Nude Nails: My go-to color

A way I can instantly feel more pretty and polished is to paint my nails. But lots of nail polish has some nasty ingredients in it, so in my search for non-toxic options, I discovered Kure Baazar. Pricey but worth it for cleaner ingredients, not to mention a range of gorgeous colors. It works just like regular polish, and to me it lasts as long as regular polish too. 

A good nude nail is sort of a go-to for me. It always looks great regardless of the season. If you’re new to using nail polish with clean ingredients, or wear it so infrequently it's not worth having many colors, I vote for nude. 

The nude color pictured isn't available on LoveLula anymore as I bought it a little while ago, but this "cappuccino" or this metallic "or rose" look amazing too.

Of course, to accompany pretty nails, hands have to look good too. If my hands are feeling extra dry, especially around my knuckles, before bed I rub a little Dr. Lipp on my hands and they are better the next day (blogged about this product here). Or add some over hand cream, coconut oil, or vitamin E oil for extra moisture.

To remove my nail polish, I use this nail polish remover by Zoya. This contains cleaner ingredients than traditional nail polish removers. When I first used it I was nervous it would be harder to remove nail polish than traditional nail polish removers, but it’s not! It’s doesn’t dry out my nails either.

What are your favorite nail polish colors? Has anyone else tried Kure Baazar? 

Love,
N


***Disclaimer: I am part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Programme and Affiliate Scheme, although I did pay for these products myself. All thoughts and opinions are my own.***
 
 

Dairy Free Cheesy Eggplant Pasta

I have been making a lot of this dairy free, gluten free, vegan 'cheesy' eggplant pasta recently for great light, summer dinner, often having leftovers cold at lunch the following day. 

I don't know why, but zucchini is just so much more appealing when it's spiralized! I prefer mixing zoodles with some pasta, instead of just zoodles, for a more filling meal. My favorite gluten free pasta is Dove's Farm Brown Rice Fusilli.

For a "cheesy flavour" without using actual cheese, nutritional yeast flakes are the best. I'm lactose intolerant so cheese is out of the question for me, but sprinkle some nutritional yeast flakes over the pasta and zoodles while it's still warm to dissolve the flakes a bit, and it will do the trick for any cheese cravings.

Vegan Cheesy Eggplant Pasta

Serves 2

Ingredients: 
  • 1 small eggplant, sliced into rounds 
  • 3.5oz (100g) gluten free pasta 
  • 1 large zucchini, spiralized 
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, halved 
  • ½ bunch basil, chopped 
  • 1 tbsp. nutritional yeast flakes 
  • 1-2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for grilling the eggplant)
  • Salt and pepper to serve 

Steps
  1. Cook the gluten free pasta as per the instructions on the package. 
  2. Heat a grill pan, and grill the eggplant rounds for a few minutes each side. Remove from the heat. Then, chop the eggplant into bite-size pieces if desired. 
  3. Remove the pasta from the heat, and strain with a colander. 
  4. Add the pasta, zoodles, eggplant, cherry tomatoes, and basil back into the pot. Drizzle with olive oil and stir in the nutritional yeast flakes until they have dissolved, on low heat for a minute or two. 

Love,
N


 
 

Dairy Free Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Chocolate covered strawberries are so simple, but so good. You don’t even need to use strawberries- banana, watermelon, and pineapple are all good options too!  Not in the mood for fruit? Try this gluten free and dairy free chocolate covered chocolate loaf cake.  

Of course, you can make this with store-bought chocolate, but sometimes it is fun to make your own dairy free chocolate. I turned any leftover chocolate I had from this into chocolate peanut butter cups.

Dairy Free Chocolate Covered Strawberries Recipe:
Serves 2-4

Ingredients:
  • ⅓ cup cacao butter
  • 2 tbsp. cacao powder
  • 1½ tbsp. maple syrup 
  • 8 oz (225g) strawberries (or more if desired, there will be enough chocolate)


Steps: 
  1. Using a double-boiler pan (or a saucepan with water in the bottom and a bowl on top), bring the water to a simmer. Melt the cacao butter. Remove from the heat. 
  2. Gently stir in the cacao powder and maple syrup until all of the ingredients are combined. 
  3. Leave to cool for about 20 minutes.
  4. Dip the strawberries into the chocolate. Leave to cool, then serve immediately or refrigerate until later. For a thicker chocolate coating, once the initial layer has hardened dip the strawberries in chocolate again.


