate and cook for a couple of minutes. Taste and season.
Serve in bowls, garnished with a dollop of yogurt and chopped coriander with toasted corn tortillas on the side. Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for three to five days.
All year round healthy foods for everyone!
We are so often bombarded with contrasting information regarding foods and drinks we should or shouldn’t be consuming, however once things are made simpler and we get rid of some of the complicated ingredients and recipes, and take it back to basics with some simple ingredients and foods that are fairly easily accessible.
It’s no secret that coconut oil and well, everything coconut, is the what everyone is going mad for! There are so many brilliant uses for this lovely nut including coconut milk, cream, water, oil and the meat itself. Coconut holds many beauty properties, doing wonders for your skin in turn, and absolutely creates the most deliciously healthy flavour when used in cooking. Coconut cream is brilliant for baking, while coconut water is filled with electrolytes, hydrating you no end, and coconut milk is a wonderful alternative to cow’s milk. Try Chi coconut oil, 100% organic, raw and cold pressed!
OK, so we all know that including greens in our diet is good for us, however it’s not necessary for you to sit with a bowl of spinach and expect to thoroughly enjoy munching your way through it. There are so many ways you can include greens in your daily diet, in pasta sauces, casseroles, in a smoothie, or even just stripping things back to basics and enjoying them as part of a colourful salad, this is one of the most important ways for anyone who refrains from eating meat and fish to get in a good source of protein in their diet. Try Giving Tree broccoli crisps as toppings for salads and soups as well as a healthy and nutritious on the go snack!
Just as raw chocolate is brilliant for upping your antioxidant intake, so are the berry family. They are best when they are completely ripe and in season, however if you buy the frozen kind from any local supermarket, they make for a fantastic ingredient within a morning smoothie, on top of a breakfast bowl or even just on their own. Don't forget to try our Strawberry crisps from the Giving Tree which make amazing toppings for yoghurt, cereal, porridge and so much more! mmm!
Oats are a brilliant way of consuming something delicious that will give you an extremely slow release of energy, meaning that it will keep you going for hours. They are so versatile by nature within recipes too, going from being able to be ground into a flour, as the nation’s favourite brekkie, porridge or as a substitute in many baking recipes. They work really well with bananas in smoothies as well, and are guaranteed to keep you going right through until lunch.
Now for people who love a caffeine fix but want it without the sugary additions usually included in coffee shop concoctions, or for those who simply want something a little different, raw chocolate is a brilliant way to have this fix minus the nasties that come in normal chocolate bars. This form of chocolate is extremely high in antioxidants and is a brilliant way of getting your caffeine fix, totally naturally! There are so many different bars on the market that there will undoubtedly be a flavour that will take your fancy.
Nuts create much controversy for many due to their high calorie content, however when portion control comes into play, the most important thing to do is know when to eat them, how to eat them and to remember that when food is in its’ rawest form, like nuts generally are, they are full of protein and healthy fats, which are both essential for maintaining our energy levels and giving us a gorgeously envious glow. If having them on their own just isn’t on the agenda though, combining them with dates to create a raw bar, or using them in a flour are all ways of including them in your diet without having to sit down with a bag of almonds.
Negative free times. It can be so easy to get caught up in negativity and be negative free from all different angles in your life. From paying bills to unhealthy friendships, and work - related problems, to trouble at home, and we all know that a build up of negativity is never a good feeling. It’s also a gateway into a downward spiral of creating a bigger problem out of something which could be more easily solvable. Here is a small breakdown of how to have a negative free lifestyle!
GET RID OF TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS
At the time it may feel difficult to remove people from your life that you have grown to cherish, however subconsciously, someone who is in your immediate circle may be having a profound affect on your happiness.
When people feel bad about themselves they occasionally tend to put other people down without knowing it, which is in no way good for your overall happiness. If a relationship with a family member for example is reflecting something of this nature then it may be difficult to completely get out of, but the best approach is to explain how this person is making you feel as this could be resolved. If this doesn't work, distancing yourself for your own benefit may be the best option.
Occasionally it can be easy to dwell over things in your life which aren’t going so well, however it’s not going to stand you in good stead for when you want to remove any negativity within your life. Sometimes, taking a moment each day to focus on the positive parts of your life, whether it be loving your job, having a wonderful family, or even the sun shining outside, appreciating these brilliant things around you will do wonders for subconsciously removing negativity from your life and enjoying the things that really matter in your life. Surround yourself with positive people and you’ll always be negative free!
DO MORE OF WHAT YOU LOVE
It’s easy to forget that life is so short sometimes, and we subsequently forget to enjoy doing more of what we love. Let’s face it, what’s the point in doing things all the time that we don’t enjoy? We spend far too long focusing our energy on parts of our lives which we don’t love that we often forget to embrace the things we do love. If painting takes your fancy or you’ve always loved going to the theatre, why do you not do them anymore? When we take away the complicated side of adult life and make it actually rather simple, as long as we are doing the fundamental things in our lives we need to do to function normally, using as much time as possible doing things we enjoy should be a priority, and is most definitely essential to be negative free!
CHANGE YOUR MINDSET
It’s surprising how just a simple shift in mindset can improve your positivity so dramatically. Without dipping too much into the idea of the law of attraction, unless something extremely traumatic happens in your life which undoubtedly requires down time, a swift shift in the way you view a situation can be really valuable when wanting to remove negativity from your life. Instead of thinking for example, that an interview didn’t go very well because you didn’t say everything you planned to say, shift that thought and allow yourself to accept that at the time of the interview, you did your absolute best and could not have done any more, another way to be negative free!
