Vegan blueberry quinoa coconut loaf

It’s my first week back in Melbourne since my travels and it’s been absolutely FREEZING! I’ve been drinking lots of herbal tea and making winter meals to keep me warm. Here’s something many of you didn’t know about me, I’ve never actually had a ‘proper’ winter before. Yes I’ve visited places during the winter and have seen snow multiple times but to live in a city where I can wear a winter coat and boots day in, day out is quite exciting for me.

Along with embracing the winter fashion I’ll also be making plenty of hearty meals that are full of nutrients. If you would like to be the first to receive these healthy yet hearty meals straight to your inbox, just hit ‘follow’ and enter your email on the right side of this page –>

So, here’s just a few things that I’ve been making/buying this week.

Healthy Winter Dinner. Emma Lauren Food.

Easy winter dinner

The above meal is one of my go-to weeknight dinners as along with being healthy it is simple, quick and tasty. After a busy day at work and in this cold weather all I’ve been craving is warming foods. By adding warming spices such as cinnamon and cumin to the sweet potato it really brings out the flavour of the vegetable – try it out next time you’re roasting some!

Healthy Pantry. Emma Lauren Food.

Stocking up my healthy pantry

This week I’ve been stocking up my healthy pantry – two of the health food stores in my area have had ‘super saver’ days (one 20% off and the other 15% off) so how could I not buy anything?! Although initially it is quite an outlay, these products will last me a long time and I know I can make/create a lot of different recipes with this selection.

Healthy Pantry. Emma Lauren Food.

Another healthy haul!

As I’ve moved to a new area in Melbourne, one of the first things I did was check out my local health food store and find out when their ‘super saver’ days are. It is common for health food stores to have 15% off on the first Saturday of every month, but make sure you ask and put it in you calendar as you can make a real saving!

Almond milk latte. Emma Lauren Food.

Almond milk latte from Organica, Melbourne

Before heading to the Prahran Markets to buy some fresh produce for the week, I stopped by Organica for an almond milk latte. It was just what I needed as it was quite cool – as you can see by the number of layers I’m wearing! I haven’t eaten there yet, but they have some great raw vegan slices, healthy salads and soups and takeaway meals.

Roasted pumpkin stuffed with moroccan spiced lamb. Emma Lauren Food.

Saturday night dinner

This was last night’s dinner and boy did it go down well. Made with organic grass fed lamb mince and fresh vegetables all sourced from the markets it was just what I needed. You too can make this roasted stuffed pumpkin with moroccan spiced lamb – it’s actually one of my favourite recipes. The best part is I have plenty of leftovers so tonight’s dinner is sorted.

Now for the vegan blueberry quinoa coconut loaf recipe. I made this at the start of the week as a quick breakfast option and to enjoy at morning tea. It’s actually a vegan and gluten free version of this loaf.

Vegan blueberry quinoa coconut loaf. Emma Lauren Food.

Dry ingredients

Almond meal is a light flour that’s also gluten free and grain free (it’s basically ground almonds). The additions of chopped almonds add a crunchiness, the coconut adds a slight chewiness and the quinoa flakes add bulk to the loaf.

Vegan blueberry quinoa coconut loaf. Emma Lauren Food.

Chia ‘egg’

As I’ve mentioned previously, a chia ‘egg’ is just chia seeds mixed with water. It’s a vegan substitute that acts as a binding ingredient just like a regular egg does – plus it has the added nutritional benefits of chia seeds!

Vegan blueberry quinoa coconut loaf. Emma Lauren Food.

In separate bowls

Once the dry and wet ingredients have been separately mixed, it’s time to combine them. Make sure you gently fold them together in the larger bowl so the blueberries don’t break/bleed their colour too much.

Vegan blueberry quinoa coconut loaf. Emma Lauren Food.

Loaf mixture

All mixed together now and you can really see the different elements that make up this deliciously healthy loaf.

Vegan blueberry quinoa coconut loaf. Emma Lauren Food.

Prepared loaf tin

I always line my loaf tins to ensure the baked good can be easily removed. Plus, it means less cleaning up as you just need to wash it in hot soapy water without having to scrub bits of loaf off the tin.

Vegan blueberry quinoa coconut loaf. Emma Lauren Food.

