Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Vegan Christmas Fruit Cake



A traditional British dessert, you can't not love a fruit cake. Both of my Nan's make an absolutely cracking fruit cake so I thought I would try my hand at it with a  few tweaks! This is probably as healthy as it can get as the fruit does add up the calories but its all natural sugars and still packed full of flavour. Swap the chia "eggs" for eggs if you're not vegan. 

Recipe

Prep: 5 minutes chia eggs, 5 minutes boiling fruit, 10 minutes
Cook: 1½ hours
Serves: 8-10

Makes one 8 inch cake

Ingredients

200g Mixed dried fruit
50g Cranberries
100g Chopped Dates
80g Plain Flour
2 tbsp Spelt Flour
1 Ripe Banana
100g Coconut Sugar
4 chia eggs (1 tbsp chia seeds with 3 tbsp water = 1 chia egg)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1½ tbsp Mixed Spice
1 tsp Ground Cloves
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
Optional Topping: White, green and red fondant, leaf cutter, apricot jam,

Method

✿Preheat oven to 150℃/300℉ and grease and line your cake tin.Make your chia eggs and set aside for 5 minutes.
✿Place all of you dried fruit in a saucepan and pour over boiling water. Bring to the boil and then take off the heat and drain then cool.
✿In a mixing bowl, mash bananas with a fork then add your sugar and mix. Add the dry ingredients and mix.
Add your chia eggs one by one stirring in between and then your vanilla extract.
✿Combine your cooled fruit with your mixture and stir until well combined.
Pour mixture into cake tin and bake for 1½ hours or until a knife comes out clean. The fruit cake should be baked on a lower heat than other cakes so as to cook evenly throughout.
✿Once cooked, leave to cool for a few minutes then place on a wire rack to cool completely.
✿Brush about 1tbsp of apricot jam over the cooled cake and then roll out some white fondant to place on top. Decorate how you like and then cut into slices. Enjoy! 

Christina
xx





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Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Sweet Potato Hot Chocolate Brownies


It's that time of year everyone, hot chocolate season has approached us! For some of you it may have never left for which I applaud you. For me and many others it comes with the fast approach to Christmas and all I want is a delicious hot chocolate and Love Actually on my TV which is just bliss. 
But to eat a hot chocolate could be a little bit better right? 

My brownies are moist, fudgy and indulgent with a secret ingredient that makes them nice and gooey. You don't have to top them with marshmallows but it wouldn't be a hot choc without the marshmallows eh? 

Check out my other brownie recipes for more inspiration!


Chocolate Orange Brownies
Raspberry Brownies
Bourbon Brownies


Recipe

Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Serves: 12 brownies


Ingredients

Brownies
250g Oat flour
500g Sweet Potato (about 2 medium)
12 Dates
2 tbsp Coconut Oil melted
270g Applesauce
6 tbsp Cacao powder
Pinch of salt
200g dark chocolate
Icing
200g Dark chocolate chips
150ml Soya milk
2 tbsp Cacao powder
Mini marshmallows


Method

✿Peel and chop your sweet potatoes into chunks and steam for about 15-20 minutes until they start to fall apart and are soft. Once they are steamed, preheat your oven to 350℉/180℃ and line and grease a rectangle baking tray.
✿In a food processor blend the sweet potato chunks and the dates until combined.
✿In a large bowl, mix together the rest of the ingredients before adding the sweet potato date combination. 
✿Once you have a batter, add in the dark chocolate by breaking it into smaller pieces. This should make the brownies nice and fudgy. 
✿Spoon your batter into the baking tray and bake for 30 minutes. A knife inserted won't come out clean as these brownies are best a little under cooked. Leave to cool completely. 
Make the icing. Melt your chocolate chips in the microwave in intervals and add a splash of milk each time and making sure to stir.
✿Then add your cacao powder to thicken up a little bit. Add milk till it's a bit more runny and stir till it all comes together.
Spread the icing evenly over your brownies and then add the marshmallows quickly before the icing hardens. Enjoy!


