Vegan Chocolate Avocado Mousse with variations

Thursday, 31 December 2015


Here's a dessert you may want to enjoy this New Year.

How can a such a delicious dessert be so healthy?  It is also amazing that vegan ingredients can so closely resemble non-vegan chocolate mousse.  No need to add refined sugar or sweetener either because there is enough sweetness in the banana and dates.  A dessert that is delicious, healthy and easy to make - what more could you ask?

Avocado chocolate mousse with variations

Serves 2-4 
You will need
1 ripe avocado
2 Medjool dates, pitted
1 large banana, peeled chopped and frozen
2 tbsp cacao
Grated vegan organic sugar free chocolate, grated, to top (optional)

Place all the ingredients, except the grated chocolate, in a blender and blitz until smooth. Divide between 2-4 glasses and serve topped with grated chocolate if liked.  

Variations

Choc Orange Mousse
Add the juice of a small orange to the basic recipe.  Garnish with orange zest.

Mint Choc Chip Mousse
Add a few mint sprigs (leaves only) to the basic recipe.  Garnish with mint leaves.  

Chilli Choc Mousse
Add a pinch chilli to the basic recipe, just to add warmth, not spiciness

How is this dessert healthy?  Avocados are a superfood, high in monosaturates which, when eaten in moderation, can help lower cholesterol which in turn can help lower the risk of heart disease. Bananas are a source of potassium which can help stabilise blood pressure. Both avocados and bananas are a source of fibre which helps prevent constipation and reduce the risk of bowel cancer. 

For the benefits of cacao please see 'Surprising superfood chocolate'-http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/blog-post.html

Enjoy and stay healthy.
Janet x


Recipe Copyright © 2015 40plusandalliswell

Please Mr Cameron, don't add fracking insult to flooding injury

Wednesday, 30 December 2015


I live in a village on the outskirts of York, UK.  On Boxing Day, York, a beautiful historic city, was hit by the worst flooding in living memory.  Many homes and businesses have been destroyed. York is used to flooding, but the scale of it this time was overwhelming.  Before Christmas Cumbria was also devastated by flooding, and on Boxing Day parts of Lancashire suffered as much as York.  As I used to live in Lancashire, I spent a great deal of Boxing Day ringing friends and relatives to check whether they had escaped the rising waters.  My thoughts and prayers are with all who have suffered from the recent flooding. 

The Met Office admits that there is evidence of 'increasing frequency/intensity of daily rainfall events as the planet warms' (see http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/pdf/n/i/Recent_Storms_Briefing_Final_07023.pdf). In other words, our changing weather patterns are at the very least partly due to global warming. It is therefore likely that the flooding that we have seen will not be a one-off event. 

In December 2015 the UN Climate Summit reached an agreement to keep global temperatures from rising. In the same month, the government unveiled its plans to go ahead with fracking, including fracking on sites of special scientific interest. 

FRACKING WILL INCREASE EMISSIONS OF GREENHOUSE GASES AND EXACERBATE CLIMATE CHANGE.  The government has pledged a sum of 280 million to help with flood defences in Yorkshire, which of course is necessary.  BUT in the long term we need to call a halt to global warming, and I believe this can only be done through investment in renewable energy. Wind power is clean and reliable.  Admittedly, wind turbines may not be pretty, but at least they will not contaminate your water or air with dangerous chemicals.  The UK is also one of the best places to harness wind power in the world.  Campaigns to raise awareness of government subsidies to home owners and landlords could also see an increase in solar panel installation.  Wave and tidal energy would also be a good source of power in the UK, as we are surrounded by water and have many estuaries.  

We need to make major changes in the way we generate our power and quickly for the health of our planet, our own wellbeing, and for the wellbeing of future generations. 

Janet x

Meatless Monday:Beetroot falafel with squash on flatbread

Monday, 28 December 2015


We have just harvested the last of the beetroot from the garden and, looking for a way to use them up, thought of beetroot falafel. This would make a tasty addition to a New Year buffet. For a buffet make smaller falafel and flatbreads. Scale up the quantities according to the number of people you are catering for. Falafel is also good for a packed lunch as it can be enjoyed cold.

Beetroot falafel with squash on flatbreads.

Serves 2 or 4 on a buffet

You will need

A thick slice of squash, cut into slices, roasted at 180 degrees for around 30 minutes, then remove skin and dice.

