Cake is my guilty pleasure, especially ones with chocolate in. Emma Donogue said “If I was made of cake I’d eat myself before somebody else could” which I think could be quite true of myself! I love to feed my sweet tooth and so I love making things like brownies or blondies but I also love loaf cakes like my ginger loaf or a lemon drizzle. I remember my mum making banana bread and me eating it with butter spread on. I tend to try and go for healthy treats these days but that doesn’t mean I don’t have an extra thick slice.
There is some debate now as to whether breakfast is really the most important meal of the day. What is important is what we choose to eat for breakfast. I can’t miss breakfast, I need some food and a drink to get me going in a morning. I’m not really a morning person and breakfast helps me to wake up and get started with the day, without it I wouldn’t have the energy for work, running around after the kids and for all the jobs in the house that always need doing.
I’ve got another new vegan recipe for you and this one is a lovely treat. My absolute favourite mid morning snack is a cup of herbal tea and a slice of cake. There’s nothing better than having a break, sitting on the sofa and enjoying a sweet treat. What if that sweet treat was good for you? I love gingerbread but it’s very heavy on the refined sugar and I wanted to reduce this and also make it gluten and dairy free.
Chocolate for breakfast? Yes please! It probably won’t come as a surprise to you that we love our chocolate in this house. My Chocolate and Almond Granola is a staple and my boys, and in particular Ethan makes sure I make a batch every week. As I’m taking part in Veganuary I was looking for some new breakfast recipes and thinking about how I could find some nutritious as well as quick and easy to make breakfasts now we’re back into the routine of school and work when mornings are rushed.
This recipe came about from looking for a new and quick pasta sauce recipe to try during Veganuary and experimenting with different ingredients. The first time I made it, I put toasted pine nuts on to garnish and it tasted great. Blending them in and adding the cream cheese has made this pesto even more delicious. It’s super quick and easy to make. You can have a meal on the table in ten minutes tops, which is so good for when you’re tired and don’t want to stand in the kitchen for hours on an evening.
I want to try to do Veganuary again in the new year. I tried a couple of years ago and only managed 12 days so I really want to challenge myself to complete the whole month this time. When I tried it before I hadn’t long been trying to be gluten and dairy free and I found it really hard to cut out meat and fish too. Over the last two years I have tried a lot more vegan recipes and therefore have more of a variety of foods I know I can eat and will like.
Recently I’ve been feeling sluggish, more tired than usual, irritable, struggling to get back into routine after our holiday and lacking in motivation to do the things I love, blogging, dance, swimming, reading. The pain in my knees that was basically non-existent has come creeping back to the point where I couldn’t ignore it anymore. I have been feeling like an old decrepit person who struggles to get up if they sit on the floor.
We love pasta with pesto in this house. It’s our staple, our go-to meal when we want something quick and easy to prepare, my super quick work lunch. The boys love it with tortellini or gnocchi, Matteo loves it with spaghetti. When I started cutting out gluten and dairy about two years ago I worried that I would’t be able to eat pesto anymore and if the dairy free alternatives would be tasteless. Thankfully there are a few that are really nice, of which Sacla is my favourite and on my shopping list every week.
I wanted to do a little twist on the classic leek and potato soup. The only way to get Ethan to eat sweet (“orange”) potato is in soup and he gobbled it down. It can’t have just been for the reason that I said as soon as they’d finished they could go back to watching their superhero programme on TV!
This recipe serves two adults and two children as an accompaniment to pasta for one meal with at least three portions left over for other meals. I served this with brown rice spaghetti to make it a gluten-free vegan meal but you can use normal wheat pasta.
I used nutritional yeast to give the sauce more flavour, if you don’t have this and are not avoiding dairy or dairy intolerant you can stir in some parmesan cheese before serving.