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16 July 2017

Cherry Bakewell Bliss Balls


Something I've learnt since I started my new job is that snacks are essential to getting through the day. Without them you get hungry, can't concentrate fully and then aren't nearly as productive. I have been relying on nakd bars and similar snacks - so whilst these don't have any added sugar and have protein, good fats, fibre and carbohydrates, they can be a little expensive to keep buying. So, I thought I'd make some myself - for this you'll need a food processor.


Quite often fruit and nut bars can just taste sweet, from the dates, but here I added dried cherries, for a sour note which really enhance the flavour of these energy balls. I combined the dried cherries with dates for some sweetness and ground almonds, for a cherry bakewell inspired flavour, I also rolled them in coconut, which I know, isn't traditional for a cherry bakewell, but it tastes delicious and makes them less sticky too!


Containing protein, good fats, fibre, as well as naturally occurring sugars, these bliss balls should prevent sudden spikes in your blood sugar, helping you to keep working throughout the afternoon. They also contain vitamin A, magnesium, manganese, calcium, iron, vitamin E and B2, plus, they only have 4 ingredients! As they use dried ingredients, these bliss balls should last for around a week or so when stored at room temperature in a air-tight container, which means that you could leave them at work, to help to stop you snacking on them in the evenings.


If you don't like cherries, then another tart fruit like dried cranberries would also work and you can also switch the almonds for other ground nuts, but of course then you wouldn't be making 'Cherry Bakewell' Bliss Balls. A batch of these makes 12 bliss balls, but you can always double it if you want to be extra efficient. These also couldn't be simpler to make, you put everything in the food processor at once - using ground almonds means you don't have to worry about how powerful your processor is, then once combined, separate the mix, roll into balls and coat in desiccated coconut. The hardest part about this recipe is not eating them all at once...good luck! 

Cherry Bakewell Bliss Balls | Yield: 12 | Time: 15 minutes 

You'll need

  • Food processor
  • Measuring cups
  • Small bowl

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dried, pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1/4 cup desiccated coconut

Method

  1. Add the dates, cherries and almonds to the food processor and blend until a 'dough' is formed.
  2. Separate the mix into quarters and each 1/4 into 3 pieces, then roll into balls.
  3. Measure the coconut into a bowl and roll the bliss balls in the coconut. Then store in a air-tight container for around a week...if they last that long and enjoy as required!
Cassidy xx


12 July 2017

Mexican Rice & Grilled Corn Mango Salsa


I recently started my first, post-uni job as a Nutritionist Marketeer, which is pretty exciting and why I've been a little quiet on here. This is also my first post since I had my university results, so now I'm officially a Nutritionist with a BSc (Hons)! I've just moved from Bournemouth where I was at uni to a new town, which I'm pleased to say is already starting to feel like home. Along with starting a new job, the last couple of weeks have entailed packing & unpacking along with a lot of trips up and down stairs with it all! So it's safe to say, after my first official full week of work I was definitely ready for the weekend, to fully unpack and actually do some cooking.


As a tradition of sorts, my mum helped me unpack Tuesday evening and we got Chinese food to help us along with this. On Wednesday I then had the left overs for dinner; this was a bit of a delayed process, as it took me 25 minutes to work out how to turn on my touch-operated electric hob and in the mean time I ate some cold Chinese chips to keep me going (I was so hungry by this point they didn't taste half as bad as I know they should have!). Once I managed to turn it on (more of a happy accident), I could then only figure out how to operate one ring, to the highest heat and had to switch it off at the wall afterwards. You'll be pleased to hear I managed to work it successfully for this recipe today and it's really not as complicated as it first seemed, but perhaps I was just too tired and hungry for my brain to work it out! The hot water also decided to cut out a few times, luckily it's summer and pretty warm, so the freezing cold showers didn't make the start of the day too bad! But the main thing is, I'm all moved in, everything's figured out and I'm absolutely thrilled with my new place & my new job.

26 June 2017

Portobello Mushroom & Blu Cheese Burgers


This past week has been relaxing, exciting and also the hottest week in June for years - which makes this next recipe perfect now that BBQ season is in full swing!  I've been to the beach, sunbathed a lot, celebrated my birthday and shopped for clothes and packed, ready to start my new job next week! It was lovely to have some time to celebrate with my friends and family and just enjoy the sunshine and good food was really part of that.


For my birthday, it being the hottest June day since 1976 and hottest summer solstice ever, the only logical thing was to relax at a local lake, we relaxed, swam and ate our picnic of Greek/ Mediterranean food - vegan Greek salad (slight variation on this salad), olives, hummus, pita, falafel, dolma, grapes and watermelon. The interesting thing is, the Violife Mediterranean style cheese actually tastes like feta when it's cold - so it's definitely a win for this cheese!

15 June 2017

Grilled Mediterranean Veg Salad



When it comes to summer, vegetables are so vibrant that we just have to make the most of them - here I grilled up courgette and aubergine slices, then layered up with beautiful mixed variety tomatoes and topped with fragrant basil oil and the new 'Mediterranean Style' Cheese from Violife (i.e halloumi), which I grilled. This salad really makes the most of summer produce and makes a perfect side dish for a BBQ!


I was sent this new Mediterranean Style Violife variety to try out and it will be available in UK shops shortly. The pack comes with two slices, which seem pretty fragile whilst cold, so I grilled it in slices and then chopped afterwards, if you were planning on making veggie kebabs I might recommend grilling a bit first before skewering, just to tenderise it a little. The blocks themselves now come with the addition of  vitamin B12, which is great to see, as B12 can only be obtained through fortified sources in a vegan diet - so the more 'daily' products which utilise this, the better! I used a griddle pan for my cheese, though I'm sure a BBQ or even a electronic sandwich grill would work well too and would press it at the same time. Ensure your surface is searing hot before adding the cheese and then allow a good amount of char to form before attempting to turn, or it may stick to the grill. The cheese itself has a delicious, salty, halloumi-like flavour and holds its shape whilst heating, it goes crispy on the outside and softer on the inside, without being too sticky like many other varieties. It can definitely be used as a halloumi substitute without any complaints and I found myself just wanting to eat grilled pieces on its own, though it's not quite as chewy as I remember it's dairy counterpart being. I will definitely be buying this in the future and I can imagine it being a valuable asset to vegan BBQs this summer!

7 June 2017

Quinoa & Tofu Buddha Bowl



There's something wonderfully simple about this next recipe, thinly sliced veggies on a seasoned quinoa base and the most incredibly sticky tofu. It's nutritious, delicious and is great for lunch (or even dinner too!).


I fried the tofu in a splash of sesame oil until it was crisp and golden, then coated in a mix of tamarind, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and chili - it's fragrant, sticky, a little sweet and spicy too and it might just be my favourite tofu marinade yet! The tofu is delicious both hot and cold, which is perfect for lunch on the go.