Pear and Apple Chutney and Crumbly Cashew Cheese Flatbread

Way back in the days when I was a noob vegan (circa 2005) there was very little in the way of acceptable cheese alternatives, which invariably (and understandably) lead to drunken pizza relapses. Don’t judge, I was 19 and a student! Almost, ten years later, the plant-based cheese game is pretty tight, but weirdly enough, I’m still a student, (but that’s my shit)…Le sigh. Anyway, I get pretty eye-rolly when omnis are like “I just couldn’t give up cheese” because there are so many fantastic options nowadays.  There’s really no excuse!

 

Flatbread |Peaches and Greens

 

I have a few fave planty cheeses you can buy in the shops; you’ve got your Daiya, which is cool if you want something a little greasy and a bit dirty (we all have days like that!), but you know, it’s a bit processed, not super great for you. Then you’ve got your next-level fermented nut cheeses like Treeline, which I’ve talked about before, and Dr. Cow, Incidentally, if you’re in the states and you want to send me some Dr. Cow’s cheese, that’d be pretty sweet. If you’re in the UK then your best bet for plant-based cheese is Violife which is probably the closest thing to actual cheese I’ve had. They just came out with a cream cheese type thing too which was decent. However, it’s kinda challenging to find it outside of the south of England, so you might just have to make your own! Luckily, that’s not as hard as you would expect. This Vegan Cheese cookbook is kind of a big deal, although I’ve never tried any of her recipes for myself. I have played around with my own cashew cheese though, and it went down pretty well at the pop-up a few weeks ago, so I thought I’d share the recipe with you today. 

Flatbread |Peaches and Greens

Flatbread |Peaches and Greens

At the pop-up, we paired the cashew cheese with a pear chutney, so I’m also sharing a recipe for that too, as well as a chickpea bread for it all to chill on! I topped it with fresh salad leaves for a little fresh and crisp action. 


Cutting board

Ok so, this stuff doesn’t taste *exactly* like cheese, but it’s still got savoury cheesy vibes thanks to the nutritional yeast. Don’t be afraid of nutritional yeast, it’s essentially just dehydrated yeast that has a fuckton of nutrients in it, especially B complex vitamins and all 9 essential amino acids! It comes in a flaked or powdered form from the health food shop or large supermarkets. Oftentimes it’s fortified with vitamin B12 too, which is pretty cool.

Pear and Apple Chutney and Crumbly Cashew Cheese Flatbread
Print
Crumbly Cashew Cheese
  1. 1 cup raw cashews
  2. 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  3. 1/2 t paprika
  4. 2 T lemon juice
  5. 2 cloves garlic
  6. 1T apple cider vinegar
  7. 1 T wholegrain mustard
  8. sea salt and pepper to taste
  9. Pear and Apple Chutney;
  10. 1 red onion, chopped
  11. 1 T fresh ginger, minced
  12. 1/2 t cinnamon
  13. 1/3 C coconut sugar
  14. 200ml red wine vinegar
  15. 2 medium Conference pears, peeled and chopped
  16. 2 medium red apples, peeled and chopped (I used Red Windsor)
  17. sea salt and pepper to taste
Chickpea Flatbread (socca)
  1. 1 cup chickpea flour
  2. 1 t sea salt
  3. Black pepper to taste
  4. 4 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
  5. 1 1/2 cups water (room temperature)
  6. 2T fresh thyme
Crumbly Cashew Cheese
  1. Lightly toast the cashews for 8 to 10 mins at 180C/350F. Alternatively, for a raw cheese, leave them raw and soak for 1-2 hours until soft. In a running food processor, add the garlic cloves so they get minced finely, then add the remaining ingredients and pulse until the cheese reaches the consistency you'd prefer. Add water for a smoother texture. If you're using a high powered blender like a vitamix then the cheese will be a lot creamier rather than crumbly. I just used a normal food processor and it worked fine!
  2. Pear and Apple Chutney;
  3. Heat a little water in the bottom of a pan over a medium heat. When hot enough, add the red onion and sauté in the water until slightly browned (could take 10-15 mins). Make sure to add splashes of water so the onions don't stick. Once browned, add the cinnamon, ginger, and sugar, and mix well, cooking for 30s or so before adding the red wine vinegar. Bring the mixture to the boil before adding the fruit. Cook covered for 30 mins or so until the fruit is soft and the whole mixture has reduced down to chutney consistency, use a spoon to mash up the fruit a bit, or throw it in the blender and pulse a few times if you fancy.
Chickpea Flatbread
  1. I followed this recipe (http://food52.com/blog/9931-how-to-make-socca-3-ways-to-eat-it) but added some thyme into the mixture. I also baked the entire thing in a shallow casserole dish because I don't have a cast iron skillet in England yet :(
  2. Layer the warm chutney over the flatbread, crumble the cheese on top, and garnish with fresh salad leaves, spring onion, avocado, etc...
Peaches and Greens http://peaches-and-greens.com/

Flatbread |Peaches and Greens

What do you think? Are you ready to make your own cashew cheese? It’s actually really easy, and feel free to up the nutritional yeast to give it a flavour bump,you might just need to add a little more liquid to get it smooth!

Going to keep it quick because I have a goddamn manuscript to write, but I just wanted to say I haven’t forgotten about the Book Club book. I got slightly distracted by Lena Dunham’s new book, but I will finish both soon and write a review. If you have any ideas for the next book to read then leave me a comment below! Or read Lena’s book because it’s pretty baller!

Also, voting for the Blog North awards has closed and the judges are now casting their votes (the public vote = 1/6 of the final weighting) and I will find out next week who won! Keep your fingers and toes crossed for me!

Hope everyone has some awesome plans for the weekend ~ I’ll be working and studying because that’s just the kind of glamorous lifestyle I lead these days!

Be well kiddos!
Laura xx

Pop-Ups, Award Noms, and More!

