Sweet Potato & Tofu Burger

The heatwave seems to have finally subsided, but I’m still enjoying everything summer has to offer by BBQing and dining al fresco. I am therefore so excited to have collaborated with Weber UK, to create the ‘Ultimate Vegan Burger’ using the Master-Touch Charcoal BBQ. To do this I used a combination of chickpeas, tofu and sweet potato to create the perfect “meaty” consistency. I also added a generous amount of BBQ sauce to create a sweet, smoky flavour. To accompany my burger, I grilled some veggies on the BBQ – they were so delicious, a serious feast! I particularly loved the potatoes (which I partially cooked beforehand) as the BBQ cooked them perfectly, leaving them crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.

When it comes to cooking my veggie burgers I usually use the oven or quickly fry them in a pan, but using the Weber Master-Touch Charcoal BBQ made a huge difference! Cooking on charcoal added a ton of flavour to the burger creating a delicious smoky flavour.

Whether, you’re a carnivore or a plant eater I guarantee you will love this plant-based version of the classic burger, it’s just utterly mouthwatering, tasty and super satisfying! Maybe an idea for you next Meat Free Monday? 😉

Ingredients: 

Makes about 6-7 patties

For the burger:

200g cooked sweet potato (around 2 small sweet potatoes)

140g firm tofu

200g cooked chickpeas

4 tbsp of good quality BBQ sauce + extra for brushing the burgers

100g of breadcrumbs (use gluten free if needed)

1 tsp of salt

1/2 tsp of black pepper

Toppings:

Sliced vegan cheese

Pickled gherkins

1 sweet onion

Iceberg lettuce

Ketchup

Brioche buns

Method:

To cook the sweet potatoes wash them and place on a baking tray. Using a fork prick them all over and bake in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 40 minutes until super soft and squishy. I wouldn’t recommend steaming them as they will retain too much water. Let them cool down for 10 minutes. Remove the skin and using a fork mash them down really well.

In a separate bowl with a potato masher (or a fork) break down the chickpeas. You want to make sure they are all mushed up and there are no whole chickpeas remaining. Add the chickpeas to the sweet potato and mix well.

Using your hands crumble the tofu into a separate bowl, then add the BBQ sauce, breadcrumbs and seasoning. Mix everything until it is combined, adding more salt if necessary. Next add the mix to the sweet potato mixture and place in the fridge for 1 hour.

After 1 hour scoop out a small amount of the mixture (slightly less than a tennis ball) and shape it into patties. Brush them with some oil and a generous layer of BBQ sauce. Place them in the fridge for a further 10 minutes.

Light the BBQ and place the burgers directly onto the cooking grates, allow the burgers to cook one side for 8-10 minutes. Flip them onto the other side and cook for the same length of time until they are nice and crispy. Add a slice of cheese to each burger before replacing the lid of the BBQ. Cook for another couple of minutes.

Lightly toast the underside of each half of the bun, remove then build your burger. Serve with chopped iceberg lettuce, sweet onions, pickled gherkin and ketchup.

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Cycle Syncing

Last Saturday as pretty much every Saturday morning I went to the gym for my 1 hour high intensity workout. It was the 3rd day of my period and I woke up feeling a bit lethargic, but being my usual go-go-self I went anyway thinking: “ I am sure I will feel so much better after a good sweaty session”. How wrong I was! I literally drag myself back home (I also had to cycle 25 minutes back) feeling absolutely exhausted. I had a huge breakfast thinking that maybe I was just really hungry and in need of energy (i usually work out at empty stomach) but even after a huge bowl of porridge I wast still feeling drained and depleted.

I changed into my pjs, went to bed and basically call it a day.

I know this might sound a bit dramatic but in that moment really hit me that maybe after 5 years of healthy eating/living I am still not really in sync with my body (at least not all the time) . If you follow me on Instagram you know I like to lead a pretty active lifestyle. I love working out consistently or I just I love being active in general, I also tend to work or doing something pretty much at any given day. I love what I am doing so I guess it doesn’t really feel like work so I tend to rarely take a proper break. Basically I am of those people that struggle to sit still for more than 1/2 hour.

