Vegan twix bars |Recipe

Surprisingly… it has taken me 4 years to recreate and veganize twix bars. In the past I have veganized kit-kat andsnickers bars… however they may need an updating soon just to double check the recipe and make a few changes if necessary. But I am surprised that it has taken me so long to try to make twix.One reason… I thought it would be somewhat difficult with the caramel.Two, twix wasn’t my favourite candy bar even when I ate dairy. But I have wanted to try give a homemade version a go.The thing about making homemade twix is that it can easily become… far too sweet. The sweet shortbread base, the sweet caramel and then topped with the sweet chocolate…. It can just become too much. But I found that these were ok, not too sweet…. Even if they were still very sweet.Adding a pinch of salt in the caramel and even adding some sea salt ontop of the chocolate doesn’t just make it look fancy, but is also necessary to balance out the sugar and sweetness.There are a few ways you can make twix which I have seen online.Many go down the route of making it a raw food/no sugar/margarine/flour type of snack…. And I think many presumed that I made these twix from dates, nuts and coconut oil when I shared these on my feed (click here).Unfortunately,…. Or fortunately? These are made from sugar, flour, margarine and sugar…. So if that’s not for you, well then I have linked some alternatives on how to make this down below. However, it wouldn’t give you that caramel pull which I shared on my feed and it won’t taste exactly the same. But it can still be delicious 😊 Personally, I like both alternatives…. The rawfood/only natural sugars type of remakes of candy as well as the real deal – just a veganized version. They have two different purposes and taste slightly different, and well… it’s good that options exist!So… You all came here for the recipe so that is exactly what is coming next.But first, just some notes:

  • You can add some peanut butter or nut butter before the caramel layer to add a little extra salty touch
  • *Note, the shortbread base will be slightly crumbly, but you need to press it compact and store in the fridge to fully cool before baking.
  • Also, make the base rather thin, not too thin that it crumbles but about 1-2 cm. Otherwise it is easy for the base to take over in the completed bar.
  • *How long the shortbread base needs to bake will vary depending on ovens and how big you make the bars, so I highly recommend that you check on the base and not let it overbake. It will firm up when it is cooling, so don’t bake too long, but keep an eye on it as ovens and the size of your base will affect the cooking time.
  • *Use whatever chocolate you like – I added some coconut oil to mine when melting to thin it out and not be too sweet. You could potentially use a darker chocolate which isn’t as sweet, or why not use maybe a dark chocolate with some flavour in it, to kick it up a notch!

How to make these bars with no sugar/margarine/white flour will be posted after the original recipe!

Recipe:

Makes 16 bars. C.a 1 hour prep/cook/chill time. Minimum 2 hours in the freezer before serving.

 

Ingredients:

Shortbread base:

200g margarine (take out of the fridge c.a 15 minutes before using)

100g caster sugar

c.a 260g all purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1tsp vanilla powder/sugar

½ tsp baking powder

1-2tsbp cold water, if necessary.

Caramel sauce:

500ml vegan cream – either cooking cream (such as imat) or whisking cream such as (Alpro soya)

100ml syrup

3tbsp white sugar & 3 tbsp brown sugar (note, can also use just either or)

2 tbsp margarine

Pinch of salt

Topping:

c.a 100-150g chocolate of choice

Pinch of salt

Optional, 1tbsp coconut oil

How to:

Short bread base:

In a mixer, or a with an electric whisk, cream together the margarine (200g), sugar (100g) and vanilla (1tsp). Once creamed, sift in the flour (260g) and add the salt and baking powder (1/2tsp). Mix until combined and a dough starts to form. Note, you may need to add 1 tbsp of water if it is far too crumbly… but best is to add just a little water at a time so that it doesn’t get too wet. The dough should just about form into a ball/dough.

Wrap the dough in aluminium foil or cling film into a tight ball and place in the fridge for minimum 30 minutes.

In the mean time make the caramel.

Caramel:

To make the caramel, add the cream (500ml), sugar(6tbsp), syrup (100ml) and pinch of salt to a pot. Heat on medium/high temperature and stir to avoid burning. Allow to cook – avoiding burning – for around 10-15 minutes, stirring continuously. The caramel will begin to thicken – remember that it will thicken up more when cooling down. Once the caramel has begun to thicken up, after about 10-12 minutes cooking remove from the heat and add the 2 tbsp of vegan margarine. Allow to melt, stirring if necessary. Set aside and allow to cool down.

Note, if the caramel hasn’t thickened up despite cooling down for atleast 30 minutes, just heat up once again for another few minutes, stirring when necessary, and that will help it to cook a little longer and become thicker.

