The weather is warming up ….. Smoothie Time

smoothie with blueberries, banana and cereal. the toning. selective focus

Whether you are trying to get some extra nutrients into your diet, lose some weight or change up your breakfast routine you need to make smoothies your new best friend.

Quick to pull together, nutrient dense and so many variations that you’ll never be bored.
I swear by smoothies and have one almost every day. Lately I have been adding in some Just Greens or Just Reds powder for an extra boost and I am really noticing the difference. ( I don’t get paid to endorse these products – I just really like them )

MPVJR200G vital-just-greens-200gm-vpjg

For even more oomph try adding some omega 3 sources like a teaspoon of flax, walnut or chia oil. Spirulina is a great source of amino acids and iodine. Probiotics found in live yoghurts or available in powder form is great for gut health. Protein powders can also be a huge help, especially when recovering from exercise. Use a clean powder like rice, pea or pure whey powder.

Whenever I speak to people who tell me they are too busy to eat well I steer them towards smoothies. If you have some frozen fruit and a blender you are off and racing. You can easily adjust the calorie level to suit your health goals and its easy to add in ingredients that you may be needing at specific times. 

To make things even easier and more time efficient you could try making up some freezer smoothie bags. Put the ingredients in the blender with some water or milk and you have breakfast ready in under a minute.

smoothiefreezerbags

Here’s a few of my favourites …. Use frozen fruit where you can or add lots of ice. Add enough water and ice to these recipes to get the consistency you like. Mix it up – there’s no hard and fast rules here. Add what you like and get blending.

My favourite smoothie
1/3 cup each of frozen mango and berries
1/2 small frozen banana
1/4 cup unsweetened apple juice
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons Just Reds powder
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 big handfuls of greens – spinach, celery, parsley, kale

Chocolate almond smoothie – for when you feel like something a bit sweet
1 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons chocolate protein powder
3 medjool dates
Lots of ice

Creaky joints smoothie – great for arthritis or any type of joint pain
1 stick celery with leaves
Small handful of parsley
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 peeled orange
1 cup cubed pineapple ( frozen is good)
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

Liver Boosting Smoothie – great of you have been exercising a lot, taking medications, using alcohol, eating processed foods or too much fat
1 small beetroot
juice of a lemon
big handful of kale
1/2 cucumber
1 orange

Digestive Help Smoothie – for IBS type symptoms
1 cup honeydew melon
1/2 cucumber
1/2 cup plain yoghurt with live cultures
1 teaspoon psyllium husks
1 teaspoon grated ginger
2 teaspoons honey

Stomach Settler – for an upset tummy
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 avocado
1 teaspoon chia seed
2 teaspoons honey
fresh mint

Lean muscle building smoothie – great for after the gym
1 orange
1 frozen banana
1 teaspoon chia seeds
2 teaspoons spiralling or Just Greens powder
1 cup water or coconut water
2 tablespoons clean protein powder

Recovery smoothie – replenishes after exercising and promotes recovery and muscle repair
1 banana
1 cup almond or rice milk
1/2 coconut water or water
2 tablespoons clean protein powder
1 teaspoon each of flax seeds, chia seeds and LSA
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon nut butter

Mega Green smoothie – so many minerals, anti-oxidants, immune boosters and liver supporters to keep you feeling great
1½ cups water
10 spinach leaves
5 kale leaves, stalk removed
3 celery stalks with leaves
1  apple, cored and chopped
1  pear, cored and chopped
1  banana frozen
Juice of ½  lemon
1/2 avocado
big handful of parsley

Blended green smoothie with ingredients on wooden table

Advertisements

Jam that you can eat to your hearts content …

jam

I love this stuff ! I love it on toast, in a smoothie or straight off the spoon.

Forget about supermarket jam whose first ingredient is usually sugar. Most commercial, and even home made jams, have a ratio of one or two parts sugar to one part fruit – YUCK.  That equates to as much as 7 teaspoons of sugar per serve.

This clever jam has very little sweetener and relies on the fruit for its flavour. It has the added benefit of healthy omega 3’s from the chia and antioxidants from the berries. It takes about 15 minutes to make so give it a try.

Super Chia Jam 

3 cups berries – blueberries, strawberries, raspberries or a mix. You can use fresh or frozen.
3-4 tablespoons of maple syrup or honey
2-3 tablespoons of chia seeds – Use 3 tablespoons if you like a firmer set to your jam
1 teaspoon vanilla

Place berries and sweetener in a saucepan and allow to simmer gently for about 5 minutes. Lightly crush with a spoon. Stir in chia and keep cooking gently for 10 – 15 minutes. You will need to stir it regularly during this time. Take off heat and stir in vanilla.

