Me Myself and I (and Museli, Curry and Chia Pudding!)

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Me myself and I (and great food, good music and House)

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For most people, this is a long weekend to enjoy delights of the British outdoors in the unpredictable, unreliable and interchangeable British weather.

Think of all the wonderful activities one could be partaking in on a May bank holiday weekend.

But today and yesterday were college days. I could try and put a positive spin on being cooped up in the basement of Birkbeck University for the entirety of the weekend, but no it’s a bit sucky really.

You know what was the most sucky part? Spending the day learning about how screwed the Nutritional profession really is, and how many battles there are going to be to fight, and how vulnerable we are to governing bodies and pharmaceutical companies.

The lecture yesterday was on supplements in practice, or rather the limits and boundaries of the supplements we will be able to use in practice. For us to even be allowed to allude to a health benefit of a vitamin or mineral we need to have FSA (food standard agency) approval. To get FSA approval just a simple dossier, full of proven research and relevant trials, has to be submitted and approved for one function of one particular supplement. Great, so do the trials, prove the research, submit and get approval. Then once FSA approved the supplement can be classified as a medicine by MHRA (The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency) and limits are put on for nutritional use! Rock and a hard place one might say…

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Anyway on the positive side we had a very captivating lecturer who made a dull, disheartening lecture almost entertaining, well done Sophie.

So home I go, knowing I faced the empty welcome, and quite looking forward to an evening of kitchen activities and a long, hot, Epsom salt bath. As tantalizing as an evening watching the thrills of the Eurovision song contest was, or afternoon drinks on a friends balcony, I actually wanted to cook for myself, sing to myself and write about myself. Selfish isn’t it?

So I did just that. I came home, I spent 3 hours cooking/playing in the kitchen, I played mellow magic loud and clear and then I had a wonderful bath accompanied by House. Then I sat down and written. You don’t get Saturday nights much better than that, I am so not joking right now.

Anyway the fun bit… what did I play with in the kitchen?

I made my own delicious museli! I’ve been meaning to make some granola for a long while, not sure why I kept putting it off, it was so easy! I kind of made up recipe and to be honest it doesn’t really need a recipe but more just a method and then you can add any and everything in to make it to your taste.

Here is were I found some great ideas to use

Joanna’s homemade museli

Ingredients

  • 2 cups old-fashioned or quick-cooking (not instant) rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup rye flakes, or wheat flakes or I used millet flakes
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped almonds, 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons flaked coconut, (sweetened or unsweetened)
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons of chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup raisins/saltanas
  • 2 tablespoons honey/ maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup flaxseeds, ground

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Spread oats and millet flakes on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes

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Stir in chopped almonds, flaked coconut, chia seeds, buckwheat, pumpkin seeds, chopped walnuts; bake until the oats are fragrant, about 8 minutes.

Turn off the oven. Stir raisins into the muesli in a dish

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Microwave maple syrup for 10 seconds in a glass measuring cup. Stir in vanilla, cinnamon and pureed summer frozen fruits.

drizzle over the muesli and stir to coat (use hands for this!)

Return the muesli to the turned-off warm oven and let cool completely, about 2 hours. Stir in flaxseeds, if using.

store in an air tight container and serve with almond milk for breakfast!

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mmmmm delicious!

I also made a delicious butternut squash curry. Served with whole grain rice and made enough for a family of 6. Lucky I’m broke and am happy to have it for lunch every day this week!

This was based on a simple Tesco recipe but I added my own twist with coconut oil as a replacement, doubling the green bean content, adding in spinach and replacing the cream with coconut milk.

It was light, tasty and made a great lunch for today too!

Ingredients

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  • 1tbsp coconut oil
  • 1tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1tsp chilli powder
  • 1tsp ground coriander
  • 1tsp curry powder (mild or hot)
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1cm (½in) fresh root ginger, grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 medium butternut squash, chopped
  • 400ml (1 tin) Coconut milk
  • 200g (3½oz) green beans, sliced
  • 175g (6oz) raw king prawns/salmon/chicken
  • 2 large handfuls of fresh spinach
  • a handful of halved baby tomatoes
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • 300g boiled rice, to serve

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Heat the oil in a saucepan. Gently fry the cumin, turmeric, chilli powder, ground coriander and curry powder for 1 minute.

