Airplane Essentials

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Snacks– I’ve never been a fan of plane food (show me someone who is!) even more so now so I usually make sure to stock up on a bunch of snacks I can tuck away in my carry-on. This time I’m taking coconut chips, paleo granola bars, popcorn, homemade granola, and my favourite, chocolate! I also really enjoy grabbing my own meal at the airport from the best place I can find and taking that on board. Flying out of Gatwick, I usually head to Pret A Manger and grab one of their superfood salads and a green juice.

Water– I like to buy a big litre bottle of water once I’ve cleared security so that I can stay properly hydrated before flying. Airplanes play so much havoc on our skin and we dehydrate quite quickly so it’s always good to have water on hand at all times.

Lip Balm– I usually have more than one kicking about in my handbag and the same goes when on airplanes. I love my Nova Scotia Fisherman lip balm and I also love to take a little of May Lindstrom’s Blue Cocoon on board which not only smells heavenly but also doubles as a moisturizer and eye cream.

Rose Water– I really love rose water at the moment. It’s been really great for calming inflammation on my skin and keeping it hydrated before applying a moisturizer. Plus it smells really lovely and the size is acceptable to bring onto the plane.

Anti-Bacterial Spray/Gel– Hundreds of people, several hours, all cramped in one small space does not make for the most hygienic place! It’s good to carry something extra and I love this Dukha To Sukha spray (actually a yoga mat spray) because it’s multi-purpose and makes a great hand sanitizer.

Oregano Oil– Without fail, around this time of the year I tend to come down with a cold and I’ve been fighting this off by taking oregano oil. It doesn’t taste that great but it really is one of the best things I have found to take for the immune system. Any sign of sniffles or sore throats disappears when I take this and I’ve been having it everyday in the lead up to flying.

Essential Oils– I don’t wear perfume but I do love the scent of many essential oils. I find them a lot subtler and they’re really lovely to have either to relax before a flight or freshen up with just as you’re landing. I have a blend for stress and anxiety that I love from this little apothecary shop I found in the New Forest.

Eye Mask– I can’t always sleep on planes but I make sure to pack one of these anyway just in case! This one is from Saje Wellness and smells of lavender and chamomile.

Big Comfy Socks– I usually find myself getting super cold on airplanes so I always pack a big warm pair for the journey.

Books– If I don’t already have one, I really love going into the bookshop before boarding and seeking out a book I know nothing about to read with all the spare time I know I’ll have. If I don’t find a book, I often grab some magazines and even a word search puzzle book (which I secretly really enjoy!)

Notebook– I also take along a notebook to write down anything and everything that comes to mind. Being disconnected from technology and having so much time on your hands is a really good reason to keep this on hand.

Headphones– The in-flight ones just aren’t the same as pulling out my own pair that I know are guaranteed to work to watch movies and listen to my music.

Gum– This tends to already be in my handbag so I just pack some more for a longer journey; I love Pur gum.

Scarf– I love scarves and always have a hard time choosing which ones to take with me when I go anywhere! I always pack a bigger, warmer, cozy one like my cashmere one which doubles as a blanket.

Sunglasses– Always pairs well with jet lag and even works to hold up messy hair before you get the chance to grab a shower.

Tili Bag– I loved these bags from the first time I saw them. They come sized and ready to go through security and come in really cute patterns to carry all of your liquids. You can find them here.

Travel Documents– Of course you can’t go anywhere without these and they are the most important. I have a travel pouch that I keep my passport and tickets in so they’re easy to access.

I know all of this seems like a lot but it really isn’t when it’s all packed and in your bag. Traveling between the UK and Canada no longer feels like a huge trek to me and I find having these items tides me over and keeps me happy on my journey until I arrive at my destination.

 

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Sweet Potato Kale Salad

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I hardly used to eat any vegetables so the fact that this salad is made up of kale of all things means it had to be pretty tasty! This is one of my favourite things to make at the moment. When kale is massaged and the plant fibers break down it turns into something really delicious. It’s also much easier on your digestion. This is one time where I invite you to play with your food: massage on!

Add to it a delicious dressing and roasted sweet potato and you really won’t be missing anything at all with this. This is hearty and satisfying on its own but you can also easily have this as a side and add whatever you like along with it.

