I met Elisabeth 3 years ago when I was looking for a person to assist us in our production of nut miks and raw snacks. She walked into Jus Jus with that glowing smile and charmed everyone at Jus Jus with her warmth and positive presence!
She then impressed us with her knowledge and talent in the kitchen, especially when it comes to plant-based cuisine!
A few months later, we both found ourselves pregnant at the same time! Our kids are just three months apart in age, so it’s always fun to catch up with her and exchange experiences on all things motherhood, work/life balance (what is that?!) and of course, healthy living!
Elise has a very insightful blog where she shares the most beautiful vegan recipes! All easy to make and accessible to all! We are also absolute fans of her instagram page where she shares her passion for a plant-based, sustainable, eco-friendly life all captured with amazing photographs (another of her passions and talents!). Check them out!
So it was only fitting that we featured her as our first guess to kick-off our first Q&A muse series!
Elise welcomed us to her cozy house, where we spent the whole day enjoying our fave Jus Jus snacks, meals and juices! Her sweet daughter, Nala, stole our hearts and became the star of the shoot!
Read below and get inspired with her laid back style!
IN MY KITCHEN YOU'LL FIND PLENTY OF:
Fruits and vegetables. I like going to the farmers markets or local fruit shops in my neighborhood and I always end up buying as much fruits and vegetables as I can carry. Preferably seasonal & locally grown. Although, I lost my heart somewhere in a tropical jungle so every now and then I can’t help myself but buying kilo’s of mango’s, pineapples and papaya’s to sooth my tropical cravings, especially during those dark and cold winter months when all tht Belgium has to offer are apples and pears.
I also have around 50 mason jars filled with all kinds of bulk products: nuts, seeds, legumes, spices, rice, quinoa, dried fruits, different kinds of sugar, starches, chickpea flour, polenta,… The package free shop is like a candy store to me and I try to keep my kitchen full of the good stuff so I'm less tempted to buy prepackaged processed foods in the supermarket.
I used to skip breakfast all the time as a teenager but lately it’s my favorite meal of the day. Especially on those slow mornings when we have time to take it slow without the rush of getting Nala ready for daycare. Don’t know how those parents with 3 kids manage to get them all dressed and good to go, because over here the struggle to get our toddler nice and clean with a full tummy can be real. So I’d say time is the key element on my dream breakfast.
At least once a week we throw a little pancake party with all the toppings: melted dark chocolate, peanut butter, homemade compote, caramelized apples, maple syrup, strawberries, whipped coconut cream... the more toppings the better, right? Lately I also discovered the joy that waffles can bring. I never thought that vegan waffles could be any good, but after trying the delicious Jus Jus ones I asked my mom if I could use her waffle iron for a while and started to experiment with some recipes as well. Even though my current recipe is pretty healthy, it always feels like such a treat to start your day with a warm and crispy waffle.
What we eat depends a lot on the weather. During the winter, oatmeal is our go-to breakfast. it’s so simple to make, yet so comforting to wake up with a warm bowl of porridge while it’s still cold and gloomy outside. We always use plantbased milks such as cashew, almond, rice or soy. Variation is key so we like to play around with different flavors by adding cacao, vanilla, berries, carrots (tastes just like carrot cake), kurkuma, baked bananas, grated apples, cinnamon, raisins or nut butters.
During summer we tend to go for smoothie bowls (they remind us so much of our time in Bali) or nicecream (blended frozen banana’s) topped with granola, hemp or chiaseeds, and extra fresh fruits. It feels good to know that we already had a little vitamin boost to kickstart our day.
Nala really loves plantbased yoghurt. If it’s up to her she would eat it all day everyday. We always make sure to buy the ones fortified with B12 because it’s the most important vitamin to supplement as a vegan.
HOW DO YOU TAKE YOUR COFFEE?
It took me long before I jumped on the coffee bandwagon but now I am completely hooked! Haha, it feels like all my answers start with: "it depends on the weather” but it’s true. Today I had a cold brew because it was too hot and sweaty to have anything warm. Usually I am taking my coffee black but it’s also super delicious with some Jus Jus Vanilla Sky cashew milk. At home we use a french press and I like a good filter or espresso as well. Whenever we are in one of our favorite coffee bars I often go for an oatmilk cappuccino.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE JUS JUS PRODUCT?
