Sweet Treats to Start the Week

Good evening!

Today was my first day back on the ward after compassionate leave and I was greeted at 7:10am with the news that our ward was closed due to a norovirus outbreak.  Great.  I’m crossing everything I can in the hope that I won’t get it (good for practice for some yoga poses).  All you need to know is that it’s a highly contagious, nasty one.  The only perk to the ward being is closed is that we get free bottled water, sandwiches (which I obviously can’t eat), and fruit.  And who said that the NHS don’t give their staff anything (apart from the odd hospital-acquired infections)…

Onto happier things.  Last night, I did as planned and made food supplies for the week including Raw Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls (pictured below); a slightly adapted version of this recipe invented by Tasha of The Voracious Vegan fame.  To make it gluten-free I omitted the oats and used a mix of sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds, and I also used flaked almonds as I had run out of walnuts.   Oh, and I omitted the ginger and nutmeg, also because I didn’t have any.  However, despite all of these changes they still taste SERIOUSLY good.

I’m addicted to them, and I’m also addicted to Averie’s (from Love Veggies and Yoga) Raw Chocolate Coconut Snowballs.  See evidence:

They’re just SO good.  Tom enjoyed the chocolate coconut balls/mix/dessert, and I am devouring the chocolate peanut butter balls all by myself; Tom’s not a fan of peanut butter in a sweet context (i.e. peanut butter should only ever be used on toast or in sauces such as a satay sauce).  Thus, despite a bumpy start to the week I have plenty of treats to keep me going.

Soup and Treats for Stress

Today I have two recipes to share with you whilst I take a break from party preparations for this evening’s birthday party for my mum (she’s hit the big 50; although she’s still in denial about it).  I have finally graduated from soft foods to more normal foods but before I did that I made this delicious nutrient dense soup:

It was really easy to make; just take…

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp tumeric
2 tsps smoked paprika
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garilc, crushed
750ml veg stock
200g curly kale
1 red pepper, chopped
1 sweet potato, cubed

Heat the olive oil in a heavy based saucepan or casserole dish.  Add the onion and fry until softened, then add the garlic, spices, red pepper and sweet potato.  Stir together to cover the veg with the spices and release their flavour.  Add the veg stock, and simmer for 15 mins until the sweet potato is softened.  Slowly add the kale until it’s wilted a bit.  Leave the soup to cool,and  blend altogether until reached your desired consistency.  Reheat and serve, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

If you thought that was easy, the next recipe is even easier.  I don’t know about you, but when I’m stressed I crave sweet things like nobody’s business, especially chocolate.  So I thought I should embrace this by making healthy sweet treats, and I included dates (the stress-relieving fruit).

There are loads of variations of these treats out there, and they go by different names.  You  may remember I posted about raw chocolate bombs a few weeks ago.  These are the same but are also called fudge babies by the likes of Chocolate-Covered Katie et al.  In mine I used 1 cup of almonds (soaked for 8 hours), 1 1/3 cup dates,  1/2 cup dried apricots, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and 3 tbsp cocoa powder/cacoa powder.  Just put all the ingredients into your food processor and process away until the mixture resembles fudge.  At this point you will be able to roll them into balls, or mould into whatever shape you fancy.  I have taken photos of these but I’m staying with my parents and have forgotten to bring the connecting lead to upload the photos onto my laptop.  I’ll insert the images as soon as I get back.  They resemble my raw chocolate bombs anyway, in case you’re wondering.

Raw Treats, Can it be?

Last weekend, needing a pick-me up and something small to look forward to whilst studying and returning to lectures I ordered myself these:

Charlie’s Raw Treats!

Charlie's raw treats 001


Charlie's raw treats 005

Since I hadn’t tried them before, I decided to play it safe and go for the raw chocolate brownies and, boy, am I glad I did!  They are yummy.  Honestly, who needs chocolate bars and stodgy, sugar-laden cakes when you can have these.  The rich taste of cacao (raw chocolate) is punctuated with a hint of star anise giving them a greater depth of flavour.  And they’re good for you!  There isn’t a single ingredient that your body would not thank you for.  Charlie also included a complementary Lemon Pocket which I’m looking forward to trying.  I’m returning to shift work shortly, so these will be great to pack in my lunch box to nibble on when I have a spare five minutes to fit in some nourishing and sustaining food.  Plus, I’m still saving to buy a food processor so until then I am without raw treats/snack bars, especially as larabars are no longer being sold in the UK.  (I do have a mini food processor which doesn’t even deserve the name “food processor”.  Honestly people, don’t bother with the mini versions; they’re a waste of space).  Anyway, here’s the website where you will find many other treats and cakes that Charlie makes to order, and can be delivered to anywhere in the UK.  Also, if you’re a blog addict like me, then you can check out her blog, Charlie Goes Raw.  Thank goodness the UK is slowly catching up with the raw foods movement that seems to be sweeping the US.

Right, it’s time for our daily installment of West Wing (we’re on season 4, for the fourth time) but I’ll be reviewing more delicious raw foods soon enough.  Oh, and did I mention that Charlie’s treats are vegan, organic, and free from gluten, wheat, dairy, and refined sugar.  Awesome.  Happy Vegan MoFo!

***

Since writing this I had the lemon pocket for breakfast and it was amazing (I could get used to that kind of breakfast!).   I think I may even prefer it to the brownie- it tastes really light and refreshing, and the lemon isn’t over-powering; perfect.