Sweet Potato, Kidney Bean & Roasted Pepper Patties

As usual, thanks to my lovely friend Deepa at GirlBoyFoodBaby. Her baby led weaning recipes are always so inspiring and easy and use the best ingredients. I love being able to collaborate and join forces with other gentle-parenting and health-focused mummas to make the best food for our babies. Luckily for Deepa her little one (only 10 days younger than Brax), actually eats well, whereas I make all these things for Brax and he just looks at them then throws them on the floor.

I’m trying not to get stressed about his lack of interest in food as I know that it can happen to babies from 12 months. Babies who loved food before then often go off food and it can last for a while. This happened with us, pretty much around 11/12 months and although it’s getting a little better, he’s still not a great eater. It’s not that he’s fussy with flavours, he just isn’t interested in food. Apart from bananas – loves bananas!

Anyway, regardless of the fact that Braxton didn’t eat these, hopefully your babies will. And if they don’t, do what I did and eat them yourself!

They are so nutritious and full of perfect ingredients for babies.

Ingredients

2 peppers (I used red and yellow), very finely chopped
About 4 sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
2 tin / carton organic kidney beans
1 cup tomatoes, blended
Juice of half a lime
Handful coriander, chopped
Handful parsley, chopped
Pinch of ground black pepper
Pinch of paprika
Pinch of Himalayan salt (omit for young babies or if you don’t want any salt in there)
Tbsp ground cumin
Tsp turmeric
Tsp nutritional yeast
1/4 cup cornmeal

Method

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees.

Roast the peppers on a baking tray.

Cook and mash the potatoes then add them to a bowl with the kidney beans and mash, leaving some small lumps.

In a small separate bowl, combine the tomatoes with all the spices and nutritional yeast. Mixing the spices in the tomatoes helps liquid spread them evenly in the burger mix.

Add the tomato mixture to the potato mixture then add in the roasted peppers and mix well until everything is combined well and the batter is thick, sticky paste (a good couple of minutes or so). It will seem a bit moist, but thats fine. Add the cornmeal and mix into the batter until well mixed.

Put the mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes then shape into patties on a lined baking tray using a spoon and press down and bake for 25 minutes. Then flip them. They’ll still be a bit tender at this point, so flip gently, but will firm up much more by the end. After flipping, cook them 10 more minutes on the other side. Let cool 10 minutes before eating, as they will firm up even more. They should be crispy on outside and slightly moist and chewy on inside.

These freeze really well. Just par bake for 25 minutes then freeze. Then cook for 20 minutes once out of the freezer.

Thanks to Deepa for this one!

Love & health,
Lauren

Easiest Yummiest Healthiest Brownies

Thanks to my friend Emma at Mrs Hollingsworth’s for the inspiration for these yummy brownies. These may become a staple when needing to bake something that’s quick and easy with very few ingredients.

They’re actually great for baby led weaning as all natural ingredients and a wonderful (albeit messy!) texture that babies will love. I’d advise leaving out the walnuts if making these for babies.

They’re gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free and vegan. Oh and they’re shamazing! What’s not to love??

Ingredients

1 cup cacao powder
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup medjool dates, pitted
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flax seeds soaked in 3 tbsp water and left for 10 minutes to thicken)
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup cashew or almond butter
Pinch Himalayan salt
1 tbsp water (more if needed)
1/2 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 cup walnuts

Method

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees. This temperature really is key with brownies, any hotter and they won’t be gooey.

Now put all the ingredients except the walnuts into a food processor and blend until a smooth and sticky batter forms. If it’s too sticky (i.e. it forms a big ball), just add in a little more water a tablespoon at a time until you get the desired consistency. Crumble the walnuts into the bowl and stir in, then spoon the batter into a lined baking tin or mould and press down with a spoon to make sure it’s all nice and even.

Bake for 25 minutes, then leave for another half an hour to cool (as the brownies will continue to cook after they are taken out the oven).

Once cool, cut into squares and devour!