Pour into clean, sterilised jar and keep in fridge.

Lemon Coconut Protein Balls … a variation on a well loved theme …

lemon ball

There are lots of lemons on our tree at the moment so I thought it was time to start using them. Like everyone I know at the moment, I have a bit of a cold and have been drinking lots of honey and lemon tea and some of these little happy snacks should go very nicely with that. Can’t beat tea, a yummy snack and a good book in bed when you’re feeing a bit poorly.

Lots of people have told me that they love the protein balls recipe  (https://naturocath.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/how-to-eat-protein-balls-and-still-be-able-to-pay-your-mortgage/) and the hippy lamingtonshttps://naturocath.wordpress.com/author/naturocath/) so I thought I’d share a variation on this theme.

I made a batch of these this afternoon and they are happily chillin’ in the fridge for later on when the urge takes me.

Lemon Coconut Protein Balls 

2 cups raw cashews
1 1/2 cups desiccated coconut ( I toasted mine in a pan to make it super yummy but untoasted is ok )
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoons coconut oil , soft but not melted
Juice and rind of 2 lemons, limes or one of each
2 tablespoons vanilla protein powder

Extra 3/4 cup coconut for rolling – I toasted this too. Go on, do it, it tastes so much better !

Place cashews in a bowl and pour over enough boiling water to cover. Leave for at least 30 mins.

Place drained cashews and all other ingredients into a food processor and blend until combined and mostly smooth but not quite like a nut butter. Roll heaped teaspoons of this mixture into balls and roll in toasted coconut.

Chill in the fridge.

NB. Depending on the juiciness of your lemons you may need to adjust the amount of coconut or liquid you use but this is a very forgiving recipe so don’t get too worried about being precise.

Sunday Brunch Hippy Pancakes

pancake sunday

No need to feel guilty about Sunday splurges when you try these. So yummy, so good for you. Full of chia, almonds, cinnamon and flax seed meal these pancakes tick all the boxes for essential fatty acids, blood sugar control, fibre and taste.

Team them up with some fresh or poached fruit and coconut yogurt for Sunday morning heaven.

Sunday Brunch Hippy Pancakes

3/4 cup plain flour
3/4 cup wholemeal plain flour
3 heaped teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons raw sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 heaped tablespoons linseed (flax seed) meal
2 heaped tablespoons of almond meal or crushed almonds
1 heaped tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon (yes tablespoon) cinnamon
1 cup milk – I like soy or almond for this recipe
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons rice bran oil
i teaspoon vanilla

In a bowl mix together milk, water, vanilla, oil and apple cider vinegar and whisk like crazy for a minute or so until fluffy.

In a separate large bowl mix together flours, baking powder, sugar, salt, chia, almonds, linseed meal and cinnamon. Whisk to combine well and make sure there are no lumps.

Add wet mixture to dry and stir till well mixed. leave to stand for 10 minutes.
I use coconut oil to grease frypan for health and because it tastes great but you can use butter if you prefer.
Fry in batches turning when bubbles appear on top of pancakes.

Makes about 20 good sized pancakes.

Addiction warning ! Banana caramel ‘ice cream’ ……

Maca-Caramel-Crunch-Ice-Cream

Oh Lord ! This recipe needs to come with an addiction warning.

Someone recently posted this on my gym’s Facebook page and I thought I’d give it a go. It’s my new favourite everything ! We have recently had some seriously hot weather – up to 44 degrees – and I no longer care because I can whip up a big batch of this and happily while the day away with it.

Four ingredients that combine to make something super yummy with no processed sugars, preservatives, dairy or any of the other dozens of nasties that usually inhabit ice cream. One of the yummiest frozen desserts around in under two minutes. Gotta be happy with that !

Banana Caramel Ice cream 

4 frozen bananas – make sure you peel them before freezing because they are a pain in the neck to peel if you don’t.
6 medjool dates
Good big pinch of quality salt flakes
1 -2 tablespoons of nut butter – I used almond and it tasted great.

Put these in a blender or food processor and whiz till thick, smooth and creamy. Should only take a minute or two.

Eat and prepared to smile like a cheshire cat.

