Little Coconut Snowballs

I’m prepping food for tomorrow’s special Plant-Based Picnic Christmas Beauty Brunch that Maxine and I hosting with the amazing Neal’s Yard Remedies in Covent Garden.

The brunch is the last commit that I have this year before I head off with my lovely friend Hannah to Marrakech for some much needed R&R. I’ve definitely overdone things over the last few months, and my body has definitely started suffering, so from next year I’m going to have to be a lot more careful about what I do and make sure that I take the time I need to look after myself.

I’ve booked in private sessions with a yoga instructor who has EDS and understands my body (amazing) and is hoping to start meditation, eating better again and make sure everything is planned in a way I can also look after myself while trying to succeed and do well at life.

Luckily, I’m the laziest cook, and making sweet and delicious treats in minutes is my specialty. These coconutty date balls are the perfect treat to whip up over Christmas.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pitted Medjool dates (if they’re tough, soak for about ten minutes)
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs
  • 2-3 good pinches of desiccated coconut (and another 1/4 or so cup in a separate bowl)
  • Scant 1/4 cup mixed seeds (I use Punch Foods Supersedes)
  • Pinch of pink Himalayan salt

Method:

  • Throw the dates, cacao nibs, 1/4 cup of desiccated coconut, flax, seeds, and salt into the food processor. Buzz until the dates are broken down and everything is combined and sticky.
  • Roll the mixture into small balls (the size is up to you) and then roll the balls into a small bowl of desiccated coconut to create the snowball.
  • Put your dates in a box and freeze for about an hour. I like to keep them in the freezer for as long as they haven’t been nommed.

Fruity zoodle & rocket salad

Today’s guest recipe comes from the amazing Malin over at the Good Eatings Blog. I met Malin at the second Plant-Based Picnic and since then have been blown away by her recipes, her photos and her simple approach to eating well. So I’m delighted that she’s agreed to become a recipe contributor for Nutritiously Natasha!

So I’ll save you a long and deep post about my health today (partly because I’m far too tired to write one) and hand right on over to Malin!

Natasha asked me if I would like to share a recipe here on her blog and of course, I do! Here is the recipe for a simple fruity fresh salad to break off the Christmas madness for a second.

What I really love about Natasha’s recipes is that they are completely fussing free and right to the point. So in that vein, I created this dish. It will literally take you ten minutes to prepare and provide you with heaps of raw veggie goodness. It is quite a sweet salad with cherry tomatoes and bell pepper which I break off by adding some garlic and seeds to the base dressing and topping. The real wild card in this salad though is the physalis, a fruit that I seem to only eat around this time of year with an interesting sweet yet tangy flavor.

I hope you all enjoy! This dish will feeds 4-5 as a side.

Ingredients:

  • 2 courgettes
  • A generous handful of rocket (arugula)
  • 1 ½ tbsp olive oil
  • Juice from ¼ lemon
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • Pink salt and black pepper to taste
  • ½ yellow bell pepper
  • 100 g cherry tomatoes (I used 8-10 plum cherry tomatoes)
  • 10 physalis
  • A sprinkling of pumpkin and hemp seeds

Method:

Julienne or spiralize the courgette and mix in a bowl along with rocket, oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, salt and pepper.

Cut the bell pepper into thin sticks and halve the tomatoes and add to salad.

Peel the physalis and rinse off the stickiness before halving the larger fruits whilst leaving the smaller as is, add to salad.

Sprinkle salad with pumpkin and hemp seeds.

Enjoy!

Raw Key Lime Pie

Wow – it feels good to have limited access to wifi right now! I still don’t have the internet at my flat (seriously, I could write a book on how ridiculously terrible BT’s service is) but I’m currently back with the parents due to a slightly unfortunate (yet hilariously wonderful and glamorous) incident on Thursday.

Strictly Come Dancing was filming part of their Christmas special at my Grandma’s retirement home. I was there, of course, and went to take a photo with one of the dancers. He unexpectedly picked me up and crushed my left side. I am now in more pain than I have been in this year. I was already feeling weakened that day because the idiot cleaner in my building left the floor on the left entirely soaking wet and I slipped and it shook me up (not to mention the toxic chemicals making my skin burn and feel insanely sick and migraine-y). So now I’m dealing with the aftermath of those two events that conspired to leave me pretty much bed bound and needing my parents to look after me. It also doesn’t help that winter has probably just started to truly take hold, and that’s when my physical problems often go a bit bonkers.

As a result, I have been on a 24-hour food self-sabotage, but to get back on track my dad is taking me to buy a tonne of juice, and then I’m going to spend some time in the kitchen to distract myself. Although, not being able to pick up equipment may be a bit challenging.

Due to lack of consistent internet access/being super busy/and now being slightly crippled, I haven’t had time to come up with recipes of my own. And to be honest, while I love spending time in the kitchen (both cooking and eating), exact recipe development on my own isn’t my totally favorite thing. So, it’s a good thing I have some amazing friends who make the most delicious food. So, to regularly bring you some of my favorite plant-based goodies while I currently don’t have time to do so, I’ll be sharing some wonderful recipes with my friends!

