RSS Feed

Tag Archives: vegan

Three-Ingredient Chocolate Crispy Rice Treats

Happy World Nutella Day! To celebrate this most scrumptious of spreads, I thought I’d share the easiest crispy rice treats you’ll probably ever make.

Nutella no marshmallow rice krispies

My recipe doesn’t have any butter or marshmallows. I don’t know about you, but I always end up in a ridiculously sticky mess when I melt marshmallows. When I doubled my Crispy Rice Christmas Trees recipe for a school bake sale last year (by the way, NEVER do that!), I made the biggest mess and spent so much time cleaning up afterwards that I vowed to only ever make marshmallow crispies in small quantities in the future!

Thankfully you don’t need marshmallows to make yummy crispy rice treats and this recipe only leaves you with a small amount of (much less sticky) washing up to do. It’s a win-win situation on all fronts.

Not having any butter, you can also easily turn this recipe into a very yummy vegan treat. While Nutella unfortunately isn’t vegan, it’s not that difficult to find chocolate spreads that are vegan-friendly. Vegan Womble has compiled a long list of them and Dana at Minimalist Baker has an easy 4-ingredient recipe to make your own. Substitute agave syrup/nectar for the honey and you’ve got a completely vegan sweet treat.

If you’re worried you might scoff down the lot, it’s super simple to half the amounts, and use a loaf tin instead of a square tin. What are you waiting for?!

Nutella no marshmallow rice krispies

THREE-INGREDIENT CHOCOLATE CRISPY RICE TREATS

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 0 mins plus 30 mins in the freezer to set
Makes 16 squares
Keeps in the fridge for 2-3 days

100g crispy rice cereal
150g Nutella or your preferred chocolate spread
150g honey or agave syrup

Line a 20x20cm cake tin with baking paper.

Put the crispy rice in a large bowl.

Melt the Nutella and honey together either in the microwave (approx. 30 secs on high) or on the stove (approx. 5 mins over med heat). Stir to thoroughly combine.

Pour the chocolate mixture over the crispy rice and stir until the rice is completely coated.

Spread the mixture into your prepared tin and put in the freezer for 30 minutes (or the fridge for 2-3 hours) to firm up.

Cut into squares and enjoy!

What’s your favourite way to eat Nutella?

You might also want to try:

Banana and Nutella Muffins                                 Nutella Pizza Stars

Advertisements

How To Not Give Up On Veganuary

* This post contains some affiliate links. If you purchase something, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.   

How To

We’re just past the halfway mark for Veganuary and apparently today is the day that many people will give up. Here are some tips to help you keep going.

Jakub Kapusnak Unsplash

Remind yourself why you’re doing it
Whether you’re going vegan for your health, for animal rights, to help the planet or another reason, reminding yourself why you made the decision can get you back on track. The official Veganuary website have loads of resources to keep you focused on your specific goal.

Recognise your progress
You’ve been vegan for more than two weeks and you’re more than halfway to the end of January. Give yourself a pat on the back (or why not reward yourself with a back massage!) for getting this far and feel confident you can keep going.

Take one day at a time
Even though you’re more than halfway there, maybe another two weeks without the foods you’ve been used to eating seems too daunting. If that’s how you’re feeling, just focus on being vegan for more one day, then do it for another day, and then another. Take baby steps to help you keep going towards your goal.

Don’t be too hard on yourself
If you slip up, don’t punish yourself. And it certainly doesn’t mean you have to give up Veganuary altogether. For a lot of people switching to a vegan diet is a big lifestyle change so be kind on yourself. Remind yourself why you’re doing it (which probably isn’t to punish yourself!), remind yourself of your progress so far and keep going.

Try something new
Look for some new vegan recipes to try and discover snacks you didn’t realise were vegan-friendly.

If you’re running out of ideas for specific mealtimes, have a look at Purely Amy’s Weekly Vegan Meals which has lots of ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner. She’s also put together a great list of vegan-friendly snacks and ready meals (hobnob anyone?!).

There’s loads of recipes on the official Veganuary website and why not also try:

Poppy and the Bees Veganuary

Basic but Brilliant Lentil Bolognese from Poppy and the Bees

Simply Living Vegan veganuary

Creamy Pea and Mushroom Pasta from Simply Living Vegan

Chocolate-Covered Katie veganuary

The Best Vegan Brownies from Chocolate-Covered Katie

And these three vegan cookbooks are currently on sale at Waterstones:

Vegan 100 by Gaz Oakley
How To Go Vegan by Veganuary
Feed Me Vegan by Lucy Watson

You can also check out my Veganuary Pinterest board for more recipes and ideas to help keep you going.

Are you doing Veganuary? Do you have any more tips to make it easier for people to change to a vegan lifestyle?

Sugar-free peanut and date bites

While I’m not a vegan (and never could be), I like following people who are on Instagram for healthy food inspiration, especially trying to come up with different healthier snacks for Nicholas. One of my favourite vegan Instagrammers is the lovely Two Minute Vegan (@twominutevegan).