Add the onion, ginger and garlic and fry, stirring, for 5 mins. Add the squash and coconut milk, bring to the boil and then immediately reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook for 15-20 mins, uncovered, then add the green beans and simmer for a further 10 minutes uncovered.IMG_8842

Add the pre-cooked fish, spinach, tomatoes and left over garlic; simmer for 10 mins. Season to taste, add the lime juice and chopped coriander to taste.

Serve with rice on the side.
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I also made some Chia seed pudding but I forgot to take pictures so that’s no fun and I will leave that for another day.

HAPPY CHOMPING!!

      

We’re all F.I.N.E (and delicious homemade spelt bread!)

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We’re all F.I.N.E (and delicious homemade spelt bread!)

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It’s taken me a while to sit down and start writing this again. I’m not really too sure why. I’ve had lots of brilliance buzzing about in my brain and plenty of recipes to share, but haven’t had the will power to sit myself down and write.

I have let my procrastinator take over and delegate, instead of driving myself towards something I want to achieve.

Sometimes in the great tide of life, the end picture is forgotten or just temporarily hidden. It’s like you know where you would like to end up, but get a little lost, maybe even walk round in circles and take a few timeouts, before you can actually end up there.

I feel like I need to take a step back and look at the bigger goals, the driving forces that will give me that will power to push through, do well, stick to my goals and succeed.

So what are those goals? Where do I see myself in a year, 3 years or 10 years time? What is going to drive me to get up in the morning?

Good question.

Questions and Answers signpost

Often, asking one questions opens up a whole can of worms for a million more. And none of them have answers. Not yet. And I’m sure the answers will just come with time.

I suppose are the answers really necessary? Or does the journey we go on just involve an element of uncertainty and faith?

I think this is the key but I think that is what we as humans find so hard to do. Have blind faith. That’s part of the problem I find with religion, having blind, unquestioning faith. I like to have more of an idea about the future and this comes with detriment to the present. I need to live more in the here and now, in the moment I am greeted with in the morning, rather than the fear about what will happen in the afternoon.

This is all a bit philosophical isn’t it… I’ll summarise…

  1. I procrastinate too much.
  2. I don’t know where I am going
  3. It doesn’t matter – live in the present
  4. I am F.I.N.E

At the end of the day, ‘everything will be alright in the end, if it’s not alright then its not the end’.

So I am F.I.N.E.

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(fucked-up, insecure, neurotic, emotional)

And really I think are all twenty-somethings are F.I.N.E. so I am going to be just fine.

In the meantime, I had some spare time on my hands with weekend (whilst I was procrastinating) so I did something brave and very grown up, I baked my first loaf of bread.

Not just any bread, spelt bread. And filled with omega seed mix and made with coconut oil!

It was such a great feat for me. I think whenever I get overwhelmed now, baking bread will be the answer. There is a real satisfaction to smelling the sweet sweet smell of fresh bakery coming from your own kitchen and from your own creation. It gave me a sense of pride and accomplishment so even though I failed to complete any other tasks this weekend, it’s all ok because I baked bread.

Try it sometime.

Here is the recipe (Courtesy of Doves Farm):

INGREDIENTS

  • 500 g White Spelt Flour or Wholemeal Spelt FlourIMG_8585
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Quick Yeast
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 300 ml Warm Water
  • 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil (I used coconut oil)
  • 1 handful of Omega seed mix (optional extra!)

METHOD

  • In a large bowl mix together the flour, salt, quick yeast and sugar.
  • Carefully measure the water and roughly mix it into the flour.
  • Melt 1tbsp of coconut oil
  • Add the omega seed mix
  • While the dough is still claggy add the oil and knead well until it feels smooth and pliable.

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  • Leave the dough in a bowl covered with a cloth, in a draught free place, to double in size (about an hour). To make a quick bread omit this stage and proceed straight to next step.

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  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead the dough firmly for several minutes.
  • Shape the dough and put it into an oiled 1kg/2lb bread tin or place it on an oiled baking sheet.

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  • Cover and leave dough to rise for about 25 minutes in a warm place.
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 35/40 minutes.
  • If you want to preserve it for longer – slice and freeze so you can use every morning for breakfast!

Temperature & cooking time:

220°C/Fan200°C/425°F/Gas 7 for 35/40 minutes

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HAPPY CHOMPING!






Contentment Amongst our Quarter-Life Crisis

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Contentment amongst the quarter life crisis

The last hour of March is upon us! How oh how are we already a quarter of the way through this year?

