Pesto Courgetti with Cashew Cheese Sauce

Hello Moms,

This week I am sharing our Pesto Courgetti recipe that is so loved in our household, it’s so tasty and it’s also really perfect for Summer evenings. It is vegan-friendly, gluten and dairy free, however, this dish will leave you feeling fully satisfied without any heavy feeling.

It is packed with nutrients for example courgettes contain abundant levels of manganese and vitamin C that help to keep the heart strong.  It contains significant quantities of potassium, folate, and vitamin A all of which are important for maintaining good health.

The pesto is made from basil which contains high levels of antioxidants, magnesium and a range of vitamins, such as vitamin A, K and C.  Interestingly basil contains antimicrobial properties that fight viruses and also has DNA-protecting flavonoids!

The cashew cheese sauce is full of goodness too, cashews contain a powerhouse of proteins, essential minerals, including copper, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. Cashews also contain vitamins such as vitamin, B1, B2, B3, B6, folate, vitamin E and vitamin K.

So Moms, as I’ve said before this dish not only tastes great, but you can also rest assured in the knowledge that your family is getting a jam-packed nutrient dense meal!

So let me share this recipe with you:

To make the Pesto:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups packed fresh basil (large stems removed)
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts (can also use walnuts, my preference though is pine nuts)
  • 3 large garlic cloves (add more garlic if you are like us ;0)
  • 2-3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3-4 tbsp nutritional yeast (see link below)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt and pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-6 tbsp of water (more if needed)

Method:

  • Add all the ingredients to a food processor or blender except the olive oil and water
  • Blend on high until a loose paste forms
  • Then slowly add the olive oil as the machine is on and scrape downs the side as needed
  • Then add 1 tbsp water a time until you reached the desired consistency
  • Taste the pesto and season

To make the Cashew Cheese sauce:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cashews (recommend you soak the cashews first (at least 3 hours) better for digestion and also removes phytic acid)
  • 1/4 cup of water (more water if you want it a thinner consistency.. whatever way you like it, experiment…)
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper (optional)
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp onion powder

Method

Blend all the ingredients together in a high-speed blender until you reach your desired consistency. For this recipe, I like to leave it a bit chunky (almost like a cottage cheese consistency) however that’s totally up to you.

To make Courgetti:

  • Simply take 2 washed courgettes and place them on a spiralizer, we use the Hemsley and Hemsley spiralizer (link below)

Voila! toss the courgetti in the basil pesto and add a dollop of cashew cheese on top and you have just created a healthy, delicious and beautiful meal. Issey loves this especially the courgetti ;0

As always moms  I’d love to hear from you, please let me know if you decide to make this dish and what you thought of it… :0

Love and Best wishes,

L X

 

Notes: Serves approx 4 portions

Credits:

Lovingitvegan 

Minimalist Baker

References:

Hemsley & Hemsley Spiraliser 

Nutritional Yeast  

Courgettes 

Basil 

Basil 

Cashews 

 

Delicious Chocolate cake with home-made ice-cream

Hello Moms,

This week I’m sharing a super easy flourless and eggless chocolate cake.

I made it this weekend for my sister Jean as it’s her birthday. Everyone enjoyed it especially Issey, and the interesting thing is that nobody knew (besides Rok) that it was made with butternut squash, yes that’s right!  And, what’s even more surprising that there is no flour, and no eggs in this, so if you are having a break from gluten, dairy and/or eggs then this one is a super treat for you to enjoy.

It’s really rich so a slice goes a long way and I paired it with some homemade non-diary raspberry ice-cream.  This is a sort of guilt-free dessert and won’t leave you feeling like you’ve overindulged.

My favourite thing about this dessert though is that it contains butternut squash 🙂 Butternut squash is extremely nutritious, it protects the skin, promotes eye health, can reduce chronic disease, improves digestion, lower cholesterol, build strong bones, and lowers blood pressure, what a list!!  What’s more it contains vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, dietary fibre, zinc, protein, folate, potassium, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B-6, pantothenic acid, and manganese.

