buckwheat + quinoa autumn harvest bread (GF)

Hey team. It’s almost winter. And warm breads and pastries straight out of the oven sound so good right now.

 

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Which is why my mum and I made this quinoa and buckwheat bread. My mum used to make this killer potato and feta bread from Delia Smith, and it’s freaking delicious, but I felt like something a little less potato-ey, y’feel me?

 

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Buckwheat flour is super versatile and very affordable. It doesn’t give that weird spongyness that you get from ‘all purpose’ gluten free flours, which usually contain rice flour and various gums. And quinoa provides a nice chewy texture, just like potato. Add an egg, bake for 50 minutes (I know, it’s a while), and you’ve got yourself a fresh, fibre rich loaf. It was gone within minutes.

We added walnuts, red onion, rosemary and a few lonely olives we found in the fridge. If you eat cheese, feta or goat’s cheese would work a dream, with a drizzle of honey. This recipe has endless possibilities. Make it sweet with some chocolate chips or honey and a handful of oats!

Our fridge was stocked with an abundance of cheese, which would be the perfect complement to this bread, but hummus or smashed avocado would be delicious, too.

 

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eco-conscious pointers for this recipe:

  • try to find local quinoa; I’ve seen English quinoa in health food stores before
  • try to use eggs from a local farm or market; they’re so much nicer, trust me
  • we used walnuts and olives because that’s what we had on hand. This bread is a great topportunity to use odd scraps of food, so go wild and empty your fridge!
  • we cooked a double batch of quinoa so we would have leftovers for the week, which means less electricity used for our next quinoa-based meals
  • this bread is a great side to lots of dishes, so if you’re roasting something, bake them both at the same time

 

 

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ingredients

75 gr dry quinoa
175 gr buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 large egg
2 tbsp milk of choice (we used oat)
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1 handful olives (about 10)
1 red onion, sliced
2 sprigs of rosemary
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 handful walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard

 

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method

  1. Cook quinoa according to instructions until well cooked (we went for about 18 min) and drain under cold water to cool down
  2. Mix quinoa, baking powder, flour, egg, milk, mustard, salt and pepper by hand until just combined. This is a sticky bread so don’t worry too much about it not holding together smoothly. It’s lumpy and that’s how it should be!
  3. Add in olives, chopped onions, rosemary, walnuts and anything else you want to add (feta, seeds, sundried tomatoes…) and combine.
  4. Before you run to wash your sticky hands, transfer to a baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil. We topped ours with the remainder of the onions and walnuts.
  5. Shape into a flat-ish loaf. This bread won’t rise much, so its shape depends on your preference. If you like slim slices, flatten it more, almost like a focaccia, like we did. Make sure it si evenly spread to ensure even baking.
  6. Bake into a preheated oven (170C, fan) for 50 minutes.
  7. You could let it cool before eating but where’s the fun in that? We sliced ours straight away and enjoyed with delicious Prosciutto Cotto.

 

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why I love oat milk, and you should too

If you’ve hung out with me for any length of time (read: had coffee with me), you know my love for oat milk cappuccinos runs deep. And if you’ve read the news over this past summer, you might have seen that Oatly, the numer one oat milk supplier in the UK, is struggling to meet demand in the US since it came to market! There were a couple of places I visited in California that had run out of the stuff this summer (which of course, was devastating).

 

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I’m super excited oat milk is so becoming so popular. I think every coffee shop should offer it, everyone should have it in their fridge and consider buying shares in Oatly. If I haven’t convinced you yet with the gorgeous latte art, read on!

1- It tastes so damn good

Well, no surprises here. I wouldn’t drink it every single day if it weren’t amazing. It offers a subtle sweetness (without any added sugars!), a smooth mouthfeel, and is very mild in taste, almost neutral, with a slight acidity. Dairy alternatives have been around for a while, now, and are certainly getting more out there (macadamia, hemp, pea protein…?), which are kind of hit and miss taste-wise. If you like oats, you’ll like oat milk. With porridge, it’s the dream, but also with granola or a cookie!

 

 

2- It’s eco-friendlier than almond milk

Almonds are incredible. Almond milk can also be incredible. But almonds require so much water to grow. One litre of almond milk takes roughly 6000L of water to produce. That’s 5L per almond. ONE ALMOND. That’s 6 times as much as it takes to grow oats. Oats grow in abundance in Northern Europe, and Brits love their porridge – it makes so much sense to me to be consuming milk from our large European oat supply (Swedish, in Oatly’s case) than scarce and water-intensive California almonds.