All those rumours about the years getting shorter are true. Factually. You see… when we are young the years have more relevance as they are a greater percentage of our life.

i.e. when we are 1 that first year is our whole life, then when we are 2 a year is half our lives, 4 a quarter of our lives, 8 an eight of our lives and so on and on and on… technically meaning this year was just a 25th portion of my life so far, therefore its relevance in the grand scheme of my life so far is simply one 25th … therefore meaning the time genuinely does go quicker, so make the most of it hey (depressing thought!)

It is bloody petrifying.

So at a quarter of the way through this 1/25 of my life I am feeling pretty content (aside from the quarter life crisis which all 25 year olds seem to go through).

The weekend was both debortuous, divine and delicious all at the same time. My friend Hannah came to stay and Saturday night was a messy reunion of all the school friends. It is always quite amazing how no matter how long apart, a few minutes together in one room and we instantaneously return to our childhood selves. With name calling, teasing, in-jokes and interpretive dance. Its like we are 16 again and nothing has changed. It is so rare we have nights like these now that we also seem to forget how to handle our alcohol. And what with a game of musical chairs and some shots of southern comfort later, it wasn’t long before I was finding bodies draped around the house or upon any marginally comfortable surface available.

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Anyway that was the end of the evening… the start was that I was challenging myself to make a healthy meal for eight that would fit in with my blood type diet

  1. not cost a bomb and
  2. not be too complicated to cook!

So after a beautiful afternoon wandering round broadway market and London fields, (and resisting all their delicious wheat filled treats) me Hannah and Danielle wandered home and begun making some Quinoa burgers. The plan was burgers, sweet potato fries, salad and dips. The plan was a success.

It was great fun having Hannah and Danielle doing the cooking with me😀

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Dey soo pweetty!

I really enjoyed hosting a dinner party – but heres the thing, the diet doesn’t cater very well for the fact that all 8 of us round the table had 8 varieties of blood type and I was just cooking for blood type B. not the most social diet hey?

SO anyway here’s the scrumptious Quinoa burger recipe (or Quinola – as Bex kept saying)

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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup cooked red kidney beans
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup quinoa flakes (or 100% pure rolled oats)
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, steams removed and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 tsp  salt
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp  ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp ground chia seeds mixed with 1/3 cup water

Instructions:

  1. In a food processor, add beans, cilantro, onion, oil, garlic, salt, chili powder, cumin and pepper. Purée until smooth.
  2. Mix in chia mixture into the bean mixture. Mix in quinoa and quinoa flakes (or rolled oats) until the mixture is sticky and holds together.
  3. Divide mixture into four patties. Grease grill pan with coconut oil and cook about 6 minutes each side.

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4. add on all your garnishes – I recommend some guacamole, tzatziki and sweet potato fries!

Thanks to thrive forward for the great recipe and to the gals for the great company!

Happy Chomping!

p.s. here’s a snap from the dinner (much more civilised)

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Super Sexy Spelt (and Millet) Pancakes!

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I swear they are super sexy!

So I am now 1 year, 6 months, 2 weeks and 15 days through my course at the CNM – not that I am counting down the days minutes and seconds until I have graduated and am qualified…!

The thing is, as much as I love the studying, the involvement in something I believe in and the challenge of applying myself to something, I truly wish I had more time to give and therefore more time to absorb. I feel like a full bucket, and no matter how much water you keep adding it will keep overflowing as it can only hold a certain amount. Really I need a bigger bucket (or just more time!)

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As I write today, I currently haven’t had a day off to myself for 17 days – and have another 3 to go until I can lie in bed without something to wake up for. That’s 20 days! 20 days without a day off! Madness. It’s moments like this I wonder how they can really call this a part time course. I believe this course needs to be full time and therefore enable you to full immerse yourself in the information and culture of studying as a nutritionist.

Anyway, in those 20 days I have had an assignment to start, an assignment to finish, a member of staff leave, and hopefully will have a new one start! So it’s not exactly been a smooth running 20 days either.

But it’s exciting. I have a buzz again about everything. About the future, about the present and most imminently this new diet I have to stick to for the next 2 weeks (at least).

So next project from college is out ‘dietary models presentation’. This is literally the class dividing up, testing a diet and basically reporting back to the rest of the class on how the diet work, where the ideas behind it come from and any challenges or obstacles we faced doing it.