Well, last week was cray over here at Peaches and Greens HQ (that’s not a thing, I just made that up). But seriously, a pop-up dinner, a blog nom (nom nom), and a special delivery from CANADA!!! (for those of you who don’t know, I have a weird obsession with our Commonwealth compadres).

So, last week I trekked up to Aberdeen for the first ever Peaches and Greens pop-up dinner at the Courtyard Restaurant. I spent the day in the kitchen with team of chefs there helping them prep the menu we’d designed and it was basically the best time ever. I did get a pretty harsh reality check from those guys though. I guess I always knew that chefs work long hours with little thanks (one of my best friends is a chef) but seeing it first hand, and well, actually doing it, made me realise just how hard they hustle. Every. Single. Day.  That said, they also seem to have ALL the fun. Can you imagine getting to play with food all day?? Yeah, that’s pretty special. They have incredible banter too. Here are some truths I learned from the guys at the Courtyard.

1) Chefs are super not into plant-based stuff (but I’m hoping I’ve started to change their mind a little on that front).

2) “Don’t be scared of salt.” Direct quote. Everything can be improved by adding shittons of salt. 

3) Cashew cheese is not real cheese, don’t even suggest that it’s remotely anything like cheese or you will be mocked relentlessly. Suffice to say, there was much piss-taking on this front. 

At the end of the day though, the Courtyard’s chef dudes did an absolutely incredible job: they really rose to the challenge of producing a 100% plant-based, gluten-free meal that proved their creativity, imagination, and talent is off the hook

So what was on the menu?

Pop Up Menu

 

Just a little disclaimer. Our photographer for the night fell through at the last minute and I didn’t have my camera with me. Disaster, I know. So, please forgive me because these pics are a little on the janky side, but you get the idea. The ‘rents took this lot and, as you’ll soon discover, they partied pretty hard that night. Gotta love them! If you search #peachesandgreens on Insta, you’ll see a bunch more pics that slightly less sozzled people took.

Socca Flatbread with Cashew Cheese and Pear and Onion Chutney.

 

 

Amuse Bouche

This was such a tease! But alas, such is the nature of an amuse-bouche (lololol amuse-bouche). And what’s that red and green splodge there you ask? Oh, that’s just a beetroot and pear puree, NBD… The only complaint here was that people wanted about ten of these. Fret not litte pigeons, I’m going to post the recipe next week so you can eat your weight in them. 

 

Courgette Rollmops with Chickpea filling, Sweet potato samosa, and avocado salsa.

Starter

Ummmm, gluten free samosas?? Eff yeah! The curried sweet potato filling was probably my favourite flavour combo for the whole night, and that’s before you take into account the AVOCADO SALSA. Unbelievable! The rollmops were also pretty sensational. Thinly sliced courgette (that’s zucchini in US and A) was lightly grilled to give it those pretty markings, then strips were lined up and topped with a roasted garlic chickpea puree (not hummus, important distinction). The courgette was then rolled around the filling and the whole thing was chilled for a few hours before being sliced up. This was also exceptionally tasty. I’ll try and get recipes for both of these eventually too! I forget what the splodges on this one were, but I do know that they were delish!

Orange Buckwheat Risotto, Garden Vegetables, Textures of Beetroot, Heirloom tomatoes.

Main(Pictures are starting to get a bit wonky). Anyway, I really loved this course. Because beetroot! Pickled, roasted… PAINTED across the freaking plate!! Didn’t even know you could do that! And turns out, beetroot goes beautifully with orange! This course was really fresh, light, and healthy. This nutritionist approves!

Banana, Coconut, and Chocolate

Dessert

 

So yeah, melty chocolate-coconut ice cream, but oh so delicious. On the left we have an individual coconut-banana cream pie. As it happens, chefs are pretty stubborn, and didn’t listen when I told them NOT to put the bananas in the filling. As a result, we have this lovely putrid gray colour. What can you do?  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Still tasted yummy. That macadamia nut base is SO GOOD. And blueberry compote? YES! 

In conclusion, brilliant food, lovely people, fantastic times had by all. I was ready for bed by the end of it all though!

Mum and Laura(That’s me and my mum, she’s a hotty!)

Thanks to everyone who came and showed their support, to all the new friends I made, and to all the the chef dudes at the Courtyard! Thanks for letting me hang in your kitchen for the day, it was so much fun and I hope you learned as much as I did! Maybe you’ll even put something plant-based on your menus every now and then ;)

Blog North Nom!

In other news, I got nominated by the lovely Amy Liz for a Blog North award and have been shortlisted (from over 500 blogs) in the food and drink category! I didn’t even realise she had nominated me so it came as lovely surprise. Thanks Amy! I owe you a drink!  If you like my blog (or even if you don’t really like the blog but you like me all the same), or if you like perving over my food pics, then please take a second to vote —-> http://www.blognorthawards.com/ And while you’re there, take a look around at some of the other awesome blogs! You have until Monday 29th September to cast your vote! And like, seriously, thank you :)

From Canada With Love!

Some of you long-term blog followers may remember back in March when the lovely Alessandra Savoia of My Vegan Superpowers did a Just my Cup of Tea and shared an amazing recipe for Coconut-vanilla energy balls! (Seriously so, so good! Go make them if you haven’t already!). Well, Alessandra is basically the best because 1) she’s Canadian, 2) she’s incredibly sweet, talented, and a fierce little entrepreneur, 3) she sent me samples of her new My Vegan Superpowers energy bar all the way to England! and 4) She’s CANADIAN! Obviously, I’m in England now so it’s hard for me to get my paws on these, as well as everyone else outside of Canada, so A didn’t have much to gain from sending me these, other than good karma points! That said, if you are anywhere even remotely close to Canada (lucky you) PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, do me a solid and order some of these bars and support my girl!! Not because A is my blog friend, or because I get commission or anything like that (there’s sweet FA in this for me!), but because I really believe in this product! These are perfect. Vanilly and fudgey! And packed full of planty goodness! There are some really shitty products out there masquerading as health foods, but this one is legit! GET YOU SOME here. Or if your life is a perfect movie and you live in Toronto, get them here. And all the best to A with

mvsp

Also, the packaging is pretty great, which doesn’t hurt :)

Ok so, recap. Pop-up = super fun, let’s do it again soon. Blog North award = vote your little hearts out. MVSP bar = Treat yo’self! Cool.