Christina
xx


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Friday, 30 November 2018

How to stay sane when you're not working

It's been over 4 months since I returned home from travelling - the most amazing time of my life and something I now tell everyone to do. And what I also now tell people is "go travelling yes, but my goodness try and figure out what it is you want to do when you get back". It. Is. Not. Easy. 
Out of these past four months I have had 7 interviews - I have applied for 200 jobs no exaggeration. Only 7 interviews!!! I expected this anyway but when I read that back I actually can't believe it. Employers don't always get back to you which we know and not only this but all of those interviews have been because I've known someone or because of an agency. So really none of it was my amazing CV, it was convenient. My point is yes it nearly always is 'who you know not what you know' which I really despise but have no control over. And more to the point that (whilst writing this I am still unemployed) it can really deflate you and THIS is where this wonderful uplifting blog post helps you shake it off!

I feel like I may have lost a few people there with my low demeanour so let's talk business. 
First things first here are some things you can or should do if you find yourself out of work.
1. Sign up to an agency - I didn't do this for months and its nice to have someone doubly searching for jobs for you too.
2. Sign on to Job Seeker's - You have paid National Insurance, you deserve it there really isn't any shame.
3. Make sure your CV is looking amazing - 2 pages and no more with some clear experience and qualifications. SELL YOURSELF.


I secretly (not so secret anymore) love not working. Seriously if I could get paid somehow to not work I would. That sounds so lazy and I'm not sponging off of the government or anything honestly. I find so many things to do to keep myself busy and I love them, it's like a little collection of hobbies that are now an unpaid job! Plus doing these things keeps me positive and motivated that I will find the right job it's out there somewhere.




Keep smiling - It may feel like no one wants to hire you, I really get it, but I guarantee you will find work and the best thing to do is tell yourself everyday that you will. Remain positive and good things will happen.




Set yourself some realistic goals - By Friday you may have wanted to apply for 20 jobs, or next week you'll make an appointment with an agency. Becoming organised can keep your brain working and not getting lazy. Plus when you achieve them think of how great you'll feel. It's all baby steps. 

Get into a routine - Set an alarm, do the housework, go food shopping, then apply for jobs from 11am-2pm for example. And do this everyday so when it comes to working you aren't in total shock. It lets your body have it's own clock and this is the best thing for it. 






Find things that keep you busy - Don't sit at the computer all day applying because you will lose motivation and that's when depression can hit hard. Go to the gym, bake a cake once a week, start writing a blog that you update every few days, watch a box-set, read a book! Things that make you happy and keep you grounded. 



Don't be afraid to ask for help - I have been lucky enough that I saved money from travelling to come back to, plus I still live with my parents. Families are there to help with financial situations like this, you still need to be able to eat and live remember! And not just help with money, ask people you know if they know of any vacancies where they work, a good recommendation can go a long way. 


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Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Pecan Pie Bars


I didn't have the time to make a full on pecan pie much to my dismay so I thought a little pecan pie bar would suffice. 
We don't celebrate Thanksgiving here what with being from the UK, but I love the traditional feasts they have and the desserts look divine - as you may have seen in my previous post my Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes which are perfect for Thanksgiving.

These pecan pie bars are so tasty and really easy to make with just a handful of ingredients. I couldn't make them vegan because I needed something to bind the flour together BUT I will look into this to develop my future recipes. I hope you enjoy this recipe, don't forget to tag me on Instagram @bakelikeavegan_ 😊


Recipe

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 55 minutes
Serves: 12


Ingredients

Base
2 cups Spelt Flour
2 eggs
⅓ cup Honey/Maple Syrup
80g Coconut Oil
1 tsp Caramel Extract (can use vanilla I just wanted a caramel flavour)
pinch of salt
Filling
12 pitted dates
300g plant-based milk - I used Soya
150g Pecans
3 tbsp Spelt Flour
1 tsp caramel extract
pinch of salt
50g dark chocolate melted optional


Method

✿Preheat your oven to 350℉/180℃. Line a rectangle baking tray with grease proof paper.
Make your crust. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients together until a sort of dough texture is formed. Spoon the mixture into baking tray and bake for 15-17 minutes, until a knife inserted comes out clean.
Leave to cool completely. 
Make your filling. In a food processor/blender, blend the dates. Add the milk, flour, extract and salt and mix until well combined. Then add ⅔ of the pecans and pulse a couple of times. 
✿Spoon the filling on top of the crust and then sprinkle the remaining pecans on top. Bake for 35 minutes then leave to cool. 
Melt the chocolate in the microwave and then drizzle on top before cutting into squares. Enjoy!