Now I have never, and I really mean never, stuck to or even tried to stick to a faddy diet. “I am one for eat well for life”, “just be healthy”, “just cut out the crap” attitude. I’ve never even challenged myself to trying one, maybe because I am simply too afraid of the fear of failure when I give up after day 2? Well now I am being pushed into the challenge and I am excited to give it my all. I mean how can I be a nutritionist who has never tried and tested a diet myself, even if its just to say it all a load of *****.

The diet I started 3 days ago (Sunday 21st March) is called the Blood Type Diet. And it is as simple as that. Find out your blood type, and eat accordingly. It is written by a naturopath called Dr D’adamo and if you are interested you can find out more here – http://www.dadamo.com/txt/index.htm

Simple right? NO – wrong.

Unlike other diets, its not cutting out any one in particular food group, its completely random and inconsistent! I don’t yet have explanations for you on the reasoning behind all the diet restrictions but hopefully by April 12th I will be able to explain all (presentation date!).

I mean, I am type B, and I have to avoid foods like tomatoes but I can eat pretty much most other vegetables. Avoid lentils but I can eat chickpeas, can’t eat broad beans but I can eat kidney beans. Cant eat chicken but can eat beef. Cant eat cous cous but can eat rice… and the list goes on! It’s going to be a part time job just working this all out!

Also just as an extra challenge – incase this wasn’t enough… I am giving up chocolate and sugary snacks for 30 days! I am breaking this addiction

  1. its got beyond a joke
  2. I feel like a hypocrite!

Basically if any friends or family are reading this I would try and avoid me for the next 2 weeks, I will be having sugar withdrawal symptoms and wont be much fun to have round for dinner.

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So anyway, I got home Sunday night and cooked some meal choices for the week, as I really feel this is the only way I will manage this.

  • I made a carrot, parsnip and sweet potato soup which is my dinner option
  • A big egg frittata with mushrooms, leeks and spinach for lunches
  • And some super sexy spelt pancakes for breakfast!

The spelt pancakes are just so great I felt I had to share.

I will also try and share my diet updates and challenges on here to try an motivate me to keep at it!

Woohoo to day 4 tomorrow!

Super Sexy Spelt (and Millet) Pancakes!

  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • ¼ cup millet flakes
  • 1 cup almond/coconut milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Sweet

  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • handful raisins
  • 1tsp vanilla essence (optional)

Savoury

  • ¼ cup grated sweet potato
  • add courgettes/carrots/other vegetables!
  • Himilayan salt

  

Directions

  1. Mix together the spelt flour, millet and baking powder in a bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk up the egg so its fluffy and add in the milk.
  3. photo 5If you want to make a mixture of sweet and savoury then divide both the dry and wet mixtures in half. In one egg mixture add in the walnuts and raisins, in the other half add the vegetables.
  4. Then fold the egg mixtures in with the half of the flour to make up the batter.
  5. Heat a tsp coconut oil in a non stick pan/skillet.
  6. photo 4Once hot put 1tps mixture in pan at time and flatten out a little.
  7. Cook for 2 mins on the first side or until it starts bubbling. Then flip and cook for 2 mins on the other side.
  8. photo 1 copyServe with chopped banana for breakfast! Or add a poached egg and avocado to the savory ones for a savory breakfast option.

I’ve made a whole batch up in advance and will toast them up for breakfast every morning, easy peasy!

Happy Chomping!

Seriously Seedy Homemade Porridgey Thingy!

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So as I sit here and try to pick up the metaphorical pen I am a bit bewildered with where to start and what to write. What would I want to read?

What could I write about… love? sadness? Sickness? Health?

No, for me the last year hasn’t been significantly about anything, aside from being about me.

It’s been a lot of internal conversations (yes speaking to myself) and self acknowledgement and interpretation (or attempting to interpret anyway), so much so I am even now second guessing why I am even writing this blog? Is it for me? Or is it to gain and recognition of my self worth from you?

Deep stuff I know😉

But in all seriousness this year has been one that has taught me how to be alone and how to enjoy it. I have reached the uncomfortable or unsettling feeling of feeling like ‘I should’ be doing something or seeing someone, and I have managed to be comfortable with not doing what I feel I should be, and rather doing what I really want to be doing.

This is a year I have put myself first. And it has been good. I’m quite fun to be around really🙂

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Foodie habits have become a bit more relaxed since moving in with friends. But the positives massively outweigh the negatives.