Make your own nut butters for a quarter of the price ….

a butter

 

If you are like us and love nut butters but don’t like the price tag read on ….

I just checked a supermarket website and found that nut butters (almond, cashew, brazil etc) are now selling for about $8.00 for 250grams. Crazy and unaffordable for most people.

We love to use nut butters. We spread them on toast, use them as toppings for muffins, spread them on slices of apple for a snack  but at $8.00 a jar I sometimes cringe at the cost despite how good they are for you.

So what’s the answer ???? Make your own of course !

I made an experimental batch yesterday and it tastes so much better than the shop version and it cost about a quarter of the price.

I bought a kilo bag of raw almonds for $9.00 and this was enough for four jars. You can, of course, mix up any kind of nuts you like. It’s a great way to use up all those leftover little bits of nuts in your fridge/pantry.

HOW TO …

Spread the almonds ( or whatever nuts you are using ) in a single layer on a baking tray and roast in a moderate oven for about 10-15 minutes.

Keep an eye on them because nuts are high in oils so quick to burn.

Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Place in a food processor and whiz until smoothish (or your desired consistency)

While the food processor is running add a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil to get the spreadability you like.

If you are feeling adventurous you can add other flavourings like maple syrup, cinnamon or vanilla.

Decant into clean glass jars.

THAT”S IT !

Four jars of almond butter for under $10.

Cleaning out the fridge dinner – zuchini and feta muffins with tomato kasundi

zfm

 

I was cleaning out my fridge yesterday trying to make some space to accommodate the huge box of fruit and veges I had just bought home. There were some zucchinis begging to be used, leftovers from a tin of tomatoes, some yoghurt, a crumbly piece of feta, half a bunch of dill….hello inspiration …

Rather than give my slightly tired leftover veges to the chickens I decided to try to make dinner out of it all – avoiding waste and making space in one fell swoop.

Much to my delight we ended up with a really yummy dinner that came together quickly and with a minimum of fuss. There was even enough for lunch and nothing beats leftovers !

 

t kas

Tomato kasundi sauce

400gm can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon each of paprika, garlic powder (or 1 clove), cumin, garam masala
1/2 cup stock
1 onion finely diced
2 heaped tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
lots of salt and pepper

Fry onion till soft, add spices and cook for a minute or so. Add all other ingredients and simmer for about 40 mins till thickened and sticky.

This will make a good amount so you can use leftover sauce for topping corn fritters, on sandwiches, as a curry accompaniment etc

Meanwhile ….  make your muffins… 

Zuchini and Feta Muffins

200g flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon pepper
80gm very soft butter
1/2 cup plain yoghurt
1/2 cup milk of your choice
1 egg
2 medium sized zuchini grated
100gm feta
1/2 cup chopped herbs like mint, parsley or dill

Mix together flour, bicarb, paprika and pepper. In a separate bowl blend together yoghurt, butter , milk and egg.
Place all ingredients in a large bowl and fold together until just combined. Don’t over mix !

Bake in muffin pan at 200 degrees for about 25 minutes.

Serve your muffins with the sticky tomato kasundi and a big salad . YUM

 

Feel like something sweet ? Don’t want to eat biscuits ? …. read on

blue dish

 

Since losing a bit of weight and running a wellness/weight loss course I have found I am asked time and again about ways to top up between meals that aren’t going to take you off track from your goals – it may be weight loss or just finding a healthier way to eat.  If weight loss is your aim then snacking is not going to help you but some days you are using more energy or are simply more hungry than others and you might just need something to get you through. That’s ok, just go with it. I can honestly say that I have had this for every meal at some stage … it keeps you full and feels like you are eating pudding at any time of the day !

This recipe for apple and oat slice ticks all the boxes. You can have it for breakfast with some fruit or yoghurt, on it’s own for a mid morning or afternoon snack or for a little bit of something sweet after dinner. Kids will love it in lunch boxes and it is the perfect thing to grab to eat on the go when time is at a premium and you don’t want to fall prey to the temptations of nasty fast food.

Filled with oats, fruit and spices you are going to want to have this time and again. This recipe is vegan, gluten free (if you are coeliac or gluten intolerant make sure your oats are gluten free), contains no oil but has lots of good fatty acids from the nuts and flax seeds, very little sugar and lots of fibre and flavour.

This recipe is very adaptable so use what you like – try different nuts or fruits. Add some cranberries or other spices. Use what’s in season and what tastes good to you.  If you don’t have flax seeds in your fridge ( and you should !) you can substitute in an egg.