Christina
xx


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Thursday, 8 November 2018

Pumpkin Loaf Cake


What is it about bread that is so moreish? Is it the fluffy texture, or the crunch when you toast it? Well you probably can't toast this bread BUT it is fluffy and full of pumpkin which makes it really moist. Told you I'd be back again with Mr Pumpkin - he's really served me well!

Super easy to throw together and it makes the perfect breakfast, snack, dessert whatever you fancy. Don't forget to tag me on Instagram if you try this @bakelikeavegan


Check out my other Pumpkin recipes for more inspiration!

Pumpkin Spiced Cupcakes
Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes


Recipe

Prep:5 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Serves: 9-10


Ingredients

1 Cup Oat Flour
½ Cup Coconut Flour
1 Egg
¾ Cup Pumpkin Puree
½ Cup Honey/Maple Syrup
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Ground Cloves
½ Ginger
Optional toppings: Pumpkin seeds (mine didn't really stick so maybe really push them into the batter)


Method

✿Preheat your oven to 350℉/180℃ and grease a loaf pan - mine was 8 x 3 inches
✿Blend your ingredients together in a food processor or just in a bowl with a spoon. Pour batter into loaf pan making sure it is even. Sprinkle on your pumpkin seeds.
✿Bake for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Enjoy!



Christina
xx


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Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes - No Bake!


Here we go again with the pumpkin - I tell you it's non stop! I love the idea of making desserts which don't require you to bake anything I think it's such an easy and creative way to make something totally delicious and simple. Cheesecakes are such a favourite in my house so it seemed only right to incorporate some pumpkin in there. 

You can use any small dish that you please, but I've used these small glass dishes that my mum has had for years. Also this cheesecake does have noticeable lumps in it because of the cottage cheese which I don't particularly mind - you can use cream cheese or ricotta if you want, I just want a healthier alternative and cottage cheese has a LOT of protein in it. 


Recipe

Prep: 20 minutes + Setting time in the fridge for 1 hour
Serves: 5 dishes, can be 6 smaller dishes


Ingredients

Base
200g Cashews - soaked overnight or at least 6 hours
200g Dates
Cheesecake layer
220g Pumpkin Puree
250g Cottage Cheese
2 tbsp Greek Yoghurt
5 tbsp Maple Syrup/Honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Ground Cloves
Mini fondant pumpkins see here 

Method

✿Make your base. In a food processor blend together the cashews and dates until combined and smooth. I also added a bit of maple syrup to loosen the mixture.
✿Spoon mixture into each dish and press down and around. Put in the fridge to set.
✿ Add all cheesecake mixture to a bowl and use a hand mixer to combine together. Add the maple syrup in gradually to desired sweetness.
✿Spoon mixture on top of base and leave to set for an hour. Add toppings or serve immediately. Enjoy!



Christina 
xx








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Monday, 5 November 2018

Blogs I'm loving right now



One of the factors that made me want to start my own blog was reading like-minded people's blogs. I had so much  inspiration from so many bloggers that made me think 'Yeah I can do that'  which is why I started it in the first place. These people have influenced me to think outside the box and put any creativity I have into action. I just want to point out that I do not in any way aim to copy or imitate these people. 

My blog isn't like any of theirs because we are all different and I never want to try and be them because let's face it, I am me and they are them, we can't be the same people and we should all encourage each other to be different. And besides it's much better to have your own ideas on a topic than just doing what other people have done right?

I've read blogs over the past few years that have come and go and its the ones that stick that must be doing it right. These people below are most definitely achieving something positive   So anyways, here's my fave gals doing their thing that keeps me so inspired on a regular basis.



1. Deliciously Ella - This is more of a website that I use on a day to day basis. It has tonnes of amazing, delicious and healthy recipes all made with whole foods and natural ingredients. I am literally on here almost everyday to get inspiration for tonight's dinner or what to have for breakfast I just love it! She does actually have a blog as well which keeps you up to date with the goings on in her deli and new additions to her app (which I am yet to subscribe to). Anyway go see it for yourself, you're bound to want to head to the shops to buy lots of new ingredients!

https://deliciouslyella.com/


2. Where's Mollie - I found Mollie's blog last year because I decided to save up and go travelling and she honestly made my decision so much easier. She gives in depth details about each country she has been too and it is so helpful. From accommodation, to logistics and what to pack I didn't have to look elsewhere. It probably helps that Mollie has been to the places that I wanted to go so her recommendations I trusted completely and her experiences seemed incredible. Even now I've read every post relevant to my travel plans I still continue to read her blog and watch her videos because I adore her so much. She's genuine, and fun and an all-round nice person and I most definitely want to be her friend!

