Vanilla Spiced Nut Milk

Merry Christmas, Christmas, nut milk, hazelnuts, Ferrero Rocher, hazelnut milk, vanilla, cinnamon, organic, Christmas baking, Christmas tree, refined sugar free, raw chocolate, chocolate, homemade, recipes, dairy free, gluten free, yoga girl, deliciously ella, madeleine shaw, healthy, nutrition, raw, vegan, health bloggers, food blogI’m one-upping the simple things this holiday season.

Making nut milk is a simple process; it’s just tedious and not so great for the time-constrained demands of life for pretty much everyone.

I sometimes feel like Christmas actually brings out even more stress for many people. Rushing around to get the latest trending gift, having the house decorated, attending one party to the next, etc., etc.! I think it’s even more important that we try and take a step back and just enjoy the moment. Because before you know it, it’s passing you by and if there’s one time of the year where everyone should take part in that, shouldn’t it be the holiday season?

In saying this, I’m just coming down from one of the busiest years I’ve had. Completing a program that is essentially four years of university/college crammed into one year will do that to you. In the last couple of months, I haven’t made time to do much of anything to nourish my body including everything that I talk to people about finding and making the time to do! It happens to the best of us. We all have moments when there’s too much going on. So long as we become aware of this and then begin to take inventory on areas where we could improve on carving out specific time to take care of ourselves- that is the key.

And so onto homemade nut milk! I have previously shared my almond milk recipe, but as it’s Christmas, I wanted to make something that to be honest, required minimal effort but was still a little extra. Nut milk is great way of doing this as there are endless options of nuts and seeds to choose from, plus whatever you’d like to add to flavour the milk. It’s also something that you can choose to make solely for yourself as a special treat that can be added to your morning coffee or blended into a smoothie.

I always remember as a kid having hazelnuts around Christmas time. I also always adored Ferrero Rocher and was given a box to myself each year. It made sense then, to make a hazelnut milk and add to it seasonal spices. The result of which is this delicious, creamy nut milk.

Hazelnuts make a wholesome choice with minerals such as magnesium, manganese, copper, folate, and iron, and vitamins E and B6. They provide plenty of antioxidants including polyphenols (also found in red wine and dark chocolate) to help with signs of aging and reducing the onset of disease.

For richer milk, you may choose to add less cups of water than you usually would (2-3 cups vs. 3-4 cups). I find you don’t really need to strain the pulp as you don’t really get that much, which means you’re getting even more benefit from the entirety of the nuts.

Since making this, I’ve enjoyed it in my hot cocoa and blended into a smoothie with frozen banana and maca for that Ferrero Rocher taste done in a healthy way. Enjoy this yourself by adding your own spices that you love. It makes a delicious treat with some Christmas cookies!

Ingredients

1-cup of hazelnuts soaked for 4 hours or overnight

2-3 cups of filtered water

1 vanilla bean or 1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract

Pinch of spices: cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, etc.

Pinch of pink salt

Optional: ½ tbsp. maple syrup or 1 Medjool date to sweeten

Directions

Soak the hazelnuts before rinsing well and draining. Add to a high-speed blender with 2 cups of water and blend. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add to the blender with your choice of spices and sweetener. Blend until completely smooth then add to a sealed jar and refrigerate. This keeps well for 3-4 days. Add to smoothies, hot cocoa, porridge, overnight oats, enjoy on its own!

Happy Holidays! xx

Pumpkin Coconut Curry

Holistic Vitae, Steph Matthews, pumpkin, coconut, curry, Indian curry, Thanksgiving, American, Happy Thanksgiving, gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian, healthy, vegan, raw, raw vegan, dessert, sugar free, refined sugar free, healthy food, healthy weight loss, holistic nutrition, deliciously ella, madeleine shaw, get the glow, yoga girl, nutrition, health, holistic, healthy living, fresh, plant based, plant power, whole foods, Huffington PostThe one good thing about the colder weather is of course pumpkin season. You know it’s here with the release of that infamous coffee drink.

This pumpkin coconut curry contains all the warming elements you need to begin your seasonal hibernation. Each bite combines the infusion of turmeric, chilli, and pumpkin in the coconut sauce and then you add in the texture of fresh pomegranate seeds and toasted pumpkin seeds for extra colour and crunch. This makes for one delicious combination.

