Crunchy Almond and Date Granola

Wednesday, 28 January 2015


This granola is a game changer. 
It's refined sugar free, gluten free, dairy free and vegetarian. It is packed with nothing but goodness and bound to give you a great head start on your day. It's motivation in a Kilner jar and I love it. 
The creation of this granola came about when Waitrose got in touch and asked me if I wanted to take part in their Healthy Food Swaps project. With good January intentions I was on board to make some changes to better my eating habits. When reviewing my diet, one of my immediate realisations was for way too long I have been eating sugary cereals for breakfast. This means I start my day off with a sugar rush but inevitability crash mid-morning. I have found myself reaching for snacks simply because I haven't set myself up with a cracking breakfast. So I wanted to find an alternative to refined sugar packed cereals that was still quick and easy to grab in the morning and still delicious.
Enter granola! An easy, homemade breakfast that can be customised in any which way you choose. I've based my granola on two of my favourite healthy snacks, almonds and dates. Almonds are great for heart health and packed with good fats whilst dates pack a punch of flavour and will keep your energy levels up. I've also added in linseed, sunflower seeds, cranberries and raisins for added goodness. Linseeds are a great source of omega 3 and fiber whilst sunflower seeds are also packing a punch of fiber and magnesium. I could waffle on with lists and lists of health benefits, but I'm guessing you get the picture.
You can also customise this granola in anyway you like. Would you rather use walnuts rather than almonds? Go for it! Rather pumpkin seeds rather than sunflower? You've got it! Sub in whatever dried fruit you like and mix up your favourite combinations to make breakfast the best time ever.

For Crunchy Almond and Date Granola you will need (makes 2 large jars):

540g rolled oats (gluten free)
130g flaked almonds
140g sunflower seeds
115g linseeds
180g dates
75g raisins
75g cranberries
100g argave syrup
150g raw honey
70g organic raw coconut oil
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 190c and line to large baking trays with baking parchment.

Then begin by combining the oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, linseeds, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.


 Stir it up.


Chop the dates up removing any stones and add to the mix with the cranberries and raisins. 


Over a low heat melt together the coconut oil, honey and argave syrup until melted together. 


Once smooth, add to the dry mix and mix through immediately coating the dry mixture in the oil and syrup. 


Spread on to baking sheets and bake for 40 minutes until golden and crisp. 
You will need to mix and turn the oats every ten minutes so they all become golden and delicious. 


Leave to cool before storing. It's compulsory to taste test at this point so don't be surprised if you find yourself grazing on warm granola. 


Store in clean clip-top or screw-top jars.


 Enjoy with milk, yoghurt and fruit or simply by the handful straight out of the jar!

Lottie Loves: 60

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Instagram of the week: The view of my parents garden on a frosty Tuesday morning.

1. I finished writing assignments this week. As soon as I set my laptop down, I hopped in the car and drove home for a week of dog walking, film watching and not brushing my hair. It was quite heavenly.

2. Still can't get enough of Uptown Funk, so this one man cover is really hitting the spot.

3. A mac & cheese party is my kinda party.

4. Katie's big Beetroot, Courgette and Goats Cheese salad looks uh-mazing.

5. Are you worried? Here are 7 things that could help you calm it, kermit.

6. 8 facts about awards shows you'd only know if you were invited.

7. Salads in jars forever!!!!

8. Mindy Kaling on happiness.

9. The real meanings behind 11 old expressions we still use today.

10. Here are 17 cat gifs with amusing captions. Sunday appropriate.

Have a happy weekend, friends! x

Chicken Stew of Champions

Thursday, 22 January 2015


When I say champions, I do so with a northern accent. So it sounds more like champ-yuns. It is of vital importance that you also pronounce champions in this way when you make this stew. Simply because this stew is the heartiest, friendliest most welcoming meal I ever have eaten. If it were a person, this stew would give big, bear hugs and offer you seconds insisting you're too thin. It's a lover not a fighter. If a stew can even be described in such a way...
Another reason why I love this stew is because it utilises a very VERY small amount of leftover chicken and goes on to serve another four people. Four people! This makes me very happy. It's a cost effective marvel that is bulked up with vegetables and flavoured with a small amount of smoked bacon and fresh herbs. This recipe only uses good quality, well flavoured ingredients and they work hard in this stew to make a party in the mouth. It's also super easy. Know how to chop veg and shred chicken? You're ready to roll!