A few weeks back she came up with a great idea for a two-ingredient healthy snack bar using just dates and peanuts. I just had to try it!

veganBlending up the dates into a sticky purée produces a wonderfully sweet caramel-like flavour in the finished bites and a seemingly naughty chewy texture. They really do taste like a sugary treat rather than a healthy snack.

The original recipe has a layer of peanuts on the bottom as well as on the top which works well if you’re cutting them into bars, but I just put peanuts on top. Even after cooking they’re quite squidgy, so it’s better to cut them into smaller pieces to avoid a sticky mess particularly with little ones.

Because of their squidgy soft texture, I think this recipe would also be great as pop-in-the-mouth balls, rolled in crushed peanuts before baking.

You really must try making these addictive bites!

SUGAR-FREE PEANUT AND DATE BITES

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 10 mins plus 30 mins in the fridge to harden
Makes 16 squares
Keeps in the fridge for a couple of days

1 1/2 cups unsalted peanuts
1 1/2 cups dates, roughly chopped

Heat your oven to 175C and line a square baking tin (mine is 20cm x 20cm) with baking paper.

Put 1 cup of the peanuts in a food processor and grind until they’re fairly evenly broken up into small pieces.

Add the chopped dates and blend while pouring in two tablespoons of water. Keep adding a little water until you have a thick paste (similar in consistency to a thick peanut butter).

Spread the date and peanut mixture into your prepared tin using the back of a spoon (wet it if the mixture keeps sticking to it). Sprinkle over the remaining 1/2 cup of peanuts and press them in.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Put the bites, still in the tin, in the fridge to harden (at least half an hour) then cut into squares.

vegan

Kale Crisps

I’ve wanted to try making kale crisps for a while as they’ve intrigued me. When a large bunch of kale popped into my weekly delivered veg box, it was time to try them.

I think for a lot of people kale crisps don’t sound particularly appetising. And the first taste is a little odd, but… then I couldn’t stop eating them! Hubby was rather dubious, but… then he couldn’t stop eating them! And Nicholas tucked into them too!

Vegetable crisps

Such a brilliant way to get some more green veg into your and your little ones’ diets, and kale is considered to be one of the healthiest vegetables around. Kale crisps are also super easy to make.

Some recipes suggest putting the torn up leaves into a bag with the olive oil and salt, and either shaking or massaging to cover the leaves. I tried this the first time I made them, but found the salt didn’t spread very well meaning I ended up with some VERY salty crisps and some without any salt. If you’re not using salt at all, the bag method works well to limit the amount of oil, but otherwise I would just drizzle the oil and sprinkle over the salt once the kale is on the oven trays. Be careful about adding too much salt as they can very easily become too salty (you can always add more salt after they’ve cooked).

KALE CRISPS

Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 5-10 mins

1 bunch of kale, washed and patted dry
Approx. 1 tbsp olive oil
Salt (optional)

Preheat your oven to 170C and line two oven trays with baking paper.

Tear the leaves off the thick stalks and chop or tear into pieces about 5-7cm in size.

Spread the torn leaves in a single layer over the oven trays.

Lightly drizzle the leaves with olive oil and very lightly sprinkle with salt (if using).

Bake for 5-10 minutes, keeping a close eye on them, until the edges have just started to go brown.

Variations:

  • for kale crisps with a kick, sprinkle with chili powder before baking;
  • for zesty crisps, as soon as you take the crisps from the oven, grated over some lemon zest;
  • for cheesy crisps, sprinkle over some grated parmesan before baking;
  • sprinkle over some sesame seeds after baking.

Tip: if your kale browns too quickly, try baking them at 150C for 20-25 minutes.

Healthy homemade microwave popcorn

Making your own popcorn means you can snack away guilt-free whether you’re watching a movie or not. It’s healthy because unless you add other toppings, simple plain popcorn with a bit of salt is a low-calorie snack.

healthy microwave popcorn

Since learning how easy it is to make at home when I was a teenager, I’ve always made it in a pot on the stove. For making larger amounts, this is still the best way I think. Put a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot, stir through 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels until they’re coated, put the lid on and put over a medium heat until the kernels start popping; shake the pot around putting it back on heat when the popping slows down; add salt if desired.

Of course you can buy prepackaged bags of popcorn kernels to go in the microwave. However, you’re paying lots of money for the packaging and often getting lots of added ingredients. Just buy a (much bigger) bag of simple kernels.

Making popcorn in the microwave is perfect for a quick snack or for when you just want a couple of small servings. This method uses a paper bag (think brown paper lunch bag), but you can also pop them in a large microwave-safe bowl with a plate over the top. Either way, be very careful opening the bag or bowl, keeping your fingers away from the escaping steam.

I’ve tried making microwave popcorn with oil and without. I’d encourage you to try both. Without the oil is definitely healthier, but it’s only a small amount and, for me, the taste is so much better with it.