For the falafel
150g beetroot, peeled and chopped (the weight is the peeled weight)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 can organic chickpeas
1 1/2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp chickpea flour
Olive oil spray for greasing

For the flatbread (makes 2)
50g rye or spelt flour + extra for flouring 
1 tbsp oil
pinch salt 
50ml warm water

To top 
Chopped fresh mint with 2 tbsp coconut cream

Beetroot leaves to garnish (optional)

To make the falafel
Place the beetroot and onion in a blender and blitz until smooth. Add the chickpeas, tahini, and coriander and pulse until smooth.  Stir in the chickpea flour. 
Using 2 tablespoons, shape the mixture into 8-10 falafel and place on a greased baking tray. 
Bake for 20-25 minutes until crisp.

To make the flatbread
Place the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the water and oil, a little at a time and mix. 
Knead for a few minutes then divide the dough into two and roll each piece into a ball. On a floured board roll out each piece into a circle.  
Lightly grease a frying pan and on a medium heat cook each flatbread for 1-2 minutes on each side. 

To serve place the falafel and squash on the flatbread and top with the mint stirred into the coconut cream

Enjoy 
Janet x


Recipe Copyright © 2015 40plusandalliswell

This week on Flexiladiesyoga

Thursday, 24 December 2015


In our yoga practice, as in life, it is important to have fun sometimes. When your yoga practice is fun, you are more motivated to show up on your mat each day. 


Routines are abandoned over the Christmas period so you may not be able to practice yoga as you normally do. But even a short practice of a few minutes can re-energize you when you are flagging, calm you if things are getting too much, relieve the stiffness of sitting too long, aid digestion or cultivate gratitude for time spent with friends and family. Here are yoga poses that you may like to practice over the Christmas period- http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/your-christmas-holiday-yoga-practice.html
This blog post was included in the magazine 'Yoga Vitality Magazine'- 

Cultivate happiness with this hip opening yoga practice.
Hannah and I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a peaceful, healthy 2016.

Edible Vegan Gifts - Chocolate Fruit and Nut Truffles

Wednesday, 23 December 2015


These truffles are quick to make and would make a great last minute gift! The dates provide sweetness so no other sweetener is needed.

Makes 12
100g vegan sugar free chocolate
50g hazelnuts, chopped
15 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
3 level tbsp cacao

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a simmering pan of water until melted.
Meanwhile mix the hazelnuts, dates, and cacao until they come together (hands are best for this).  Divide the mixture into 12 and roll each piece into a ball.  Roll in the melted chocolate and place on grease-proof paper to set.  

Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2015 40plusandalliswell

Is it possible to have a sugar-free Christmas?

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

If you are fighting a Candida overgrowth or you feel that sugar is bad news for your health condition (asthma for instance can be made worse by sugar and sugar contributes to health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and obesity) or even worried about sugar aging your skin, you may be a little apprehensive about the Christmas food. I hope this blog post helps but please don't worry if you slip, you can get right back on track after Christmas.
Here are some recipes that might help you stay sugar free this Christmas.

Tofu turkey http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/meatless-monday-turkey-style-tofu-with.html If you are on a candida diet and are avoiding wheat, use gluten free bread to make the breadcrumbs.  Instead of bouillon use pink salt.


  
A Trio of Nut Roasts - http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/meatless-monday-trio-of-nut-roasts.html Nutritional yeast is fine to use if you have a Candida overgrowth as the yeast is deactivated.  If you are on a candida diet and are avoiding wheat, use gluten free bread to make the breadcrumbs and substitute quinoa for couscous. Instead of bouillon use pink salt. Omit mushrooms.  




Stuffed Butternut Squash - http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/meatless-monday-thanksgiving-special.html Use chopped red peppers instead of mushrooms. Instead of bouillon use pink salt. 



Sweet no sugar treats
Sweetened with stevia, these German biscuits will satisfy a chocolate craving
http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/vegan-lebkuchen-biscuits.html


If you are at the stage where you have reintroduced fruit into your diet, these jellies would be a special (but not regular) treat. Fruits do have natural sugars but all of the following have no added sugar.
http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/vegan-fruit-jellies.html


or how about this delicious no added sugar cake.  Cranberry and orange drizzle cake- 
http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/cranberry-and-orange-drizzle-cake.html



and to drink what about my non-alcoholic cocktail (mocktail) with tropical fruit flavours 
http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/its-bank-holiday-weekend-treat-yourself.html



Have a wonderful, sugar-free Christmas!
Peace and blessings
Janet x 



Recipe Copyright © 2015 40plusandalliswell

Meatless Monday Christmas Special - Mushroom and Chestnut Wellington

Monday, 21 December 2015




Vegans need not feel deprived at Christmas when they can enjoy something as delicious as this Mushroom and Chestnut Wellington. Even your meat eating friends may be converted!