Adapted from Jamie's Humble Chicken Stew in Save with Jamie.

For Chicken Stew of Champions you will need (serves 4):

250g leftover roast chicken
1 litre chicken stock 
4 rashers smoked bacon
2 onions
3 carrots
2 potatoes
200g mushrooms
1 tbsp flour
2 bay leaves
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
salt and pepper 
olive oil

Begin by heating a large pan with your olive oil. Then add in your bacon, chopped. 


Chop your potatoes, carrots and onions and once the bacon has been cooking for 10 minutes, add it in. 


Continue to cook for another ten minutes, stirring regularly. Add in the bay leaves and thyme. 


Then go in with the left over roast chicken, shredded and the mushrooms, quartered. Add in the flour and stir it all up. 


Pour over the stock and leave to simmer for 40 minutes until the sauce is thick and delicious. 


Season to taste and serve up with mash, dumpling, greens or any side of your choice. 


Tuck in, champ-yun! 

Lottie Loves: 59

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Instagram of the week: Behind the scenes at soup HQ.

1. Fancy a little Saturday silliness? What is your Benedict Cumberbatch name? Mine's Pandajizz Bummerflats. I'm thinking about adopting it permanently.

2. People posing with statues. #grownups

3. Sport England's #ThisGirlCan campaign ROCKS. Well done marketing department, well done ladies getting involved.

4. The Oscar nominations came out this week! This always gets me ridiculously excited. This year I just can't call a winner though... Thoughts?

5. This woman's 'day on a plate' went viral and it was the best thing ever. EVER.

6. Girls is back! I'm excited for more witty, gritty and hilarious writing from Lena Dunham.

7. 14 Valentines cards for people who just don't do Valentines. (It feels like one holiday after another doesn't it? Sigh.)

8. I've been writing essays for what seems like EVER. I'm looking forward to finishing next week and reading for recreational purposes. Oh and I'll stand back from the edge when I'm good and ready.

9. Modern day Mr. Men. Ha! Mr. Man Bun you're just everywhere.

10. Are you a fan of the cello and beat boxing? Me too! Now check out celloboxing. Miiiiind blown.

Have a happy weekend, friends! x

Lentil Soup + Garlic Parmesan Toasts

Wednesday, 14 January 2015


On January 1st I was totally excited by green smoothies and salads stacked neatly in mason jars (hello last weeks post!). By January 2nd I realised that it was still winter and as much I love salads and smoothies, they're damn cold! This soup is all over warming you up over winter and is packed with goodness. The lentils are packing a punch of protein, the celery is owning it on the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory front and carrots are chock full of vitamin a, which is key for good vision (read: helps you see in the dark, right...?)
This soup can pretty much be your saviour and coupled with a hot water bottle, it might just be better than a lemsip. Not to mention It's super easy to throw together, cheap as chips and a natural healer if you're coming down with a cold. I swear by it. 
I'm not gonna lie, the Garlic Parmesan toasts aren't strictly good for you if you're on a January diet. HOWEVER, they are great way to bring a smile to your face and balance to your life. Winter can be hard - have a toast.

For Lentil Soup + Garlic Parmesan Toasts (serves 4-6):

4 cloves garlic
1 large onion
4 carrots
4 stalks of celery 
350g red lentils
1500ml chicken stock
1 tbsp cumin
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme (or 2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme) 
Vegetable oil
Salt and pepper

For the Toasts:

2 slices of crusty bread per person
small handful fresh parsley 
50g unsalted butter
25g Parmesan  

Begin by toasting the garlic in a large, dry saucepan. Toast on both sides for 8-10 minutes until soft and charred.


Whilst your garlic is toasting, peel and chop your carrots and onion and chop up the celery too. 


Once the garlic is charred and soft, remove from the pan and set aside. Then add in a splash of vegetable oil and the chopped vegetables. Saute for 5-10 minutes until soft. Then peel the garlic and add it in with the vegetables, along with the lentils, cumin. Mix that puppy up. 


Add in your chicken stock.


Add in the bay leaf and thyme. I've used chopped frozen thyme, but you can use fresh. Simmer for about 30 minutes until the lentils are tender.