I’ll post that flatbread and cashew ‘cheese’ recipe soon.

Until then, be cool!

Laura xx

 

That’s My Jam | September and Pop Up Giveaway

Wow, feels like forever since I posted! August disappeared in a flash; I suppose moving across the world, having a birthday, and getting ready to go back to uni doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for blogging, so I totally dropped the ball on writing a That’s My Jam post for August. My B. To make it up to you, I’m giving away two Pop Up tickets for one lucky reader and their plus one. Keep reading to find out how to enter to win! Speaking of the Pop Up, I’ve been chatting to Chris, the Executive Chef of Beetroot Restaurants, about what tasty things we’ll have on the menu and I’m super impressed by the creativity they’re using to come up with a completely plant-based, and gluten-free menu. This is so far from what they normally do but they’re totally owning it! You’re going to be totally blown away when you see what they’ve been planning! I’m equal parts nervous and excited to get into the kitchen with Chris’s team next week to help them prep for the big night! 

 

That's My Jam - September

 

1. Anyone who knows me IRL might have noticed that I’m pretty much obsessed with this Essie Good as Gold nail varnish. I have hardly stopped wearing it all summer. Before that it was this Topshop  pink matte nail colour, which I’ve decided I need to go and dig out one last time before the Autumn sets in. Anyway, the Essie polish is part of their Mirrored Metallics collection and is a total head-turner. I get loads of compliments about this one! It’s a really pretty brushed gold so it’s not too in your face, and can make a boring outfit feel a bit more fancy. I’m totally wearing it to the pop up!

2. So, as much as I am completely in LOVE with Leeds, and despite how glad I am to be back in the UK, there’s one thing I am missing from ‘MERCA more than anything else (sorry friends, it’s not you). The kombucha situation here is diabolical and I’m dying for a bottle of Reed’s Culture Club. So, to fill the kombucha shaped hole in my heart, I’ve more or less been forced to do some coconut water recon. Fortunately, it’s a lot harder to eff up coconut water and I’ve decided that this Chi brand is my new fave. I did a little searching and couldn’t find any hard science to back up health claims for coconut water, but it does appear to help rehydrate after intense exercise about the same as sports drinks like Gatorade, without the weird blue colour and shittons of sugar which is pretty cool. Other than that, it just tastes good so… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

3. Nākd bars are like a better, more delicious version or a Lärabars. They’re essentially just dried fruit and nuts, and make a pretty solid snack option. They seem to be just about EVERYWHERE, so try ditching the unhealthy shit like Mars bar or whatever, and try one of these out instead. They come in loads of delish flavours so you won’t get bored; my favourites are the cashew cookie, and the chocolate orange.  

4. Everyone knows I’m unapologetic coconut fangirl, so not sorry for TWO coconut products in one post. Plant based yoghurts used to be made from soya and really challenged the gag-reflex, but then coconut milk came along and was like “It’s cool, I got it from here” and balance was restored to the universe. CoYo is made from pure coconut milk, and bacterial cultures. There aren’t any added sugars or weird crap in there. Top with some fresh berries and a sprinkling of raw seeds for a seriously baller breakfast, or try the chocolate or fruit varieties if you’re a G. Trust me, this stuff is awesome.

5. These are hands-down my favourite thing on the list. I know I have a bit of a rice cake habit, but I’m rationalising these with the fact that they have corn in them too \o/ Seriously though. SRSLY. These are amazing. I eat them piled with hummus, freshly sliced cucumber, and hella sprouts for a snack or light meal. Smashed avocado is also pretty nuts with these guys too. Last week I went to the health food shop to buy a new pack and they were sold out and it was bad times for me :( Go and buy yours now and avoid the suffering. 

6. I finally got round to buying the Hemsley and Hemsley cookbook after drooling over their website for like, forever. The book isn’t totally plant-based but I’m not even mad because it’s all kinds of sexy (the food and the authors!). The Hemsley sisters give you tips on how to plantify a recipes that have meat/dairy/eggs so you can easily make substitutes. I love the pea, mint, and broccoli mash, and can’t wait to get into the mushroom quinoa nut roast with a chestnut apricot topping when the weather gets a little cooler. I can’t think of anything more perfectly Autumny! The Malaysian lentil and squash curry will follow shortly after!

A couple of bonus things:

I just got my first Vegan Kind snack box in the post yesterday and it was even better than I expected! Check out what was inside on my Instagram. The Ombar chocolate alone deserves its own blog post! If you’re new to plant-based eating then this is a really nice way to get introduced to new products, and they are conveniently delivered to your house every month.

Also, loving this song at the moment:

 

 

So, about those pop up tickets… To enter, leave a comment below or tweet me letting me know either which of these things you’re most excited to try, or if you have tried any of them already, what did you think? What are you really into just now that you would want to add to the list? This is open to people who haven’t already reserved a place at the pop up before it sold out. I’ll announce the winner this Sunday!

Can’t wait to see some of you guys at the Courtyard NEXT WEEK!!! 

Until then, be well!