Serves 3-4
You will need
1 tbsp rapeseed oil or olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
200g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
100g chestnuts, roasted, peeled and sliced (make a slit in each before roasting to prevent them exploding!)
1 tsp pink salt 
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
100g breadcrumbs
2 tbsp coconut cream
1 roll dairy free ready made puff pastry

Fry the onion in the olive oil for 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and mushrooms and continue to cook over a low heat for 3-5 minutes.  

Place in a blender with the chestnuts, salt, herbs and breadcrumbs and pulse so that pieces of mushrooms and chestnuts remain.  Stir in the coconut cream.  

Unroll the pastry with the long edge to the top of a lightly floured chopping board.  Place the mushroom and chestnut mixture in the middle of the pastry.  Fold the pastry over the mixture and squeeze the pastry together at the top (like a Cornish pasty).  Fold the pastry ends in.  

Transfer to a greased baking tray and bake at 200 degrees for 30 - 40 minutes.  Enjoy with the usual vegetables and vegan gravy.



Enjoy!
Janet x



Recipe Copyright © 2015 40plusandalliswell

This week on Flexiladiesyoga

Sunday, 20 December 2015


In a troubled world my daily prayer is for peace. Peace begins with each and every one of us. When we have peace in ourselves, we can be at peace with others and this peace can then radiate out into your community and into the world. Take the first step towards peace by practicing this yoga video on my 'sister' blog-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/mindfulness-mindful-of-peace.html

This blog post was included in the magazine 'Compassionate Empowerment News'-http://paper.li/DanGilliland/1332755409?edition_id=1082ecd0-a3fc-11e5-bae3-002590a5ba2d and '#Spiritual Wave of Energy # Healing'-

At this time of year our heads are buzzing with so much to do - present buying and wrapping, cards to write, menus to plan, parties. All this energy in our heads can unbalance us and make us stressed. Try this grounding yoga practice on my 'sister' blog to draw energy down and reduce stress-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/dont-let-pre-christmas-madness-stress.html

In our kosha series we have reached 'bliss'. Please see my 'sister' blog to find out what it feels like to access this layer of your being-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/on-road-to-bliss-koshas-part-5.html

Cranberry and orange drizzle cake


Using seasonal ingredients, this cake is not only vegan but has no added sugar. Great if you are not fond of traditional fruit cake. A perfect gift for a vegan friend. Wrap the cake in cellophane to make it look special.

You will need

For the cake

100g dairy free spread + extra for greasing
15-20g stevia
Egg substitute equivalent of 2 eggs
220g rice flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
Juice 1/2 orange + zest whole orange 
2 tbsp soya milk
150g sugar free dried cranberries or frozen cranberries

For the drizzle 

Juice 1/2 orange + 2 tbsp stevia

Cream the spread and stevia. 

Add the egg substitute, made up according to directions, the rice flour, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger.  

Stir in the orange juice and zest. 

Add the soya milk and mix  to make a smooth mixture then stir in the cranberries.

Transfer to a greased loaf tin and bake for 30-40 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly then turn out.  
Mix the orange juice with the stevia until dissolved and while the cake is still warm, drizzle with sweetened juice.


Enjoy!

Janet x



Recipe Copyright © 2015 40plusandalliswell

Sing! It's good for you!

Friday, 18 December 2015


Everywhere you go at the moment there are Christmas songs playing. You can't help but have them buzzing around in your head and if you feel like singing them out loud even if it's only in the bath, go ahead it's good for you.

Singing is good exercise for your lungs and so can help people with chronic lung conditions such as asthma or bronchitis. It can even improve snoring because it strengthens the muscles of the throat.  

Singing can also help tone aging face and neck muscles.  

Singing reduces stress which accelerates aging. Stress has a negative effect on immunity, increasing the risk of inflammation in the body which underlies many degenerative diseases such as heart disease, Alzheimer's and arthritis.

Singing energizes - don't you feel invigorated after a good, old sing-song.

So what are you waiting for - join a choir, have a karaoke session or sing your heart out in the bath for 'what would life be without a song to help it along' as Abba used to sing.

