My (Imaginary) Christmas Dinner

My (imaginary) Christmas Dinner

I’ve already mentioned that I’m not doing any cooking on Christmas day as we’ll be at my brother’s house and he and my sister-in-law will be doing all the work! It’s not an exclusively vegan Christmas but they’re insisting on making me a special vegan dish, and most of the side dishes will be vegan too.

I’m sure it will be lovely, but some day I hope to host my own vegan Christmas meal and here’s what I’d serve if it was up to me (and if I had an expandable stomach!).

We don’t usually do starters as we try to save stomach space for later, so after champagne and maybe some nuts and crudités we’ll get right into the main course.

These Lentil Mushroom Walnut Balls by Angela of Oh She Glows look like a wonderful “meaty” main dish. They’re full of all delicious wintry herbs and other good things.

Sometimes it’s nice to stick to tradition and I do love a good lentil/nut roast. This No-fu Love Loaf from Dreena Burton is another of my top picks and would be a beautiful centrepiece.


Finally, another main dish, very easy to put together, healthy, hearty but lightened up with a zingy orange dressing. My Butternut, Barley & Lentil Pilaf would be wonderful served up family style. Sub dried cranberries for the raisins for a little festive flair.

I’d happily forego the main dish in favour of a plateful of sides which are what make the Christmas meal for me. At my Christmas feast I’d serve:

Maple-Roasted Carrots and Parsnips

Brussel Sprouts and Chestnuts

Peas, Roast Potatoes, my own Cranberry Sauce, Apricot & Hazelnut Stuffing Balls (veganized), and Red Onion Gravy.

Phew. I think we might need a breather after all that…

For dessert, I’ve grown to really enjoy the Traditional Christmas pudding. My Mum has been making a vegan one for the last few years and I *think* she adapts it from this recipe. Serve it with warm spiced cream:

1C Non-dairy Cream (soya, oat, etc. )

1/4t each Ground Ginger & Cinnamon

Pinch of Ground Nutmeg

1T Brown/Coconut Sugar

1-2T Brandy

Add the cream to a small pan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Stir in spices and sugar and reduce to a simmer for 4-5 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat, stir in brandy and serve immediately.


For those who don’t like Christmas Pudding, chocolate is the only way to go. I’d probably make a large version of these Raw Mint Chocolate Tartlets with some crushed peppermint candy canes on top!

If you can manage anything else at this stage, one of Tanya’s Raw Mince Pies would be fantastic, or just a couple of clementines while lingering at the table.


Later on, after your Christmas day walk, once you’re settled down with the family to watch a Christmas film, pass around a plate of homemade chocolate treats. All these ideas come from Sylvia of Superfoodista.

I think that will be quite enough food for one day!

Do you have a traditional menu planned or are you trying something new this year? I’d love to hear what’ you’re making. Do feel free to share recipe links in the comments.

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Healthy Christmas Cookies 2013


Whoopee it’s nearly Christmas! Less than 2 weeks to go! Sweet treats are aplenty at this time of year but just because you want to eat healthier it doesn’t mean you have to miss out.

A group of lovely blogger ladies have come together to share their healthier cookie recipes with you-18 in total- so plenty to see you through the season!

I contributed my Chocolate Orange Goji Cookies to the party. if you haven’t made these yet, now’s the time. Or, if these don’t peak your interest there are many more to choose from…

Chocolate Orange Goji Cookies

Sugar-free Sugar Cookies, Raw Gingerbread Men, Anzac biscuits with Cranberries, Chocolate Mint Tea Cookies…You’re sure to find the perfect cookie for you :)

Here’s the full list:

1. Sugar-Free Sugar Cookies - Gluten, Dairy, Egg and Sugar Free from Candida free Candee

2. Dark Chocolate Truffle Cookies – gluten free and dairy free from Tessa Domestic Diva

3. Macadamia Coconut Cookies – gluten free, sugar free, with dairy free and vegan option from Candida diet Plan

4. Christmas No-Bake Chocolate Pumpkin Cookies – gluten free, grain free & super versatile from Gluten free Cat

5. Jungle Balls – quick, raw & vegan from Carrie on Vegan

6. Raw Gingerbread Men – Raw, grain free, and vegan from Om Nom Ally

7. Chocolate-Orange-Goji Cookies (No-Bake or Baked) – gluten free from Coconut and Berries

8. Spiced Orange Cookies - gluten-free, vegan & oil-free from Stir, Sift & Savour

9. Gingerbread Men who like to be healthy – gluten free, dairy free & vegan from Including Cake

10. Quinoa Raisin Cookies – gluten free from Simply Sugar and Gluten free

11. Gingerbread-Cookies – Gluten free, dairy free and egg free from Sandi’s Allergy free Recipes

12. Flourless Triple Nut (or Seed) Brownies - gluten free, grain free, vegan & paleo from Gluten free Easily

13. Hazelnut and Cherry Carob Truffles - vegan and wheat-free from Bitesized Thoughts

14. Double Chocolate Paleo Hazelnut Cookies – gluten free, grain free & dairy free from the Tasty Alternative

15. Healthy Peppermint Oreo Cookies – vegan & gluten free from The Healthy Maven

16. Chewy Molasses Cookies – gluten-free and sweetened with date sugar – from Queen of Quinoa

17. Anzac Biscuits with Cranberries – from Green Gourmet Giraffe

18. Chocolate Mint Tea Cookies - refined sugar free from Spiced Curiosity

Plus a few useful conversion tips how to use Stevia & Xylitol in Baking instead of sugar.

Healthy Christmas Cookies 2013

Go check them out and share with friends and family.

A big thank you to Sandra of Candida Diet Plan for hosting!

What’s your favourite holiday cookie?

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Review: Raw Foods Festivities Workshop, London


Sorry I haven’t posted for a little while. End of term busy-ness crept up on me and I had a lot of work to get done. Thankfully I’ve handed in all my assignments now, and with just a few classes to go I’m ready for the Christmas break and lots of kitchen time!

I should really have been working on Saturday but naughty me snuck off to London last minute to take part in a Raw Foods Workshop run by Tanya Alekseeva of Better Raw. I’ve talked about Tanya before and reviewed one of here other e-books, “Nourished: Raw Foods for winter”, but this class was focused especially on Christmas recipes!

Tanya demonstrated a whole raw foods Christmas menu, right from drinks through to desserts, and showed that you definitely don’t have to miss out if you want to eat raw or even partially raw this Christmas. We’ll be at my brother’s for Christmas Day this year where the menu won’t be raw or even vegan but my sister-in-law is very kindly insisting on cooking a special vegan dish for me and everyone else to share. All the same,  I’m hoping to make some of the raw recipes we tried at the workshop for my family to enjoy over the Christmas period too.

All the recipes came from another of Tanya’s e-books “Festive: The Best Raw Food Christmas Recipes” which has 30 recipes in total.

Tanya Alekseeva, Better Raw

Tanya in action with the nut loaf before its time in the dehydrator

I thought I knew a lot about raw food already but found I learnt so much in the two and a half hour class. It was so lovely to be in the company of like-minded people too- passionate foodies who care about their food being both healthy and tasty. I’ve been in touch with Tanya for some time too but hadn’t met in person before Saturday.  She really has such a wonderful energy and enthusiasm for what she does and her passion for raw foods is certainly infectious. I came out of the workshop simply buzzing and excited to eat more raw meals!

Raw Christmas Feast

Each dish was prepared in front of us in the lovely kitchen while we sat on comfortable sofas and sipped spiced Christmas tea Smile

So what did we eat?

Sorry for the poor quality pictures. The lighting wasn’t the best in the workshop space and I was keen to get my plate of food!

For the main meal there was:

Nut Loaf
Mushroom Jus
Caramelized Onions
Cranberry Chutney              and
All the Trimmings Salad

Wow! I loved how all the components had been carefully considered to reflect the flavours of a traditional Christmas dinner but in a raw and much healthier form. Unlike the heavy, sleep-inducing food you might be more used to eating on Christmas Day, this meal will leave you with energy for a long afternoon walk (or even a run!).