While your simmering whack the oven on to 190c. Finely chop your garlic and parsley and mix with softened butter. 


Slice up your desired amount of bread. 


Spread a liberal amount of butter on each slice and grate over a little Parmesan on each. Pop in the oven for 10-12 minutes until crispy and delicious. 


Then get ready to serve up! 


Serve up steaming bowls with a pair of crunchy garlic and Parmesan toasts. 


Dip and dunk and slurp and enjoy a cosier January! 
Pop a hot water bottle under your feet for super cosy points.

Lottie Loves: 58

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Instagram of the week: January flu calls for doughnut medicine. Dems be the rules.

1. 14 muggle struggles you have to face everyday. Where is my Hogwarts letter already?

2. Have you seen this Jimmy Fallon/Nicole Kidman mishap?

3. 15 things to stop doing in 2015. WORD.

4. I want to shove this pasta in my face. I find myself daydreaming about it sometimes (help me).

5. I saw The Theory of Everything this week. It was a little skimpy on the science, but was so beautifully tender and the score was just lovely. One to watch.

6. How cool is this DIY book clutch? It is going on my 2015 to-make list.

7. Silent Witness is back! I still love it even though Harry and Leo aren't around anymore.

8. VSPP's homemade apple pie nakd bars look insaaaanely good. And hurrah - they're super good for you too.

9. I had such fun knitting hats for Christmas gifts this year (want to see?) and now I'm full steam ahead into my next project: a patchwork blanket. As soon as everyone could just realise old lady hobbies are the way forward, that would be great.

10. I've finally downloaded Serial! Have you listened? I'm excited.

Have a happy weekend, friends! x

Rainbow Noodles with Peanut Dressing

Wednesday, 7 January 2015


Watch out, January! We're coming to kick yo' ass.
The dreaded month of January has the potential to be grey, boring and a liiiittle bit dull. BUT! It totally doesn't have to be. It also have the potential to be crackers and awesome and woohoo wonderful. We have the power to make this January into a great month with positive thinking, numerous hot chocolates and this uh-mazing rainbow salad. In the immortal words of the Spice Girls, spice up your life. But with colourful vegetables, not actual spice. 
I've been craving fresh, Asian flavours since late December and this lunch recipe is perfect for those post-Christmas cravings, as it's bursting with fresh, colourful and crisp vegetables. Not to mention the nuttiest, zingiest, most addictive peanut butter dressing ever. This little lunch is the perfect way to charge into the New Year, healthy and happy and kicking butt. Oh and I'm currently enjoying my jar of Rainbow Noodles with a chocolate bar from my selection box. All about the balance, kids.
Also, as you can see, this salad is in a mason jar. Totally appropriate if you're planning on spending January sauntering around in Nike leggings and frequenting the gym. So on trend it hurts.
In mason jar salads (and peanut butter) we trust. 

For rainbow noodles with peanut dressing (makes 8 portions):

4 nests noodles, egg, rice or soba
2 peppers
250g soya beans
4 carrots
8 spring onions
sesame seeds or peanuts for a little crunch

For the dressing:
4 tbsp smooth peanut butter
2-3 tbsp hot sauce
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
125ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp sesame seeds

This recipe can be easily halved, I made 8 portions as both Jack and I were on the Rainbow Noodles bandwagon.

Lets begin by prepping the vegetables. Peel and grate the carrots, deseed and chop the peppers, chop the spring onions and cook the soya beans. You could also chuck in any leftover cooked chicken or maybe a handful of beansprouts.
Cook the noodles according to packet instructions, drain and rinse under a tap until cold.


Now to whip up the dressing. Simply combined all the ingredients, peanut butter, hot sauce, wine vinegar, soy sauce, olive oil and sesame seeds.


Then stirrr like a crazy person until smooth. Decant into a jug (this will make it easier to pour).


Now lets assemble! Dressing first, followed by noodles, then a colourful combination of peppers, soya beans, carrots, onions and sesame seeds.


If you have enough jars then you can make up all your jars now, if not then crack out that tupperware and assemble throughout the week.
Keep all ingredients refrigerated until needed.


These little jars travel so well, you're going to be the envy of the office/classroom/boardroom for super important people.


Now all you have to do is tuck right in and show January who's boss!
Oh and remember to pack a fork!

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