Crispy Cauliflower Bites

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I recently discovered these bad boys, the same time my best friend was giving birth to her first child- what a momentous day.
Believe me when I say, these are one of the tastiest vegan foods I’ve had the pleasure of consuming.

Having experimented with a few flavours, I’ve found that this ‘curried’ version came up top. But it can of course be amended to include any herbs and spices you like.

Ingredients:

1 head cauliflower

120g buckwheat flour

220ml almond milk

3 tbsp coconut oil (measured solidified)

3 tsp paprika

4 tsp ground turmeric

4 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

3 tsp black pepper

1 tsp salt (I use pink himalayan)

2 cloves garlic (crushed/finely diced)

1 inch finely diced ginger (optional)

Method:

Preheat oven to 200°. Cover a baking tray with parchment paper and melt the coconut oil in the oven on the tray for a couple of minutes. Spread evenly.

Chop cauliflower into medium – small florets (it’s really up to you, I prefer them smaller as they go crispier).

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, paprika, turmeric, cumin, coriander, garlic, ginger,  salt and pepper. Ensure everything is combined nice and evenly.

Next, add the almond milk to a separate bowl and begin dunking a few florets of cauliflower. Once soaked, dip them into the flour until well coated and add to the baking tray.

Try double dipping some of them (milk-flour-milk-flour) which will create a batter – like consistency, giving a thicker, softer coating (the mix between crispy and soft is amazing).
Don’t leave out the tiny florets either- these are extra special as they work great for a super crispy coating.

Bake for 15 minutes before turning them over. Add more almond milk to any florets that might still have dry flour on them and bake for a further 15-20 minutes.

Serve up with your favourite vegan main and enjoy!

Big hit with the dog who lives off junk food

Fun, nutritous and delicious.. you can’t go wrong 🙂
P.S. I’d love to know if anybody has tried making a similar version of these? I’ve read great things about pan frying them..

Accompanying home made vegetable pattie with rocket

12/11/16 Update: just felt the need to add this – after I mentioned to my friend about making these the day she gave birth, she admitted she’d had total crispy cauliflower cravings throughout her pregnancy, and had visited the restaurant we first discovered it multiple times towards the end!

Needless to say I whipped her up a batch in a nice little food parcel with some houmous and salad, and she loved it!

Ahh, universe, how you continue to fascinate me so.💚

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Rice Krispie & Oat Energy Bars

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Since going vegan, I actually can’t get enough of puffed brown rice. I use it for so much, like when I want that naughty sensation of eating cereal and cold milk covered with sugar, I fill a bowl with puffed brown rice, almond milk and xylitol (a plant based sugar subsititute which ironically even has oral health benefits)… snap, crackle and pop.
Or I make something like these Krispy, nutty oat bars. They’re packed full of fibre and protein, and the chia seeds give them an extra energy bursting nutritional kick – great for before or after a workout. Plus they take just a few minutes to whip up.

Ingredients:

140g almond butter (or any nut butter, though almond seems to taste best as it isn’t overpowering like peanut can be)

3-4 tbsp maple/date syrup

2 tbsp coconut oil

1/2 banana

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp chia seeds

1/2 cup oats

1/4 cup puffed brown rice

Method:

Melt the coconut oil, almond butter and syrup gently in a saucepan. Blend together with the banana, chia seeds and cinnamon. 

Mix oats and rice well until sticky. Transfer the lot to a baking tray lined with parchment and freeze for about an hour.

The beauty of these babies is that you can take them straight out of the freezer and they’ll be edible within a couple of minutes. Hope you’ll try and enjoy 🙂
You can also of course mix n match- try opting just for just rice krispies and setting them deeper in the pan- leaves them nice and chunky with lots of bite.

Move over s’mores…it’s BBQ Oreo time

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BBQ #6 this year and #6 being vegan… and aside from Linda McCartney sausages and veggie patties, this time I discovered a real gem; WARM OREOS.
That’s right, whack a bunch of Oreos on the BBQ for a few minutes, wait for the biscuit to warm (it smells like cake), the cream to melt and you have yourself a delicious, naughty vegan treat that gives s’mores a run for their money. Just wow.

They are so exciting and moreish, especially on a restricted diet. Just try not to eat the whole lot (we got through 3 packs).

For the second batch I got crazy and added some dark chocolate on top😍

Divine Devon

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This weekend I was lucky enough to bag a visit to rural county Devon, staying with my cousin and her other half in their new(ish) home. They relocated from our home town in November, and it was my first visit.

Despite leaving loved ones behind, I can see why they easily had no regrets with their decision. Their secluded village sits atop a hill, overlooking the beautiful Devonshire countryside. Woolacombe Beach (dubbed the ‘best beach in the UK’ and I’d say easily comparable to a beach in Spain) is just an hour’s drive, and an array of other touristic gems are dotted around, an even shorter distance away.