We have a very liberal way of living and sharing everything and anything in the cupboards. As great as this sounds… If I get home late and someone has made a deliciously cheesey pasta bake and its sat steaming on the table, and my choice is to cook up some broccoli, kale and quinoa or just have a spoonful… I think you can guess what wins every time.

However, my motto is start how you mean to go on (even if it doesn’t go on)

SO I always feel fantastic and set for the day if I begin with a breakfast for champions. A breakfast that helps me meet every nutritional need I could reach throughout the entire day.

So what does a nutritionist eat for breakfast?

  • A green ginger juice with barley grass,
  • Walnuts, brazil nuts
  • Avocado and eggs on rye bread

And a new alternative is this fabulous recipe for a seedy homemade porridgey cereal thingy.

I love it and it’s so easy, I would recommend this to everyone.

I found it nicest combined with home made almond milk – if you make from dry in the morning and replace the water with almond milk – it makes it much more creamy! (see link here for the soaking over night option)

Seriously Super Cereal

Makes 18-19,  1/4 cup / 50g portions

photo (3)Ingredients:
1 cup / 170g buckwheat
1 cup / 200g millet
1 cup quinoa / 170g
1 cup amaranth / 190g
½ cup / 70g sunflower seeds
¼ cup / 40g chia seeds

Directions:
1. Place all ingredients in a large glass or ceramic container (this fits a 2-quart / 2-L jar). Stir to combine. Seal tightly and store in a cool, dark place for up to three months.

For un-soaked cereal:

  1. ¼ cup / 50g  Seriously Super Cereal blend
  2. 1 cup / 250ml water (I used homemade almond milk)
  3. 1 date + handful of cranberries/raisins
  4. ½ a banana (optional)

cook 20 minutes

Directions:

1. Rinse porridge mix well in a very fine mesh sieve.
2. Place in a small saucepan with 1 cup / 250ml water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes, until the grains are tender.

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It will look all cloudy – a bit like this!

3. Enjoy warm with milk and sweetener of your choice, fresh fruit, spices, and superfoods.

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look at all that tasty goodness!

HAPPY CHOMPING!

Just Write…

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Just Write… Just write…

This is what I have been telling myself every evening for the past 6 months and despite this there has been very little movement towards getting started again.

This could be down to many a reason but I think if I am honest it is mostly pure laziness.

All these elaborate self pitying excuses like being too tired, working long hours, studying in my free time… they all amount to nothing as I still feel as though I could push myself more at work, I don’t study enough, I don’t have enough time to party and I sure as hell don’t sleep enough.

So although I have deprived myself of time to write (despite its meditational, medicinal and relaxational qualities) I still haven’t completed or felt content with the other activities I seem to have prioritised.

So finally I am just writing. That’s all I needed to do and that’s all it really takes. Just pick up the metaphorical pen and just start again.

Saying this… I am pretty exhausted so am for now going to prioritise a good nights sleep.

But this is just checking in to say… I am back in business and will write😉

Easy… no?

I’m back… with some super smelly Sauerkraut!

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ello ello ello! 

Well it has been a while hasn’t it… It seems life took over a little bit.

Since January my life has kinda been turned upside down, inside out, done some cartwheels and now is back on track. So much so that I am now sat in a beautiful new home in East London, which I share with my lovely lovely new housemates, I have completed and passed my first year of my course (with flying colours may I add), I am training for a half marathon and I am also now a single lady. So fair to say a chaotic 8 months.

In the midst of all the mayhem, my cooking and my nourishing myself has had to take a back seat. It hasn’t been completely forgotten – I promise! But it has been marginally neglected and maybe at times replaced for copious amounts of wine and gin?!

So this evening I have got in from a 7k run (my best to date – woohoo!) I made myself a delicious tuna bean salad, I am sat with a rosehip tea and I finally feel like I am ready to write again. It takes a lot of strength to sit and write my thoughts and feelings to be read freely by all, even if they most probably will only be read by my dad (seeing as he is my biggest fan)! But I feel like my love for food and health and all things sexy and smelly like that is now more important than watching crap TV (as fun as that is)!

So talking of sexy smelly things… (you’re probably wondering where this is going) a couple of weeks ago I visited a wonderful beautiful inspirational friend Ella. I stayed at her apartment with her lovely man for 4 nights. Now… me and Ella both share a passion for nutrition and health. We can have 2 hour skype chats about seed cycling and fermentation. So I think we both thought we were in for 4 days of zen time, yoga time and experimenting in the cooking time. Well, think again. Take two health nerds and put them together and what do you get? Sweet, sweet rebellion! We had the most wonderful time drinking lots of red wine, eating lots of french baguettes and dancing to lots of Bollywood youtube videos. It was the best 4 days of the summer!