On that Saturday, while laying in bed and feeling sorry for myself I couldn’t help but wonder if there was something which I was missing? So I started doing some research and I came across the term Cycle Syncing. In case you are not familiar with the term ( I wasn’t) cycle syncing is basically when you adapt your diet, exercise routine, social calendar, and even important work engagements to the different phases of your monthly menstrual cycle. That way, you give your body the support it needs, rather than pushing it to perform at the same high level at all times.

Boom! That was literally a light bulb moment for me, I realised that I didn’t have a clue about my cycle. Like nada, zero, niente. I don’t even write down the first day of my period. Leave alone paying attention to my follicular phase ( didn’t even know what that is).

To make it simple, us women go through 4 phases during the spam of 4 weeks:

1- Menstrual- Roughly from day 1 of your period to day 5 : During this phase your Estrogen is on the rise. It’s advisable to drink soothing teas, like chamomile ( I personally love mint tea) to fight cramps. Avoid fatty/salty foods, alcohol or caffeine. Exercise: keep it gentle and prioritise rest. Restorative yoga or light stretch are great options.

2- Follicular – from day 6-14: Estrogen and Progesteron are on the rise. Eating food that helps metabolising progesteron can be helpful, like sprouted and fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut (my favourite). Keep exercise still light so hiking, cycling, light runs and vinyasa flow yoga are all ideal.

3- Ovulation– from day 15-17: Your testosterone and estrogen are peaking, maximizing your energy levels. This is the time where high intensity workouts are ideal. With your estrogen at an all-time high, you should eat foods that support your liver. Focus on anti-inflammatory foods like whole fruits, vegetables, and almonds. They pack incredible health benefits, including anti-aging properties and protection from environmental toxins, which are known to have an impact on your hormones.

4- Luteal – from day 18-28: Estrogen and progesterone are high. Your body is preparing for another cycle so your energy levels might be a bit low. Doing light to moderate exercise might be the best. You might want to focus magnesium rich foods that fight fatigue like dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds and spinach. Also since the luteal phase is the one before your period you might want to focus on eating extra healthy to avoid as much as possible any discomfort during your period.

Overall eating a variety of whole foods is definitely super important to help balancing your hormones and to help your body to thrive. I have to admit that since I have been on a plant based diet my period is definitely not as painful as it used to be and in general I have more energy. However as happened last Saturday I definitely have days where I need to remind myself that I am not Wonder Woman but just a woman that has her ups and downs, emotionally and physically.

I am definitely going to try to be more in sync with my 4 phases and allow myself to feel tired, lethargic or not as energetic instead of fighting and pushing myself all the time. I also will try to pay a bit mote attention to what I am eating and try to stay away from caffeine especially during my period to see if that has a positive effect.

I am actually really excited to embark on this journey of self discovering and hormones alignment ( does that even make sense??) and I cannot wait to share more with you! I am starting to realise (better late than never, right) that although what we eat has a huge impact on how we feel other factors are super important too, aka our hormones!

I am also trying seed cycling again ( last time I tried I struggle to be consistent with it) and I cannot wait to see if it has a positive effect on my hormones or skin. Definitely stay tuned for that!

Lots of Love

XX

Elisa

 

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Sweet Potato & Berry Smoothie Bowl

Adding a sweet potato to a smoothie might seem a bit weird but trust me, it’s a game changer! It create the most gorgeous and creamy consistency, it will literally feel you are having pudding for breakfast!

Ingredients:

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Serves 2

1 frozen bananas

About 1 cooked and frozen sweet potato

1 cup of frozen berries of your choice – I have used a mix of blueberries and raspberries

1 tablespoon of nut butter of your choice – I have used peanut butter

3/4 cup of coconut water/coconut milk – or more if your blender is struggling

Toppings:

Granola

Sliced banana

Fresh berries

Coconut chips

Or anything you like!

Simply place all the ingredients into a blender and add gradually the almond milk. Blend until creamy and smooth. You want to achieve a ice cream kind of consistency.  Scoop it out and pour into bowls. Top with the toppings of your choice and enjoy!

 

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Stuffed Courgettes

Courgettes are in season right now and I can’t get enough of them! This recipe is perfect for when you have guests around and you want to make them something extra special. They look super fancy but they are very simple and made with only few ingredients.  I love the fresh t0matoes combined with the brown rice and tofu, so flavoursome and filling!