It’s experiences like these that remind me England isn’t the dull, grey image that a lot of us often have. It’s brimming with stunning scenery, wildlife and nature spots. At one point near a place called Castle Drogo, I couldn’t believe I was still in the UK. A giant valley filled with luscious green trees, and a convenient path that lets you admire the view from different angles, literally took my breath away.

Fingle Bridge, Castle Drogo

Another trip took us into the heart of a huge gorge, with gushing waterfalls and mossy trees surrounding us on upward spiraling paths.

Lydford Gorge was around 3 miles of massive woodland, ancient tree roots underfoot and an enclosed rock cove/cavern at a spot called the Devil’s Couldron. Standing on a bridge above, you can watch the water bubble and whirlpool madly around below your feet.

Lydford Gorge

Amongst scrambling up rocks, hiking up steep hills and sitting on the edge of cliff faces, I found a sense of tranquility I haven’t experienced in a while. The freedom felt while trekking across fields hundreds of miles from home, from anywhere familiar, was exciting and exhilarating. Living in each moment to moment, taking it as it comes and accepting the fact that it all ‘is what it is’, was an emotional release, to say the least. The fresh air definitely went to my head.

Dartmoor Moors

Devon is a beautiful place and as a ‘Brit’ I feel truly blessed to know we have such serenity on our doorstep- we don’t need to skip countries to get a dose of  escapism from the everyday England we’re used to. We just need to know where to look… and the drive to want to find the rest of the hidden gems the UK has to offer.

So much brocolli 😍

No meat, no dairy, no sex

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So. I made the decision to practice celibacy about two or more years ago. Back then it was a loose insight in my mind, projected and ideal but not quite accepted. With a crazy sex life having basically come to a halt, I didn’t need to actively abstain.

Then over time it developed as an actual truth, and as much as I’ve resisted, I’ve also learned to accept it.

I had to make a mistake or two to learn some lessons, but recent occurrences seem to indicate I learned well. It’s been an extremely difficult.. should I say,  frustrating  week, and temptation has been rife. But I didn’t succumb and I know I’ve made the right decision(s).

I mean I’m sure I have, but as a replacement distraction I’m stuck with constant thoughts of food instead.. not necessarily a new struggle, but it is now far heightened by the need to fill some kind of comfort gap. Mostly by bourbon biscuits and Oreos since they’re some of the naughtiest treats I can have as a vegan.

Anyway, I believe the preservation of sexual energy far outweighs the wastage of it on something that isn’t an emotional connection. Saving it for a special person and moment, a sacred act shared between the two of you who understands one another is just perfect.

No need to jump straight into each others pants, as temporarily exciting as that can be. I’m no prude, in fact this decision is kind of killing me inside, but I know it’s the right one and has been there for a long time. It’s just been a while since I’ve been ready for the next test.

Now I’m taking another step along the path of self discovery. And I am genuinely excited to be on the way :)🙏

Don’t know whether to trust the weather.

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Wherever we go, as humans we always seem to discuss the weather in social situations. 

“Hot today init?”

“Yeah Nan, baking.”

“I prefer to be cold, me. Can’t be doing with the sweatiness.”

The reason we reference the weather so much is because it’s literally the pinnacle of our survival and existence on Earth.

How we utilise sunlight and fresh oxygen for example, is so important. So when in the UK we go from chilly and rainy to (years overdue) 34°c in the blink of an eye, our bodies respond as such.

We need more hydration, more calcium to absorb the extra vitamin D from the sun, more protein for us to replace the  fat shed while basting in the heat or sweating on the sofa. Just as examples.

Sunbeams creeping in

If one was raised in a relatively sunny climate (or spent enough time in one), the body would adapt to the heat, the skin would gradually build a healthy natural tan (instead of burning like a lobster as many Brits do), etc.
If one is raised in coldness such as in places like Iceland, again the body adapts to such temperatures and grows to its potential in that climate. Iceland interestingly happen to have one of the ‘healthiest’ population in the world.

Here in the UK we tend to jump from.one extreme to another, and I believe it takes quite a toll on many of us. With such rapid change, the body is constantly trying to adapt from one state to another. And with the poor western diet followed by many, it can cause havoc on our bodies and minds, and sometimes serious health issues.

Which is why it’s so important to follow a constant, healthy diet. And coincidentally why a simple vegan diet works so well (I won’t adapt here, I promise this one isn’t about the v word.!.vegan). Anyway. A diet that is part of your lifestyle, and not about losing weight (although there’s nothing wrong with getting trim; excess weight isn’t generally ‘healthy’).. one that becomes an easy routine, which you can rely on to get you through everyday. Then when the weather shifts from ice valley to dry earth with just a heartbeat in between, you’re always energised, strong and ready.