Laura xx

 

Salted Chocolate, Almond, and Rye Sandcastles

So, just in case you missed it, last week I announced that I’m hosting my very first pop-up event with The Courtyard Aberdeen and my pal Amy of Profile Hair fame. Obviously I was excited about it, but what I didn’t expect was for the incredible response I got from you guys; it sold out in a day and a half! A DAY AND A HALF! You. Shut. It. Down. I’m totally blown away. I went in to discuss menu details with the chef’s last week, and they were totally floored by the response too. Like, actually couldn’t believe how popular it was. So, who knows, maybe this will inspire them to do more planty events in the future! Anyway, I’m DYING to see what the chefs come up with and how they level-up my recipes to make them restaurant worthy! For those of you who didn’t reserve a place in time, or for those of you outside of Aberdeen with unbearable FOMO, don’t worry, I’ll dedicate a post to sharing pictures and details from the event. Maybe I can even talk the boys into letting me share one of their recipes… no promises though! But once again, can I just reiterate how effing excited I am for this. AND for getting to hang out and eat awesome plant-based food with you guys! YAS!Salted Chocolate, Almond, and Rye Sandcastles | Peaches and Greens

OK, let’s talk about today’s recipe. These little cuties are a riff on the Sandcastle cookies/biscuits my brother got me for my Christmas last year (cheers bud!). On a side note, I’m somewhat having an identity crisis being back in the UK. I can’t decide which is more appropriate here. Cookie? Biscuit? I’M SO CONFUSED. I’m just going to go with ‘Sandcastles’ for now until I can sort my shit out. Whatever you want to call them, doesn’t change the fact that they’re super tasty!

Salted Chocolate, Almond, and Rye Sandcastles | Peaches and Greens

The reason I was in Aberdeen last week is because it was my birthday, and since I didn’t have a bday cake (I know, unacceptable) I thought I’d do a little belated birthday baking. ALSO. It’s my mum’s birthday today. HBD Heather!! She’s the number one supporter and fan of the blog so I know she’d like to see some bday love up in here, so, be cool and leave my mum a lovely birthday message in the comments!  Anyway, these little lovelies are dedicated to her (<3 x 9012) (That’s a little in joke, soz).

Salted Chocolate, Almond, and Rye Sandcastles | Peaches and Greens

 

These are really simple to make and have lots of  healthy ingredients, so you know they’re better for you than say Oreos or the like! Some of you may have picked up on the fact that I have a small problem with coconut problems (coconut milk, coconut nectar, coconut aminos etc…) so it probably comes as no huge surprise that I used coconut sugar here. It add a  lovely deep caramel flavour. Now, while this is still an added sugar (as opposed to a sugar which is part of a whole food) it’s a better choice than refined white sugar or HFCS. Coconut sugar has a really high mineral content, with lots of zinc, magnesium, potassium, and iron. It’s also high in B-complex vitamins 1, 2, 3, and 6. As if that wasn’t enough, coconut sugar boasts 16 different amino acids \0/ So, when you’re after a treat but still want something relatively healthy, these are a good choice. Ditto if you are still using refined white sugar in your porridge/oatmeal. Try switching to coconut sugar.

Salted Chocolate, Almond, and Rye Sandcastles | Peaches and Greens

Salted Chocolate, Almond, and Rye Sandcastles | Peaches and Greens

Because the rye flour doesn’t have a ton of gluten in it, the dough isn’t exactly conducive to being rolled out with a rolling pin, so you’re going to have to shape them by hand. I shaped these into little mounds using a tablespoon measure, but you can also flatten them into discs for a slightly crunchier cookie-biscuit. Incidentally, rye flour is also high in fibre, just so you know.

Salted- Chocolate, Almond, and Rye Sandcastles
Print
Ingredients
  1. 3/4 C Coconut Oil
  2. 1/3 C Coconut sugar
  3. 1t Vanilla extract
  4. 2T coconut nectar
  5. 1.5 C Rye flour
  6. 3 T arrowroot powder
  7. 2/3 C almond meal
  8. 1/2 t Sea Salt
  9. 1 bar dark chocolate
  10. More sea salt to garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180*C/350*F With a wooden spoon, cream together the coconut oil and sugar in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Add in the vanilla extract and coconut nectar and mix until well combined. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until a dough forms. At this point you might have to get in there with your hands and need it a little.
  2. Use a tablespoon to form dough into little mounds, or if you prefer, flatten them into little discs. Place them on a parchment lined baking tray and bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating 180* halfway through.
  3. Allow to cool completely. Melt chocolate in a double boiler and dip half of the sandcastle in the chocolate. Once chocolate has hardened, sprinkle with a little sea salt. Serve alongside a lovely cup of tea and lots and lots of fruit!
Notes
  1. For the almond meal, I took whole raw almonds and ground them up in a food processor, giving a nice coarse, sandy texture. Commercially made almond meal will be finer and not as fresh. I prefer making it myself, but the bought kind is fine too.
  2. Instead of the coconut nectar, you could use agave or maple syrup.
  3. The cookies are quite dark so it's hard to tell if they are browning, but you can see it around the bottom edges rather than on the top.
Adapted from Elsa's Rye Cookies
Peaches and Greens http://peaches-and-greens.com/
Salted Chocolate, Almond, and Rye Sandcastles | Peaches and Greens

Let me know what you think of this recipe! I really like it so hope you do too! I have a really fun That’s My Jam Post I’m going to share with you next week, but in the meantime you should totally be reading the P&G Book Club book: Lessons From the Fat-O-Sphere! I started reading it on the train last week and aside from the fact it’s wonderfully entertaining, I’m also learning a lot and opening my mind up to a different way of thinking. I think this is a really valuable read for everyone to start changing the dialogue around body image and really encourage you to pick up a copy of the book if you haven’t already!! DO IT! 

Until next time, be well!

Laura xx

 

The Peaches and Greens Book Club

I’m starting a book club and I want you to join me.

Each month I’ll pick a book (I’m totally open to suggestions too) and we can all read along. At the end I’ll write a review and include your comments/critiques and people can chime in on the comment section if they wish!  The first book is called Lessons From the Fat-O-Sphere by Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby. And by all accounts, it’s pretty baller.
Peaches and Greens Book ClubOK, so this may not seem like the most obvious choice for a plant based nutrition blog; let me explain. In the book club I want to explore issues related to health. Physical health, mental health, and things that threaten them, and particularly those that affect women. Distorted body image is one of those things that is really common in both men and women. As part of my training in dietetics I’ve had the opportunity to work with patients who suffer from disordered eating and body dysmorphia, and have seen first hand the devastating consequences. If you’re unfamiliar with how all-consuming and debilitating eating disorders can be for sufferers then take a look at this photo essay of a bulimia sufferer. Powerful stuff. 