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Happy Babies!

BUT we are still health nerds at heart and we ended up experimenting with some cabbage fermentation to make the wonderful, eastern European dish sauerkraut! We tenderly massaged our shredded cabbage and squeezed out all the natural juices until it was ready to season, flavour and jar up!

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massaging the cabbage

So I managed to ship 2 of these jars home with me on the Eurostar back to East London as my Parisian souvenir and now they are sitting at the top of my tea cupboard, gracing my housemates with the whiff of fermenting cabbage every time they go for a cuppa.

All jokes aside, the beauty of the fermenting smelly cabbage is the probiotic health gem it creates. I have found this article here in the guardian all about why Sauerkraut is so great for you! Eating fermented foods like Sauerkraut and Kefir really play with the mind set of avoiding bacteria that we have grown up with. The culture of anti-bac wipes and anti-bac everything is destroying all the good bacterias too and breaking down our immune systems as they arent having to be strong for us against anything foreign as we are superically removing it all!

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So the body actually does need the good bacteria, it keeps the digestive system and intestines happy, alert and full of energy. “An adult is supposed to have around two to five pounds (1.0 to 2.26 kilograms) of live bacteria inside their body”. This bacteria can be killed off by many things we come across in every day life e.g. alcohol, anti-biotics, chlorinated water… leading to weaker immune systems, leaky gut and bacterial infections like candida. Basically by removing the good bacteria that looks after us we upset the balance which enables our body to defend itself and keep us fit and healthy and full of energy.

Fun fact: When we take antibiotics it takes about 6 months for the friendly bacteria to return to normal strength!

So this is why eating fermented cabbage (Sauerkraut) is great!

We used Earth Sprouts recipe as a basis which used red cabbage so we had lots of fun with stained purple hands afterwards (and stained kitchen table and stained kitchen floor etc!).

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We also found a few other recipes like Holistic Squid just to get an idea of flavours we could add in! The only slight problem we had was we put in 4 tablespoons of salt instead of 4 teaspoons!!! SO we added about 4 organic carrots grated to try and absorb some of the salty juice.

Ingredients

Makes 4 cups purple sauerkraut

8 cups shredded purple cabbage (save two large leaves)
4/5 large carrots grated
3 cloves of garlic sliced or minces

1 tsp mustard seeds

4 tsp top quality salt like Himalayan salt or Celtic sea salt

Method

  1. Remove core from head of cabbage.
  2. Shred cabbage into thin ribbons with a knife
  3. Place shredded cabbage in a large bowl.
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  5. Sprinkle salt
  6. Knead/squeeze the shredded cabbage. Get into it! You are breaking the cabbage down and helping it to release its juices.
  7. Add in the garlic, seeds and any other flavouring
  8. Add this soupy cabbage mixture to your fermentation vessel and press the cabbage down firmly. Really pack it in there. The mixture should be 1 inch from the lid of your jar and should be covered at the top with the beautiful brine you have made. Remember my Fermented Veggie Mantra: “Below the Brine is Fine.”  
  9. Screw the lid on tight. (Plastic lids will allow for expansion with greater ease than metal lids.
  10. Place your jar of culturing cabbage on a plate (to catch any brine that may be pushed out) and leave in a room temperature (70-85F) place for at least 2 weeks or until the kraut tastes tart but remains crisp. When it’s finished fermenting, wipe off your jar and put it in the refrigerator.

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My only problem is I am not sure how long the Sauerkraut needs to ferment and when it is fermented enough. Plus I am starting to enjoy the faces my housemates are pulling when they go to have a cup of tea😉

 

Happy Chomping! 

Looking after your Gut.

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What a crazy few months. Sorry I haven’t written for so long, the pace of my life has quadrupled in the last couple of months and my cooking and blogging has suffered the brunt of it. I am lucky to get home at night and have the energy to make dinner and lunch for the next day, let alone sit and have the luxury of writing.

Anyway it has all been good busy. I have just completed 50% of my year of Bio-medicine. On saturday I handed in an assignment and sat my end of term exam. It was very tough but I am hoping I did enough to pass! For me this year is such a challenge because I have never had a scientific mind. I scrapped by at GCSE and couldnt have been happier to say goodbye to anatomical patterns and lab tests. Low and behold I am back studying – science. So to even pass will be an achievement for me.