 

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3- And it’s more sustainable than cow’s milk

Cheese is truly phenomenal, and nothing compares to some shaved parmesan on a bowl of spaghetti. That being said, an astonishing amount of milk is consumed worldwide, and it turns out it isn’t super planet-friendly, either. According to Oatly, greenhouse gas emissions from oat drinks are just one third of those generated in the production of cow’s milk, and milk consumption is expected to rise by 65% in the next 30 years – a huge strain on the environment! That means less pesticides, too!

 

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4- But it behaves like cow’s milk

What I hate about soy and almond milk is that the cappuccino froth is super disappointing. It either clumps up to become tofu (yikes) or is so flat it disappears into your coffee. Oat milk is where it’s at. It’s super stable, transforms into a beautiful silky froth and allows extra beautiful latte art. In fact, I’ve often had to double check it was actually oat milk (and not cow’s) because it looks so convincing. In intelligentsia’s CEO’s words, Oatly is ‘like a blank canvas’.

 

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5- Oats are versatile af

Oatly has diversified since it launched (a whole 25 years ago!); oat cream, oat crème fraiche, oat chocolate milk, and many more to come, I’m sure (their skimmed and semi-skimmed line launched recently!). You can make a latte, and iced latte, a béchamel, a milkshake, a smoothie, a quiche… literally anything. You could even bathe in it if you really wanted to, I bet your skin would be mega smooth (in fact, here’s how).

More pro tips:

  • Dairy free? Although the organic Oatly milk is just as tasty as the original, it isn’t fortified in calcium. If you’ve cut out most dairy like I have, make sure you’re meeting your calcium needs!
  • Price conscious? I get my milk in bulk, in a 6-pack, from amazon here!
  • Not keen on buying it? Try making it yourself – it’s a little labour intensive, but here’s a good recipe: https://minimalistbaker.com/make-oat-milk

sacramento city guide to healthy living

Sacramento is definitely under the radar. With its excellent coffee scene, many yoga studios, easy connections to the Bay area and ‘farm-to-fork capital’ status, I really appreciated the convenience of living there this past summer!

That being said, with Mexicans and breweries on every street corner, it’s not always been easy to make healthy choices. Over the past 4 months, I’ve really searched  for the most health-friendly spots in the city. If you’re like me and will hunt down the best avocado toast and oat milk latte wherever you’re visiting, this post is for you. I still fully encourage you to enjoy some of the city’s best pizza and ice-cream. Because life (and especially travelling!) isn’t about being restrictive. And rest assured, I’ve certainly had my share of taco plates, pizza and indulgent brunches during my time here (and yep, my jeans are feeling a little tight!)

 

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You can find my top Sacramento finds on my public yelp list here!

For a nice, light, italian-inspired weekday lunch or dinner, head to OBO’. They have a great deli salad selection for lunch that is not to be missed! I also really like their evening entrees; yes, there’s pizza and the like, but the portions are very reasonable and often packed with vegetables and interesting grains. It’s a little harder to navigate if you’re 100% dairy-free (hello cheese) but if you’re just looking for a fresh alternative to your average italian, this is your spot!

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Salad trio from OBO’

 

Ethiopian and Indian food are always great options for vegans and vegetarians in my opinion, and tend to offer dishes with lots of vegetables, less dairy and plenty of pulses and whole grains. Queen Sheba and Bombay are two local favourites. I really fell in love with the Ethiopian injera, which is much lighter than naan bread. Make sure you order the spicy red lentils. Bombai does a mean vegan dhal, too!

 

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Platters from Queen Sheba

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ayurvedic + gut-friendly savoury oats

A warming bowl of porridge is so much more than a plate of food. Share it with a friend and it becomes a topic of conversation. Make it after a long day and it becomes a source of comfort. Let your imagination run free and it becomes a creative outlet.

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how to make the best gut-healing oatmeal

Oatmeal, porridge, whatever you wanna call it. One thing: treat it like risotto.

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Oats are like the perfect middle-ground between incredibly indulgent and incredibly nutritious.

I was probably born with a spoonful of oats in my mouth. Wherever I was, at home, at school, on holidays, oats always made an appearance. Except my oat consumption has changed drastically since those dairy and microwave days. I actually used to pour cornflakes on top of my porridge. That crunch was everything. Now it just comes in a different shape (i.e. spoonfuls of PB)!

