Sunday, 24 April 2016

RECIPE | Coco-Loco Butter Cups ft. Indigo Herbs* [VEGAN].


I'm sharing a recipe for my delicious, vegan friendly coco-loco butter cups, perfect for enjoying on a Sunday evening with a nice cup of tea. Head on over to read more!

I only recently discovered the art of making chocolate using cacao powder and coconut oil. Evidently I've been living under a proverbial rock for a while. Although in my defense, I've never really been keen on dark chocolate until I stopped having dairy and so stopped eating milk chocolate. So making dark chocolate never really had the same appeal as it does now. Because boy have I discovered a real love for dark chocolate!

After doing a little bit of experimenting with homemade chocolate I decided to try out making a peanut butter cup style recipe using some of the Organic Raw Pumpkin Seed Butter* from Indigo Herbs. I remember totally overdosing on peanut butter cups when I was younger and completely putting myself off them, does anyone else do that with foods they're obsessed with? Anyway, I'm sure you'll be pleased to know that I've very much moved on from that incident and am now definitely a lover of the butter cup. I was so chuffed with how my little experiment turned out that I thought I should share the recipe with you guys so that you can enjoy them too. 



My General Life - Coco-Loco Butter Cups - Indigo Herbs - Vegan

I love the olive green colouring of the pumpkin seed butter, I've also discovered that it makes for a delightful, natural green food colouring (I'll share the recipe involving this soon!).


Anyway, back to the butter cups. These little cups of joy are rich and decadent without being sickly. They have a slightly sweeter hit in the bottom layer, with a gooey, nutty/seedy centre and a crisp dark chocolate top. They're perfect if you fancy something sweet after dinner, and the perk is you know exactly what has gone into them. What more could you want? 

Coco-Loco Butter Cups

Makes 6 cups

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

Bottom layer:
♥ 50g coconut oil
♥ 50g cacao powder
♥ Handful pistachios. chopped
♥ Handful dried cranberries, chopped
♥ 1 tsp Indigo Herbs Organic Raw Pumpkin Seed Butter
♥ Zest of 1/2 orange, grated
♥ Syrup to taste (agave, maple, golden or whatever you fancy)

Middle layer:
♥ 1 tbsp Indigo Herbs Organic Raw Pumpkin Seed Butter
♥ 2 tbsp nut butter (I used Whole Earth 3 Nut Butter)
♥ 1 tsp syrup, optional

Top layer:
♥ 80g dark chocolate, melted

My General Life - Coco-Loco Butter Cups - Indigo Herbs - Vegan


WHAT TO DO:

♥ Line a deep muffin tin with 6 cake cases.
♥ Start by melting the coconut oil in a saucepan over a low heat. Once melted, sift in the cacao powder and stir well to combine.
♥ Add the pumpkin seed butter and stir well. Then add the chopped pistachios, cranberries, orange zest and syrup to taste.
♥ Add the melted mixture to the cake cases and pop in the fridge to harden for 1 hour, or in the freezer for 30 minutes.
♥ Mix the pumpkin seed/nut butter together and add syrup to sweeten slightly if you wish. Once combined place approx 1/2 a tbsp of the mix on top of each bottom layer of chocolate.
♥ Take your melted dark chocolate (I melted mine in the microwave for 10 second blasts until fully melted) and spoon over the top, ensuring it covers all of the butter centre.
♥ Place back in the fridge for a further 30 minutes until fully set. Store in an airtight container in the fridge and ENJOY. 

I'm sharing a recipe for my delicious, vegan friendly coco-loco butter cups, perfect for enjoying on a Sunday evening with a nice cup of tea. Head on over to read more!

And there you have it. Pretty easy and delicious, perfect to make of a Sunday afternoon to enjoy with a nice cuppa.

Let's start a conversation:
Have you ever made nut butter cups before? What flavours do you think would work well? I'd love for you to share your thoughts either in the comments below, or drop me a tweet @_hellojordan


*This product was very kindly sent to me, for free, by Indigo Herbs. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

You Are Good Enough.