Love & health,
Lauren

Vegan Lunch Wrap

vegan-lunch-wrap

I got home today just in time to give Braxton lunch and I was starving. I thought, what can I have for lunch today that won’t take ages and will be healthy?

I had some gluten free wraps in the fridge and remembered all the Mexican flavours in Miami and decided to put together a very British Burrito!

It’s so easy, totally vegan and delicious!!

Ingredients

Gluten free wrap (I use BFree wraps)
Tsp dairy free ‘cream cheese’ spread (I use Violife)
Half a tin of black beans (I use Biona)
Paprika
Cumin
2 tbsp sweetcorn
4 cherry tomatoes, cut in small pieces
Half an avocado
Pinch salt

Method

Simply heat the beans in a saucepan with some paprika, cumin and salt, then spread everything over the wrap in whichever order you fancy!

Sprinkle with a little Himalayan salt, roll up and enjoy!

Love & health,
Lauren

 

 

Pancake Day Pancakes

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Well, if I do say so myself, Braxton is a lucky little boy – he got to eat pancakes for dinner tonight! I wanted to update my recipe and get a good picture up there in time for you all to prepare for pancake day tomorrow!

These are so easy to make and totally guilt free: gluten free, refined-sugar free, dairy free, egg free and DELICIOUS! Takes 5 minutes to wizz all the ingredients together and you can use any toppings you like from chocolate sauce to maple to lemon and sugar… give it a whirl!

Ingredients

2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 2 tbsp water)
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 heaped tsp baking powder
1.5 ripe bananas
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 cup almond milk (or any other non-dairy milk)
Coconut oil for cooking

Method

Make the flax eggs by mixing the flax seed with water in a small bowl and leaving it to the side.

Add all the ingredients to a food processor and wizz until smooth.

Heat some coconut oil in a pan and when hot, add a small ladle full of the mixture in a pancake shape. It will only need about a minute, then flip it and do another minute, or until you think it’s cooked through.

Continue until the mixture is finished.

Top with almond butter, homemade chocolate sauce or maple syrup or coconut yogurt and blueberries like we’ve done here.

Love & health,
Lauren

Why It’s Okay For Mums To Ask For Help

tired-mom

Why It’s OK For Mums To Ask For Help

 

I’m very fortunate to be surrounded by women I would describe as ‘copers’. As mothers, most of my closest friends fall into this category; they don’t complain, they get on with whatever parenthood throws at them, they don’t feel the need for domestic help or night-nurses and they cope pretty well with sleepless nights. My own mother somehow managed to juggle fulltime work and two children (one of whom was sick), with not much help from my dad (as was the way with dads then), and still clean the house and cook everything herself to the point that we’d never even seen a fish finger.

Having these sorts of influences around you tends to make you stronger and more resilient to the hardships of parenthood because you realise that everyone is going through it, not just you, and if my social circle consisted of women who hired people to help them with all aspects of running a family home, I may have felt from early on that I ‘needed’ that too, that it was just the done thing.

But hold on a second. What if I do need it?? What if by believing for so long that I am a coper and that I can ‘just deal with’ having a child who hasn’t slept for 15 months, I’ve exhausted myself even more?

You see, I do see myself as a coper and on the whole, I have been to an extent. Although I crave time on my own to do the things I love, I also genuinely enjoy the kind of chaos that a house full of kids brings with it and I look forward to the day when my kids are older and all their friends want to come to our house because it’s so warm and inviting and there is always food on offer, just like it was at my mum’s house.

In wanting to be ‘that’ mum, my ego has prevented me from admitting when I need help, or admitting to how hard it is to survive on 4 hours sleep and be on the go all day, instead of answering with ‘it is what it is’ – which is what I do (with a smile on my face) when people ask how I cope – or admitting that I’m not as much of a coper as my buddies.

My baby is the best thing that has ever happened to me, I prayed so hard for him and I thank God for his existence every day. But I shouldn’t need to justify that I feel like that in order to be able to talk openly about how hard it is to be a mother in 2017.