Baked Apple Walnut Oatmeal

 

Oat and Apple Slice

3 tablespoons of flax seeds
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
2 teaspoons each of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 apples, diced – you can also use pear, I like a mix of both – I have used a grated carrot with good results too
2 cups of almond milk (or any other milk you like)
1/2 cup of apple sauce
1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup or honey to taste – if your fruit is sweet you won’t even need this
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup nuts – almonds, walnuts or pecans work best

Method

Place flax seeds in a small bowl with 1/3 cup of warm water and allow to stand for a few minutes.

In a large bowl mix together oats, spices, baking powder and sugar. Make a well and  pour in the milk, apple sauce, flax seeds, maple syrup and vanilla. Stir to combine.

Fold in your diced fruit and pour into a baking tray. The mixture should be quite wet. Smooth the mixture in the pan and sprinkle over the nuts.

Bake in a moderate oven (180 degrees) for about an hour until the middle is cooked.

Voila !

 

 

How to eat protein balls and still be able to pay your mortgage….

p ball

I have been working at a women’s health centre for a couple of years now and I love it. I love the women I get to meet and treat, their inspiring stories and strength and the opportunity to spread the joy about how eating well is not about denial or living on brussell sprouts and goji berries.

I have recently started running a 10 week course on our relationship with food. We’re covering all sorts of things like emotional eating, eating well on a budget, making better choices for ourselves and our children.

A couple of weeks ago I made some hippy lamingtons to share. One lovely woman I have had the pleasure of working with promptly went home, whipped up a batch and got her young family hooked on a snack that is doing them good.

In honour of her incredible dedication and willingness to embrace new things I have been dabbling in the kitchen coming up with some variations on this theme of healthy snacks.

I was recently sent a few samples of some Bounce Protein Balls from a company I deal with and I gave them a go. They were yummy but at around $3.60 per ball it isn’t really a sustainable option for feeding growing kids.

bounce

 

Here’s my take. These ones are full of nuts, healthy oils, fruit, protein and other yummy stuff. I made about 45 balls and this costs out at 26 cents a ball. Not a bad saving and certainly cheaper and healthier than muesli bars and bags of chips.

 

The basic mixture 

4 tablespoons of coconut oil
4 tablespoons of nut butter – I used almond but any nut butter will work
3 tablespoons of honey
1 tablespoons of vanilla
2 heaped tablespoons of vanilla protein powder
6 tablespoons of desiccated coconut

Flavour options

option 1

10 dates
3/4 cup raw almonds
1 teaspoon cinnamon

option 2

20 dried apricots
3/4 cup of pecans
1 tablespoon of LSA mix (linseed, soy and almond mix)
1 tablespoon chia seeds

option 3

10 dried figs
3/4 cup raw cashews
3-4 pieces of crystallised ginger or 1 teaspoon of dried ginger

For all variations whiz up nuts in a food processor until they are a fine crumble. Add all other ingredients in the option you have chosen and whiz together. Add all ingredients from your basic mixture and process till combined. If the mixture feels too dry you can add more honey or vanilla or even a splash of soy milk.

Roll heaped teaspoons full of mixture into balls and refrigerate. If you like you can coat them with coconut, cocoa powder or nuts.

Yummy little nutty sweet and salty things ….

Image

I went to the supermarket the other day looking for a healthy gluten free snack for my son. I ended up buying a bag of cashew and sesame little nutty chews which cost a fortune and, although yummy, they lasted my voracious 15 year old son about five minutes.

Necessity being the mother of invention and resourcefulness, I have just made my second batch of these little beauties and had to share. They are sooooo good, take about 10 minutes to prepare and make about 20 times more than you get in a little preprepared bag for the same price.  You can mix it up and use whatever combination of nuts and seeds you like but this is our favourite.

Lunch box heaven, handbag emergency snack, gluten free, vegan and delicious. Give them a go !

Yummy little nutty sweet and salty things

125g sunflower seeds
100g sesame seeds
250g raw cashews
130g pecans

1/2 cup rice malt or honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon of good quality salt

Place all nuts and seeds in a frypan and stir around the pan over a medium heat until lightly toasted. Be careful with these – they can burn quickly.

In another saucepan melt together the rice malt, vanilla, salt and sugar until sugar is disolved.

Combine nuts and rice malt mixes and spread over a baking tray. Allow to cool then cut into small cubes and store in an airtight container.

Happy, healthy days !