Raw Mince Pies

A celebration always calls for dessert! There are several options in the e-book: traditional Christmas Pudding, Cinnamon Cookies, White Chocolate Orange Cream Berry Cake, Ginger Crunch Cookies, Very Berry Raw Food Trifle….but we got to try the Christmas Mince Pies. These were unbelievably delicious and far superior to the baked kind in my opinion. We were fighting over the last ones! Tanya’s kindly shared this recipe on her website, along with some other raw Christmas recipes gathered from other chefs. None of these require a dehydrator.

Raw Nut Nog

Since I’ve been back home I couldn’t resist making the final recipe we tasted on the day- the Nut Nog. This rich, sweet and perfectly spiced drink is a real treat and the perfect way to celebrate finishing my work Smile. It’s made using homemade hazelnut milk so it’s extra creamy. Can you spot my little robin in the background? I think he wants to dive in!

As a special Christmas treat, Tanya’s offering a 25% discount on all her e-books (before December 31st) and has also collaborated with a whole load of companies to bring us discounts on their products. Some of my favourite companies are featured, including Detox Your World, The Raw Chocolate Company and Teapigs tea.

There are also massive savings to be had on kitchen equipment- Vitamix blenders, dehydrators, the Tribest personal blender (this is the one I have and love!), and much more.

There are no upcoming workshops listed at the moment, but keep your eye on the teaching page as I’m sure more will pop up soon. Tanya is, however, holding a very special event in the new year- a seven-course raw supper club! It sounds like a must if you’re interested in raw food and can get to London for the 29th of January.

 Have you attended a cooking (or “un-cooking” class before? I’d love to hear about your experiences.

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Review & Giveaway: Super Healthy Snacks and Treats

Raw Mint Chocolate Tartlets

“More than 60 easy recipes for energizing, delicious snacks free from gluten, dairy, refined sugar and eggs”. Sounds pretty good doesn’t it?

Well it is! “Super Healthy Snacks and Treats”, published earlier this year by Ryland Peters & Small, was written by Jenna Zoe, the founder of Foods to Love, the nutrition and recipe blog and online healthy products store. I discovered Jenna and her book via Instagram and was really excited to get my hands on a copy. It’s especially fantastic to see a UK-authored book of this kind. It seems the plant-based, healthy living scene is finally catching on here!

Super Healthy Snacks and Treats, Jenna Zoe

Facing nutrition information overload, I’m sure something a lot of us can relate to, Jenna set out to find a simple way of eating which left her feeling good. Her criteria for the foods she was going to eat were that:

- They had to be natural, whole foods that were minimally processed
- She had to love how they tasted.
- They had to suit her system. She paid close attention to what made her feel best.

The result of the experiment is this book! Jenna hopes to inspire us to make our own healthy eating guidelines and feel empowered to take the best care of ourselves.

All the dishes in the book are packed with nutrition, not to mention taste, colour and fun!

Most of the recipes are very easy to make with a few longer ones which look a little extra fancy, ideal for special occasions. I was familiar with almost all the ingredients and don’t think any listed are particularly uncommon, especially if you already avoid dairy and refined sugars and flours and are used to alternatives.

Raw Mint Chocolate Tartlets

As well as the recipes there’s lots of useful information in here: a guide to essential ingredients and substitutions, tips and tricks, a how to use the book feature and Jenna’s “principles of healthy snacking”.

The recipe chapters are divided into Breakfasts, Power Snacks, Party Snacks, Dips & Dippers, Sweet Bites & Cookies & Bakes so there’s something for any time of the day.

Each recipe is accompanied by a little intro, where you’ll find more nuggets of useful info, and beautiful pictures which will make you want to get in the kitchen pronto!

Raw Mint Chocolate Tartlets

This here is one of the insanely delicious Raw Mint Chocolate Tartlets. I don’t need to tell you again of my love for raw desserts but this one is honestly one of the best I’ve had. Even better is that they take less than 10 minutes to put together and only need 15 minutes to set. They are very rich so I’d recommend sharing one!