Now, there are lots of seriously complicated reasons as to why people develop disordered eating habits, but they are always underlined by an unhealthy body image, something that is perpetuated by the unrealistic images of rail thin women and totally ripped dudes we see in the media erryday. 

The standards that women are held to in the media is completely unacceptable. This isn’t news to any of you. But how do we change perceptions?  Well I’m not a sure and that’s exactly the reason I want to explore the issues of fat-shaming and how damaging they can be. I’m a firm believer that healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes and I’m delighted to see the upsurge in body positive media from places like Refinery 29 (who always share great fashion advice for curvy girls) and particularly their Anti-Diet Project. I’m so sick of the BS low-cal, fat phobia movement that makes people buy aerosol cans of whipped cancer to spray on their strawberries. SPOILER ALERT: That shit’s not good for you. JUST EAT REAL FOOD. If it’s coming from whole foods, who the fuck cares? I could go on and on about the medicalisation of nutrition (in fact I wrote a book chapter on the issue) but I’m not going to bore you. The point is that fattist thinking and prejudices have very real and tangible consequences and is seriously uncool. 

I don’t know much about this book yet, other than it’s supposedly hilarious. Amazon says “Lessons from the Fat-O-Sphere: From the leading bloggers in the fat-acceptance movement comes an empowering guide to body image–no matter what the scales say.” It’s also one of the top body positive books on Good Reads and seems like as good a place as any to start! I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in to this book!

What I’d love is for you to read along with me, send me your thoughts and reviews, just let me know what you think. At the end I’ll write a review post including your take on the book, along with my comments. Leave a comment below, or email me at laura@peaches-and-greens.com, or hit me up on Facebook. I got my copy of the book on iTunes to read on my iPad, but if you’re retro, you can order the book from Amazon or get it for your Kindle if you’re that way inclined (UK people, Waterstones don’t stock it, soz). You have until mid-September to send me your reviews. 

Last thing, remember my Banana-Coconut Cream Pie from last week that I entered in the Great British Bloggers Bake Off? Well I totally won! Massive thanks to Amy Liz for hosting such a fun and excellent competition. Go over and take a look at the other awesome entries

Ok this is actually the last thing, promise! Remember that secret I’ve been wanting to tell you? I’ll be revealing it soon! Can’t. Even. Wait.

 

 

The Great British Blogger Bakeoff – Banana Coconut Cream Pie with Macadamia Nut Crust

It seems only befitting that my first blog post back on British soil coincides with Amy Liz’s Great British Blogger Bake Off, which she is running to celebrate the return of The Great British Bake Off to TV this week. Now, not going to lie, never actually seen the GBBO,  (on account of not living in the country for the past seven years) but I have it on good authority (my Facebook feed) that it’s very entertaining and riddled with innuendo. So when I saw Amy’s post challenging bloggers to get their bake on, I thought why not get in on the fun? Y’know, apart from the fact that I just moved into a new flat with a sparsely equipped kitchen… 

Banana Coconut Cream Pie | Peaches and Greens

Oh and the fact that my kitchen tap has straight up forgotten how to tap and is slumped over into the sink doesn’t help matters much either. But you persevere, and despite my jank ass kitchen situation, I think this pie turned out to be not too shabby. In fact, I think it’s quite good. Here are the reasons why:

Banana Coconut Cream Pie | Peaches and Greens

The beautiful, buttery, golden brown crust is made from toasted macadamia nuts (oh and it’s gluten-free in case that’s how you roll).

Banana Coconut Cream Pie | Peaches and Greens

Then there’s a layer of freshly sliced banana (those darker ones are from teeny-tiny mini bananas, so cute I couldn’t not buy them). Also, who doesn’t love a good ‘nana?? 

Banana Coconut Cream Pie | Peaches and Greens

OK, this is where things really start to get exciting. I don’t even know what to call this, it’s like some kind of coconut, caramel, custard-y stuff of dreams. 

Banana Coconut Cream Pie | Peaches and Greens

Then I made the pie fancy as hell. Toasted coconut flakes, freshly sliced bananas, and shaved dark chocolate. 

SOLD!! Amiright? 

Oh yeah, and 100% plant based, gluten free ingredients, because that’s how much I love you. You’re welcome. 

Banana Coconut Cream Pie | Peaches and Greens

Alright, confession time. The first iteration of this pie was an aboslute shitshow. I made the stupid mistake of blending the bananas into the custard and then heating it up with the cornflour to thicken it. Well, anyone who knows, well anything really, about baking knows that bananas will turn a putrid shade of bleh when heated. This resulted in a rather delicious tasting filling that was a fugly shade of grey, somewhere between concrete and  lead. Not appetizing. It was perfectly edible but aint nobody wanna see that up in hurr so I had to do it all again (I nipped out to get more macadamia nuts for round two and now the guy at the nut stall in the market now thinks I’m a total loon for buying half a kilo of macadamias within 24 hours). 

Luckily the second version turned out to be pretty eff’n great. Also, it’s a bonus that it’s not made with a shitton of crisco or whatever the hell else insane ingredients are usually in pies. 