Not bad having all that in a chocolate cake…. 😉

So you are probably wondering how this cake stays together – so here are the yummy ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 1/2 cup cacao or cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • Filling from a medium (cooked) butternut squash
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 dark chocolate cooking bars
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil

For the dairy-free ice-cream:

  • 4 bananas (cut up and frozen overnight)
  • 1 cup of frozen raspberries
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons of almond milk

 

Method

Cake

  1. Turn on the oven to 180 degrees, cut the butternut squash lengthways and rub with coconut oil. Place in the oven for approx 40-45 mins until it starts to go a little brown.
  2. Melt together coconut oil and dark cooking chocolate.
  3. Once butternut squash is cooked and cooled, scoop out the butternut squash and add the cacao, coconut sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt together in a bowl.
  4. Prep an 8in springform pan and grease lightly with coconut oil.
  5. Then whisk in the coconut oil/chocolate with the other ingredients and mix all together.
  6.  Pour into cake pan and bake at 180 degrees for about 35-40 mins.
  7.  Let it cool completely and voila!

 

Dairy free ice-cream

  1. Add frozen banana pieces to the blender.
  2. Then add in the almond milk and vanilla extract and blend.
  3. After the mixture starts to become creamy, then add in frozen raspberries.

chocolate cake

So it’s that easy! And once the cake has cooled down I recommend you store it in the fridge overnight, that is if you can wait that long… ;0

Serve with fresh raspberries and yummy dairy-free ice-cream! A winner I say!

So Moms, as always I love to hear from you… and if you give this lovely cake a try please let us know how you get on…

Best wishes and love,

L X

Calories:

Cake: 201 calories per serving (approx 12 servings)

Dairy-free Ice-cream: 77 calories per serving (approx 6 servings)

 

Credit: Show me the yummy 

References

Butternut squash benefits 1

Butternut squash benefits 2

 

Baked aubergine with lemon dressing

Hello Moms,

This week I am sharing one of my favourite dishes, baked aubergine with lemon dressing… (or as it’s known across the pond – eggplant)

It’s really delicious and a hit in our household. It’s a perfect summer dish, which you can have as a starter, a side dish or even for lunch.  We normally add some french beans to make it a complete meal (I’ll share the french bean recipe in another post, as I think you’ll enjoy that one too). It’s also very quick to prepare so in no time you’ll have this one whipped up ;0

Lately, I’ve been craving aubergines and I always listen to my body if it’s craving a certain food… I’m so glad I have this recipe ;0

Did you know that the aubergine is actually classed as a berry and not a vegetable…  They are so good for us as they contain a tonne of nutrients, such as manganese, vitamin B1 &  B6, vitamin C, niacin, potassium, folate, vitamin K and copper. And, they are also a good source of dietary fibre.

The flavonoids found in aubergines play an important part in heart health, as they contain phenolic compounds which can actively reduce blood pressure. And, contained in the aubergine skin is a potent antioxidant called nasunin which prevents iron accumulation and neutralizes free-radicals!

So where’s the recipe I hear you say – here it is: 

Ingredients:

  • 2 large aubergines, cut into 1cm rounds
  • 2 tbsp tamari (fermented soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 lemons squeezed and half a rind of lemon
  • 200ml of kefir (fermented milk)/yoghurt or
  • For non-dairy/vegan option –  200ml of coconut yoghurt
  • Sea salt and black pepper

Garnish:

  • A small bunch of fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs of fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp of toasted cashew nuts and pumpkin seeds chopped and sprinkled over the dish
  • 1 red chilli sliced (optional)

Method:

1 Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

2 Spread the aubergine rounds on the baking tray. Mix the tamari, honey and
sesame oil in a bowl and pour evenly over the aubergine. Or if you have time, it’s nice to marinate in the fridge for a few hours before cooking.  Bake for 20–25 minutes
until soft and golden.

3 Meanwhile, mix the juice of the lemon and the lemon rind with the kefir/yoghurt, salt and pepper.

4 Place the aubergine rounds on a large serving dish. Drizzle over the lemon dressing
and garnish with the coriander, mint, chilli and toasted nuts/seeds.

So that’s all there is to it moms, let me know if you make this dish and what your thoughts are and/or whether you have a favourite aubergine dish in your house?

As always I love to hear from you, love and best wishes,

L X

Calorie Count: 343 per serving (this dish serves 2)

Credit:

Detox Kitchen

References:

Number 1

Number 2 

Number 3

Number 4

 

 

 

 

 

My love of essential oils

Hello, lovelies,

This week moms I wanted to share with you my love of essential oils and how I use these beauties daily in my life.