 

Ingredients:

4-6 round courgette

1 block of firm tofu (roughly 280gr)

1 cup of cooked brown rice

1 onion – finely diced

3 cloves of garlic – crushed

200gr of fresh tomatoes

2 tbsp of tomato puree

1 tbsp of Tamari or soy sauce

3 tbsp of nutritional yeast

A generous handful of fresh basil leaves – finely chopped

1 tbsp of dried or fresh oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

Cut the top off the courgette. With a teaspoon remove the inside white flesh so you get left with a courgette “bowl”. Place the empty courgette on a baking tray, drizzle with some olive oil and a pinch of salt and roast them in the oven at 200 degrees celsius for 15 minutes until they start to go slightly soft.

Roughly chop half of the courgette pulp. I didn’t use all of it as I think it might make the filling a bit too watery. So I froze the rest to use in smoothies.

While the courgette are cooking in frying pan add a bit of oil and the finely chopped onion. Fry for the few minutes until the onion soften and start to caramelised. Add in the crushed garlic and cook for another minute. Add in the chopped courgette flesh, tomatoes, tomato puree and soy sauce. With your hands crumble the tofu and add it to the pan together with the brown rice. Add Cook on a high heat for 10 minutes until the filling as thicken and all the water from the courgette and tomatoes has evaporate. Finally add in the herbs, salt and pepper.

Stuff your courgette with the filling. Pop the “lid” on and place them back in the oven for another 8-10 minutes. Serve them while

 

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Coconut Chocolate Ice-Cream Lollies

These ice cream lollies have been my favourite dessert for the past week! It’s pretty scorching hot in London so I couldn’t make these at a better time. They are really easy to make and they are a great dessert to have on hand when you crave something sweet. I absolutely love the combination of the cashews, coconut yogurt and Vita Coco Original Coconut Milk, they just create the creamiest and most decadent consistency perfect paired with rich raw cacao.

Makes between 5-6 ice lollies, depending on the size

Preparation time: 15 minutes + 3 hours for setting

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of raw cashews soaked overnight or for at least 3 hours

2 heaped tbsp of plain coconut yogurt

4 tbsp of Vita Coco Original Coconut Milk

3 tbsp of maple syrup

2 tbsp of raw cacao powder

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

A pinch of sea salt

Toppings (optional):

 

About 40gr of good quality dark chocolate – melted

An handful of cacao nibs and coconut chips

Drain and rinse the cashews, add them to a blender together with all the other ingredients. Blend until you have a completely smooth and creamy consistency. If your blender is struggling add another dash of coconut milk but try to keep it as thick as possible for the best final consistency.

Pour the mixture into your ice lollies moulds. It should make between 5-6 ice lollies depending on the size. Place them in the freezer for 3-4 hours until they are completely solid.

When they are ready, to pop them out of the moulds simply place them under some hot water for few seconds util you can pull them out without any effort. Drizzle them with some of the melted chocolate and sprinkle with some cacao nibs and coconut chips.

Once decorated them store them in an airtight container in the freezer.

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Summer Potato Salad with Sweet Pepper Hummus

Salads don’t have to be boring! I really feel that majority of people have this stereotype in their minds of salads being bland and definitely not filling and satisfying. Well this salad is everything but that! The soft baby potatoes goes perfectly with the crunchy greens beans and broccoli and the pickled onion dressing really brings everything together. To make it extra delicious serve it with this super simple hummus which is so creamy and packed with summer flavours.

This salad is just perfect for:

  • barbecues
  • Picnic
  • Packed lunches
  • When you want something filling and wholesome and nourishing at the same time

I have been loving having this salad and making extra as it’s even more delicious and flavoursome the next day!