The publishers have generously allowed me to reprint this recipe here for you all to try immediately:

Raw Mint Chocolate Tartlets:

(Makes 4)

145g/1C Almonds
135g/3/4C Dates, stoned
2T Unsweetened Desiccated Coconut, OR more almonds
a pinch of salt
2t Coconut Oil

Mint Chocolate Filling

(to fill 2 tarts) *Note, the book also lists a key lime filling to fill the other 2 tart shells. Either double the filling for 4 tarts or halve the crust mixture for 2)

1 Large Banana
60ml/1/4C Coconut Oil
60ml/1/4C Pure Maple Syrup
40g/1/3C Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
6 Fresh Mint Leaves OR 1/2t Mint Extract

Put the almonds in a food processor and blitz until crumbly. Add the dates, desiccated coconut, salt and coconut oil and pulse until a smooth mixture forms. Remove the dough from the processor and divide it into 4. Press each portion into a tartlet mould so that it neatly lines the base and sides of the mould. Ideally you want the tartlet cases to be about 1cm/1/2inch thick all the way around, with plenty of room for the filling. Don’t worry if you have a little extra dough- you can roll this into bite-size energy balls and save for a healthy snack later on.

For the filling, make sure the coconut oil is liquid. If it isn’t put it in a saucepan over low heat and allow to melt. Allow to cool completely, otherwise the hot oil will start to cook the other ingredients in the filling,

Place the filling ingredients in the food processor, one set at a time, and blitz until smooth. Divide each filling between 2 tartlet cases and freeze for at least 15 minutes to set.

Raw tarts will keep, in the freezer, for up to 2 weeks, so they’re a great make-ahead option for tea and dinner parties.

Vegan Protein Pancakes

Next up, Protein Pancakes. If there is a pancake recipe in any new cookbook I get then that will most likely be the first I try! These are made from gluten-free flour and a dose of vegan protein powder and were light and fluffy but very filling too. I’ll be making these regularly.

Zucchini Hummus

I like to cover a range of sections when reviewing a cookbook so thought I’d make something savoury to complement my sweet choices. A batch of some kind of dip in the fridge is always useful and there are several in the book to choose from. I opted for the Zucchini Hummus which is rich and satisfying, despite not having chickpeas in. It’s also a good alternative for those who have trouble digesting beans.

Almond-Flax Crackers

Along with the hummus I served some veggies and another one from the book, the Almond-Flax Crackers. These are so so scrumptious and put conventional cardboard-like crackers to shame. They’re completely grain-free so very nutrient-dense and with lots of flavour so I’d happily eat them on their own instead of crisps. I would definitely recommend doubling the batch as there’s no way this recipe serves the 8 specified!

There isn’t one recipe in the book that doesn’t appeal but I’ve somehow shortlisted a few for my “must try very soon” list! The Breakfast Salad, Creole Cauliflower, Sticky Carrot Bites and Baby Gem Lettuce Wraps with Homemade Sweet Chilli Sauce.

I hope you’re as excited about this book as I am and I’m thrilled to have one copy to GIVEAWAY to a very lucky reader. To enter, do any one or all of the following things and leave a comment for each letting me know that you have done so. The more you do the more chances to win you have! I am sending the book personally so this giveaway is open WORLDWIDE!


1. Leave a comment on this post
2. “Like” Coconut and Berries on Facebook
3. Subscribe to Coconut and Berries by email
4. “Follow” me on Twitter
5. “Follow” @FoodstoLove on Twitter
6. “Follow” @RylandPeters on Twitter
7. Tweet about the giveaway and post the url in the comments.

Giveaway ends Thursday 4th December 12am GMT. Winner will be picked randomly and contacted by email within 48 hours of the closing time.

“Super Healthy Snacks and Treats” is available from and as well as through Jenna’s site “Foods to Love”

Disclaimer: I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes, but, as always, all opinions are my own.

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P.S. Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends for tomorrow!

Vegan Delish App: Recipe & Giveaway!


Vegan Delish sized for blog use

I’m sure many of my readers are already familiar with Carrie. But if not, here’s a little introduction:

“Carrie Forrest is a graduate student in public health nutrition, author of the popular blog, Carrie on Vegan, and creator of the best-selling app for iPhones and iPads, Vegan Delish, featuring healthy recipes using whole food ingredients. As a thyroid cancer survivor, she is keenly aware of the health benefits of a plant-based diet. Carrie has been vegan since 2010 based on her love for animals and a commitment to making the world a more compassionate place.”

