super yummy gluten free vegan baked fruit cheesecake

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Super Yummy Gluten Free Vegan Baked Fruit Cheesecake

After embarking on my quest for healthy goodness I have been determined to find yummy desserts.  This.  Is,  SO.  GOOOOOOD!  My lovely friend Jake introduced me to this when he made it for me last week and I’ve been raving about it since – I even baked it for my housemates a couple of days ago 🙂

Although the original recipe is not vegan, after a few tweaks to replace the dairy and eggs (see the version below) it was super simple to make and came out pretty darn well if I say so myself!  If you’re unsure of where to buy the gluten free / vegan ingredients you can click on them to be taken to where I sourced them from.

Ingredients

For the biscuit base

For the cheesecake filling

  • 220g cream cheese (substitute for 220g dairy free cream cheese)
  • 112g caster sugar
  • 2 medium eggs (substitute for 2 tsp gluten free natural egg replacer mix and 4 tbs water)
  • 15g cornflour
  • a few drops vanilla extract
  • 50g fruit of choice (raspberries all the way for me although this recipe is definitely getting tested with lemon zest next time I bake it)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°c / 350°f / gas mark 4.
  2. Grease an 8in / 20cm round spring form cake tin (you only need a shallow one) or flan ring
  3. Stir together the gluten free flour, desiccated coconut, ground almonds, caster sugar and gluten free baking powder.
  4. Rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs, then mix to a dough.
  5. Press into the greased tin then place on a flat baking tray and bake for 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown.
  6. (You can use this for the base or for a richer base – melt 50g unsalted butter (or soya spread), stir in the cooked biscuit and press back into the cake tin and place into the fridge to set.)
  7. Prepare your fruit and place on the bottom of the cooked tart base.
  8. To prepare the cheesecake filling beat the cream cheese to soften.
  9. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat until smooth.
  10. Pour over the fruit and bake in the oven for 25 minutes until firm.
  11. Leave to cool then store in the fridge until required. This will also freeze very well.
  12. To serve, run a sharp knife around the edge to loosen the ring and take off

Enjoy!

big love

gollygoshgirl

xx

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yummy healthy dessert that feels super indulgent

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Yummy Healthy Dessert That Feels Super Indulgent

As I continue on my quest for healthy goodness I am determined that I will not compromise taste or completely give up on dessert.  I flipping love fruit but sometimes I want something a bit more substantial to satisfy my (very demanding) sweet tooth!  Cue this little number – super tasty and fully of goodness 🙂

Ingredients

Serves one

  • 2 Berry oatcakes ( I use Nairns gluten free)
  • 5 tbsp Soya yoghurt
  • Handful of blueberries or blackberries
  • 4 Strawberries
  • 1 tbsp grated Dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips

Method

  1. Crumble the oatcakes
  2. Mix the blueberries or blackberries into the yoghurt
  3. Dice the strawberries
  4. Layer the prepared ingredients and the dark chocolate as desired
  5. Grab a teaspoon (smaller spoon makes me feel like I’m eating more) and dig in!

Enjoy!

big love

gollygoshgirl

xx

homebaked healthy almond butter cookies with dark chocolate chips

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Homebaked Healthy Almond Butter Cookies with Dark Chocolate Chips

Well as you may have realised, my quest for healthy goodness had led me to approach food a little differently.  It has not, however, cured my very sweet tooth.  I know there are a hundred things you are advised to do which will curb your cravings (brush your teeth, eat an apple, distract yourself with a different activity etc etc) BUT sometimes; a girl just.  needs.  chocolate.  And cookies.  And these really hit the spot! These are my second foray into cookies healthy-style and you know what? I much prefer them to the chocolate chip ones I posted a week ago.  Yum 🙂  I found the original recipe on Facebook but there was no source given (apologies if it’s yours – let me know and I’ll give you the credit you deserve!) however as usual I gave it a few tweaks!  Below is my version…