Change it up by topping with different nuts and seeds, maybe even add some organic goats cheese or halloumi, there are endless options for this nutritious and colourful meal.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

200-250g kale, preferably organic

1-2 small sweet potatoes, cubed

Handful of sesame seeds

Handful of pomegranate seeds

Salt and pepper

Sprinkle of turmeric and paprika for the sweet potatoes

For the dressing:

1 tsp tahini

1 tbsp olive oil

¼ tsp grainy mustard

½ tsp apple cider vinegar

Dash of tamari (gluten free soy sauce)

Dash of maple syrup or raw honey

Juice and zest of an orange

Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 °F. Place a dish with a knob of coconut oil into the oven to melt. Remove the dish; add your cubed sweet potato, season with salt and pepper and the turmeric and paprika. Add it back to the oven for 20-30 minutes until browned around the edges.
  1. While the sweet potato is in the oven, add your kale to a big bowl and remove the leaves from the stems. Gently rub the kale between your fingers until it softens. You may not think it’s doing anything straight away but after a couple of minutes the kale begins to wilt slightly and turn even greener.
  1. Make the dressing by adding the tahini, olive oil, mustard, orange juice and zest, apple cider vinegar, tamari, maple syrup, and seasoning and whisk together.
  1. Dress the kale with your dressing tossing it well so everything is coated. Remove the sweet potato from the oven, top the kale with it and sprinkle on the sesame seeds and pomegranate.

 

 

A Better Brownie

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I may or may not have had these for breakfast…

I’m not saying you should be eating brownies for breakfast, but you could probably get away with it with these ones. That’s because they contain the combination of protein, fiber, and healthy fats with the addition of black beans and avocado. Not only do these ingredients create a great texture, they’re providing you with a host of nutrients.

I’ve found that the key to making good, fudgy, chocolaty brownies is in the baking time. There’s a fine line between baking them for too long and too short of a time; that’s why I’ve left a varied baking time as all ovens differ. I find they’re always best baked a little underdone. You want to check the brownies at 10 minutes, then every few minutes until they’re ready. You’ll know when you can smell them, the edges begin to turn brown, and a toothpick in the center comes out almost clean.

I’ve used the best cocoa powder I can find in the brownies but for the chocolate drizzle, I’ve used raw cacao powder. It takes two minutes to make and finishes the brownies off nicely.

As tempting as it is to enjoy these straight out of the oven, they taste really amazing once they’ve been left to cool and are even better the next day. Pop them in the fridge for an even fudgier treat.

Ingredients:

For the brownies:

1 cup black beans, packed

½ avocado

8 Medjool dates, pitted and soaked in hot water for 10-15 minutes

3 tbsp coconut oil

2 tsp vanilla or 1 vanilla bean

1 cup ground almonds

3 ½ tbsp unprocessed organic cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

Pinch of sea salt

Optional: Raw cacao nibs

For the chocolate drizzle:

½-1 tsp olive oil

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp raw cacao powder

Couple of drops vanilla

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350°F and grease an 8 inch baking dish with coconut oil.
  1. Drain and rinse your black beans and add to a food processor. Drain your dates, and add them, blending until they become incorporated with the beans.
  1. Add the rest of the ingredients, blending along the way until everything is combined. Scrape down the side of the bowl if needed to ensure everything is mixed well.
  1. Pour the mixture into your baking dish, smoothing out the top, then pop in the oven for 10-20 minutes.
  1. While the brownies are baking, make the chocolate drizzle by whisking together all the ingredients in a small bowl.
  1. Remove the brownies from the oven allowing them to cool completely before adding the chocolate drizzle and if you like, some raw cacao nibs. Cut into squares and enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raw Vegan Brownie Bites

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These are the easiest brownies ever! Okay, they’re not going to be the gooey, fudgy, super chocolatey ones you get when they come straight out of the oven, but they’re a really delicious raw alternative. They’re also vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free. AND they only take five minutes to make!

You could play with these a bit and add in some extras if you wish. I’ve made a basic batch but things such as cacao nibs or some nuts and seeds could enhance them as well. I made mine with a 100% organic cocoa powder as I had run out of raw cacao but you could easily use either or. I would start with one tablespoon if using raw cacao and add more to your liking.

I like to pop these in the freezer for about an hour and then take them out for a few minutes before serving. This recipe doesn’t make too many but they’re pretty rich and moreish and you could always double the recipe if you’d like a few more.

Makes approx. 6-8 brownie bites

Ingredients:

1 cup ground almonds

2 tbsp. cocoa powder

2 tbsp. maple syrup

1 ½ tbsp. coconut oil

Optional add-ins: cacao nibs and extra cocoa powder to roll them in

Directions:

  1. Add all your ingredients to a bowl and mix well until everything comes together and combines evenly.
  1. Take ½- 1 tbsp. amounts of the mixture and roll into balls coating if you like in cacao nibs, cocoa powder, nuts, seeds, etc.
  1. Arrange on a tray and place in the freezer or fridge until ready to serve.