We actually started using essential oils just shortly after having Issey when Rok’s mom introduced oil of oregano to us (thanks Katja!). She recommended it for a time when Issey looked like she was coming down with a cold and so we carefully tested this out one night. We used about a tablespoon of coconut oil (as a carrier oil) and mixed a drop of oregano in and once mixed tested it out on ourselves first to make sure it didn’t sting our skin.  Then happy with our mixture rubbed this on Issey’s feet and covered with her socks.  The next morning her runny nose and watery eyes had cleared and we were definitely impressed and so our journey with essential oils began. Note, it’s worth mentioning that the oil of oregano we use already has olive oil mixed in which reduces the potency, some oils you buy just have oil of oregano and these are very strong! So please always check this out first.

oil of oregano

We have been very fortunate over the last number of years (tip wood as they say in Ireland) with Issey’s health, it’s very rare that she gets sick, however, if we suspect the slightest hint of something brewing we are on the case, mixing up of our oil of oregano blend.

So after been intrigued with what we saw with the oil of oregano, (note over the years I’ve found that oil of oregano is extremely effective at stopping a cold sore breakout too) I quickly got to researching the benefits of essential oils and here are some of the things I found:

  1. Essential oils are nature’s medicine, boosting your immunity and protecting against infections – a lot of essential oils contain antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties!
  2. Helps balance hormones – balancing out estrogen and progesterone levels in the body (for e.g. use of either clary sage, geranium and/or thyme)
  3. Improve energy and boost brain function and enhance overall well-being.

Knowing all the benefits (which is notably backed by science) I thought about ways I could incorporate these powerful oils into our household… I started listening to webinars and learning how to create and experiment on my own, it’s actually very simple so let me share some of the ways we use essential oils around our home:

Relaxing Linen Spray this is beneficial to spray on your pillow just before sleep, to help you sleep soundly and also reduce the stresses of the day. It’s also nice to spray on fabrics to give them a fresh boost. I’ve given Linen Sprays as gifts to friends and family in the past and they love them.  My sisters will recall that I took the linen blend with me on holidays last year and would spray on all our pillows just before sleeping

linen sprayFirst, decide on a spray bottle: you can purchase different types of spray bottles on Amazon, both plastic and glass, however, I recommend you go for a glass bottle (the one I use in the links below). Glass is much better as its environmentally friendly and you won’t find any nasties leaching into your essential oil sprays, unlike plastic. However, if you want to bring this spray around with you in your handbag or if you’d like to bring on holidays then sourcing a plastic BPA free bottle is best.  So here is how you make the blend:

  • Add 100ml of filtered water – we use the Berkey filter water system for our family to avoid any fluoride in our water (link below)
  • 6 drops of ylang ylang – helps reduce anxiety and relax the mind
  • 9 drops of lavender – to calm, reduce anxiety and emotional balance
  • 21 drops of orange oil – excellent for soothing, uplifting and relaxing 

Voila! you have your linen spray it’s that easy I would recommend you make this every week to refresh the essential oils.


Essential oil cleaner

Household Cleaner: 

  • Add 100ml of filtered water to your spray bottle
  • 6 tsp of liquid Castille soap – we use Dr. Bonner (link below)
  • A large dash of white vinegar
  • 5 drops of peppermint oil 
  • 15 drops of orange oil 
  • 15 drops of lemon oil

Again it’s that easy you have a natural household cleaner – I use this on my kitchen worktops and the orange oil is great to cut through grease. Note, I sourced this household cleaner and linen blend from an Aromahead webinar (many thanks Aromahead!) I will share their website link in the resources below so you can check out some other useful blends.
DiffuserOil Diffuser: 

  • My essential oil diffuser was a lovely gift from Rok and it’s on in the morning and just before we go to bed.
  • I generally add orange oil to help generate an uplifting mood and also peppermint to reduce stress and help with clear breathing. But the choice is yours… 😉

So where can you buy reputable essential oils:  from my research I found that DoTerra is a reputable brand and they sell their oils through consultants online.  Alternatively, you can purchase essential oils from your local health store. That’s what we currently do and we use an Irish brand called Atlantic Aromatics and they supply organic and sustainable oils.

A caveat moms, to be prudent it’s a good idea to always test out a blend on yourselves first before applying anything topical on your little ones. Always do your own research (especially the brands as not all essential oils are created equal) and apply caution if pregnant or nursing. 