It may seem like a lot of ingredients here but everything is quick to throw together in a large pot that makes plenty of servings to share or freeze and have extra for lunches and weeknight dinners. You can even make this extra festive by using pie pumpkins or squash as your bowls! If you’re using fresh pumpkin, don’t forget about those seeds either. Give them a rinse, lay them on a baking tray, and toast them in the oven with salt, pepper, and some paprika for a tasty nutritious snack.

Ingredients

1 sweet potato

1 carrot

1 onion, finely diced

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

½ red chilli, grated

2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated

1 knob coconut oil

1 tin full fat coconut milk

1-2 tins of water (use from the coconut milk)

1 tin pureed pumpkin or 1 ½ cups fresh pumpkin

1 tin white beans (kidney, lima)

2 tsp. turmeric

2 tsp. garam masala

¼ tsp. cumin

¼ tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. sea salt

½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Optional: Fresh coriander, toasted pumpkin seeds, pomegranate seeds, sliced fresh chilli

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  1. Melt the knob of coconut oil in a large casserole pot. Add the garlic, onion, chilli, and ginger and allow cook for a minute then add the spices in.
  1. Chop the carrot and sweet potato into bite sized pieces and toss in. Allow to soften for a few minutes.
  1. Add the pumpkin, the beans, and the coconut milk. Using the tin from the coconut milk, add in 1-2 tins of water (depending on how thick the curry is)
  1. Bring everything to a boil, then allow to simmer for 40-45 minutes or until the veg has softened.
  1. Serve straight away and top with toasted pumpkin seeds, fresh pomegranate seeds, and chopped fresh coriander.

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Feel Good Fudge

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There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to enjoying eating in a healthier way. Many people claim they don’t have the time to eat well, or it’s difficult to do so when you’re eating out, or that simply, it just doesn’t taste as good. I think the best way of winning people over is showing them that you can actually still eat well with tasty and delicious food and one of the best ways (in my opinion) is with dessert!

This fudge came about when I had some leftover chickpeas. They are the magic ingredient in this dessert. I didn’t want to make something savoury with them and I thought if I blended them with some cashews and added in some cacao it could wind up being a simple and quick sweet tooth fix. After leaving the fudge to sit in the freezer for a couple hours, you have a healthy decadent dessert, all of which takes you no time to prepare with only six ingredients. This recipe gives you protein, fibre, and healthy fats that help to balance hormones and manage sugar cravings in a healthier way. And they are ingredients that you’ll feel far better in consuming and are kinder to your body than the usual refined and processed sugars that make up the conventional fudge.

You can change this up to suit what you like by adding some raw cacao nibs, chopped dark chocolate, or chopped nuts. Just mix it in at the end before you pop it in the freezer. This will not only take away a chocolate craving, it will fill you up before you get the chance to finish the whole pan!

Ingredients 

1 ¼ cups chickpeas

¼ cup cashews, soaked (4 hours minimum or overnight)

4 heaped tbsp. coconut oil

¼ cup maple syrup

1 tsp. vanilla

4 tbsp. raw cacao

Optional: 1 tsp. maca, raw cacao nibs

Directions

  1. Blend chickpeas and cashews in a food processor until combined.
  1. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the raw cacao, and blend until smooth. Add the raw cacao and blend again until the whole mix comes together.
  1. Add to a parchment lined baking tray and pop in the freezer until firm, usually a couple of hours.
  1. Remove from the freezer, pop out of the tray, cut into squares and enjoy!

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Immunity Shots

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Anyone who’s ever wandered into a juice shop before or maybe even perhaps if your local grocery store has caught on, you may have come across juice shots. Usually they are sold as a potent dose of nutrients in a quick, easy to toss back shot. I remember when wheatgrass shots used to be the only variety kicking about. Nowadays, there are all sorts of different kinds being touted for a variety of ailments.

I’ve been experimenting with lemon ginger variations myself and I absolutely love them for this time of the year. They’re really great to have on hand to keep you feeling well when everyone else around you begins to feel under the weather from the changing temperatures.

I’ve included a couple of extras I also like to add to mine depending on if there’s something specific to target.

Ginger is wonderfully warming and aromatic and helps with cold and flus by promoting detoxification and healthy sweating. It’s also great for the gastrointestinal tract, helping to reduce nausea and upset stomach. Ginger is also a powerful anti-inflammatory making it beneficial for aches and pains of the muscles and joints.