Serves 2-3 people

Ingredients:

Roughly 300gr of baby potatoes – cut into halves

200gr of green beans – cut into halves

200gr of tenderstem broccoli – trimmed and cut into halves

A generous bunch of fresh parsley , finely chopped

A generous bunch of fresh chives, finely chopped

1 banana shallot

3 tbsp of apple cider vinegar

1 tsp of wholegrain mustard

1/3 cup of extra virgin

Plenty of salt and pepper to taste

For the red pepper hummus:

1 red sweet pepper chopped into quarters

1 can of drained and rinsed chickpeas

1 tbsp of tahini paste

The juice of 1/2 lemon

1 garlic clove -crushed

2tbsp of extra virgin olive oil + a dash of water if needed

1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika

Salt to taste

Slice the shallot really fine and place it into a small bowl. Cover it with the apple cider vinegar and let it sit onto one side while you are prepping the rest.

Start by roasting the pepper. Simply place the chopped pepper in tray with a drizzle of oil and place it in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes until soft.

While the pepper is roasting place the potatoes into a large pan and cover them with boiling water. Add a pinch of salt and cook the for around 20 minutes as well until soft.

Remove the pepper fro the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes.

Add the roasted pepper and all the other ingredients into a food processor and blitz until you have a creamy and fairly smooth consistency. Add a bit more water or oil if you prefer a runnier consistency.

Drain the potatoes but don’t throw away the cooking water. In the same pan add in the chopped green beans and tenderstem and cook them for 4-5 minutes until they are slightly tender but still with a bite.

Drain them and place in bowl with plenty of cold water plus few ice cubes if you have them on hand to stop the cooking process.

To the bowl with the shallots and vinegar add the wholegrain mustard, the extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix it all together. Add the potatoes, green beans and broccoli to a large bowl. MIx the dressing + pickled shallot, finely chopped parsley and chive and give it a good mix until everything is nicely coated.

Serve it with a generous dollop of the red pepper hummus. This salad is also great served the next day, so if you have any leftovers just pop them in an airtight container in the fridge. Same for the hummus which will actually last for 3-4 days.

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Buddha Bowl with Green Goddess Dressing

Sometimes noting really beats a good old Buddha Bowl, packed with nourishing and colourful veggies it will guarantee you to make feel healthier almost instantly! 😉

This recipe is totally flexible, please feel free to use whatever veggies you like. I personally really like to always use avocado as it makes everything taste so much more indulgent and delicious.

The dressing has been my latest obsession, I love how fresh, tangy and creamy is at the same time. For the dressing I have used Udo’s Choice Ultimate Oil which rich in omegas 3 fatty acid which combined with the Beyond Greens powder is literally a bomb of goodness!

Serves 2

`Ingredients:

1 avocado – peeled and cut into slices

Greens of your choice finely sliced  – I have used a mix of kale and cress

About 2 cups of brown rice – you can also use other grains of your choice like quinoa or buckwheat

1 cup of cooked sweet corn

6-8 radishes – sliced

1 cup of finely sliced radicchio – radicchio is a firm favourite veggie of mine, if you can find it you can also use sliced chicory

1 cup of finely sliced purple cabbage

1-2 carrots – sliced in ribbons or shredded

A handful or pomegranate seeds (optional)

A sprinkle of hemp seeds and any seeds of your choice

For the dressing:

1/4 cup of cashew soaked in water for at least 3 hours or overnight

A generous handful of coriander leaves

1/2 teaspoon of Udo’s Choice Beyond Greens

1 tablespoon of Udo’s Choice Ultimate Oil

The juice of 1/2 lemon

Salt & pepper to taste

1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast

To build the bowl I normally place the grains at the bottom and then add all the other vegetables  on top. If you are not use to eat raw greens slice them very finely and massage them with some olive oil, lemon juice and salt.

To make the dressing simply place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until completely smooth and super creamy. If your blender is struggling or you want a runnier consistency add a splash of water.

Drizzle the dressing on top pf the bowl and sprinkle with some hemp seeds. If you have any leftover dressing store it in a jar or airtight container for a couple of days.

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How To Eat Healthy For Life

If I could have a pound for every time someone ask me: “ Do you ever crave junk food?” I would be a very rich woman by now.