So Moms, as always let me know your thoughts this week on essential oils and if you use them and whether you decide to make a blend… 🙂

Best of luck and best wishes,

Love, L X

Resources

Glass Bottle 

Berkey Water Filter Ireland

Berkey Water Filter UK 

Atlantic Aromatics Essential oils

DoTerra Essential oils

Dr. Bronners Organic Castille Soap

Benefits of Essential oils 1

Benefits of Essential oils 2

Benefits of Essential oils 3

Benefits of Essential oils 4 

Credits:

Aromahead Institute

Ode to the Chickpea… quick and tasty chickpea & spinach curry

Hello lovely moms,

This week I am sharing another one of our favourite family recipes. Not only is this chickpea curry super tasty it’s also really nutritious! This recipe was sent to me by my beautiful niece Gracie (thank-you Gracie!) and when I first made it both her and my husband Rok were raving about it.

Honestly, over the years it has taken me a while to develop a taste for chickpeas,  however now, the more I make chickpea dishes the more I crave them.

Chickpeas are super nutritious, they’re a great source of plant-based protein along with fibre, iron, zinc, phosphorus and B vitamins! They have a host of benefits: for example, they are known for helping lower inflammation in the body, reduce oxidative stress and maintain blood pressure! In addition, they are especially beneficial for us ladies in balancing our hormones and also good for the prevention of wrinkles.

Pretty awesome in my opinion ;0

Also in this beautiful dish is spinach, another fave of ours, (we consume spinach at least once per day in our smoothies/juices) spinach is a powerhouse of nutrients such as folate, niacin, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K & iron.

It is also very beneficial for good eyesight and it protects the skin against harmful UV rays. Note, a recent study suggests that thylakoid found in spinach can curb cravings and hunger which can further help in weight loss.

So let me have the recipe I hear you say, well here it is:

  • 1 onion (or 2 small onions) roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • a thumb of ginger
  • 4-5 large tomatoes quartered  (or 1 jar of Passata)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1-X 400g tinned chickpeas drained and rinsed (or in my case, I use 2X 400g as I like to use a lot of chickpeas in this recipe 😉 )
  • 1 X small can of organic coconut cream
  • 100 g spinach
  • salt and pepper to season
  • half a lemon
  • coconut oil for frying

Method:

  1. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, and tomatoes to a food processor (or in my case I use my ninja blender) and process until smooth.
  2. Heat up coconut oil in a pan over a medium heat. Meanwhile, crush the mustard seeds and coriander seeds until fine.
  3. Fry all the spices (cumin, coriander, turmeric, garam masala, and mustard seeds) for two minutes.
  4. Stir in the blended sauce (tomato, onion, garlic, and ginger), and simmer on a low heat for 20 minutes.
  5. Add the coconut cream and chickpeas and heat through for 5-10 minutes.
  6. Season with a pinch of salt and drizzle lots of lemon juice, then add the spinach. Cook through until the spinach has wilted.
  7. Then serve with either rice or in my case I love serving with roasted potatoes (the Irish way ;0)
  8. Other options including adding 1 tsp of hot chili powder and serving with fresh coriander.

This is one of those dishes that’s even tastier the next day, that’s if you manage to keep leftovers… 🙂

So there you have it, Moms, as always love to hear from you… do you have any favourite chickpea dishes or, if you decide to give this dish a try, please let me know what you think?

Love and best wishes, L X

PS: Calorie Count (based on 4 servings) approx 344 calories/serving – note this excludes the roast potatoes ;0

Credits:

  1. We are so Vegan 
  2. The Happy Pear
  3. Yup its Vegan

Resources:

 

Healthy Chocolate Mousse

Hello Moms, this week I want to share something short and sweet :0

It’s a healthy chocolate mousse recipe and it’s frequently made in our house because firstly it’s so easy to make but more importantly, it tastes so yummy!

The main ingredients include Avocados, Cacao and Coconut milk!

From my research:

  • Avocados are extremely nutritious as they have healthy fats (which means they help lower bad cholesterol), they contain important minerals such as iron, copper, and potassium and are a good source of the B vitamin, folate.
  • Cacao is a super nutritious as it contains antioxidants (20 times more antioxidants than blueberries), magnesium, iron, and fibre! (note I always add cacao to my daily smoothie too)
  • Coconut milk also contains iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. The trace elements present in coconut milk are responsible for the regulation of electrolytes, nerve control, muscle relaxation, and the production of energy in the body.