Ready to be baked

The loaf needs to be pressed into the tin to ensure a nice, even top. I sprinkled a few extra chopped almonds on top just for decoration, feel free to do the same!

Vegan blueberry quinoa coconut loaf. Emma Lauren Food.

Golden on top!

Just how a loaf should look – golden and crunchy on top! Enjoy a slice of this healthy loaf with some almond butter and a cup of tea, or just by itself.

Make sure you allow the loaf to cool completely before slicing as it is quite delicate!

Vegan blueberry quinoa coconut loaf. Emma Lauren Food.

Ready to be devoured

This loaf will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to one week.

Vegan blueberry quinoa coconut loaf

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup quinoa flakes
  • 2 TBSP chia seeds
  • 6 TBSP water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut yoghurt*
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Grease or line loaf tin with baking paper.
  2. Combine almond meal, baking soda, shredded coconut, almonds and quinoa flakes in a large bowl, set aside.
  3. Combine chia seeds and water in a bowl, set aside for 2 minutes or until liquid has absorbed.
  4. Stir in vanilla extract, coconut oil, coconut yoghurt and blueberries into chia ‘egg’ bowl.
  5. Fold wet and dry ingredients together.
  6. Transfer batter to prepared loaf tin. Bake for 40 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely in loaf tin.
  7. Slice with a bread knife and enjoy!

Notes

    • Substitute the coconut yoghurt for 1/2 cup mashed bananas
    • Make sure you allow the loaf to cool completely otherwise it may crumble.

I’ve already sliced the up into individual portions and have them all wrapped up, ready to take to work for the week!

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Chocolate chip cookies

Ciao from Sardinia! I’m currently sitting by the resort pool soaking up the Mediterranean sun which is a change from the cooler Parisian weather we experienced last week.

Sardinia. Emma Lauren Food.

Soaking up the sunshine

Sardinia is such a beautiful island, just off the coast of Italy. We are here visiting some very good family friends who have been coming here for many years and certainly know the best places to go.

Sardinia. Emma Lauren Food.

Brunch

Food is such an important part of the culture over here and there is a real emphasis on high quality, fresh produce. There was certainly no shortage of food over brunch and was such a great way to start our week here.

Sardinia. Emma Lauren Food.

Breakfast

The simplicity of the food here has really impressed me – vegetables drizzled with good quality olive oil and seasoned with salt to bring out the flavour. Light and delicious – I’ve definitely had to hold myself back from going for seconds a number of times!!

Now, to share with you a recipe I made before leaving Australia: chocolate chip cookies. These are a classic cookie with a healthy twist – so you can still enjoy them without the ‘guilt’.

Chocolate chip cookies. Emma Lauren Food

Chia egg

The chia egg is used in the same way as the flax egg – it acts as a binding ingredient for the cookies, plus they are full of omega 3s!

Chocolate chip cookies. Emma Lauren Food.

One bowl required

Only one bowl is required for these cookies – just how I like to cook. This also means less cleaning up!

I’ve used quinoa flakes as a main ingredient in these cookies as they provide bulk and add a protein element.

Chocolate chip cookies. Emma Lauren Food.

Homemade chocolate chips

These are homemade chocolate chips however you can use dairy and sugar free chocolate chips that can be purchased from your local supermarket in the health food section or local health food store.

Chocolate chip cookies. Emma Lauren Food.

Rolled into balls

These are great bite-sized cookies, perfect for a mid-morning or afternoon treat. They don’t require too much effort but really hit the spot if you’re after a chocolatey hit.

Chocolate chip cookies. Emma Lauren Food.

Cooling…

These cookies will keep in a sealed container in the pantry for up to three days or in the fridge for up to one week.

Chocolate chip cookies

Makes 12

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups quinoa flakes
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut nectar
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 chia egg*
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips – dairy and sugar free*

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Mix quinoa flakes, coconut oil, coconut nectar, shredded coconut and chia egg together in a large bowl.
  3. Add chocolate chips and mix until well combined.
  4. Form into 12 cookies and place onto prepared baking tray, then press down lightly.
  5. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until lightly golden.
  6. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy with a cup of tea. Enjoy!