Ingredients

Makes 8 cookies or 16 bitesize cookies

  • 1 1/4 cups canned chickpeas (I just used the whole 400g tin, which is 260g when drained)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbspns (165g) natural almond butter
  • 1/4 cup (80g) agave nectar or honey
  • 1 tspn baking powder (I use gluten free)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (70% cocoa solids)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4
  2. Line your baking trays with greaseproof paper
  3. Drain the chickpeas, rinse them well then make sure there is as little excess water as possible one them.  (It is suggested you pat them dry with a piece of kitchen paper but to be honest I didn’t bother).
  4. Put the chickpeas in a food processor and process until smooth (looking kind of a little bit like moist ground almonds)
  5. Mix all of the ingredients together except the chocolate chips
  6. Add the chocolate chips
  7. The mixture should be pretty sticky.  Using wet hands, form the cookies or cookie bites and place onto the lined baking trays.
  8. Bake in the oven for 10-13 minutes.
  9. Let the cookies cool on the baking trays for a few minutes before cooling on a wire rack.  When they first come out of the oven they are very soft but firm up as they cool.

Enjoy!

big love

gollygoshgirl

xx

healthy homebaked chocolate chip cookies (yep; you heard right!)

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Healthy Homebaked Chocolate Chip Cookies

To cut a long story short; I’ve been throwing myself a pity party for the past week.  I was told I can’t eat gluten, dairy, eggs or yeast for the foreseeable future – possibly forever.  My favourite foods flashed around a conveyor belt in my mind (desserts featuring pretty highly), quickly followed by the realisation that I needed to find some good substitutions as speedily as possible!  All recipes I could find for cookies and cakes seemed to want me to grind nuts (not gunna happen considering that my trusty £5 electric whisk from Argos is my only real equipment) or require a massive amount of substitute ingredients which aren’t readily available or affordable.  I stumbled across the original recipe on pinterest and emailed it to myself but  I cannot for the life of me find the source (if anyone knows it please get at me!).  As usual, I have  made a few little changes – my version is below!  These come out pretty rich but you know what? They also taste surprisingly good!

Ingredients

Makes 16 cookies

  • 1 small Avocado
  • 3/4 cup Honey (for vegans substitute honey for 1/2 cup agave nectar, 2 tbsps soya milk and 1 mashed banana)
  • 1/2 cup Soft light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 2 cups Rice flour
  • 1/2 cup Cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp Cornflour (UK) or cornstarch (US)
  • 2 tbsps Soya milk
  • 1 and 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips (70% cocoa solids)

Method

  1. Slice, pit and mash the avocado.
  2. Place the avocado into a mixing bowl and combine it with the honey.
  3. Add the sugar, soya milk and vanilla extract, mixing until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl sift together flour, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, salt, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and cornflour.
  5. Slowly mix in the wet ingredients a little at a time.
  6. Chill in the fridge for 2-36 hours.
  7. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4
  8. Line your baking trays with greaseproof paper
  9. Roll the mixture into mounds the size of a heaped tablespoon and place onto the baking trays lined with greaseproof paper.
  10. Flatten the mounds of mixture slightly, creating discs.
  11. Bake in the oven for 10-13 minutes.
  12. Let the cookies cool on the baking trays for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Enjoy!

big love

gollygoshgirl

xx

baked red peppers stuffed with goodness

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Baked Red Peppers Stuffed With Goodness

These.  Are.  Yummy. Fact.  AND they’re super full of nutrients to make your body smile from the inside out!

Since embarking on a quest for healthy goodness at the beginning of April one major thing I’ve noticed (probably very belatedly compared to everyone else) is how many cheeky little unhelpful added extras there are to food that I had thought was pretty good for me!  I’ve certainly discovered the value (and reaped the results) of cooking from scratch using only the good stuff!  It took a fair amount of scouring food labels at the start but I’ve started to work out what is literally what it says on the tin and what is actually a chemically or sugar enhanced flavour.  And my tastebuds can now certainly notice the difference!