Love,
N

 
 

Raspberry Rooibos Iced Tea

I’m addicted to this raspberry rooibos iced tea at the moment! I really like rooibos as a rich tasting, caffeine free tea, and think it’s wonderful hot, or chilled as iced tea in summer. I infuse this with raspberries as it tastes amazing together, and also tricks you into thinking it’s sweetened with sugar, when really it’s not! I don’t let the raspberries go to waste and have a few in my glass to eat at the end.

Raspberry Rooibos Iced Tea Recipe
Serves 2

Ingredients:
  • 35oz (1 litre) boiling water
  • 1 tbsp. loose leaf rooibos (or 2 rooibos tea bags) 
  • ½ cup raspberries (I use frozen because they make nice ice cubes) 

Steps:
  1. In a jug, infuse the rooibos with the water for a few minutes. If using loose leaf tea, strain the tea leaves, or remove the tea bags. 
  2. Add the raspberries.
  3. Leave to cool before refrigerating for a few hours until cold. 

If you like this, try this caffeine-free tulsi iced tea, or mint matcha iced tea.

Love,
N

 
 

Almond Butter Flapjacks

I seriously love making flapjacks as the ultimate homemade snack. I make a quick batch of my raisin and pumpkin seed energy bars on Sundays to take to work during the week. (I like to call them energy bars because I try to pack them with great ingredients that help fuel me through the day, but really it’s just like a spiced up flapjack).

Lately, I’ve been experimenting with mixing up my energy bars- and created these almond butter flapjacks . This recipe is a wonderfully nutty, energy-boosting flapjack. I make it with a mixture of almond butter and tahini, but feel free to experiment with only almond butter, or other varieties of nut butters.

Dairy Free Gluten Free Almond Butter Flapjacks:

Makes 12 Square Energy Bars

Ingredients:
  • ¼ cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 2 tbsp. smooth  almond butter
  • 1 tbsp. light tahini
  • ¼ cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1½ cups gluten free oats
  • ⅓ cup rice flour
  • ½ tsp. baking powder

Steps:
  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C fan (320°F fan)
  2. In a saucepan on low heat, mix the coconut oil, almond butter, and tahini together until all the ingredients are melted, and there are no lumps of almond butter.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the coconut palm sugar and egg. Then whisk in the vanilla extract, coconut oil, almond butter, and tahini mixture.
  4. In another medium sized bowl, combine the oats, rice flour, and baking powder. Mix the oats mixture into the bowl of wet ingredients.
  5. Line a square cake/sandwich tin (8 x 8 x 2 inches / 20 x 20 x 5 cm) with baking paper. Spoon in the mixture, and press down until it evenly covers the base of the tin. 
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden. 

Love,
N

 
 

Blackberry and Plum Compote Infused with Earl Grey Tea 

This blackberry and plum compote infused with earl grey is delicious on its own, as a porridge topper, or even on top of pancakes instead of maple syrup. This compote is deliciously sweet and sour thanks to the contrast between the juicy plums and blackberries, and has a hint of earl grey in the compote juices.

I love a batch of compote in the fridge to keep on hand for breakfasts, and I even freeze extras sometimes to use at a later time. If you like this blackberry and plum compote, try this blackberry and apple compote recipe too!

Blackberry and Plum Compote Infused with Earl Grey Tea Recipe: 
Serves 3-4

Ingredients
  • ¾ cup earl grey tea
  • 6 plums, roughly chopped 
  • ½ cup blackberries
  • 2-3 tbsp. coconut palm sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Steps:
  1. In a pot, combine all the ingredients on low heat. Stir until the coconut palm sugar is dissolved. 
  2. Continue to stir occasionally. Remove from the heat after about 10 minutes, or when the fruit is soft. 

Do you have a favorite compote recipe?

Love,
N


Picture
Blackberry and Plum Compote with Porridge Sprinkled with Cinnamon
 
 

Hazelnut, Almond, and Banana Smoothie

When I first started making smoothies, I would make a very simple banana smoothie. It eventually inspired this supercharged nutty banana smoothie, once I started experimenting with more superfoods like maca powder and cacao nibs.

This smoothie is what got me hooked on smoothie breakfasts. I love how a smoothie is so speedy to make, and also so portable!

Now I have a collection of smoothie recipes that I love to make for breakfast, but sometimes I come back to my original recipe.

I made the recent discovery of making this banana smoothie extra delicious with the addition of hazelnut milk. I don’t buy hazelnut milk regularly, but I do really like it in certain smoothies, such as this chocolate hazelnut smoothie, as a nice change from almond milk. Rice milk is also really nice too.