Janet x

Meatless Monday: Trio of nut roasts

Monday, 14 December 2015


Winter vegetable nut roast

This recipe was inspired by a winter vegetable soup that I recently enjoyed. It would make a tasty alternative Christmas meal for vegans.  

Serves 3-4

You will need
1/2 small swede, peeled and cut into slices
2 large carrots, cut lengthways and sliced
neck end of a squash, sliced
2 parsnips, cut lengthways and sliced 
olive oil spray
150g breadcrumbs
200g nuts (I used walnuts, cashews and peanuts)
1 tsp pink salt or sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
4 tbsp nutritional yeast
Egg substitute, equivalent of one egg

Place the vegetables on a baking tray and spray with olive oil. Roast for 30-40 minutes at 200 degrees (you can do this the day before if the oven is on).

Pulse the nuts in a blender to chop and place in a mixing bowl with the breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast, salt and cinnamon.  

Remove the skin from the squash, and cut the vegetables into bite sized pieces. Add to the bowl.

Add the egg substitute to the bowl and mix well to bind all the ingredients.

Transfer to a loaf tin sprayed with olive oil and press firmly down. Bake at 200 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

Serve with a salad or the usual trimmings.



















Enjoy
Janet x

You may also want to try:-

Festive nut roast-
http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/meatless-monday-festive-nut-roast.html

New year nut roast-
http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/meatless-mondaynew-year-nut-roast.html


Recipe Copyright © 2015 40plusandalliswell

This week on Flexiladiesyoga

Sunday, 13 December 2015


This week's yoga video helps us become mindful of our stress levels in the pre-Christmas period. The practice will help to reduce stress in order to enjoy this time, and Christmas when it arrives. Please see my 'sister' blog-
http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/mindfulness-mindful-of-your-stress.html

Been busy Christmas shopping? Restore and refresh with this yoga pose. For the instructions and benefits please see this blog post on my 'sister' blog-
http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/aching-legs-and-feet-this-pose-is-great.html

On our journey to bliss we have reached the wisdom layer or kosha. Follow the link below to my 'sister' blog to find out how you can access this layer of your being.
http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/on-road-to-bliss-koshas-part-4.html

Vegan Lebkuchen biscuits


This vegan, sugar-free version of Lebkuchen, German Christmas biscuits makes a lovely Christmas gift. You may also want to make some into Tree decorations.

Vegan Lebkuchen biscuits
Makes 12
You will need

80g coconut oil (warm a little if it is very hard)+ extra for greasing
10g stevia + extra for dusting 
Equivalent of 2 eggs (I used egg substitute)
80g ground almonds
2 tbsp cacao powder
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
150g rice flour

Cream the coconut oil and stevia.  

Sieve the cacao, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder and rice flour together and add to the creamed mixture with the egg equivelent. Mix well 

Stir in the ground almonds and vanilla. 

Divide the mixture into 12. Roll each piece into a round and press lightly onto a baking tray.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for around 20 minutes.  Place on a cooling rack and sprinkle with stevia.

Place in a basket on a doily or wrap in cellophane.  

Happy Advent!

Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2015 40plusandalliswell

Been out Christmas shopping? Restore with an Epsom Salt bath

Friday, 11 December 2015


We buy huge tubs of Epsom salts and add a couple of handfuls to our baths. 

Epsom salts, or magnesium sulphate will soothe sore muscles by increasing circulation to those muscles and by drawing toxins out. If you are interested in the science behind their ability to restore, the process is reverse osmosis. In this process magnesium enters the body where concentrations are low. This is because many of us are magnesium deficient due to modern farming methods and our over consumption of sugar, salt and protein (not if you follow the advice on this blog!!) which rob the body of magnesium. Entry is through the skin. In a similar way toxins are drawn out of the body through the skin. You need to stay in the bath for at least 20 minutes though for the salts to work their magic (a good excuse for a long soak!!)

Because Epsom salts are a great way to detoxify you might want to make sure you have some for your post-Christmas detox too. 

If you have any health concerns please consult your medical practitioner before taking Epsom Salt baths.

Happy Advent
Janet x

Meatless Monday: Bean and vegetable crumble

Monday, 7 December 2015



An easy but delicious dish to prepare if you are busy in the run up to Christmas.
You don't have to use the same vegetables as me, use whatever you have in.  Apart from the ones I have used, you could use leek, mushroom etc.