Banana Coconut Cream Pie with Macadamia Nut Crust
Print
For the crust
  1. 2 C raw macadamia nuts
  2. 1/2C rice flour
  3. 3T Coconut Nectar
  4. 3T Coconut Oil
  5. Pinch Salt
For the filling
  1. 2 ripe bananas
  2. 1 can coconut milk (room temp)
  3. 1/2C coconut nectar
  4. 1/2C almond milk
  5. 2t vanilla extract
  6. pinch of salt
  7. 1/4C cornflour/starch
To decorate
  1. 1C shredded coconut
  2. Sliced banana (or other fresh fruit)
  3. Dark chocolate
For the crust
  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C/150*F. Place nuts on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and toast for about 8 minutes in the oven. Keep an eye on them so they don't get too golden as you'll bake them again when you cook the crust. Once the nuts have cooled, transfer them to a food processor and pulse until you get a fine, crumb-like texture. You may need to scrape the sides down a few time to achieve this. Add the macadamia nut meal, rice flour, coconut oil, coconut nectar, and salt to a mixing bowl and stir all together until a dough forms. Turn the dough out into a lightly oiled pie dish and press the dough down into the dish. The crust should be thinner along the bottom and a bit thicker up the sides. Poke several holes in the bottom on the crust with a fork and then bake uncovered for 12-15 mins until golden brown, turning 180* half way through. Don't let it get too dark or let it burn (14 mins was perfect for me in a convection oven). While the oven is still hot, you might want to toast the coconut and then save it for putting on the top of the pie later on. Spread coconut on a baking sheet and toast until lightly browned (around 6 mins).
  2. Allow pie crust to cool completely. Set coconut aside.
For the filling
  1. While the crust is cooling you can begin to prepare the filling. Add all of the ingredients except the cornstarch to a medium sized pan and whisk thoroughly (I actually ran mine through the food processor to make sure there were no lumps but I think that was unnecessary). Heat the pan on medium heat until the mixture gets warm before adding the cornflour. Carefully whisk the mixture so as the cornflour doesn't get all lumpy. Keep whisking frequently until the mixture gets nice and thick, around 7 minutes (it may take a little more or less depending on how hot you have it, just keep an eye on it).
  2. Slice the fresh bananas and arrange them at the bottom of the pie crust before pouring the over the top until bananas are completely covered. Allow to cool for a little while before transferring to the fridge to finish setting up.
Decorate
  1. I layered the coconut straight on top of the filling, and then placed fresh banana slices on top and finished by grating some dark chocolate over everything. Feel free to add different fruit, chocolate chips, or even nuts to the top.
Notes
  1. I imagine you could replace the bananas in this with just about any fruit you fancy, Strawberries would be an excellent choice!
  2. If you can't find coconut nectar you could probably use agave or maple syrup, you just might want to adjust the amount depending on sweetness.
Peaches and Greens http://peaches-and-greens.com/
Banana Coconut Cream Pie | Peaches and Greens

One last borderline-gratuitous photo! 

Thanks to Amy for hosting this fun competition. Head over to Amy’s blog to see the other entries of the Great British Blogger Bake Off and check back on Monday to find out who won! Also give Amy’s Facebook a like to keep up with her awesome blog (I particularly recommend her Weekend Link Love posts – always something really interesting to dig into, and she’s a fantastic writer!). 

One last little thing before I leave you for the week. I’ve been in Leeds for a whole eight days now. I’m pretty smitten with the place (although I can’t with the rain) but my absolute favourite part so far is the message someone had written in the ladies’ toilet in a pub (a relatively nice one too) that simply read “Hey up, bollocks”. I. Totally. Lost. My. Crap. Yorkshire FTW \o/ 

Has baking fever struck you too? What will you be baking this weekend?

Be well,

Laura xx

So…what’s next?

Those of you who know me IRL, and those of you who keep up with the blog on the reg probably know by now that I’m MOVING TO ENGLAND! Like, today. In Fact, when this post publishes, I’ll be flying across the Atlantic ocean. These past two weeks have been insane (you think moving within a city is bad, try moving CONTINENTS!) so it’s only now sinking in what’s about to happen. Feeling all the feels; sad to leave my ‘Mercan friends, but so unbelievably excited to be reunited with old friends and to be closer to my family. I’m scared and nervous but can’t wait for my new adventure to begin!

So, what exactly am I going to do when I get to England you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. From September I’ll be back at Uni studying dietetics to ultimately become qualified as a dietitian. Lololol yes, more education. The obvious next question is why do I need to study dietetics if I already have a PhD in nutrition? Well essentially I am missing the clinical practice hours required to become an accredited dietitian. This limits me to only being able to work with healthy people who are looking to make diet and lifestyle changes, but not with people who have a diet-related condition or disease. Having this credential will allow me to work with people who may need my help the most!

BUT that’s not all. I have a couple of super-secret but super-badass blog-related projects that I can’t wait to share with you! Not today though, but soon, promise!

Back to Blighty Bar | Peaches and Greens

I have too many excellent memories of my time in the US to name them all but here are a few highlights: Bumping into Jenny Lewis and Mike Mogis in a car park in Omaha, NE after a Rilo Kiley show, a private Neva Dinova show in the back of a tour bus in ATX (both of those were with the same friend from Scotland who I can’t even wait to see when I get back), every SXSW, but especially the one where Elizabeth from Summer Camp told me I was pretty, and we sang louder than the band at a Slow Club show (again, with aforementioned friend), road trips to Canada, Friday afternoon vampire dancing in the lab (don’t ask), stealing cowboy hats from poor unsuspecting cowboys while decidedly not two-steppin’, summer afternoons by the pool that turned into summer nights by the pool, raiding the horticulture garden on campus for fresh melons (and all associated Comm Garden activities), and so, so many more. If you know me, please add your favourite memories of our time together in US and A! (keep it clean guys!). 

To celebrate my triumphant return to the UK I made these (incredibly delicious) ‘Back to Blighty’ bars. They’re a riff on the Vbars I fell in love with in California earlier this year, but are potentially even tastier! I made a few test batches and neither of them last very long around my friends! They’re literally the easiest things in the world to make too. 