Butternut squash, chickpea and spinach curry w/ cumin rice and gram flour tortilla

Vegan pon road.

Mother nature (and the universe generally) never cease to amaze. And the way we use the sun to fuel us, growing each new cell and shedding old skin is just another part of that.
I suppose the point I’m making is that, depending where one is on Earth, we could potentially evolve into different kinds of humans. I could go to Costa Rica and become a bronze beauty, to Iceland to get lean and strong, to India and be a happily shrivelled yogi.

Endless possibilities for infinite consciousness. All influenced by the God that is the Sun…… I felt they both needed capitalising. 

Doris; she belongs to my housemate and thrives each year.

I’ll leave with thoughts of sweet, home grown strawberries. Peacee 

Wettest Weekend in Wales

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This weekend I was lucky enough to spend 2 nights camping in the Welsh valleys, specifically Beddgelert in Snowdonia.

The aim was to hike to the summit of Mount Snowdon (invested in hiking boots and everything), but unfortunately the weather didn’t quite allow- 5 hours and 2 small children was already going to be a challenge, but in torrential rain near impossible. So we opted for the toughest route (Watkin path), but only went for a couple of hours.

Some of our group disbanded and went back down after they decided they’d had enough,  and the rest of us continued up to where we could see the clouds.

So yes, I got to stand inside a cloud, and I also drank actual mountain spring water (it was flowing beautifully clear down some slate ‘steps’ and I just had to try it). And yes, it was delicious, crisp and I didn’t die. 

So although I didn’t make it to the top, I’m grateful I have the health to try. And some people who are special to me and have always been afraid to try such ‘adventurous’ activities actually gave it a shot. Which to me is a bigger achievement and far more fulfilling than getting to the peak myself. I was very proud of my friends in those moments.

I was also grateful to bear witness to the magnificence that is the Welsh countryside; rolling hills, huge valleys, sheep running along roads that wind on the sides of cliffs, gushing rivers and sparkling springs, beautiful lucious trees everywhere I turned.. it was just incredible.

All in all it was a wonderful experience and I’d love to go back and attempt the climb again. Hopefully this time the weather holds up! 

Yoga and Life Lesson: remember to breathe!

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I’ve ‘suffered’ with a few ‘ailments’ over the past six months or so; such as hip pain/tightness and bruised knees, and as such forced to decrease the amount of exercise I do, including yoga.

Though I still practice yoga pretty much everyday (though with less intensity), I’ve missed classes etc, in order to not overdo anything. Now more recently, I’ve managed to bruise my left rib/breast bone quite badly, and have minimised even more the amount I’ve been practising.

But of course, there’s always a lesson in these things. And here I learned, I must try harder to breathe. All the time. I must be more mindful of how deep each breath is. Cos each stifling pain cutting through my swollen rib with even half a ‘real’ breath, reminds me every time that I never breathe properly. 

And here I am, 9 days later and the pain is far more bearable. I’m just trying my best not to forget how much it hurt.. so that every inhale is full and each exhale is finished, lungs depleted completely.

Each breathe should be felt. And then peace can pour through.

Since I began my yoga practise, I’ve known real breathing is the part I need to spend the most time on. Only now the universe has become bored of repeating itself, and instead chose to give me the lesson through physical pain. Well waydago universe, it’s working.

But it is kind of crazy, the way the body utilises breath; supplying the sacred heart with power to pump oxygen and life preserving/building nutrients around the body. 

Now time to embrace it, one inhale at a time, one exhale at a time…

Finding ‘blog balance’ between my 2 favourite things

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Lately I’ve been wondering why I share more food moments than yoga moments on my blog.

Like both are my main loves in life, but I guess the balance of ‘want’ and ‘need’ between the two is quite rocky at times.

Most of my days lately have been spent in the kitchen. I mean literally, if I have just an hour free time I’m back in there, looking to throw something together that will help me to get me through another day.

Yoga is a deeper experience, executed mostly by, and with, myself, in a sacred space I have devoted to the practice.

Don’t get me wrong- I still practice every single day. And to a degree this is because it’s something I ‘need’.. but it is also merely a ‘want’, from my body and mind.

Whereas food is comparatively a huge ‘need’, as clearly it’s needed for survival. Even more so now being vegan, I need to make sure I’m always a step ahead of the eating game, and that meals and snacks are prepared and on hand as and when they’re needed.

I suppose with yoga being somewhat of a ‘private’ practice (aside from when I attend classes), I’m less inclined to ‘share’ my experiences on my blog.

But I love to inspire, and I want as many people as possible to experience this wonderful practice. So I will try to incorporate more yoga posts.

Cooking has been one of my main ‘exercises’ of late, and I do want to inspire healthy eating too. Yet again we return to that issue of balance… something I am also working on👌.

Peace and love yogis, chefs and fellow humans. I love you all, unconditionally.