Preheat the oven to 160C (or 140C with fan). Either grease your baking tray, or place parchment paper in your tray (I personally recommend using parchment paper so you can lift the bar out when done).

Once the shortbread base has chilled in the fridge for minimum 30 minutes, take out of the fridge and press into the base of your baking tray, forming the base of your bars. The dough should have firmed up and not be too crumbly so that you can press it into a base. Remember, to not make the base too thick – or too thin so that it just crumbles apart.

Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes – the time depends on the thickness of your base and what size tray you are making. Just check on the base to make sure it isn’t burning.

Once done, take out of the oven and allow to cool completely.

Chocolate topping:

In the mean time, melt your chocolate over a waterbath. (Heat water in a pot, place a bowl or plate – that can stand the high temperature – ontop of the pot. Place the chocolate in the bowl or plate and it will begin to melt from the steam. Add some coconut oil if you want to thin out the chocolate). Once the chocolate has half way melted, remove the pot from the stove and the chocolate will continue to melt just from the heat.

When the shortbread base has cooled completely and the caramel has thickened up, pour the caramel over the shortbread base and spread out to cover the whole base. Then pour the melted chocolate on top, sprinkle with a little sea salt and place in the fridge to cool and firm up.

In a few hours, take out of the freezer and chop into desired bars or squares! Eat and enjoy 😊 Keep stored in the fridge or freezer, depending on how fast you eat them.

Alternatives:

You can make the base using almond flour and dates which you combine in a food processor (make sure the dates are the fresh kind and not the dry kind).

For the caramel you can make a date based caramel, such as THIS ONE, or you can mix together almond butter, maple syurp and a pinch of vanilla and salt to make a caramel sauce. These are not exactly the same as caramel based on sugar and cream, but it still works.

And for the chocolate topping you can opt for a verk dark chocolate or using sugar free chocolate, or make your “own” chocolate from melted coconut oil, cacao powder, vanilla…. Though that definitely won’t be the same result but it can work.

If you give this recipe a go don’t forget to let me know and tell me what you think! You can tag me or message me on Instagram, itsahealthylifestyle!

Are there any other candy bars you would like me to recreate? 😊

Mealprep: Coconutty-sweetpotato and kale soup and pasta with 3 bean bolognese

The first mealprep of 2020 and keeping it very simple.

Though, it is not like any of my mealpreps are that complicated as that sort of defeats the concept of simple, nutritious and quick mealpreps which is what i am to do and share. Though some weeks i guess my mealprep takes more time, requires more ingredients or i do more than 1-2 dishes and therefore is not quite as simple as just making a soup or frying some ingredients.

I will be trying to share my mealpreps on a monthly basis, unsure if i will have time to share every week… and it isn’t certain that i will mealprep everyweek because some weeks i don’t need to. Some weeks i have time to cook dinner each evening and then i just make double to eat for lunch the next day (or dinner the next day and i cook something new for lunch). Otherweeks i batch cook ingredients so i can throw together into meals in the morning and evening… but i will be making posts about that in the future.

Many don’t like mealprepping or think it will take too much time, and i understand that. Mealprepping isn’t for everyone, but i hope i can provide some inspiration and motivation if you are considering getting into prepping your meals. It does save you time and money throughout the week as you won’t have to cook everyday, you won’t have to buy food everyday and also you know you are eating nutritious meals. Not to mention, it will be very helpful if you are giving veganuary a go and still unsure about what to eat/not alot of vegan options in restaurants.

Also remember, you can opt for the easy form of mealprepping which is…. make a huge batch of whatever you are preparing for dinner so you can save in lunch boxes and freeze in for later in the week or so that you have some lunches or dinners prepared for the week. Though this form of mealprepping means you eat the same thing several times in a week, which not everyone likes.

This weeks mealprep consisted of:

Coconutty peanut butter sweet potato soup with rice and pasta with 3 bean bolognaise.

For snacks i am opting for fruit, overnight oats and chia seed pudding. So those i don’t need to prepare for the whole week, instead can just prepare the evening before.

This mealprep will last me about 4-5 days, i will freeze in some of the pasta as that works fine to be frozen and reheated. Rice on the otherhand isn’t the best to freeze, reheat, freeze etc so those will be eaten first.

Also, as i do like to eat varied i do cook other meals during the week so that i don’t just eat the same thing which is also good for the sake of nutrition and health to eat varied!

How long did it take me to mealprep?

