I was recently offered a copy of 'The Happy Cookbook' by Lola Berry and it sparked my interest as it was full of gluten-free and sugar-free recipes. I decided to check it out, but already having a kitchen bookshelf full of healthy sugar-free recipes, I thought it would likely be similar to the rest.
Wasn't I glad that I was wrong.
I fell in love immediately. Firstly, the book is just so pretty (I'm a big sucker for cute illustrations so I couldn't help but want to flick through it). As I did have a flick through, I realised that the recipes are totally user-friendly. Some of the other (similar) cookbooks that I have are full of delicious recipes that I am a little afraid to cook, simply because I've never heard of some of the ingredients and don't know where to source them. But a lot of Lola's recipes are made up of ingredients that I already have in my cupboard. They are recipes that I can see myself making on a regular basis and being able to whip up at the last minute. The food looks so amazing, and the photos of the food are just so pretty.
But that's not all. You all know that I am a huge fan of natural beauty products, so imagine my absolute delight when I found a section on 'Natural Beauty' in the front full of fantastic natural products and their uses. I think Lola just became my new best friend.. and is it weird that I kind of feel like I know her now? Probably... but once you own the cookbook you do get the feel that Lola is a new friend full of good advice just sitting up on the bookshelf whenever you need her.
Oh and did i mention that the whole book is just so pretty?
As you can see, I'm a bit of a fan of 'The Happy Cookbook' and Lola was kind enough to share one of her recipes with us today. She also answered a few questions that I had for her to help busy mums prepare healthy food for their families...
Here's what she had to say:
Hi Lola! Thanks so much for taking the time to answer a few questions today:
1. Families seem busier than ever these days. What is your best advice for mothers who want to avoid fast-food and cook nutritious meals but are very time-poor?
It does take prep, so if you can give yourself one prep day a week, even just for an hour or so. Think about making a big batch of food in one hit and frezzing it up in portions ready to go. Regarding school snacks, think of pre making energy balls and keeping them in the freezer so they're ready to go. Try to think of alternatives, so we're talking: sweet potato chips, kale chips and raw chocolate in the place of junk food treats.
2. What are some healthy foods that busy mums can quickly snack on during the day to keep their energy levels high?
I think making raw energy balls is a goodie.. Frogs on logs is brilliant too, that's just celery with nut butter and sultanas (so it actually looks like little frogs on logs). You can also try making a healthy avo dip and use raw sweet spud dippers.
3. What are 5 things you need in your pantry (so you always have ingredients to whip up a quick meal/snack)?
Medjool dates (just mix with nut butters and nuts and turn into an energy ball)
Avocados (can add to salad, have on it's own or even make a chocolate mousee from)
Coconut water, a nice sweet drink if you need a little pick me up.
Thanks for the great tips Lola, and for the delish recipe below:
Chia Pudding with Granola and Mixed Berries
(From The Happy Cookbook by Lola Berry)
375ml (1 ½ cups) almond milk (or try coconut milk)
80g (1/2 cup) chia seeds
2 tablespoons maple syrup
½ vanilla pod, split and scraped
130g (1 cup) mixed berries
About 150g (1 cup) Crunchy Paleo Granola (page 20)
Sprinkle of dry chia seeds, to serve
Edible flowers, to serve (if you want to go all out)
To make the chia pudding, put your nut milk, chia seeds, maple syrup and vanilla seeds into a jar, screw the lid on tight and give it a good shake, then place in the fridge for about 4 hours, or overnight is best. The chia seeds will expand to about three times their size. Then your pud is done! It’s time to get layering.
Now take two clear glasses, spoon a layer of chia pud in the bottom, then pop on a layer of berries, followed by a layer of Crunchy Paleo Granola. I like to make three layers, then top everything off with a few fresh berries and chia seeds. These will last 3 days in the fridge and serves 2.
The Happy Cookbook from Lola Berry can be purchased at www.dymocks.com.au