You see, humans are pack animals. Going back to when we lived in caves, right up to not very long ago, humans lived in extended families and children would have the advantage of being surrounded by many different mother figures (mothers, grandmothers, aunts) who all had a role to play in their upbringing, while the men went to hunt / work. This is where the saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ comes from. It does take a village, but the village has ceased to exist.

Nowadays, the men still go to work, but hey, so do the women. In these foregone days of extended families, the women would all chip in to do the cooking and cleaning and raising of the children, not just one woman on her own. But now, we’re expected to do all of that ON OUR OWN, regardless of how many children we have, and still go to work…

In our age of information, we also have a huge responsibility to not only protect our children from the dangers that lurk in cyber-world and out, but also to nurture our children in a way that our parents were never able to do. With access to information about child psychology at our fingertips, we have no excuse to stand back while our children suffer; we can use the information so readily available to us to work harder to be better, more conscious parents than previous generations were given the chance to be. But that, too, takes work, commitment and sacrifice, and those things take up even more time in a day that already has too few hours. And of course, all these things have to be done regardless of how little sleep we have had and, to add to that, we have to do it all with a smile on our face in case, heaven forbid, someone gets annoyed with our moaning.

Today I’m changing that. Not just for me but for any mum who is reading this and is wanting to tear her hair out from exhaustion, or whose head is about to spontaneously combust from the deluge of mental lists of all the things she needs to do but will still dutifully answer any questions of ‘how are you’ with ‘yes, great!’

I’m changing that because, mummies, it IS okay to ask for help. It is okay to voice your struggles. I’m listening.

I believe that we were created to work together, to NOT do it all on our own. And if the extended family isn’t an option anymore, then we need to be okay – finances allowing – with bringing someone in to help out.

I congratulate my ‘coper-friends’ on being able to do the awesome job they do, but I have decided, for my own sanity, to throw my ego out the window and be okay with asking for help and most importantly for my ego, not feeling embarrassed about it.

 

You can see this article on my author profile on The Huffington Post

 

You can follow Lauren Vaknine on Twitter: www.twitter.com/laurenvaknine

Lauren blogs at Organic Spoon which you can find here
Her Facebook page: Facebook
Her Instagram page: Instagram theorganicspoon

Her autobiography, ‘My Enemy, My Friend’, can be found here

 

Masala Chai Turmeric Latte

masala-chai-turmeric-latte

 

I have been drinking turmeric lattes for a while now, ever since the arthritis flare up I had last year (as turmeric is such an awesome anti-inflammatory) and I love masala chai also, so when I got given a masala chai spice kit from RawSpiceBar, I thought I’d combine the two, and it was just delicious.

When Braxton goes down for his afternoon nap it’s always that time of day where I am desperate for something warm and sweet and just for me, and this really is a perfect hot drink to enjoy during the short amount of time I get to myself each day.

Give it a go, it’s so warming and healthy and also so good for you!

Ingredients

Mug full of almond milk
1 tsp turmeric
Quarter sachet of masala chai spice mix from RawSpiceBar or other masala chai spice mix
1 tsp maple syrup

Method

Warm the milk in a saucepan and add the spices. Once warm add the maple.

Drink and enjoy!

Love & health,
Lauren

Beetroot Hummus

beetroot-hummus

Being half Israeli, hummus is one of my favourite foods and a staple food in my house. With so many gorgeous beetroots around at the moment, this is a great way to get the beetroot into you and your kids in a fun, colourful and yummy way!

Beetroots are so good for us for many reasons. They are high in iron and folate so wonderful to eat through pregnancy and they are also wonderful for the blood and heart. Eat beets!

Ingredients

1 tin organic chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
2 small raw beetroots (or 1 large)
Quarter cup purified water
2 tbsp tahini paste
5 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp olive oil
Half tsp Himalayan salt
4 cloves garlic, minced

Method

Steam the beetroot in a steamer until soft.

Once soft, put them in the blender and once blended, add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.

Garnish with olive oil and coriander.

Love & health,
Lauren