https://wheresmollie.com/



3. Megan Ellaby - I've slowly left my fashion blog posts behind me but I still look for inspiration everyday and this girl is actually smashing it. Megan's blog is full of colour and her style is so creative. Plus she recently released her own collection which looks incredible. Worth a read with a good cuppa, honestly I feel like I'm having a good 'ole natter when I'm on her blog!

http://www.meganellaby.com/



4. Zanna Van Dijk - A more recent discovery, I fell onto Zanna's blog because I wanted a healthy brownie recipe and her blog is adorn with them plus more. I would say I more of a follower of hers on Instagram where she films many fitness workouts which really motivates me. She also created a Facebook group called Living Consciously Crew which oh my goodness changed my life! If you haven't heard of this go to Facebook now and join it's incredible. We talk about being vegan/vegetarian (you don't have to be either) about saving the planet in all areas from recycling to animal cruelty. It is a community that hopes to build a better planet all thanks to Zanna and I strongly urge you to become an avid follower. This girl has put thoughts I've always had into action and I am in complete awe of her.

http://www.zannavandijk.co.uk/



5. The Little Blog Of Vegan - Holly is an absolute artist when it comes to baking and oh my is she brilliant. I use her blog for inspiration for when I next want to bake (not to copy just inspiration) and she also has ideas on where to buy other vegan products such as bags and beauty. Her recipes are delicious plus they are all completely vegan which shows that even tasty treats are easy to create without using ingredients from animals. Have a read for some amazing food photography and yummy recipes. 

http://www.thelittleblogofvegan.com/

I realise there aren't any Male bloggers that I have mentioned and that's because I haven't found many that have caught my eye. I am mostly inspired everyday by these influential women and that makes me proud. These girls are kicking ass all the time and doing so incredibly well they only motivate me to want to do the same. I honestly just want to be friends with them! Let's continue to empower other women and do things that we love because clearly that is what life should be about.


Christina
xx

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Thursday, 25 October 2018

Pumpkin Spiced Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream


I've been itching to use pumpkin in a recipe for so long now and these cupcakes fit the bill perfectly. A lot of people shy away from using vegetables in conjunction with sweeter recipes but more often than not you can't taste them plus they just add more nutrition! I like to add other veggies such as courgettes, sweet potato and even beans make great additions. 

The use of pumpkin in these is really to add moisture - and to be able to say that they really are pumpkin cupcakes not just "pumpkin spice".  I loved adding the cute fondant pumpkins on top, I am really getting into the decorative side of baking. 

Give these cupcakes a go yourself and tag me on Instagram @bakelikeavegan-


Recipe

Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 20-25 minutes
Serves: 18 cupcakes


Ingredients

Cupcakes
270g Spelt flour (this adds a bread texture - next time I may try different flour)
2 tbsp Coconut flour (can use more for added sweetness)
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
pinch of salt
200g pumpkin puree - make ahead
170ml almond milk
100ml coconut oil melted
60g natural yoghurt
2 tsp vanilla extract
buttercream
1 ½ cups dairy free butter
½ cup maple syrup
6 tbsp stevia powdered sugar
Optional
orange fondant for mini pumpkins
black fondant for stems
sprinkles


Method

✿Preheat oven to 350℉/180℃. Line cupcake tin with cases.
✿In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, spices, baking powder and baking soda and whisk together.
✿In a separate bowl mix together coconut oil, vanilla, pumpkin puree and yoghurt. Alternate between adding the flour mixture and the milk and stirring till combined. Because of this flour I had to add a bit more milk. 
✿Spoon the batter into cupcake cases evenly and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.
Make your buttercream. Using an electric mixer, whisk the butter until pale and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and then add maple syrup and mix. Add more syrup to desired sweetness. Leave to one side. 
✿When the cupcakes have cooled, pipe or spread the buttercream onto each cupcake. 
Make your mini pumpkins. Tear off bits of the orange fondant and make into little balls of roughly the same size. Using a tool or handle of a spoon make grooves vertically around the ball. 
✿Roll out some black fondant into small tubes and arrange to look like stems. Wet the end of the stem with a tiny bit of water and stick on top of the pumpkins. Be creative and enjoy!


Christina
xx



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