As you can probably tell, Carrie’s a pretty inspirational woman. She’s doing a wonderful job in educating others about the benefits of a wholefoods, plant-based diet, and with her advice and tips, recipes and app she makes it more than possible for anyone to follow suit.

Carrie Forrest headshot

Vegan Delish is exactly as it’s described “A Dynamic Recipe App to Nourish Your Healthy Life”. Carrie has thought of everything to make it as easy as possible to eat good, healthy, vegan food.

You can see the iTunes preview page for the app here and read what other people have to say about it too.

easy recipes

A long with an abundance of frequently updated recipes, there are several snazzy features:

- You can save all your favourites in a file for later with just a click of a button. Especially useful for someone like me who’s always coming across new recipes to try and then forgetting about them.

- As well as browsing the recipes from A-Z, you can search by category. There’s a huge list of categories from the typical Breakfasts, Main Dishes and Desserts to Holiday, Party Foods, Pressure Cooker, Kid Friendly and more. I liked that you can also search by keyword- it’s always useful to be able to find a recipe when you’ve got a few things hanging around but don’t know what to do with them. A search for black beans, for example, pulled up the likes of “BBQ Baked Beans,” “Jalapeno Baked Bean Hummus” “Slow Cooker Indian Stew” and “Spinach & Black Bean Brownies”!

- You can share your top picks on social media, email to friends or print with a single click.

- Finally, another brilliant feature is the Shopping List. Again, Carrie’s made it all too easy for us. When looking at a recipe we can click the ingredients to add them individually to our list, or, if we don’t have any of them, add them all in one go. No excuses for forgetting to buy a key ingredient.

ipad-banner new recipes

ipad-banner sharing

ipad-banner shopping list

Carrie was kind enough to let me share one of the recipes from the app with you which I’ve just made and love! No-Bake PB & J Pie! It’s a delicious, decadent-tasting dessert, but as with all the recipes, it’s made using only wholefoods.

No-Bake PB & J Pie- Vegan App Recipe and Giveaway!

No Bake PB&J Pie

Published with permission of Vegan Delish


12 ounces/350g silken tofu
2 tablespoons cold water
1/2 cup strawberry preserves (no added sugar)
2 cups almonds
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup medjool dates, pitted
1 cup rolled oats
1 1/2 cups medjool dates, pitted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. To make the crust, place almonds in the bowl of a food processor. Process on high for 30 seconds until almonds are finely ground. Add oats to the almonds in the food processor and process for another 15 seconds or until both ingredients are finely ground.

2. With the processor running, add the dates one at a time or until all three ingredients are combined. Pulse in the water to moisten.

3. Use a spatula to pour the ingredients into a pie dish and use your hands to press the mixture evenly in the dish, including up the sides. Put the crust in the refrigerator to set while you make the filling.

4. To make the filling, combine the tofu, strawberry preserves, dates, vanilla extract, and peanut butter in a high-speed blender and process until smooth.

5. Pour the filling mixture into the pie crust and use a spatula to smooth. Let the pie set in the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving.

Serves 10

Note- Pictured above is my mini version ( I quartered the recipe, used raspberry preserves and also added a little fruity drizzle, just raspberry preserves thinned out with water). Most of the recipes follow the same theme as I’ve been talking about recently- quick and easy whilst still being tasty, nourishing and satisfying.

I”m submitting this recipe to the weekly link-ups: Healthy Vegan Fridays and Wellness Weekends

No-Bake PB & J Pie- Vegan App Recipe and Giveaway!

Now it’s giveaway time!

I’ve got three free codes for the app so we’ll have three winners. Unfortunately, the codes only work in the US so this is open to US readers only. I’ve got a few other giveaways lined up for UK readers though so stay tuned! The app itself is available to iphone/ipad users worldwide for just $2.99 or £1.99. You’ve got until Monday to enter- details below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’ve somehow managed to narrow down my selection to just a few recipes to go on the “must try soon” list: the Pumpkin Spice Muffins (gluten-free, grain-free and sugar-free!), Curried Stuffed Mushrooms, Ginger-Hemp Dressing and the Zucchini-Corn Fritters. How good does that all sound?

Good Luck!

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