Dairy Free Hazelnut, Almond, and Banana Smoothie Recipe: 
Serves 1

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup hazelnut milk 
  • 1 banana, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • ½ tbsp. almond butter
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. cacao nibs to sprinkle on top (optional) 

Steps:
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. 

What are your favorite breakfasts?

Love,
N

 
 

Strawberry Raspberry Smoothie

As some of you may have already seen on the blog, I recently went strawberry, raspberry, and gooseberry picking which was such a fun experience.

I have so many wonderful memories of being a kid, and every fall going to pick apples on a school holiday. Not only was picking the apples fun, but the baking we would do afterwards was too in pies and apple crumble.

It's been years since I went apple picking. But it has been on my list for the last few summers to go strawberry picking and this year I finally did it. The fields smelled so fragrantly of strawberries. I wish I could have bottled it.

My boyfriend and I picked the juiciest, sweetest, reddest strawberries I have ever eaten. The raspberries and gooseberries we picked were good too, but the strawberries were the real stars.

I picked enough to enjoy them fresh over the weekend, and some extra for the freezer for my smoothies.

So this is the strawberry raspberry smoothie I've been obsessing over recently. It's extra cold because I'm using frozen berries. It's optional, but I add some bee pollen to boost my immune system too.

Dairy Free Strawberry Raspberry Smoothie Recipe:

Serves 1
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk 
  • ¼ cup strawberries, fresh or frozen
  • ¼ cup raspberries, fresh or frozen 
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds 
  • ¼ - ½  tsp. bee pollen (optional) 

Steps:
  1. Combine all ingredients in a trailer and blend until smooth 

Love,
N

 
 

Caramel Date Fudge

This caramel date fudge recipe is inspired my one of my favorite recipes on the blog- chocolate caramel squares. I love the caramel in the chocolate caramel squares recipe so much that I wanted a recipe where caramel was the real star of the show- resulting in the creation of this delicious fudge. 

I make this fudge with only 3 ingredients- dates, almond butter, and coconut oil, for a nutty caramel creation. 
This fudge is great to have in the freezer when you are looking for a treat, and it's very easy and quick to make. If you like this, try these caramel candy apples too! 

Caramel Date Fudge Recipe: 
Ingredients:
  • ½ cup pitted dates 
  • ¼ cup almond butter 
  • ¼ cup coconut oil 

Steps:
  1. Combine the ingredients in a food processor until the dates become very small pieces, and the ingredients are all combined. 
  2. Pour the mixture into a small lined loaf tin, or individual silicone moulds. 
  3. For firmer fudge, store in the freezer. Or for slightly softer fudge, store in the fridge. Leave the mixture to set for a few hours before serving. 

Love,
N

 
 

Gooseberry and Apple Crumble

I recently went to a pick-your-own farm with my boyfriend. Our main reason for going was to pick strawberries, something I’ve had on my list of activities to do for a few summers now. I’m so glad we went, and I will definitely be going back!

The strawberry fields smelled amazing, and we picked the juiciest, most delicious strawberries I have ever tasted. While we were there, we stumbled into the raspberry and gooseberry fields and picked those too. To be completely honest, prior to this I am really not too sure that I have ever eaten gooseberries. But, they are delicious, and I used them to make a dairy free and gluten free gooseberry and apple crumble.

I love love love any kind of crumble. Hot or cold, sometimes I’m cheeky and eat leftovers for breakfast! It’s just the ultimate comfort food dessert, perfect for summer or winter. If you are a crumble fan too, try this apple crumble, or this blackberry and apple crumble

Dairy Free and Gluten Free Gooseberry and Apple Crumble Recipe: 
Serves 6

Ingredients: 
For the fruit base: 
  • 4 braeburn or pink lady apples, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 2 cups gooseberries
  • 1 tbsp. coconut palm sugar

For the crumble topping: 
  • ½ cup rice flour
  • ½ cup ground almonds
  • ⅔ cup oats
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ⅓ cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract


Steps: 
  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C fan
  2. In a 12”x9” inch glass dish (30cm x 23cm) combine the apples and gooseberries. Sprinkle over the coconut palm sugar and mix the fruit.
  3. In a food processor, add all of the crumble topping ingredients together. Blend the mixture to form a crumble topping, and evenly sprinkle it over the top of the fruit. 
  4. Bake in the oven for 1 hour, remove and leave to cool.

Love,
N