The problem is, you don’t want to sacrifice flavour (I wouldn’t have the willpower to anyway!) in pursuit of nutrition or it will make you miserable and simply crave the taste of sugar and fat.  So I started to experiment a little bit with foods I know are full to the brim of nutrients and other goodness, and to come up with meals that taste yummy, are within my price range and that I can prepare in bulk to freeze in my trusty tupperware.

These are my current favourite (recipe below) but my meal prep also includes yummy, filling and crazy healthy stir frys and super food salads amongst others for lunches to take to work.

Ingredients

  • 6-8 Red bell peppers
  • 800g Lean turkey mince or lentils
  • 100g Quinoa
  • 400ml Carton of passata
  • 400ml Can of mixed pulses
  • 175g Can of sweetcorn
  • 2 Sweet potatoes
  • 150g Butternut squash (optional)
  • 2 Cloves garlic
  • 1 Onion
  • Oregano (fresh or dried)
  • 50g Kale, Spinach or a mixture of the two
  • Lemon juice

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  2. Put the quinoa into a pan of boiling water for 15-18 minutes until cooked, then drain the water.
  3. Chop the sweet potatoes (and butternut squash if you have it) into small chunks (about 1cm big) then place them onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.  You don’t need any oil – promise!  Don’t put them in the oven just yet – that comes a little later.
  4. De-seed and halve the red bell peppers (if using for meal prep you need to halve them to fit into tupperware – if you’d prefer them whole like in the picture then go for it – the recipe is the same!) and place them on a baking tray with the inside facing upwards.  Again, no oil needed.
  5. Chop the onion and garlic, then pop them into a frying pan on a medium-high heat with about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice for a couple of minutes
  6. If you are using meat add in the turkey and stir until cooked
  7. Add in the oregano
  8. Add the passata, mixed pulses, sweetcorn (and lentils if using) and stir for a few minutes
  9. Finally add the cooked quinoa and kale/spinach for a few minutes and stir well
  10. Spoon the cooked mix into the prepared bell peppers
  11. Place the baking trays with the bell peppers into the oven along with the baking tray of sweet potato and butternut squash.
  12. Cook for 30-35 minutes.
  13. Leave everything on the baking trays to cool for a couple of minutes then transfer the bell peppers to plates or tupperware.
  14. Add the baked sweet potato and butternut squash.

Enjoy!

big love,

gollygoshgirl

xx

 

 

homemade, all-natural and organic skincare

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Since embarking on my quest for healthy goodness I set myself a little challenge to revamp my skin and haircare routines and do beauty naturally.  I’ve already posted about going no ‘poo and hair-related things but realised I haven’t yet mentioned skincare.

Let me remedy that right now!

Since the whole natural haircare experience wasn’t so scary in the end, I decided it was time to trial organic, natural skincare.  Which was a MASSIVE step for me.  You see; I’m pretty darn protective over what goes onto my skin. For the past ten years my face has displayed the wonderfully attractive combination of extremely dry, peeling skin coupled with outbreaks all over the place.  Nice.  Doctors have been scratching their heads and referring me onto colleagues and specialists  and so on and so forth; you get the picture.  No amount of creams, dermatology or medication has had a positive impact so far.  In fact, normally within minutes I’d react to anything other than cold cleansing cream.  Even water would have an impact.

But after discovering how many toxic chemicals are in beauty products, cosmetics and skincare products (search yours on the  Environmental Working Group website and you’ll catch my drift) I reckoned maybe I should at least try going all-natural.

So all-natural I went!  And so far (2 months in) so good 🙂

Homemade, all-natural and organic skincare

The ‘recipes’ below are what works for me – if you’re gunna try it you may wanna adjust some of the quantities – it’s up to you!  I cleanse and moisturise my face every morning and night, use the oil cleansing whenever I take off make-up or every few days and use the face masque about twice a week before I get in the shower.

Cleanser

  • 1 part Apple Cider Vinegar (with the mother left in)
  • 2 parts water

Apply a little with a cotton pad.  It smells of vinegar (obviously) but only for a few seconds – don’t freak out!