EAT FOODS WHICH YOUR BODY WILL THANK YOU FOR
It goes without saying that including foods in your diet that your body will thank you for is essential. Removing some more processed foods from your diet, and replacing them with fresh fruits and vegetables will inevitably allow you to feel more positive and negative free. Ingredients like sugar and sweeteners, along with saturated fats and too much salt, will leave you feeling lethargic and therefore more susceptible to drawing upon the negatives as opposed to the positives. Make sure you stock up on your fruit and veggie crisps with Giving Tree for a happy and healthy snacking delight!
Removing negativity from your life really can be easier than you think, with a few simple changes, your entire view can change and therefore make you happier in the long run! Here's to a negative free outlook!
It’s Friday and the weekend is here!
I’m sure most of us will be honest enough to admit the inevitable craving for a takeaway, and the guilt that follows. Why not have a guilt free takeaway or as people are calling it a ‘Fakeaway’. This trend may well revolutionise your weekend eating, with recipes being quicker to make than a delivery, without compromising on taste, and oh yeah they’re actually healthy!
Here a just a couple of fantastic recipes to replace those devious takeaways.
One of my personal favourites! Low carb cauliflower pizza. Before you completely disregard this hold on and look at the picture………
Looks delicious right? You’ll never guess the main ingredient (hints in the name).
So what do you need to make it...... Answer - Not much!
The base includes
- 1 head of a medium cauliflower
- 60g grated mozzarella cheese
- 60g Parmesan cheese
- 1 medium egg
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- CHI Coconut oil
And for the toppings
100g of marinara sauce
100-200g of mozzarella depending how cheesy your feeling!
And whatever else you fancy really!
Pre heat the oven to 225 degrees C.
Trim stems from cauliflower, cut into chunks and throw it all in a food processer, whizz until its texture is fine (rice like).
Microwave for 4 minutes, leave to stand for 1min until cool. Ring excess water out by putting it all in a kitchen towel and squeezing (don’t hold back on this step remove as much as you can).
Add the cauliflower to the rest of the base ingredients and mix until it is of dough consistency. Evenly spread into a pizza base and place onto a pizza tray or baking tray lines with some coconut oil as not to stick. Bake the base for 10-15 minutes until the crust looks golden. Remove from the oven and add toppings baking for a further 3-5 minutes keeping an eye on it you don’t want to ruin it now!
Guilt free fries.
4 medium sweet potatoes (600g)
CHI coconut oil
1 tablespoon Garlic powder
Salt and cracked black pepper
½ tablespoon cayenne or paprika (optional)
Pre heat the oven to 225 degrees C. Wash and dry sweet potatoes, aim to cut into ¼ inch thick. (If thicker fries are preferred increase cooking time). Place cut slices into a bowl and add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil until evenly coated, add all seasoning apart from the salt to the bowl and toss again. Line a baking tray with parchment and evenly spread out avoiding overlapping place in oven for 20-25 minutes until deliciously crisp.
For an even crispier coat place the cut sweet potato in cold water for 20-30 minutes pat dry then add the coconut oil and seasonings
Last but certainly not least..........
Coconut, honey and raspberry crêpes.
Although not strictly a takeaway recipe this is for those of you with the sweet tooth craving.
4 medium eggs
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1 tablespoon melted CHI coconut oil
½ tsp of vanilla extract
18 g The giving tree freeze dried strawberries
18g the giving tree freeze dried strawberries
- for crumbling over the top
Honey as desired for topping
Add together the coconut flour and add a pinch of salt in a mixing bowl. Using a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, water, coconut oil, and vanilla extract, once mixed add bit by bit to the flour mixture whilst whisking. Once the lumps are gone leave to stand for 10 minutes.
Heat the pan brushing on more coconut oil so not to stick and add a thin layer of batter to the pan turning every few minutes until cooked to desired taste. (Once cooked crumble the freeze dried strawberries over the top with honey. Repeat this for each crepe.)
Fast, Freeze dried smoothies.
It seems this January everyone is trying to pack in their nutrients in smoothies, namely NutriBullets! We all know some recipes can take far too long to make and ultimately are too much hassle. Here are a few fresh ideas incorporating freeze dried fruits, simply add straight from the pack, no cutting, peeling or juicing. All with no nutrients lost! Perfect.
Modern Mango - Indonesian Jamu.
Indonesian Jamu is a traditional Indonesian ‘herbal medicine’ that has been made for centuries, traditionally used to heal and enhance beauty and strength. With its high concentration of antioxidants it’s fantastic to keep the mind and body feeling healthy whilst tasting delicious.
Add all ingredients into NutriBullet
/Blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy, keeping one delicious mango crisp out to crumble over the top. Enjoy immediately.
These vibrant ingredients combine to create the ultimate cold-crusher, the fresh citrus and ginger mixed with the freeze dried fruit create an antioxidant master class, so if your feeling a little under the weather then this ones certainly for you.
Add all ingredients into NutriBullet
/Blender, blend on high speed, enjoy and prepare to feel a whole lot better.
Cleansing Greens and Coconut blast.
This fresh easy to make blend is packed with goodness sure to leave you feeling revitalized and renewed.
Place all ingredients into NutriBullet
/Blender, blend on high until for 30s or until smooth. Enjoy and feel rejuvenated.
Recover - Post workout.
This refuel and rehydrate shake is a post workout essential. The whey protein is a fantastic fast acting protein designed to maximize protein synthesis after exercise this mixed with the hydrating properties from the coconut water is ideal for recovery.
Blend all ingredients and immediately consume after a tough workout; to maximize recovery and effects, consume within 20minutes of finishing exercise.