Since I last wrote here I have also begun my new job working at a beautiful new fitness centre The Fitness Mosaic which has been challenging but lots of fun whilst trying my patience working with family.

So amongst all of this I have been learning about how and why to look after my gut! I watched this lovely video from Nat Kringoudis all about pro-biotics and gut bacteria. You should definitely watch it after reading this.

So our body is full of bacteria good and bad – and mainly located in our intestines to fight all the toxins and substances that travel through our digestive systems. The good bacteria need to be in dominance though in order to fight off the bad. When you have symptoms like bad breath, acid reflex or even digestive ulcers, these are signs of the dominance of your bad gut bacteria. By taking pro-biotics every day you are improving your overall gut health and helping your body fight away the bad guys.

I would really recommend dosing yourself up on pro-biotics especially if you are taking anti-biotics. Everyone knows the damaging effects of anti-biotics on our systems but sometimes these anti-biotics are essential and life-saving, so by all means take them!! BUT don’t forget your essential pro-biotics too😀

This pro-biotic is called Kefir. It is very cheap, simple and easy to make and the taste is easy to get used to. It is essentially bacteria kernels which are bathed in milk and they ferment the milk and turn it into a yoghurt-like form.

So…todays post is not really a scrumptious recipe like I have written in the past – but instead some guidelines and directions on making this Kefir.

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This milk should ideally be raw and organic. But if this is not accessible then use whole milk.

Firstly make sure you don’t touch your bacteria with metal as this will kill off some of its wondrous qualities.

Place the bacteria in a jug/container and cover with a small amount of milk to begin with. Each time you re-use your bacteria the it will grow and therefore the more milk you can ferment at a time.

cover the jug with cling-film but leave an air-hole so it can breath. (this also avoids explosions)

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leave to ferment for 48-72 hours.

Then mix with a wooden spoon so any separation is mixed back together and sieve your Kefir through a plastic sieve so you save your bacteria to be reused. And the cycle starts again! There is no end or limit to how much this can be used – it just keeps growing so you can keep sharing with friends and family and encouraging healthy guts all around you.

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What comes through the sieve is now your lovely pro-biotic ready to be drunk.

Personally I find the taste a bit sour so I mix it with some blended berries. Today’s is just with some fresh blueberries but you can mix it with anything you fancy and enjoy the taste.

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The best bit about this pro-biotic is that even though it is made with milk it is suitable for people with lactose-intolerance because as the bacteria grows the lactose gets killed off. I was happy to learn this as I am trying to avoid too much dairy at the moment.

I ordered my Kefir on Ebay for less than £5 with The Happy Kombucha company. Or if you know anyone growing their own see if they would mind sharing their bacteria😉 mmm

Have fun looking after you guts🙂

Happy Chomping! 

Spicy Carrot Humous

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Afternoon lovely people,

Just a quick one today, I made a tasty carrot humous kindly provided by Love and Lemons – another great healthy food flood I have found.

Its such a simple recipe and so much better for us than going to the supermarket and buying the pre-made dips. This way you know there are no hidden surprises in our humous and its as organic as the ingredients as we use.

Recipe

carrot hummus: (makes about 1.5 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 3 small carrots (or 2 medium ones cut in half)
  • 2 medium (unpeeled) garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons harissa seasoning (ground) – I used Cayenne Pepper and it tasted great!
  • 1 cup chickpeas (cooked and drained)
  • juice of 1 small lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
  • juice of 1/2 an orange (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • more spice, to taste
  • Himalyan salt, to taste

Heat coconut oil in a medium skillet, add carrots, garlic cloves, and a pinch of salt. Cook, rotating occasionally, until the outsides begin to char, about 8-10 minutes. Remove the garlic if it starts to burn. Add the spices and seasoning and let the carrots cook for just a minute longer. Remove from pan and let cool slightly. Peel the garlic.

IMG_4657Chop carrots into 1-inch pieces (it’s ok if they’re a little raw in the middle). Add the carrots, garlic, chickpeas, lemon juice and orange juice to your high speed blender or food processor. Puree, drizzling in the olive oil as you blend. It might be a chunkier texture if you use a less powerful food processor

Taste and adjust seasonings. Chill until ready to use

IMG_4658Look at the wonderful colour and texture!