Moisturiser

  • Argan oil

A tiny amount goes a long way – honest!  I use 2 squirts which is about the size of a 5p piece for my whole face and massage it in for a minute or so.  As with the cleanser don’t panic when it smells (this will be nutty though – not vinegary!) – the odour disappears within a minute!  Make sure the argan oil is 100% pure, cold-pressed and stored in a tinted (probably brown) glass bottle.  I bought the Truly Moroccan argan oil for £10 (the cheapest I could find for the quality) – I know it’s pricey but so far I’ve used about 1/4 of the 100ml bottle I bought 2 months ago, which works out at about £1.25 a month and THAT’S not too shabby!  AND I use it for the oil cleansing method!

  • Coconut oil

A-MAZ-ING.  Seriously. If you haven’t read 300 versions of ‘100 uses for coconut oil’ doing the rounds on pinterest, blogs and other sites check one out.  Coconut oil is awesome.  Just not for you face – it clogs the pores!  The rest of your body, however, will flippin’ love it!  It smells yummy, is soooo good for your skin and again a little goes a long way! Make sure to buy cold-pressed organic virgin coconut oil – I use Coconoil organic virgin coconut oil which was £10 for 465g and lasts FOREVER!

Face Masque

  • 1 part Raw organic honey
  • 1 part Apple Cider Vinegar (with the mother left in)
  • 1 tbs fresh lemon juice

Mix this all together and apply to your face.  It smells amazing!  Leave on for 15 minutes then wash off.  Enjoy silky soft skin!

Oil Cleansing Method

  • Argan oil
  • Flannel face cloth

This sounds kind of strange but it works – oil dissolves oil and the hot flannel means that you are effectively steaming your face and opening your pores which helps them clean out!

  1. Wash your face with the flannel then pat it dry with a towel
  2. Run the flannel under hot water (dont go crazy and scald yourself but as hot as you can handle), wring it as dry as possible and place it over your face until it cools down.
  3. Massage argan oil into your skin for a couple of minutes.  I use 4 squirts or about the size of a 10p piece.
  4. Repeat step 2.
  5. Once the flannel is cool, use it to gently wipe your face
  6. Rinse the flannel and repeat steps 4 and 5
  7. Allow your skin to air dry.  I then massage a small amount or argan oil into my skin as a moisturiser, but that’s optional!

Voilà! Lovely soft skin 🙂

big love

gollygoshgirl xx

 

homemade, all-natural and organic haircare; the No ‘Poo method

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Since embarking on my quest for healthy goodness I set myself a little challenge to revamp my skin and haircare routines and do beauty naturally.

Leading me onto my next point; I have a confession.  I haven’t ‘pooed in over a month.

I’m talking SHAMPOOED.  I haven’t SHAMPOOED in over a month.  (Fear not; I solemnly promise that I will never share my bowel movements with the whole of cyberspace.)

Anyway; what I was trying to say is that since mid-April I have not put any chemicals in my hair.  That’s not to say I haven’t cleaned my hair; just that I have used homemade natural, organic goodness rather than the toxic substances I was using before.  Think that’s a pretty extreme statement?  Check out the toxic levels in any of the haircare, skincare or cosmetic products you use right here and make up your own mind.  The website I’ve just directed you to is the Environmental Working Group’s cosmetics database and they rate ingredients and products in relation to the hazard to your health or the environment.  They also detail what the hazards are.  Pretty nifty ey?

Other good reasons to go no ‘poo;

  • More body
  • Easier to style hair
  • Less oily hair
  • Less frizz and fly-aways (great for curly haired ladies)
  • Added shine
  • Quicker growth
  • Stronger hair
  • Safe for dyed hair
  • Great for grey hair (commercial shampoos can cause grey hair to yellow – boo!)
  • Fewer hair washings, as your scalp will no longer be over producing oils
  • No chemicals on your hair, scalp or washing down the drain (Win!)
  • More money in your pocket – baking soda and apple cider vinegar are crazy cheap compared to commercial products (Massive win!)