You are good enough. Yes you are and I'm going to tell you why. Click to read more >>

You are good enough. Something I think lots of us neglect to tell ourselves as we strive towards perfection. The perfect body, the perfect life, the perfect diet, the perfect home. Perfect, perfect, perfect. Perfect, smerfect. I, personally feel that there's no such thing as perfection and that a lot of what people may see to be so is an ideal created by others, such as the media. For many it's just not attainable, to be quite honest the media portrayal of the "perfect life" is so far-fetched, why would I want to strive towards that? Everyone is individual with different goals, plans and aspirations, so surely we should all be working towards our own individual vision, that is realistic (for the most part, because one can dream) and personal to us?

Anyway, I got a little side-tracked then. Back to you being good enough. Which you very much are. We're all on our own journey towards wherever it is we want to be. So why do we make a habit of comparing ourselves to others all the damn time? Because we're not them. We are where we're meant to be at this moment in time. If you're happy just doing what you're doing right now then that's great, keep going! If you're not happy, then take some time to think about why you're not happy and what you maybe want to be different. But please don't worry about what other people might think or say, because really all that matters is what you think (but let's keep it positive OK, because after all you are good enough!). 

I think it's so important to be compassionate towards ourselves and give ourselves a pat on the back from time to time. Spread a little bit of self love and all that jazz. We all have stuff to deal with, try not to beat yourself up about it or give yourself a hard time. Deal with life in the best way you know how, seek help if you need it and keep pushing forwards.  Because you're awesome. As a society we're all so quick to pick up on the negatives or things we're not happy with, I think we could all do with taking some time to focus on the positives. What we do have, what we're totally owning, that awesome joke you tell that makes people howl. Love yourself because you are good enough. Do you think I can squeeze that one in one more time?! YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH. OK?

Let's start a conversation: I'd love for you to share something you're good at, really enjoy, love about yourself or something you're really proud of, let's spark some positivity in our lives and celebrate what makes us all wonderful. Leave your thoughts either in the comments below or drop me a tweet @_hellojordan


You are good enough. Yes you are and I'm going to tell you why. Click to read more >>


Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Mushroom Stew ft. Indigo Herbs* [VEGAN].

Here's a recipe for mushroom stew with some tasty chia dumplings. Perfect for a chilly spring evening and totally vegan too. Click to read more!

I love a good bit of comfort food. Anything that's warming and covered in gravy will usually do the trick, so this ticks both those boxes. Plus its totally vegan and veggie packed and I don't think you'd necessarily guess that it doesn't have meat in it because it tastes so rich and yummy.

So how do you get it to taste so rich and yummy I hear you cry? Well, there's a couple of things that help make vegan gravy taste scrumptious and one of them is the Indigo Herbs Organic Shiitake Mushroom Powder* (the other is soy sauce). Indigo Herbs very kindly sent me this, along with a few other goodies, to test out and it's honestly changed my cooking game. Mushrooms, as far as vegetables go, are pretty 'meaty'. So by adding a teaspoon of this concentrated, mushroomy goodness to your stew it makes for some serious flava, you know what I mean?

My General Life - Mushroom Stew 2 - Indigo Herbs - Vegan - Recipe

Now with this recipe, I've also added in some chia dumplings which I made using the Indigo Herbs Organic Chia Seed Protein Powder*. These took a little bit of experimenting to get right. I was trying to avoid having to use vegetable suet, because in my head I thought "no, vegetable suet is bad". But then I shook myself a little and thought well actually, no food is truly 'bad', it just has more nutritional value or less nutritional value. And aside from the suet, this meal is pretty low fat as it's just vegetables, so as I see it a bit of suet wont do any harm. I'm really conscious about having and promoting a positive attitude towards all foods because I believe everything is reasonable in moderation. 