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the gut-friendly valentine’s guide you’ve been looking for

It’s almost Valentine’s. Can you believe it?
Truth be told, I’ve never really understood it! I think I got a card, once. Nowadays, being in a strong and well-grounded relationship means that Valentine’s hasn’t got much significance for us. We have other meaningful times and milestones we celebrate! But I admire those who make a real effort on the day. Buy something nice, take their S.O. for a decadent dinner or better still, COOK FOR THEM!

Food gifts are definitely my favourite kinds of gifts; to cook for me or to gift me something edible speaks in my sorta love language. I’m so easy to please.
But taking me out can be.. complicated.

There you are, sitting in an outrageously expensive restaurant and staring blankly at the 3 mains on the menu. And there is nothing you can eat. Because you’ve been avoiding gluten and dairy and nuts and soy and sugar and and and— Sound familiar?

So. We all know how to prevent this scenario from happening.
a) phone the restaurant in advance and have a lengthy and frustrating conversation about your dietary restrictions (“no, I’m not allergic, it’s just that I’m avoiding it for the moment because…”)
b) cook at home.

Option b) generally wins for me!

I’ve spent some time (not that I mind!) looking for the best gluten + dairy free, real food recipes to cook for yourself or someone special (or print this out and hand it to them. Wink wink.) And I guarantee you’ll have a much better night than trying to eat around the croutons in your overpriced salad.

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is your whole30 whole enough?

It’s late at night and I’m thinking about the whole30. I’m thinking about my first whole30 and how I’m still seeking #FoodFreedomForever. And I really feel like I need to take some thoughts off my chest after seeing how much attention the programme has had over the month of January!

I did the whole30 back in September. It didn’t have a happy ending, but it did have lifelong positive consequences. My gut wasn’t happy, but my soul was, and I am so grateful for the experience. I’m also proud I lasted the 30 days without a slip. I know I won’t be doing the whole30 exactly as it is outlined again, but I know that applying the core principles was essential to my mental success the first time around.

But there’s stuff we’re not talking about enough in this community. I still stumble upon whole30ers who just want to “lose weight”. Who think it’s ok to eat almond butter by the spoonful because it’s compliant. Or worse, who stuff dates with almond butter and are cool with that.

No. Don’t be cool.

If these behaviours don’t seem like red flags to you, please don’t stop reading. You need this.

#1. it takes a while to get ready and figure out your boundaries

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green zombie popcorn + why I created #healthoween

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And it’s Monday again. As it turns out, this weekend is Halloween weekend! I am super duper excited. See, I didn’t end up doing much last year, because I wasn’t ‘in the know’. I don’t know how it happened, but I felt very uninformed about what was going on!

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old order blood vampire chia jam

Happy Halloween! Oh wait, is it still too early for you? Well, not for me!

See, I wouldn’t say I’m obsessed with Halloween, but it’s bordering obsession. As soon as October hits, I start thinking about decorating/buying pumpkins/complaining about there not being enough Halloween parties advertised already/scrolling through Pinterest Halloween boards.

 

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You get the picture.

And this is why I’m brining you #healthoween! I came up with the idea because, you know, Halloween is really candy-corn-and-sweets-galore. And as a fructose intolerant kid, trick or treating was never that interesting to me. A plastic pumpkin full of mini Mars bars and gummy bears? Ehm, gimme some crisps.

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the Whole30: my thoughts + why it didn’t work for me

In a nutshell: it simply wasn’t the right time, the right solution or the right fit for me.

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the reason why

So I decided to complete the Whole30 because the lovely Kate, my nutritional therapist, advised I remove dairy and gluten from my diet to regulate my digestion, and the September Whole30 was about to start, and I thought it would be a good excuse for me to combine the two. So I did, and it took a great deal out of me at the beginning. My digestion took a hard hit. It is very fragile on my regular diet (mostly vegetarian, occasional animal products, lots of grains), and I didn’t give it enough time to adjust to the changes of a paleo-style diet (lots more meat, no grains).

 

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apple cinnamon pork loin from Paleo Leap

 

You may or may not know that the paleo diet includes moderate amounts of meat, fish, nuts and dairy-free animal products, as well as an abundance of vegetables. No grains, no pulses, no peanuts and no soy. You are expected to eat a moderate amount of animal and plant fat to keep you satiated. The paleo community has become renowned for recreating pancakes, cakes and tortillas employing tricks using cashews, cauliflower and avocado. Now, the Whole30 encourages the paleo part, but not the recreating part. You can read more about it here.

Continue reading “the Whole30: my thoughts + why it didn’t work for me”