Today, I’m featuring a raw key lime pie from Maxine over at Gloriously Delicious.

Raw desserts were one of the first things I started experimenting with when I changed my diet. It’s funny, I never had much of a sweet tooth (give me bread and a bag of crisps any day), but as soon as I cut stuff out, in an attempt not to feel like I was deprived, I started making raw brownies and cheesecakes every day. I would now say that I’m a bit of a sweet friend. And while the ingredients in many of these desserts are often wonderfully good for you, I’m still at the point where I’m definitely overindulging a bit too regularly.

But hey, I’m human!

And Maxine’s cakes are some of my favorites. So over to her!

Ingredients

For the base

  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 2/3 cup Medjool dates
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons desiccated coconut

For the filling

  • 3 avocados
  • Juice and zest of 4 limes
  • 8 tablespoons rice malt syrup (or another liquid sweetener, use less if using maple syrup or pure honey)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • Pinch pink Himalayan salt
  • 1 tablespoon lucuma powder (optional)
  • Water as required

Method

Begin by placing your almonds and pecans in a food processor and blend until crumbly. Then, add your pitted dates, coconut oil, and desiccated coconut and blend until well combined. Press this mixture into the bottom of a lined tart tin and place in the freezer.

For the filling
Simply place the avocados, lime juice and zest, rice syrup, coconut oil, salt and (optional) lucuma in your processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Add water if your processor is struggling a bit. You may need to adjust the amount of sweetener depending on the ripeness of your avocados as they can have a more prominent taste.

Remove your base from the freezer and pour your filling into the tart tin. Return to the freezer for 1-2 hours, then store in the fridge and enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Banana Almond Muffins

I used to have an oven that hated me. Whenever I tried to make (normal people) baked goods, they always ended up raw inside. So I generally just gave up. Then we got a new oven. And I produced gorgeous banana bread and muffins and I was happy.

Switching from using eggs and sugars and milk and flours to gluten free, refined sugar-free, vegan baking seemed extremely daunting. Especially considering I don’t use any funky gums or even baking powder. So I know that my baked goods aren’t going to necessarily have those deliciously fluffy textures that I grew up loving.

That being said, I woke up this morning craving muffin, and I was determined to turn my usual almond butter and banana based breakfast into muffin form.

These muffins are insanely filling (I was super full after my second one) and taste just like banana bread. Yes, they’re dense, but they’re loaded with raw cacao nibs for an extra bite and are totally guilt free as they’re full of healthy fats and plant based goodness to help you start your day the right way.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup organic almonds
  • 1/2 cup gluten free oats
  • 1 1/2 tbsp almond butter
  • 2 large very ripe bananas (mashed)
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao nibs
  • 2 tbsp sweetener of choice (I used rice malt syrup)
  • 2 tsp Organic Burst maca (optional)
  • 1/2 Tsp raw vanilla powder
  • Pinch pink Himalayan salt

Method

  • Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius
  • Grind your almonds down so it becomes a super fine flour. I use my NutriBullet and then sift using a sieve. Pour into a large bowl.
  • Grind down oats and add to the bowl.
  • Add in cacao nibs, salt, vanilla powder and maca and stir.
  • In a separate bowl mix together the mashed banana, sweetener, almond butter and then stir with the dry ingredients to combine. The mixture will be quite dense – if it’s too dense, you can add a splash (literally a small splash) of almond milk to loosen it up a bit. If you’d like it sweeter, add some more of whatever liquid sweetener you choose.
  • Add 2 tbsp of mixture to each muffin liner
  • Pop in the oven and bake for around 20 minutes (or until you can stick a knife in there and it comes out dry.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool in the tray for a few minutes before removing and letting them cool fully on a rack.
  • Enjoy!

Brown Rice Pasta with 3 Ingredient Basil Avocado Pea Pesto

A lot of people ask me how I manage to spend so much time in the kitchen when I have such low energy levels. Honestly? I really don’t. I’m probably the world’s laziest cook, and I just love throwing things into a food processor, plating, snapping, and chowing down. One of my favorite go-to dishes is brown rice pasta with this three ingredient pesto. When I’m cooking for myself at home, I want lovely, balanced and subtle flavors that I can create in minutes. I honestly have this dish a few times a week, it’s just so simple, easy and delicious.

Ingredients:

For the pesto

  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 small avocado
  • Handful fresh basil
  • Pinch pink Himalayan Salt
  • Optional: Squeeze of lemon & fresh garlic

For the pasta

  • 1 serving gluten free pasta of choice (I love 100% organic brown rice pasta)
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Pomegranate seeds

Method:

  • In a medium saucepan bring some well-salted water to the boil and cook your pasta according to the package directions.
  • Meanwhile place your peas in a small saucepan, cover with water and bring to a rolling boil. This should take a few minutes. Drain the peas.
  • Throw your basil, avocado, peas in a food processor. Add a pinch of pink Himalayan salt (to taste) and whizz until smooth and creamy. You may need to scrape down the sides. Sometimes I add a squeeze of fresh lemon.
  • Mix pesto with pasta. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and pomegranates. Enjoy.