 

 

Sunshine Juice

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Juices are a great addition to a healthier diet. I love them for a good dose of potent nutrients delivered in one go. There’s so many different kinds you can make. Often it’s easier to start with one that’s a little sweeter. I was a bit ambitious when I first starting experimenting with juicing and made my first batch with only veggies. Needless to say, it wasn’t very pleasant! If you can manage pure veggies that’s amazing but I find it’s best to start with a small amount of fruit added in to take the edge off.

This one is a really great juice to start with as it’s sweeter than a green juice being mainly fruit based. The ginger adds a nice kick as well. It’s perfect to add to a weekend brunch!

Serves 1-2

Ingredients:

*Use organic fruit/veggies where possible*

1 orange, cut in half or quarters

4 small-medium carrots

5 strawberries

1-2 inch piece of fresh ginger

Directions:

Add everything through the juicer and enjoy.

I like to refrigerate mine for a few minutes so it’s a bit more refreshing. Drink within 24 hours so you retain all the best nutrients.

 

Sweet Potato Hummus

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There are so many varieties of hummus out there. I’ve made it before using beetroot, tahini, different spices and herbs, and all have turned out well. It seemed only natural to combine some sweet potato by this point.

Traditionally, hummus is made from a blend of chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and garlic. I’m not a big fan of tahini. I really want to like it but trying it in salad dressings, hummus, and other recipes, I still have yet to acquire a taste for it. It’s very good for you however so if you like it, feel free to add a teaspoon or two here.

Hummus makes a great snack and also works well alongside a lunchtime bowl of goodness (think: cut up veggies, quinoa, roast veggies, etc.)

Choose an organic variety of canned chickpeas that are soaked in water. Alternatively, purchase the dried variety, then soak and cook them yourself to add to the recipe. Purchasing dried chickpeas is more economical and I personally think they actually taste better too.

I’ve also used turmeric in this hummus which has great anti-inflammatory properties and is fantastic for your immune system. It also brightens up the orange hue even more alongside the sweet potato.

Makes 1 large bowl

Ingredients: 

1 small sweet potato

2 cups of chickpeas (soaked & cooked first OR 1 x 400g tin)

2 tbsp lemon juice (1 whole lemon juiced)

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

½ tsp turmeric

¼ tsp paprika

Optional: 1 clove of garlic, minced

Directions: 

  1. Peel and chop the sweet potato into 1-inch pieces and add to a saucepan on the stove. Add water, bring to a boil, and then simmer until the sweet potato becomes soft (approx. 10-12 minutes)
  1. Drain the sweet potato and let cool slightly before adding to the food processor along with the chickpeas and the rest of your ingredients.
  1. Blend until completely smooth then season to taste with more salt and pepper.

Sweet Potato Wedges with Spicy Avocado-Basil Dip

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This spicy avocado dip is so creamy and delicious with sweet potato wedges. I love avocados; they’re versatile and full of nutrition for your body. It takes a few simple ingredients and they’re transformed into something amazing every time. As for sweet potatoes, they’re increasing in popularity as an alternative to your usual white potatoes for nutritional value and taste.

Never a lover of any vegetable whatsoever, I’m amazed I actually crave these most days now. I love to make one or two as a snack with lots of coconut oil and cinnamon for a sweeter take or make a dip and create something a bit more savoury as is here.

The combination of both the avocado and sweet potato creates a yummy snack or side dish.

Serves 1-2

Ingredients:

1 avocado
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp of ginger, minced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp fresh basil, chopped
1/2 lime, juiced
Salt & pepper
1-2 medium sweet potatoes
Coconut oil

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350° while you slice the sweet potatoes in wedges. Add a knob of coconut oil to a baking tray and pop in the oven for a minute or two to melt.

2. Remove from the oven, add the sweet potato wedges and coat them with the oil. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Pop these in the oven for 20-30 minutes, turning once, until browned around the edges.

4. While the sweet potatoes are roasting, make the avocado dip. Add the avocado, garlic, ginger, basil, lime juice, and olive oil to a food processor and blend until smooth.

You may want the dip a bit chunkier but I love it really smooth. If you don’t like it spicy, leave out the ginger. Season with salt and pepper and serve with the sweet potato wedges.