I also really like the kale chips. They are so crunchy and cheesy, ten times better than any regular crisps. Talking about crispy treats: the dehydrated Pineapple Crisps are like a dream. Perfect snack to match with a Pineapple Mojito!
During my pregnancy it sometimes felt like my daughter was made by Jus Jus because I was craving the Nutty Granola, nut milks and cashew cream all the time. The ginger shots also helped me a lot with my morning sickness.
My favorite juice must be the Heartbeet or Ginger Spice. Can you tell I really like ginger?
Vitamin B12! It is the only vitamin that is not recognised as being reliably supplied from a varied wholefood, plant-based diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, together with exposure to sun.
The only reliable vegan sources of B12 are foods fortified with B12 (including some plant milks, some soy products and some breakfast cereals) and B12 supplements.
KITCHEN TOOL OBSESSION:
I bought myself a really good knife a couple of years ago and it was the best purchase ever. From breakfast to dinner, I use it the whole day through to cut my fruits, veggies, herbs... it’s better to spend a little more on the tools you’ll need on a daily basis than to buy thousands of kitchen gadgets you’ll only use once in a while.
RECIPE STAPLES ALWAYS ON HAND:
Pancakes! From sweet and fluffy american ones to savory vegetable pancakes. I often have a stack in the fridge to snack on. The savory ones are perfect next to some soup, salad or a stew. I like to add some chickpea flour to the batter for some extra protein and I often make them gluten free by using oat or rice flour.
Roasted veggies, especially sweet potatoes are always a winner in our house as well. They are easily turned into a nice meal together with some roasted chickpeas or hummus. Green Kitchen Stories does these posts where they show their mealprep for a busy week ahead and it’s so inspiring!
FAVE THING TO COOK FOR FRIENDS:
Instead of making one dish, I really like to fill the table with a lot of small dishes, dips, salads, home baked bread... Last weekend my family came over to celebrate Nala’s upcoming birthday and I made a huge food platter to share. In fact I made two: a fruity one in the afternoon and a savory one for dinner. I posted a picture on my instagram so if you want to know what it looked like you can check it out!
Running after my daughter. haha. Seriously, I really liked to work out before she was born but now I find it hard to schedule enough free-time to sport as much as I would like to. Bikram yoga was my favorite and I know I should get back on track because I am not nearly as flexible as I used to be. I do go for a run every now and then because it’s the easiest to sneak into my days.
MAKING TIME TO READ THIS BOOK:
As soon as I am reading a book, I want to finish it as quickly as possible. I tend to go for romans instead of non fiction. Last ones I read where by Connie Palmen, Charles Bukowski and Hugo Claus. I also started to read 'No time to waste’ by Naomi Klein on climate change. Not the most optimistic book about the future of our planet but a must read for everyone who wants to learn more about the underlying economical and political structures that make it hard to take action on a global scale.
IF I COULD GIVE JUST ONE PIECE OF HEALTH ADVICE IT WOULD BE...
Food should be fun! It’s too often paired with guilt or stress. As long as you try to go for unprocessed whole foods for 80% of the time, it’s okay to eat whatever you feel like for those other 20%.
I HAVE A HARD TIME GETTING MY KID TO EAT HIS VEGGIES, ANY TIP OR RECIPE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE THAT WORKS WITH NALA?
Oh boy, If only there was a magical trick to tackle this toddler-vs-veggies-game life would be so much easier. some days it’s easy peasy (funny enough especially when I make her peas and chickpeas) but other days she doesn’t even want to take a bite of a steamed carrot.
I did notice that it helps when we are eating the same thing all together. I used to make her toddler-food: not too spicy, not too special, and if she liked her broccoli on Monday I would make her broccoli for the rest of the week thinking I found the secret ingredient to her heart. But I quickly found out that’s not the way to do it. I wouldn’t be happy with the same meal everyday either, even if it was my favorite. I also stopped underestimating her taste palette. I thought she would definitely dislike olives or chicory but it turns out she doesn’t mind these strong flavors at all.
Mixed soup or hidden vegetables in baked goods or pancakes are lifesavers as well.