My General Life - Mushroom Stew 2 - Indigo Herbs - Vegan - Recipe

Anyway, I could sit and ramble about food and stuff all day but that isn't going to get us closer to this recipe now is it? So, let's get to it.

Mushroom Stew with Chia Dumplings.
Serves 4 (or 2 with lunch leftovers)



WHAT YOU'LL NEED.

STEW:
♥ 1 tbsp oil (whatever type you fancy)
♥ 300g mushrooms (basically a whole packet, any kind), chopped
♥ 1 onion, chopped.
♥ 2-3 medium carrots, chopped
♥ A handful of spinach
♥ 1 tsp Indigo Herbs Organic Shiitake Mushroom Powder
♥ 1 heaped tbsp flour (plain or rice or gluten free)
♥ 750ml veg stock
♥ 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
♥ salt, pepper, herbs to flavour as you wish

DUMPLINGS:
♥ 50g vegetable suet
♥ 85g self raising flour 
♥ 15g Indigo Herbs Organic Chia Seed Protein Powder
♥ 1 tbsp chia seeds
♥ Approx 5tbsp cold water (give or take, please use your judgement)
♥ salt, pepper, herbs to flavour as you wish



N.B: In my quest to make the dumplings WITHOUT suet, I have tried to substitute the suet for coconut oil and also tried the no fat approach with just water and extra raising agents. These methods do work, however, makes for quite a dense dumpling (and one that tastes of coconuts if you use coconut oil, which for me was a bit weird!).

Here's a recipe for mushroom stew with some tasty chia dumplings. Perfect for a chilly spring evening and totally vegan too. Click to read more!

WHAT TO DO.

♥ Start by lightly frying the onion in the oil until slightly browned. Then add the mushrooms and fry lightly too.
♥ Add the Shiitake Mushroom Powder and flour to the plan and mix in with the onions and mushrooms, don't worry if it looks claggy, it's supposed to! 
♥ Gradually add the veg stock a little at a time, stirring as you go to prevent lumps. Once you've added all the stock bring it to a gentle boil, then add the soy sauce and chopped up carrots.
♥ To make the dumplings, add the dry ingredients to a bowl and then gradually add the water a tablespoon at a time. You should end up with a nice, soft dough that isn't too wet.
♥ Form the dough into 8 dumplings and add to the stew pan. Drop the heat down, cover with a lid and simmer gently for about 20 minutes.
♥ While you're waiting you could always whip together a side, I love roasted broccoli!
♥ Once you've simmered the stew for 20 minutes add in the spinach and wilt down.
♥ Serve and ENJOY!


*TOP TIP* 
If you find you want a thicker gravy or sauce you can mix 1tsp of cornflour with some cold water and add this to the gravy whilst stirring. It should help thicken it a little without adding a flour-y taste.


My General Life - Mushroom Stew 2 - Indigo Herbs - Vegan - Recipe

And there we have it. A hearty, tasty, vegan friendly stew that doesn't take 10 hours to slow cook and is packed with veggie goodness! 

Are you a fan of a good, hearty stew? Is this something you'd whip up? I'd love to hear your thoughts either in the comments below, or drop me a tweet @_hellojordan



*Indigo Herbs very kindly sent me some of their products to test out for recipes. As always, all thoughts are my own, honest opinions*

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Be Present.

Here's some thoughts on being present and how we can all help ourselves spent more time in the moment. Click to read more...


How often are our minds really in the here and now? I'll bet that a fair few of us spend a lot of our time either in the past or in the future and not actually in the present moment. This can create lots of unnecessary stress and anxiety on top of all the pressure of everyday, modern life, which let's be honest, has a tonne of it's own trials and tribulations. The reality is, being present can be really hard work because it means not only accepting enjoyable moments and experiences, but also the really tough ones.

The act of paying attention and being in the moment, as I'm sure most of you will know, is more commonly known as mindfulness. It's about being aware of what's going on with your body, thoughts, emotions and surroundings in a non-judgemental manner.