I didn’t track the time, but about 1 hour i would say including prepping and cooking.

Nutrition of the meals?

When i mealprep i like to make sure i have foods from all the food grooups, meaning a source of carbohydrate, protein ,vegetables and healthy fats. Typically i go for frozen vegetables as they can be frozen whereas fresh vegetables or salad doesn’t freeze or reheat well, not to mention it quickly goes bad in the fridge. Also i typically try to avoid using rice or roasted potatoes in my meal preps as they just aren’t the most mealprep friendly ingredients, but they are fine to prepare if you will eat the food within 12-48 hours. Being careful about how you store the dishes!

Enough talk about mealprepping… more useful information about mealprepping will be coming to you soon, but if you have any questions feel free to comment down below or message me on Instagram!

For the sake of simplicity and being able to search and find my recipes and meals, i have decided that i will post all the recipes in individual posts and instead link back to them in my weekly (or monthly) meal prep posts. This will mean the posts won’t be too long and i can instead share facts about the meals or tips about meal prepping or time/price/nutrition in these posts 🙂

On to the recipes:

The sweet potato-peanut butter stew RECIPE HERE.

3 bean blognaise with pasta recipe HERE

For some snack ideas…

Overnight oats

Chia seed pudding

Baked oatmeal

Are you into mealprepping… whether you answer yes or no, i would love to know what you like/dislike about it. Or let me know… what are you mealprepping this week?

3 bean pasta bolognaise

One of the tips I always give when someone wants to cut down on meat or try to start eating more vegetarian… or just wants to eat more fruits and vegetables is to try to do 50/50 beans/meat (or plantbased meat) in dishes where possible. For example, lasagne, stews, tacos or bolognaise it works great to omit some of the meat or plantbased meat and instead use beans or lentils.

Personally, I am trying to use less plantbased meats and use more beans and lentils… not just for the sake of saving money but also to not be so dependant on fake meats. I love the texture and taste of them and can gladly eat them twice a day… but just like with meat…. I think it’s best to keep it at a minimal and focus on “wholefoods” when possible. Even if my stance is that it is better to eat plantbased meats than real meat for the sake of the animals. Even if some meat isn’t unhealthy.

Image result for benefits of eating beans

But enough about that….

Bolognaise is the perfect dish to switch 50% of the meat/plantbased meat for beans or lentils. It will provide you with fibre, protein, complex carbs as well as had less impact on the climate… so just positives of making this switch.

You could just use your basic bolognaise recipe and switch beans for meat*, but I thought I would share a simple recipe down below if you don’t have a standard bolognaise recipe you usually use.

Recipe:

250g Pasta of choice – I used penne pasta as that was what I had at home

Sauce:

350ml pasta sauce (or used crushed tomatos and you season the sauce yourself with garlic, onion, black pepper, some rosemary or thyme)

1 shallot onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, mined

2 tbsp tomato paste

Optional, 1 carrot grated

Optional, 1 celery stalk, chopped

Salt, pepper, rosemary (fresh or frozen)

c.a 100ml vegetable stock

c.a 1 package of mixed beans, i used kidney beans, black beans and chickpeas (but white beans would work as well or a premade mixed beans package)

150g vegan mince

100g sweet corn

Serve with some vegan parmesan

How to:

Boil the pasta or spaghetti according to instructions.

In a large frying pan or pot, fry the garlic, onion and minced meat in some oil. After about 5 minutes, add the sauce ingredients (tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, carrot, celery and vegetable stock). Allow to boil/simmer for 10 minutes. Add the beans and sweet corn along with rosemary, salt, pepper and other seasoning of choice. Allow to cook for another 5 minutes.

Serve along with the pasta/spaghetti, adding some vegan parmesan or nutritional yeast on top for extra cheeseyness!

You can make bolognaise in many different ways, from just a basic tomato sauce, salt, pepper and minced meat to a red lentil bolognaise (recipe HERE) and some like to go fancy adding red wine or white cooking wine to their sauce along with some extra fancy spices. Whichever type of sauce you prefer… opt to use some beans instead of meat for health, taste, texture, the environment and the animals!! 😊

Peanut butter, sweet potato and kale stew

A perfect, warming and delicious meal to throw together in autumn or winter.

Not only is this dish easy to make and super tasty, it is also packed with vitamin A, iron and fibre.

I decided to add some peanut butter to this “stew” mostly because I like the taste and creaminess it adds, but you can opt out of using peanut butter… or switch to another nut butter if you prefer.