Notes:

  • The chia egg is made using 1 TBSP chia seeds with 3 TBSP water. Allow to sit to for 2-3 minutes until water has been completely absorbed.
  • I used homemade chocolate and cut it into pieces. As mentioned earlier in the post, you can purchase dairy and sugar free chocolate chips instead.
Chocolate chip cookies. Emma Lauren Food.

Ready to be enjoyed!

We only have a few days left in Sardinia before head through Italy. I’m certainly learning a lot about eating gluten, dairy and sugar free whilst travelling through Europe – cannot wait to share these experiences with you all when I’m back in Australia soon!

Coconut quinoa porridge

Growing up in Cairns I only ever experienced two seasons – wet and dry. What I love most about Melbourne is the city actually goes through ALL the seasons. Whilst I was there, I was fortunate enough to see it change from winter to spring! It seemed like overnight everyone’s clothing became brighter and there was a real buzz in the city.

All in the pan

This buzz made me want to cook with something that was in-season. So, I opted for a strawberry chia jam as strawberries are nearing the end of their harvest. This was a great addition to my morning porridge.

Becoming creamy…

As I’ve said previously, quinoa flakes are great for breakfast as they contain all the nutritional benefits of regular quinoa but they just cook a lot quicker – perfect for those early/busy mornings. Adding the shredded coconut provided the porridge with great texture and flavour.

Perfect spring breakfast

If there are leftovers they will keep in the fridge in a sealed container for two days.

Coconut quinoa porridge

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup quinoa flakes
  • 1/4 cup shredded or desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, add more if too thick
  • Serve with strawberry chia jam and almond butter

Method:

  1. Place quinoa, shredded coconut and almond milk in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Stir continuously for 3-5 minutes, or until thickened and creamy in texture.
  3. Top with jam and almond butter – enjoy!

What do you love most about spring?

Chia quinoa porridge

Yesterday morning I was in need of a quick yet filling breakfast! I turned to my trusted quinoa flakes as they are full of fibre and protein. I decided to add chia seeds to boost my omega 3 intake for the day! This porridge kept me full until lunchtime which is definitely ideal on a busy day!

The quinoa flakes take on a creamy texture once cooked. Although they are fairly bland in flavour, this enables you to be as creative as you like with your toppings! My favourite, go-to toppings are fresh strawberries, almond butter, shredded coconut and cinnamon – great for regulating blood sugar!

All into the saucepan

I believe that breakfast shouldn’t be complicated – that’s why I always add all the ingredients to the saucepan at once.

Decorated for devouring

If there are leftovers, this porridge will keep in the fridge to two days in a sealed container.

Chia quinoa porridge

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup quinoa flakes
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, add more if too thick
  • 1 TBSP chia seeds
  • Toppings of your choice

Method:

  • Place quinoa, almond milk and chia seeds in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Stir continuously for 3-5 minutes, or until thickened and creamy in texture.
  • Serve with toppings of your choice. Enjoy!

What toppings do you like to add to your porridge?

Cacao quinoa porridge

I’ve already finished one week of my internship and I’m absolutely loving it, and Melbourne for that matter! I’m currently sitting in a cafe on Chapel St and enjoying an almond milk latte. I was pleasantly surprised to find they served almond milk, a rarity at most cafes.

Coming from the Gold Coast, the weather is quite different down in Melbourne. The city is known to go through ‘four seasons in a day’. As the mornings have been cool, I’ve been looking to porridge to warm me up. The combination of cacao and quinoa is a match made in superfood heaven, plus it’s really yummy!

Chocolate for breakfast!

I love quinoa flakes as they have all the nutritional benefits of regular quinoa without the lengthy cooking time as you cook them just like oats.

Warming breakfast

If there are any leftovers, store in a sealed container in the fridge for two days.

Cacao quinoa porridge

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup quinoa flakes
  • 1 tsp cacao powder
  • 1/3 cup almond milk, add more if too thick
  • 1 tsp almond butter
  • 1 tsp shredded coconut
  • 2 strawberries, washed and halved – or fruit of your choice!

Method:

  1. Place quinoa flakes, cacao powder and almond milk in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Once cooked, place into a bowl and top with almond butter, shredded coconut and strawberries. Enjoy!

Almond milk latte

Here’s the latte I am currently enjoying at Amici Bakery Cafe on Chapel St.