So overall pretty nutritious!

Issey absolutely loves this dessert and I don’t mind her having it as it has lots of nice healthy ingredients and it always fills her up! It’s also a hit with the rest of the family too, they never suspect the avocado ;0

Finally, if I have nuts in the cupboard I will often roast a few and chop up and sprinkle over the top which adds another dimension 🙂

Usually, this dessert serves about 2 large portions , this is enough for our family 🙂 you may need to double up the ingredients depending on your household…

So what’s the recipe I hear you ask?!!

Here you go, the ingredients include:

  • 1 large bar of good quality dark chocolate (usually buy at least 85% dark chocolate or sometimes I use vegan chocolate)
  • 1 ripe avocado peeled and stone removed
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 small can of coconut milk (I use organic and full fat)
  • 2 large tbsp of cacao powder (I use true organic cacao powder)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 banana

Method:

  • Start by melting the dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl over boiling water until fully melted and set aside
  • Next add the avocado, banana, maple syrup, cacao, vanilla extract, can of coconut milk and the melted dark chocolate to the blender. (note if you ever find it’s too dry just add a little more coconut milk)
  • Once blended, scoop out into dessert bowls and place in the fridge to set, I usually give it about an hour…
  • Once fully set you can sprinkle some nuts (roasted cashews, almonds or hazelnuts work well) and/or berries (with some mint) over the top and serve

It’s that easy!

Other variations of this recipe include adding the juice of a freshly squeezed orange, instead of adding the banana, this also tastes really great!

So moms, please let me know if you make it and what you think… maybe you have your own tasty desserts that are a hit with your little ones if so I’d love you to share with us…

Best wishes,

Love L X

 

Other Info 🙂

Approx Calories per serving: 403 based on 3 servings

References:

Calorie Calculator: 

http://www.myfitnesspal.com

Avocados:

https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/all-about-avocados#1

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-avocado

Cacao:

http://dailysuperfoodlove.com/2852/21-fantastic-benefits-of-cacao/

http://truefoods.ie/product/organic-raw-cacao-powder/

Coconut milk:

https://draxe.com/coconut-milk-nutrition/

http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/benefits-of-coconut-milk-for-skin-hair-and-health/#gref

Recipe credits:

Mind Body Green

We are so Vegan

 

Quick and Easy Red Lentil Soup

Hello lovely moms, this week I wanted to share my favourite fast making lentil soup recipe with you. This recipe is really healthy and loved by my family. It takes about 30 mins (inc. prep) to table.

Last year we became vegetarians and I found different variations of this recipe online and in my cookbooks. (recipe credits below :0)

Even if you are not vegetarian/vegan you will find this recipe full of flavour and a change from the norm.

It contains amazing red lentils which are packed with lots of iron, protein, and fibre, lots of yummy vegetables, onions, garlic, ginger, and herbs.

This dish will leave you feeling full and satisfied and there should be enough for leftovers the next day (depending on your household – serves about 4 large portions) however, in our house, this rarely happens as my husband always finishes it off 😉

So here is the recipe:

  • 1 tablespoon of organic coconut oil (we like to use coconut oil to cook)
  • 2 medium onions or 1 large onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (whatever your preference we like garlic ;)) diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 1 thumb size of ginger root, crushed or diced
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of mixed herbs/french herbs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 large cup of red lentils, well rinsed
  • 3-4 large cups of vegetable stock (sometimes I only use 3 cups to make it more of a stew, whatever your preference)
  • Salt/Pepper to season, I also recommend Herbamare (see link below), it’s a tasty seasoner my sister got me using (thanks sis!)

Get cooking:

  • Over a medium heat, fry off the onions and garlic for 5 mins until fragrant
  • Then add the herbs, ginger, and vegetables. Put a lid on the pot and leave for 8-10 mins on medium heat to cook the vegetables
  • Next, add in your lentils (make sure they have been fully rinsed) then add your stock, bring to the boil and then simmer on a low/medium heat for 15 mins until lentils are tender.
  • Garnish the soup with chopped parsley, a squeeze of lemon and serve with fresh crusty rye bread. I promise you it’s delish!

Please let me know if you make it and what you think of the flavours?!!

Best wishes and Love L X

PS: need to work on my food photography 😉

Red lentil soup image for blog

 

Links

Herbamare 

Recipe credits:

Delish knowledge 

theKitchn.com

East by West