Back to Blighty Bar | Peaches and GreensBack to Blighty Bar | Peaches and Greens

 

Back To Blighty Bars
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1CAlmond butter (I used raw)
  2. 1/2C Maple syrup
  3. 1t vanilla extract
  4. pinch of salt
  5. 3/4C Shredded coconut
  6. 2C Puffed brown rice
  7. 1/2 Cup dried berries (I used unsweetened goji and aronia)
Instructions
  1. In a blender or food processor, combine almond butter, maple syrup, vanilla, and sea salt. In a large bowl combine coconut, rice, and berries, then pour the almond butter mixture on top. Don't worry about crushing the rice puffs, that will actually help them stick together a bit better. Press the mixture down with the back of a spoon into a 9x9 baking tin that has been lined with parchment paper. Let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour. Lift the mixture out of the pan using the parchment paper and cut into squares or rectangular bar shapes - totally up to you.
Peaches and Greens http://peaches-and-greens.com/

Back to Blighty Bar | Peaches and Greens

Don’t forget to leave a comment with one or two of your favourite memories of us in America from the past 7 years! I’ll look forward to reading them when I land, but for now, I’ve got a plane to catch. America, it’s been real, but it’s time to go home.
Laura xo

Summer Salad Idea

Hey kiddos. I can’t believe I’m moving to England NEXT WEEK. Crazy! Anyway, since I still have an indecent amount of packing left to do I wanted to keep this post brief. I’m really excited to share this inspiration for a summer salad though; it’s based on a salad I had for dinner at a local restaurant which I decided to try and replicate; it turned out to be pretty sensational! Oh and super easy!

Berry Nice! | Peaches and GreensBerry Nice! | Peaches and Greens

I got most of what I needed for the salad from the farmers’ market \o/ I really love how light and fresh tasting this salad is. Straight up a perfect summer dish.

Berry Nice! | Peaches and GreensBerry Nice! | Peaches and Greens

Here’s what you need to do:

Cucumber - Berry - Mint Salad
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 small cucumber, sliced
  2. Juice of one lemon
  3. 2t apple cider vinegar
  4. 1T maple syrup
  5. Blueberries, raspberries, handful of each
  6. 20 large mint leaves (use more of the little baby ones)
  7. Walnuts
Instructions
  1. Combine lemon juice, ACV, and maple syrup and pour over cucumber slices, let flavours meld for one hour up to overnight. Drain cucumber and arrange on two little plates or in a bowl (save the dressing). Add berries and walnuts on top and garnish with mint, drizzle with the remaining dressing.
Notes
  1. You can use candied walnuts if you fancy. I used Emmy's sprouted walnuts with coconut sugar on them but I think you can only get them in Ithaca :-/ You could also toast the walnuts if you feel so inclined!
Peaches and Greens http://peaches-and-greens.com/
Plumot| Peaches and Greens
Also, did you see me post this to my Instagram earlier this week? If you guessed it was a pluot you were correct! It’s a cross between a plum and an apricot and it has beautiful ruby red flesh. It also tastes amazing so if you see them in the shop I recommend picking some up! GIT YOU SUM!
Hoping to write a post with more details of my move and my next steps soon (including some really big and really exciting news!), until then, be well!
Laura xx

JUICE, there it is.

Bitches LOVE their juice cleanses. Except, juice cleanses are something that some marketing asshole made up, and we fell for it. Hard. Yup, yet another case of bro-science, or whatever the equivalent is for the basics

Juice isn’t some magical elixir that will remove toxins from your liver. The only way to ‘detox’ is to not eat/drink crap in the first instance, or you know, at least try and minimise it. So why then do people claim to feel “AH-MAY-ZING” after doing a juice cleanse or detox or whatever? It’s probably because they’ve stopped binge-drinking and rehydrated with actual water instead of some weird artificially sweetened cancer bomb. Or their headaches have disappeared because they’re not  strung out on caffeine. Or maybe they say they’re not so bloated, but it’s because they’re not filling their pie hole with, well…pie. I know it’s not glamorous, but eating a sensible diet and living a healthy lifestyle are the best ways to avoid needing rehab in the first place.

Juice! | Peaches and Greens

That said, there may be some benefits to drinking juices as part of a healthy diet, like increasing the bioavailability (basically how easy it is for your body to get the nutrients from food) of certain nutrients like, beta-carotene, beet juice may help improve athletic performance, and kale juice may stimulate the immune system and reduce cardiovascular disease risk factors.  

Because fruit and vegetable juices can be high in natural sugar, there some concern that they may increase the risk for type 2 diabetes. I had a look at the scientific literature and there’s a bunch of conflicting studies. For instance, this study from Japan found that drinking juice was not a determinant of whether men and women got the diabeetus, but this one from the states did! So science still has some sciencing to do to figure this whole thing out. To do this though, they need to ask the right questions. How does juice affect blood sugar levels in someone who eats a healthy diet vs a shitty one? Do fruit and vegetable juices affect blood sugar differently? What about if it’s a blend of fruit and vegetable juice, and lastly, what if you’re eating juice with a meal? 

Smoothies on the other hand are less controversial and have been shown to improve nutrient concentrations in the blood while keeping blood sugar from going cray

So what does that mean, well here are the things I think about when I juice. Juice is now a verb. 

*Don’t drink the stuff that comes from concentrate or the kind of shit that would survive the nuclear holocaust. I only drink 100% fresh-pressed fruit and vegetable juice.

*Juices are NOT a substitute for whole foods or meals. I recommend drinking juice alongside a bowl of oatmeal or a piece of fruit.

*If you want to drink juice on the reg, opt for fruits and veg that aren’t super sweet: spinach, cucumber, celery, ginger, parsley, lemon etc…

*Cool your jets when it comes to very sweet juices, ones that are primarily fruit based like the recipe I’m sharing here. Only drink these in moderation.

*If you want to go bananas with the fruit (not sorry) then opt for smoothies, the fibre will help keep your blood sugar levels stable. 

*Add greens to your smoothies for an extra burst of nutrition. Spinach and cucumber are mild tasting and a good place to start if you’re a bit scared.

Juice! | Peaches and Greens

This juice was inspired by a juice I had while in Milwaukee a few weeks ago. It’s super refreshing; the lime cuts the sweetness and makes it nice and tart.  

Laura 2
My friend was taking my photograph and I apparently found it hysterical and lost my shit!