We can obviously debate for hours about what healthy eating means and what we classified as junk foods and healthy foods. For me personally, eating healthy means eating predominantly whole unrefined plant based foods. I follow a plantabsed diet for health and ethical reasons but I believe this post will apply to anyone following either an omnivore or vegan diet. Because in my eyes wether vegan or animal based, junk food is still junk food. Just because it’s vegan it doesn’t mean it’s healthy (it actually took me quite some time to grasp that ;)) Don’t get me wrong I do enjoy my bit of vegan kebab, donuts, “fried chicken” every now and then but it’s definitely a rare occasion rather than a habit.

As annoying as it might sound eating healthy has become just automatic for me as it just makes me feel incredible. Although it didn’t happen overnight, I strongly believe that anybody can get to the stage where eating healthy 90% of the time (we are all human) is the norm and not the exception.

Here are some tips which I hope you will find helpful and maybe inspiring to get you started on your health journey:

1- Think baby steps – I didn’t transition to a plant based diet overnight and it actually took me quite a long time to remove all animal products from diet and make better food choices. This gradual but steady transition I believe it allowed me to make long term changes which now feel sustainable for life.

So instead of thinking “ I am going to eat super healthy ALL the time” maybe make the commitment to start having a healthy and nourishing breakfast every day. Or maybe decide that every other day you will plan in a very healthy meal cooked from scratch with lots of veggies, wholegrains or beans.  Another example could be to commit to always bring your lunch at work instead of buying that maybe not so healthy sandwich every day.It really doesn’t have to be everything or nothing, especially at the beginning when making drastic changes can just feel a bit too overwhelming.

2- Out of Sight Out of Mind – It might sound obvious but if you have your cupboards stocked up with lots of junk food you will probably end up eating it. As wasteful as it might seem just get rid of it! It’s definitely more harmful to eat it than to throw it away.

Once the junk is out, stock up on all the good stuff, I am sure you are guessing what I am talking about 🙂 Start with packing your fridge with whatever fruit and veggies you like (if you hate kale just don’t buy it) When it comes to pantry staples I guess we all have different taste and preferences, these are some of my favourite cupboard staples which I always try to have on hand:

  • wholegrain like brown rice and quinoa (great to serve with curries, stews, buddha bowls)
  • oats – for porridge, baking and overnight oats.
  • Beans & legumes ( I like to buy them dried and cook them myself to reduce waste but if you are short of time canned ones are super convenient)
  • Wholegrain pasta ( my favourite are spelt, buckwheat, chickpeas and brown rice)
  • Nut butters & tahini (great for dressing or on top of porridge/ overnight oats or as a snack)
  • Nuts and seeds (I love sprinkle them in my salads, soups or with oats)
  • Tomato passata, tamari, apple cider vinegar and miso paste for dressings and pasta sauces

Literally fill your kitchen with all the good stuff and leave the junk food for special occasion, like eating out with friends or that donut on a Friday lunch break. I am no saint myself so I know that if I buy a tray of vegan donuts guarantee they will be gone in 10 minutes 🙂 I rather have my bit of junk food when I go out and I get the chance to explore all the amazing vegan junk food options that London has to offer.

3- Fall in love with cooking – There is no easy way around this, but if you want to eat healthy you got to cook your food. That’s it, plain and simple. The food that you cook yourself will ALWAYS be healthier than any food you will buy out there (even from health food stores or healthy restaurants) because you are in control on exactly what to put in your meals. I love making my own sweets and cakes for example because I can decide exactly how much sweetener (and which kind) to use or much oil, I just love to know what goes into my food. Cooking your meals doesn’t have to complicated or take forever. Most of my meals are super easy and take less than 30-40 minutes.

There are plenty of free resources out there which have inspired me massively at the beginning of my cooking journey. In this day and age (I sound like my grandma) there is really not need to buy cookbooks (unless you want to). These are some of my favourite free online resources and inspirations:

And again when it comes to cooking don’t feel like you got to spend hours in the kitchen cooking every single bite you eat. If you are completely new to cooking or not a big fan you might want to start slowly. Maybe schedule few cooking nights a week and as you become more confident the more you will enjoy and the more you will want to do it.

For me now cooking is a primary act of self care. Some people get their nails done, have a bubble bath or slap on a face mask (nothing wrong with that), I cook myself nourishing meals which I know they will feed my body in the best possible way.