Serves 2
You will need

1 tbsp organic olive oil or rapeseed oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 medium carrots, diced
Piece of squash, cut from the neck end, peeled and diced
1 large sweet potato, diced
1tsp pink salt
4 tbsp tomato puree
1 x 400g cannellini beans

For the crumble
80g dairy free spread
150g rye or spelt flour or a mixture of both
2 tbsp nutritional yeast


Fry the onion in the oil for 3-5 minutes until soft. Add the carrots, squash, potato, pink salt, tomato puree and 250ml water. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to simmer until the vegetables are tender and the liquid reduced. Stir in the beans.

Meanwhile make the crumble. Rub the fat into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the yeast.  

Place the bean mixture in an ovenproof dish. Top with crumble mixture and bake at 200 degrees for 20-30 minutes until lightly coloured.

Enjoy
Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2015 40plusandalliswell

This week on Flexiladiesyoga

Sunday, 6 December 2015


Through yoga we can get to know our 'true self', that is, the person you are who is not influenced by cultural conditioning. Please see my blog post and yoga video, 'Mindfulness-Mindful of your truth' by following the link below to my 'sister' blog. 
http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/mindfulness-mindful-of-your-truth.html

Restful sleep is essential to a healthy immune system. See how yoga can help you have a good night's sleep and help you avoid colds and flu. There is also a meditative sequence on my 'sister' blog to help you unwind ready for sleep-
http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/immunity-boost-good-nights-sleep.html

Yogis believe that to access bliss we must work our way through the layers or koshas of the body. This week we are focused on the mental layer, Manomaya kosha. We gain control of this layer through meditation. Please see the link below for my 'sister' blog-
http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/on-road-to-bliss-koshas-part-3.html

An edible Christmas gift for vegans - no-added sugar spicy apple and mango chutney

Friday, 4 December 2015


This chutney would make a lovely gift for a vegan or a non-vegan friend. Great with the tofu turkey we made for Thanksgiving.The Thanksgiving tofu turkey would also be a vegan alternative to turkey for Christmas
http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/meatless-monday-turkey-style-tofu-with.html
The chutney could also be served with curries such as my sweet potato and lentil mild curry-
http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/sweet-potato-and-lentil-mild-curry.html

Makes approx. 750ml
Keeps up to 4 weeks in a fridge

You will need

1 tbsp organic olive oil or rapeseed oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 Bramley apples (approx 500g), peeled, cored and chopped
250g frozen mango chunks
1tsp cayenne pepper or to taste
1 tsp nigella seeds
1 tsp pink salt
10 tsp stevia
375ml white wine vinegar




Wash and sterilise two jars by placing them upside down on a baking tray at 140 degrees until dry(note if your jar has a rubber seal boil this separately). Leave the jars to cool.

Fry the onion in the oil for 3-5 minutes until softening. Add the apples, cayenne pepper, nigella seeds, salt, white wine vinegar and 50ml water. Bring to the boil and reduce heat to simmer.  Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the mango and stevia and simmer for a further 10 minutes.

Leave to cool and then place the chutney in the jars.

Enjoy! Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2015 40plusandalliswell

Vegan Christmas cake

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Looking for a recipe for a vegan Christmas cake? Here's one I made last year that proved to be very popular and you can make it last minute!
http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/vegan-no-added-sugar-christmas-cake.html


Down at the allotment: autumn maintenance

Wednesday, 2 December 2015


You may think that there is not much to do on the allotment or in the garden at this time of year but autumn is the perfect time to do a little maintenance. We have already planted several crops for next year and these are growing already. Please see 'Down at the allotment'
http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/down-at-allotment.html
We are also still harvesting the last of the celeriac and kale.  

Recently we have been given some raspberry canes and autumn is a good time to plant them. Plant your raspberry canes about 12 inch apart and to a depth of 3 inch, spreading out the roots. Now our allotment is in a windy location. We were concerned that our raspberry canes may fall down in the strong winds we have been experiencing lately so we made a support for the canes. To do this hammer two posts into the ground at either end of your row of raspberries. If you are good with a drill you could insert bolts in the posts to thread metal wire through. We wrapped the wire around one post, stretched it to the other post, wrapped it around that then looped it back to the first post in order to have two wires to tie the canes to. When the canes begin to grow in Spring, you may want to add another wire higher up.

I've noticed that several people who have allotments are using this time to enrich their soil with manure, so that is another job you may want to do.

When the weather is too awful to even contemplate the allotment/garden, what could be nicer than cosying up with a hot drink and some seed catalogues to plan next year's fruit and vegetable gardening.


Happy days
Janet x