Juice, there it is.
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 Medium red beet
  2. 2 Red apples (I used Gala)
  3. 8 Strawberries
  4. 3T Lime juice
Instructions
  1. Juice the beet, apples and strawberries in your juicer and then add the lime juice from freshly squeezed limes. Serve over ice if preferred.
Adapted from From this place in Wisconsin
Adapted from From this place in Wisconsin
Peaches and Greens http://peaches-and-greens.com/
 
Juice! | Peaches and Greens
Enjoy!
Laura xx

That’s My Jam – July Edition

Hey guys! Preparation for moving back to the UK is in FULL SWING. Man moving is the worst. But when you’re moving to another country it’s the absolute worst! I have a tendency to get pretty wound up and anxious with big changes like this so I’m trying to do what I can to squish my inner anxious girl! I’ve basically been drinking this stuff  to help me calm the eff down (actually just putting a few drops on my pillow or in a diffuser, but you know).

When I get stressed like this I need to take lots of time and space to clear my head. This can be really hard when people all around you are vying for your attention and filling your head with their problems/negativity. So, I’ve developed a few coping strategies to help me deal when I’m feeling a bit frazzled like this. First of all, I’m not above ignoring people who bum me out with their shit. We all have friends like that, the ones who complain incessantly and generally have a negative vibe. Most of the time I’m happy to listen and help them talk through their crap, but sometimes you have to be a bit selfish and ignore their calls. At least until you no longer feel like you’re being mentally tasered.

Equally, if you feel like you need to be around people, surround yourself with people who lift you up and want to help get you through your rough patch. I had a great friend give me a little pep talk the other day and it was basically along the lines of “you do you, put yourself first and don’t worry about all those other bitches”. I needed that.

Lastly, practice self-love. No, no, not that kind of self-love. Well, maybe that kind if that’s what works for you. Perhaps I should rephrase? Ok, how about this: be kind to yourself. Better, no? When I’m under pressure or freaking out about something, it’s even more important for me to practice healthy habits. For me that means setting myself a bed time (and sticking to it), exercising/moving my ass, eating properly (duh), and staying hydrated. All of these things help me from totally losing my shit and turning into a basket case. So in the spirit of being kind to oneself, I’ve compiled a list of things I’m vibing on right now that are making this challenging transition a little more pleasant! 


That's My Jam | Peaches and Greens

As you can see here I also got my haircut because having someone pamper you is scientifically proven to reduces stress. I assume. Side note: my hairdresser straight-up asked me who I was having sex with. Is this a thing hairdressers are doing now? We weren’t even talking about dudes! What the hell man?

That's My Jam | Peaches and Greens

1. Reed’s Culture Club Kombucha. I’m a bit of a kombucha aficionado and am quite concerned about the current state of affairs in the UK vis-à-vis good quality kombucha; last time I visited the only stuff I could find tasted filthy and basically bankrupt me. Point is, I’m trying to get my kombucha fix while I can. I used to think that GT’s was the epitome of the cultured beverage world but then I became a member of the club and have never looked back. Ginger Hibiscus is clearly the best (because flowers, duh and or hello), but honestly, they’re all pretty solid. There are debates about how good kombucha is for you; it’s obviously not going to cure cancer but in my experience it does help settle your tummy if you’re feeling ropey and helps bring you back to life if you’re feeling under the weather. Give it a try if you haven’t already!

2. Coconut Secret Coconut Aminos. Here’s another thing I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get my hands on in the UK (can someone do some recon and get back to me please?). Maybe I’ll pack a few bottles just to be safe. Essentially, coconut aminos are a soy-sauce substitute made from coconuts that are exponentially better than soy sauce. They’re a little sweet, a little salty, a bit sassy. Oh and, they have 65% less salt than soy sauce. The same friend who gave me the pep talk I mentioned earlier practically infuses this stuff straight into her veins. Yup, it’s that good. I splash mine over my salad, grains, veggies and I’m pretty sure they’d make an excellent dipping sauce (on it!). Gotta try this one too.

3. Apparently August is National Peach Month, but IDGAF, I’m eating peaches now and LOVING THEM. So far I’ve just been eating them as is, but I plan on getting fancy with some peach salsa real soon. I also puréed some for bellini ice lollies I made for my going away party this weekend. Peaches have a really high water content and are considered to have a mildly laxative effect and can help keep you regular! Although, all bets are off when you start mixing them with prosecco. 

That's My Jam | Peaches and Greens

 

I nommed that peach so hard after I took this pic (also note the alternate presentation of the fringe, do we like?).

4. Produce Candles – Melon. About 2 weeks ago I had a little accident in Anthropologie and walked out with this top (which I adore) and this candle (among other things). I justify this by reminding myself I have a birthday coming up (not even a little bit valid). Anyway, I spent around 20 mins sniffing all the candles in the shop and came to the conclusion that this was the best. It’s a beautiful, fresh scent that makes me a little hungry and reminds me of long summer days in TX when I’d pick a melon straight from the garden and eat it while it was still warm from the sun. Perfect. 

5. Edible flowers are everywhere at the moment. But mostly they’re in my salads (and the aforementioned bellini ice lollies). Check out this handy little guide below from Pure Green Mag and git yoo sum!

Edible Flowers

6. Coco Hydro is basically coconut water that has been dehydrated and powdered. Reconstitute it with water or blend it into your smoothies or juice. It’s around $10 for a bag but lasts ages and is way cheap compared to the equivalent amount of coconut water. Good for getting your electrolytes on while you’re having a summer fling or whatever you kids are up to these days.

7. BONUS: I can’t get enough of this song, It’s so sweet and lovely and adorable and the video is beyond cute. Feel free to serenade me with it.

So, how do you cope when you’re going through a stressful episode? Do you indulge in a spot of retail therapy? Maybe you work it out at the gym. Leave me a comment and let me know how you stay cool. I recently read this post from Yes and Yes via Amy Liz and it has some great tips for looking after you! 

I have an AWESOME juice recipe to share with you next week, until then, be well!

Laura