4 –Your body is a creature of habit – This is something which I firmly believe in and I could see that very clearly on myself over the past few years. The more you feed your body a type a food the more it will crave it. So the more you eat junk food the more you will end up craving it. And the same goes for healthy food, of course!

I now crave huge salads, big buddha bowls, warming bean stew, veggie curries or big green smoothies. My body genuinely crave nourishing and unrefined plant based food 99% of times. And yes the 1% left is for vegan burgers, fries, cupcakes and whatever crazy exciting new vegan junk food I can get my hands on when I am out 🙂

Especially when I come back form a holiday where I normally don’t eat quite as well as when I am at home, I find myself craving the biggest bowl of kale and sweet potatoes. I feel so incredibly good and energetic when I eat well then my body remembers that and send me hints to keep eating that way. I know breaking the habit to eat junk can be hard at the beginning but I truly believe that one step at the time anybody can do it.

5- Knowledge is power– We all know that fruit and veggies are good for us, but do you know exactly why? I love googling nutrition facts about the food I eat, I find it motivates me even more to eat that particular food as I know exactly why it’s good for me. For example, did you know that flaxseeds have been proven to help prevent breast cancer? I find this mind-blowing and the more I learn about the health befits of plants the more I want to eat them. Call me a geek but it’s exciting to chew on a big mouthful of greens, carrots, beets and quinoa knowing that I am eating vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, protein and so much more.

There are also plenty of books out there that suggest that eating a diet predominantly based on unrefined plant based food is the healthiest diet on the planet. If you want to find out more these are the books which changed drastically (for the better) my prospective on food:

  • “How not to Die” by Michael Greger
  • “Whole” by Colin Campbell

6- Have a Plan – You know the say: “ Fail to prepare, prepare to fail” ? Well, when it comes to eating healthy it cannot be more true. Especially if you are new to cooking your meals from scratch and you have a busy life you definitely need to have a plan of action. I personally don’t do Sunday meal prep or have a meal planner because a) I am working from home b) I am a food blogger so I literally make food all the bloody time! But when it comes to simplify healthy eating I believe a meal planner could be life saving. Forks over knife has an excellent free meal planner on their website for super delicious and healthy plant based recipes, or you can just create your own by mix and matching different recipes from different blogs, write them all down and writing next to to your grocery list. By having a meal planner not only you will take out of the equation the classic question “What shall I have for dinner tonight?” But you will also save money as you will buy ingredients exactly for those recipes.

I personally love to do my big shop on a weekend so I know that I am fully stocked up on all the good stuff for the week ahead.

When I used to work in a an office to make my life even easier I would do some simple meal prep on a Sunday, like cooking a batch of brown rice or quinoa, cooking some beans (you can always use tinned ones) and making some overnight oats jars which I could take with me during the week.  I would put some music on, make myself a big cup of tea and just enjoy spending some time showing

6- Never EVER strive for perfection Remember that we are only human, sometimes we overindulge, skip the gym for a month, whatever. Accept the fact from the very beginning that a perfect- super healthy-kale -juices- like- there- is- no- tomorrow-diet doesn’t exist and it’s probably not  that healthy either. I have days when I can easily polish off 2 bars of Loving Earth Caramel chocolate in one sitting and sometimes I can even go for the third one. When you overindulge in something, just do it, go for it and OWN IT. Don’t dwell too much on it, it’s done, you had that kebab last Friday night, I promise you it won’t kill you. Simply move on and make better choices the next day. What you eat once in a blue moon won’t compromise your health, is what you eat everyday, day in day out that really matters.

7- Pay attention to how you feel How do you feel after eating a big Mac? Or after that packet of crisps? Do you feel vibrant, energetic or do you feel like you could go for nap? I personally feel pretty crap after junk food, most of the times takes me days to digest it, I can feel bloated, and you know that feeling of being greasy on the inside? Yes that’s exactly how I feel and yeah it’s definitely not how I want to feel everyday. My skin is also very sensitive to what I eat so if I eat lots of fried , overly salty or loaded with sugar foods, chances are I will probably break out. I remember being so jealous of my friends for always having flawless skin no mater what they ate. Now I have learn to look at my skin issues as a blessing. I think if them as a way of my body for keeping me on track to eat healthy and nourishing foods most of the times. When I eat a huge buddha bowl or a big smoothie I feel incredible, full of energy and I have that sense of really look after myself by eating something packed with vitamins, antioxidants and minerals.