But before we get popping…

WARNING: popcorn can be a choking hazard for babies, toddlers and even bigger children. Even if your little one has teeth, she may swallow rather than chew them. Large pieces of even the fluffiest popcorn can block a little one’s throat, and unpopped or half-popped kernels and the husks can also be very dangerous. The common advice is to not give popcorn to under twos, but some experts say avoid them until four years of age. When you think your little one is old enough to eat popcorn, break bigger pieces up, check for unpopped and half-popped kernels and husks, and have them eat sitting down and supervised.

HEALTHY HOMEMADE MICROWAVE POPCORN

Prep time: 2 mins
Cook time: 2 mins
Makes 1 adult serving

1/4 cup popcorn kernels
1 small clean paper bag such as a brown lunch bag
1/2 tsp olive oil (optional)
pinch of salt (optional)

If using oil, put it in a small bowl, add the popcorn kernels and salt (if using), and stir until the kernels are covered. If not using oil, skip to the next step.

Place the kernels in the bag. Fold the top over 2 or 3 times to close.

Place the bag in the microwave and cook for 2 minutes on high or until there’s more than 2 seconds between pops.

Be careful of the escaping steam when opening the bag.

Variations:

  • sprinkle over nutritional yeast for a low-calorie cheese flavour
  • add a pinch of cinnamon
  • add a pinch of garlic powder or onion salt

Tip: Take out the popped popcorn from the bag and microwave the unpopped kernels briefly again.

Roasted carrot soup for the whole family

Happy International Carrot Day! Bet you didn’t know that even though this year marks a decade of celebrating the root vegetable. I certainly didn’t!

After our Easter indulgences, I though it was time to return to my mission of getting as many vegetables into Nicholas as possible (and soup’s the least stressful way). I’m sure the exhausted Easter bunny would also happily relax with a large bowlful.

This is a super simple soup (try to say that quickly as many times as you can!) the whole family can enjoy from weaning babies (omit the seasoning) to adults. It freezes well and can also be used as a pasta sauce for a quick healthy lunch.

roasted carrot soupRoasting the carrots and onion, before adding them to the stock, creates an extra depth of flavour. Ordinary carrot soup becomes something more interesting to the palette. While roasting the vegetables means the cooking time is longer, you can always roast them earlier in the day (if you’re at home) or even the day before.

Like most soups, don’t be too worried about exact measurements; slightly less or slightly more carrots won’t make much difference to the end result. If you don’t have enough carrots, add some other root vegetables like parsnip, turnip or potato.

If you’re not serving this to a baby, you can add some warming spice like coriander (you could sprinkle some ground coriander over the vegetables before roasting).

ROASTED CARROT SOUP

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
Makes 4 adult servings
Freezable

750g carrots, roughly chopped
1 large onion, quartered
1 tbsp olive oil
1 litre vegetable or chicken stock
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper (optional)

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Lay the chopped carrots and onion in a single layer on a roasting tray. Drizzle over the oil, and season with salt and pepper (if using). Roast for 3o minutes or until the vegetables start to turn golden.

Heat the stock in a medium to large pot until lightly boiling. Turn the heat down to low, add the vegetables and thyme, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Take the soup off the heat and let it cool a little if you have the time. Purée until smooth. Check if you need to add any more seasoning.

Variations:

  • use a mixture of carrots and parsnips
  • sprinkle the vegetables with ground coriander before roasting (you can also add fresh coriander later)

Other Uses:

  • Mix through some cooked pasta (or rice) for a quick lunch

Sweet potato crisps

sweet potato crisps

Who doesn’t like crisps? If your hand’s up, I don’t believe you!

Hubby is a big fan of vegetable crisps. So when I came across Yelena’s Orange Sweet Potato Crisps with Thyme (on her Melangery food blog) I thought both hubby and Nicholas would like them. Take a look at Yelena’s gorgeous photos and try not to drool.

The additional flavours of orange (zest) and thyme work delightfully with the sweet potato (I’m thinking of adding them when I next make sweet potato mash). But if you wanted plainer or easier crisps, you could leave them out.

If you don’t have a mandoline slicer, just make sure you slice the sweet potato as thinly as you can. I always struggle with my mandoline slicer and never get the lovely quick sliding action I see others use on cooking shows. If anyone has any tips for using them, please share!

You need to eat these fairly quickly after cooking them otherwise they’ll start losing their lovely crispiness. Although, I’m sure sticking them back into the oven for a few minutes would crisp them up again.

sweet potato crisps

SWEET POTATO CRISPS

Prep time: 10-15 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
Makes 2 servings

1 medium sweet potato, scrubbed and sliced as thinly as possible into rounds
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp orange zest
1 tsp thyme
salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 160C. Line two oven trays with baking paper.

Mix the olive oil and orange zest together in a small bowl.

Using a pastry brush, brush the trays with about half of the orange oil mixture.

Lay the sweet potato slices on the tray in a single layer and brush with the remaining orange oil.

Sprinkle over the thyme, and salt and pepper.

Bake one tray at a time for about 20 mins until the edges are starting to curl up, and the centre is dry to the touch and golden brown (I let mine cook a bit too long).

Put the tray on a wire rack for the crisps to cool. After a few minutes they’ll become crisp.

Repeat with your second tray of sweet potato slices.

Eat immediately!