It may also be good to think about whether you can bring food with nuts to school/work or wherever you are bringing the lunch box if you decide to mealprep this dish. Then it may be better to just eat this meal at home or opt out of using nuts if you aren’t allowed food with nuts at school/work.

I have made a similar dish to this before, and made one using tofu and sundried tomatoes which is also super tasty, so you can check that out HERE.

Changes:

  • You can adjust the spices or change the spices depending on your own preference
  • You can change coconut milk for example cooking cream (oat or soya based)
  • You can switch kale for spinach
  • You can switch vegan chicken pieces to tofu or tempeh, or just omit this ingredient

I personally wouldn’t switch sweet potato for regular potato as it just won’t be the same. It is the sweetness from the sweet potato which works so well with the nut butter and gives this dish a slight sweet taste.

Now onto the recipe:

Recipe:

Makes c.a 4-6 portions, takes about 40 minutes

Ingredients:

2 small/medium sweet potato – peeled and diced

1 shallot onion

2 cloves garlic

c.a 200g kale – fresh or frozen

150g vegan chicken – can use tempeh, tofu or leave this out

1 heaped tablespoon peanut butter

240ml water

240ml coconut cream (full fat) or plantbased cooking cream

½ can crushed tomatoes

½ can chickpeas

Handful of cocktail tomatoes

1 tsp sambal oelek

1tsp smoked paprika

1-2 tsp brown sugar (for sweetness)

1tsp salt (or use less if you are using a salted peanut butter)

Black pepper

Rice

Top with crushed peanuts and some naan bread

Oil to fry in.

How to:

Start by preparing the rice according to instructions (make sure to rinse the rice a few times before cooking!)

Begin by dicing the onion and garlic. Add to a large pot along with 1tbsp oil and begin to fry until golden brown.

In the mean time, peel and dice the sweet potato into small/medium cubes.

Add the sweet potato to the pot along with the water (240ml) and the tomato juice. Add the peanut butter, sambal oelek, salt, pepper, smoked paprika and pinch of brown sugar. Mix and allow to heat on medium temperature under a lid for 15 minutes, stirring every now and then.

When the sweet potato has begun to soften, pour in half or all of the coconut milk , depending on how thick or loose you want your stew. Add in the kale, vegan chicken, chickpeas and cocktail tomatoes (halved!).

Allow to cook for another 5-10 minutes until the sweet potato are soft and the stew has thickened up a bit. Taste and add more seasoning according to preference.

Once done, serve the stew along with the rice and some crushed peanuts on top!

If you try this recipe, don’t forget to let me know what you think 😊

You can find other soups and stews on my blog or other easy mealprep recipes!

31 vegan dinner ideas for veganuary

January the 1st 2020. And many of you are *hopefully* comitting to veganuary… or maybe you have just decided to eat more plantbased and are looking for some meal inspiration…. well then, here are 31 lunch or dinner ideas you can try making or incoporating into your weekly diet!

When you first start eating plantbased you may find it hard to know what to eat and you end up just eating salad, or you take away the meat and dairy but don’t replace it with anything so you end up unsatisfied, hungry and get cravings.

So my best tip is to 1) Remember to substitute what you take away. I.e switch dairy products for non dairy alternatives. And if you take away the meat or fish on your plate, don’t just take it away or substitute with more potatoes. Instead substitute it with tofu, tempeh, beans, soya products or something else that gives you protein.

Another tip is to write down all your favourite meals and find a way to veganize them. Now a days the majority of dishes can be veganized in one way or another. Though of course, you do have to be prepared for the fact that the dish won’t taste exactly the same. So some prefer to note veganize and isntead just recreate new vegan dishes which don’t try to replicate a non vegan dish.

I would suggest you write down a bunch of different meal ideas or recipes you want to try or try to recreate and have that as a back up for when you don’t know what to cook or eat. A good idea is also to have the list on your phone for the days you are tired and hungry and need to quickly shop for food.

Invest in some cookbooks or follow a bunch of vegan recipe creators online (such as myself 😉 Instagram: itsahealthylifestyle)

Also, here is a post with some good staple foods to always have at home &what’s in my fridge/freezer

And for more inspiration or cooking videos, you can follow me on my Youtube channel – IzzyM

Meal ideas

*click the picture for the name of the dish*

There you have many different dishes you can try out 🙂 I have plenty more recipes you can search for on my blog. Also a whole bunch of breakfast, snacks and desserts which you can check out.

So now it is just to get cooking and try different recipes, see what you like and what you don’t like!

If you try any of these recipes, let me know in the comments down below or on my Instagram (itsahealthylifestyle)