8- Say a big thank you to your body – This is going to sound such a cliche but you got to love your body enough to honour it with healthy and nourishing food. If your body carries you around everyday, if you can walk and breath then you are tremendously lucky. Say a big fat thank you to you body for supporting you every day. No matter how skinny or overweight you are, no matter if your skin is not clear, your hair is not shining, you aren’t at that ideal shape you would like to be, you got to start loving yourself RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW. Because when you truly love yourself something magic happen. You start to respect and appreciate your body, you start feeling grateful for your health and you might start saying no to that donut and yes to that plate of broccoli.

I hope you found this blog post even a tiny bit useful, I wish you all the best on your health journey and I hope I can help you along the way.

 

xx

Elisa

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Salted Caramel Frappuccino

Decadent and luxurious, this creamy Frappuccino is fit for a high end coffee shop and it’s just the perfect treat for hot summer days. The date salted caramel is possibly one of the best thing I have ever made and it really takes this Frappuccino to the next level! It’s sweet and creamy and it just go so well with the richness of the coffee. For this recipe I have used TASSIMO My Way L’Or espresso as I like my coffee quite strong. The whipped coconut cream is just the perfect topping and you would be surprise how easy it is to make it!

Ingredients:

1 cup of creamy almond milk (the creamier the better)

1 shot of espresso – I have used TASSIMO My Way L’Or espresso

A handful of ice cubes

For the caramel:

1/2 cup of pitted dates

3-4 tbsp of almond milk

A generous pinch of sea salt

For the coconut whipped cream:

1 tin of full fat coconut milk chilled in the fridge overnight (very important, please don’t skip!)

1 tbsp of maple syrup (optional)

Start by making the caramel. Place the dates and salt into a food processor and blitz until you the dates are all mashed up and you have some sort of sticky paste (like nut butter). You might need to scrape the sides from time to time and blitz again. If you are struggling to get a creamy consistency use more almond milk. Leave it onto one side.

To make the coconut cream scoop out only the solid part which should sit at the top of the tin. With an electric hand whisker whisk the cream for about 5 minutes until quite thick and fluffy.

To make the Frappuccino simply place the almond milk, espresso, ice cubes and about 1/2 tbsp of the date caramel into a blender and blend until super smooth and creamy. Serve it in a tall jar or glass and drizzle some caramel on top and add a generous dollop of the coconut cream. Enjoy straight away!

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How to organise your fridge for eating healthy – Samsung Family Hub Fridge Freezer Review

You get home from work, you swing the fridge door open and the shelves are looking like a graveyard: a half moldy cucumber, a few condiments, which you cannot remember last using. Does this sound familiar?

Let’s be honest, before I embarked on the mission of eating a healthy plant-based diet organising my fridge was at the bottom of my list of priorities.

If your goal is to make healthier choices I would say start with your fridge/freezer. By organising your fridge and stocking it up with goodness you are setting yourself up for success. I am so happy to have collaborated with AO.com  to bring you some tips and hacks on how to organise your fridge for eating healthy.

Here are some tips to put healthy eating within hand’s reach:

  1. Choose the rainbow: I always make sure my fridge is fully stocked with colourful fruit and veggies because different colours mean different nutrients.  If you find yourself short of time when you get home from work, wash and prepare your berries and fruit when you get home from the grocery store so they are always ready to go.  Peel and chop melons or watermelons and place them in containers (I love using glass containers). Place the fruit at the front of the fridge so the bright colours will catch your eyes.

 

  1. Wash and chop your veggies: Wash and cut your carrots and celery into batons and again place them in containers. These are a great to dip in some hummus or to have them while you are cooking dinner. Greens (kale, chards, salad leaves, rocket, spring greens) – wash them as soon as you get home, roughly dry them by either using a tea towel or a salad spinner if you have one. I put my cotton bags under the tap and then fill them with my washed greens so they stay fresh and crisp for the whole week.  Having so many vegetables already prepared will save you so much time during the week and mean you’re always minutes away from a nutritious snack or feast.