So how do we go about spending time in the present moment? It's certainly not something that happens overnight and takes a bit of getting used to but there are things that we can all do to work towards this.


LET GO

Let go of any preconceptions, thoughts or your wish to have constant control. There are lots of things in life that we have very little control over despite us maybe wanting things to be a particular way. But that's OK, mindfulness is about acknowledging and accepting this and letting it be. Not the easiest of things to do, but I feel it's much more beneficial than clinging onto things that you still can't change.

WORRY LESS

How many nights have you been kept awake worrying about things that are yet to happen, or ruminating on things that have been and gone? I know this is something I've done and still do at times, although I try my best not to. Because there's certainly nothing you can do to change what's happened in the past. We're not time lords. And constantly worrying about the future takes the enjoyment out of the journey we're on to get to wherever it is we're going.

ACCEPTANCE

Accept how things are right in this moment, good or bad. And accept that things will change, a wonderful moment unfortunately won't last forever, but that means a painful moment will also pass. 


BE KIND

Being kind and compassionate towards yourself is so important when you're practising mindfulness. In fact, scratch that, it's so important ALL THE TIME. We're all bloody wonderful in our own way, we deserve our own kindness at the very least. We're often so much better at being kind to others than we are to ourselves, so take some of that compassion and shine it inwards.


KEEP LEARNING

I believe that a large aspect of mindfulness is about continuing to learn and educate yourself on what works for you personally. Mindfulness is a process of personal exploration and as cliche as it sounds, a journey. 

Let's start a conversation:
Do you practice mindfulness? If so, what do you find helps bring you into the present? I'd love for you to leave your thoughts either in the comments below, or drop me a tweet @_hellojordan


Here's some thoughts on being present and how we can all help ourselves spent more time in the moment. Click to read more...





Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Bulgar Wheat & Bean Salad [VEGAN].

Here's a recipe for a simple, vegan bulgar wheat & bean salad that is perfect for a quick midweek dinner. Click to link to find out more!

After mentioning in my Asian Noodle Salad recipe that I don't really do salads, I've kind of got a taste for their veggie goodness, especially now that spring is here. This last week I wanted something really quick and easy to put together, so I came up with this delicious (even if I do say so myself) bulgar wheat and bean salad that can be thrown together in about 15 minutes - perfect for a weekday dinner.

I've been feeling so inspired lately to eat a healthier diet. In fact for the last couple of weeks I've been feeling really great and I think my diet along with copious amounts of water has a lot to do with that. I honestly think that going vegan has been the best thing for my diet. I've never eaten a diet so nutritionally rich in my life, plus I'm eating foods and meals that I would have never batted and eyelid at before. 

Anyway, enough jibber jabber, let's get down to business...  

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

serves 2 with lunch leftovers

♥ 90g bulgar wheat
♥ 1 can of mixed beans, drained
♥ whatever other veg you fancy e.g. sweetcorn, edamame beans, kale, cucumber, tomato...you get the gyst.
♥ whatever dressing you fancy - I went for balsamic (2tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2bstp olive oil, salt, pepper and a dash of lemon juice)


Here's a recipe for a simple, vegan bulgar wheat & bean salad that is perfect for a quick midweek dinner. Click to link to find out more!

WHAT TO DO:

♥ Cook the bulgar wheat as per the pack instructions, this is usually to boil it for around 8-10 minutes.
♥ Add the mixed beans and any other veg that you fancy into a large bowl and mix together.
♥ Once cooked, drain the bulgar wheat and add into the bowl, mix to combine with the  other veggies.
♥ Add the dressing of choice and serve - I also decided to garnish with some avocado for some healthy fats.

See, I told you it was super simple. And it tastes so good. Just look at all those colours, it's like eating a freaking rainbow.


My General Life - Vegan Bulgar Wheat and Bean Salad


Let's start a conversation:
Do you have any super simple salad recipes that you'd like to share? Leave your thoughts either in the comments below or drop me a tweet @_hellojordan