Below are the ‘recipes’ I use for my hair and a little bit about how I’ve found the transition to ‘no poo’.  The reason I’ve left it a month before I posted about this is that I wanted to see for myself if it would actually work for me and be able to give you a balanced honest review of what happened – hopefully you’ll find it helpful!  There are so many variations on how people transition that if you fancy giving the whole ‘no poo’ thing a go I recommend doing some research and finding people with similar hair to yours and starting with what works for them.  Alex Raye’s blog has lots of info on natural haircare and for a detailed explanation of the transition to the no poo method I found Leah’s explanation really helpful. There are also many, many other bloggers and pinterest-ers who offer their own experiences and advice and are worth checking out!

So without further ado may I present to you….(drumroll please)…

Homemade, all-natural and organic haircare; the No ‘Poo method

Photo 29-05-2013 10 55 39 -YXIs_fOBivCSblQCm3gkqjGY_uFt24ETotZA9JUFWA Photo 29-05-2013 10 53 49

Before you start you need to clarify your hair.  Most commercial products have silicons in them, which will remain stuck to your hair unless you clarify.  If you don’t, you’ll end up in the pretty gross situation I got myself into where your hair literally looks wet even hours after you wash it.  Yuk!  My only regret in the whole process has been that I didn’t realise I should have clarified before I started and carried on for a week before I discovered this vital step!  I used a paste of Bicarbonate of Soda mixed with a little water and covered my hair in it, left it for 20 minutes then washed it out.  Easy peasy!

Every other day I washed my hair with a ‘shampoo’ alternative of 1 tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda mixed with 1 cup of water.  The ‘conditioner’ I used was 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (ACV) with the mother left in (don’t worry it’s nothing weird – Google it and check!) with 1 cup of water.  How cheap and cheerful is that!?! First off don’t expect it to have the consistency of commercial products.  It literally feels like you are putting water into your hair.  Also, invest in a couple of squeezy condiment plastic bottles with narrow tips – makes such a difference in being able to reach all of your hair – especially close to the scalp!

I have long blonde, fine hair that is naturally straight.  I only washed my hair once a week (and dry shampooed it once between washes) before transitioning to no ‘poo so I don’t know if that helped my hair to adjust well, if I was just lucky or if I has just totally overestimated how horrible my hair would get!  Apart from the first week (where I hadn’t clarified my hair), I had a couple of days where my hair looked a bit greasy but nothing too dramatic.  I used the homemade dry shampoo once during the whole transition (it’s best to avoid using it during this period) and wore my hair up or curly using the no heat curls method on the few days I felt it looked a little greasy, which worked pretty well!  I now wash my hair two or three times every fortnight using the bicarbonate of soda mixture in the roots of my hair and ACV mixture in the tips and don’t have any problems!

As for hair masques, once a week it is recommended you use a natural hair masque on your hair.  There are SO many recipes out there that, as I said before, it’s best to find out what works for your hair so get researching!  The first one I tried was a disaster.  I used coconut oil and I think it is just too heavy for my fine hair.  My hair went back  to the wonderful wet look stage I told you about before I clarified my hair – big fail!  I know coconut oil works for a lot of people but apparently not me!  I had to ‘clarify’  my hair again right after to get rid of the residue gunk!  What has worked is using equal parts ACV and raw organic honey on the tips of my hair (NOT the roots – that makes my hair look greasy).  After leaving it in for 20 minutes, I wash my hair as usual with the bicarbonate of soda and ACV mixtures.  Simple!

The only other thing I do to my hair is use a boar bristle brush (it helps distribute the hair’s natural oils evenly) and a wide toothed comb after washing or when I need to tame it into some sort of style!

I’d love to hear your feedback on the no ‘poo method or what’s worked for you – please feel free to get in contact! 🙂

big love

gollygoshgirl xx