  1. Pre-cook whole grains, pulses & beans: At the end of a long day, waiting for brown rice to cook is really no fun. I like to cook a batch of a different wholegrain each week. I try to rotate them so I can get different nutrients and vitamins plus also have a bit of variety. The same for beans and legumes. Of course you can buy tinned beans but I personally prefer cooking my own as I find them much easier to digest. All you have to do is soak them for 8 hours or overnight and then cook them in your pressure cooker for 20-25 minutes. As per fruit and veggies, I like to store them in glass container or Kilner jars.
  2. Keep your nuts fresh for longer: Nuts and seeds (especially in hot climates) can go rancid quite quickly so I store them in glass jars in the fridge. They are also a great snack so I always keep few jars on the top shelf so I am more prone to grab them when the hunger strikes.

  1. Healthy drink options: If you find it difficult to give up fizzy sugary drinks this one is for you. As much as I like water, it can get boring at times so I like to keep a few other options in the fridge, which are definitely more exciting but still very healthy. My favorites are kombucha (a fermented drink, which tastes like a cross between prosecco and cider and is rich in probiotics), coconut water and homemade nut milks for when I fancy something sweet.
  2. Homemade Dressings: I normally try to stay away from readymade dressings, they tend to be full of sugar, additives and preservatives. Making your own dressing is super quick and easy. These are my two favorites which I use in salads and Buddha bowls and they can be easily stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Balsamic Dressing: in a jar mix together 1 tbsp. of balsamic vinegar, 3 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 tsp of yellow or wholegrain mustard, 1 tsp of maple syrup, a pinch of salt and pepper. Put the lid on and shake the jar really well until it’s all combined.

Tahini & Miso Dressing: In a jar mix together 2 tbsp. of tahini paste, 1 tsp of miso paste, 1 tbsp. of Tamari sauce, the juice of 1/2 lemon, 1 tsp of maple syrup and a dash of water to thin it out. Mix it very well and add more water if needed to reach the desired consistency.

When it comes to the freezer these are the things that I always have on hand

  1. Chopped and frozen bananas & steamed sweet potatoes: These are always the base my smoothies or nice creams.
  2. Frozen berries: Fresh berries have a very short shelf life so I always keep some frozen ones in the freezer for toppings for porridge, overnight oats or smoothies
  3. Veggie burgers or falafels: As much as I like to make everything from scratch, sometimes I simply don’t have the time so I like to keep some pre-made veggie burgers from brands I trust in case of emergency.
  4. Frozen peas/broad beans/sweetcorn: These veggies are so handy to keep in the freezer as you can throw them in so many recipes, like stews, chilies or stir fries without requiring barely any cooking. They are also frozen immediately after being picked so will have their full complement of nutrients.
  5. Leftover curries/soups or stews: These have been lifesaving in so many occasion, especially after coming back from holidays when your fridge is bare. It’s great to have a selection of leftovers on hand that you can just throw in the microwave for a healthy and nourishing dinner in no time!

For the past few weeks I have been using my new Samsung Family Hub Fridge and Freezer and I am absolutely in love with all the different features that this fridge has.

  1. Impressive 593 litre capacity: The equivalent of 32 bags of shopping! Although it might seem big and bulky it’s actually incredibly sleek and stylish and it fits so well in our kitchen. I almost feel it has always been there!
  2. Innovative Wi-Fi Touch Screen: Built directly on the door which lets you communicate with your partner or family effortlessly. You can leave notes to each other or share calendars and even photos! Through this screen you can also stream music, TV or videos so you can dance and sing while you are cooking! (Something which I definitely enjoy doing! ;))
  3. 3 interior cameras: These can be linked to an app on your smartphone and allows you to see what you have in your fridge while you are out shopping. I don’t know about you but I never remember to check my fridge before I go shopping and always forget something so this feature has already saved me an extra trip to the shops so many times!
  4. Water and ice dispenser: This feature has been so handy especially in the recent weeks with the weather sweltering. It’s also brilliant for entertaining or when hosting dinner parties.
  5. Holiday Setting: This can help save you energy while you are away. This function allows the freezer to work as normal whilst the fridge is set to a specific temperature while empty with the doors closed.
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