Lemons are very alkalizing for the body. They contain a variety of antioxidants, particularly Vitamin C, which is one of the most important we can find to maintain a healthy immune system. You can try adding half a lemon to warm water in the morning upon rising to wake up your digestion and cleanse the system of toxins.

Together, these two make a potent spicy dose that feels like you’re literally kicking any bugs lurking around right out of your body! Experiment a bit to find the right combination of the ingredients for your ideal shot.

Makes approx. ¼ cup

Ingredients

1 lemon
1 thumb-size piece of fresh ginger

Optional:
2-3 drops of oregano oil (colds/flu)
4-5 drops of grapefruit seed extract (candida/parasites)
1-2 cm piece of fresh turmeric (anti-inflammatory boost)

Directions 

If using organic ingredients, you may choose to leave the skin on. Otherwise, peel away from both the lemon and ginger then juice through a juicer. Enjoy straight away for the best benefits or keep stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Adaptogenic Chaga Smoothie

holistic vitae, Steph Matthews, chaga, chaga smoothie, adaptogen, hormones, stress relief, smoothie, smoothies, cinnamon, coconut, breakfast, organic, gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian, vegetables, five a day, healthy, vegan, raw, raw vegan, healthy food, holistic nutrition, Organic September, yoga girl, deliciously ella, madeleine shaw, nutrition, health, holistic, healthy living, fresh, plant based, plant powerThis is a delicious smoothie using the balancing action of the adaptogenic chaga mushroom.

Chaga is a medicinal mushroom along the same lines as Reishi, Shiitake, and Cordyceps, amongst many others. It acts as an antioxidant, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, has anti-cancer properties, and helps to support the immune system. It’s wonderful for supporting the body at this time of year when we begin to transition from summer into fall and the colder months.

When you brew this hearty tough mushroom, you wind up with a wonderful tea that nourishes your organs and your glands. Being an adaptogen, this does exactly what it says: it helps our bodies “adapt” to our inward and outward biological, chemical, and physical environments. Adaptogens also keep our stress hormones in check, preventing us from releasing more than we need in times of crisis and our fight or flight mode. Overall, adaptogens provide a balancing and calming effect on the whole body, especially the nervous and endocrine systems, allowing us to cope with the things life throws our way.

Special care should always be taken when harvesting this mushroom. It’s always best to ensure that wherever you are purchasing your Chaga from, the company maintains practices that keep parts of the mushroom behind so the spores can repopulate and it may grow again.

While you can just easily sip this as a warm or cold tea or make a delicious hot cocoa with it, adding it as the liquid base to your smoothie gives you a great dose of the little fungi too! Paired with raw cacao and plant-based protein it becomes a wholesome smoothie to optimally support your body.

Serves 1

Ingredients

1 cup cold brewed chaga tea
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 Medjool date
3 tbsp. hemp hearts
1 heaping tbsp. raw cacao powder
Pinch of Himalayan sea salt

Optional: 1 tsp. maca, pinch of cinnamon

Directions

Add all ingredients to a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

Banana Bread Overnight Oats

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Happy Long Weekend!

Labour Day is always the day of that final farewell to summer if only because it means returning back to routines with school and work.

Making that even easier is prepping ahead with easy to make recipes such as this overnight oats breakfast I shared on The Huffington Post today. These really are one of the quickest things to make, ready the night before you wake, and leaving you with more time in the morning.

Ingredients

1 cup of oats (gluten free if necessary)

1 cup of coconut milk (or milk of choice)

¼ cup of water

1 banana

½ tsp. vanilla extract

½ tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. nutmeg

Pinch of sea salt

Handful of walnuts

Optional: 1 tsp. maca powder

Directions

  1. Add the oats, coconut milk, water, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pinch of sea salt to a bowl and mix together.
  1. Take half the banana, mash with a fork, and add to your mixed oats.
  1. Chop the walnuts and add these to the mix. You can also set some aside to add on top in the morning.
  1. Place the bowl in the fridge ready to have in the morning. Alternatively, you can add your oat mixture to a jar with a sealed lid overnight in the fridge.

5. In the morning, add the other half of banana to your oats as well as any additional toppings of your choosing.

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