For Christmas I got some wonderful nutrition and healthy food books and I am so excited to put them to use so I thought I’d get started and give you a little bit of information on some of these ingredients and what benefits you get from using them.

Carrots

Carrots are full of Carotene and beta-carotene is a red-orange pigment found in plants and fruits, especially carrots and colourful vegetables (and actually got it’s name from carrots as they are so high in it). This means that the darker the carrot the more Carotene it actually contains!

The human body simply converts beta-carotene into Vitamin A. We need vitamin A for healthy skin and mucus membranes, our immune system, and good eye health and vision.

Carrots are also high in fibre, anti-oxidants, vitamin C and E, Calcium and Potassium

So actually eating carrots…

  • protects agains high blood cholesterol and heart disease
  • Lowers risks of some cancers by 45% (a chemical called falcarinol found in carrots actually suppresses tumours in animals by a third!)
  • lowers risk of stroke
  • protects sight and vision
  • helps keep your lungs healthy

One thing I have read and need to do a little more research into is that apparently the nutrients in the carrots are absorbed better by the body when they are cooked rather than raw and this is because the Carotenes absorb into the body better.

Garlic

Garlic is actually a useful anti-biotic which has been used for thousand of years as a natural alternative and before anti-biotics were pumped into us. 

Garlic is rich in sulphur compounds (thats what makes it smell so strong) but these sulphur compounds are also what makes garlic so bloooody good for you!

Research says that garlic can…

  • minimise stomach the risk of heart disease and types of cancers (prevents formation of blood clots and plaque which leads to heart diseases)
  • powerful anti-biotic inhibiting fugal and viral infections
  • minimise stomach ulcers
  • provide a good source of vitamin C, Selenium, Potassium, and calcium

DONT OVERCOOK YOUR GARLIC AS IT KILLS ITS BENEFICIAL COMPOUNDS

and just a handy tip – eating parsley after a garlicy meal can reduce all the smelly mouth odours!

Thats all for today – but enjoy eating your carrot humous knowing that you are eating things which are doing so much good for your body – just eat it slowly and enjoy it so your body maximises the nutrients it’s taking in and can absorb and digest these great ingredients!!

Happy chomping xxx

 

Indian Night and a Happy New Year

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Happy New Year!! 

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Seven days in but I still haven’t come up with any real new year resolutions.

Last year was a strange year for me – and I reckon for lots of people who graduated the same year as me. It was a year of transition and of not being a student but not yet quite fitting into the ‘real world’ as they call it. I was no longer a new graduate and I was also no closer to knowing where I want to end up in life.

Despite this, looking back gives me quite a positive outlook on the year ahead and make proud of where I have come. I started last year in a job I didn’t enjoy or have any passion for. I was waking up at 5am to get to work on time and I had no idea where I wanted to be month to month let alone the following year. Henry was based in Scotland for 3 months which put a huge strain on us, and all I wanted to do was up and leave. I managed to break out the rat race by April and by June we were off on our 3 month travels around glorious Europe.

Since returning I am yet again back home, and yet again pretty much broke… but I have found my direction and I have my purpose. I found this wonderful college CNM by chance and have ended up taking a leap of faith and throwing myself into my naturopathy course. Everything else has managed to fall into place with it. I am working with Raw Ecstasy twice a week and I’m learning to make all sorts of yummy treats and now next week I am starting work with The Fitness Mosaic and I am lucky enough to be able to help out on their juice bar too – all experience which feeds into my path I am carving.

This year is the year of the horse. My chinese year.

The spirit of the horse is recognized to be the Chinese people’s ethos – making unremitting efforts to improve themselves. It is energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able.

I think it will also be my year for discovery, development and adventures. The goals this year are to move out, to earn money, to love my job and to still have time to enjoy everyone around me. Oh and to surround myself with people I want to enjoy!

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This New Years Eve I had the pleasure of cooking an amazing indian meal for my friends. My darling Henry was the best co-chef anyone could wish for and Hannah and Will (my old housemate) probably did more cooking than I actually did.

I am so proud of what we put together between us but unfortunately I only have pictures of the table and the first course because by then too much gin and tonics had been consumed.

It was a wonderful evening of friends, games and too much alcohol but I think this is the last time I host in a while – I can’t be dealing with the stress of tidying up the next day.

The menu.

starter

popadoms 
raita
mango chutney
fresh salad leaves with lemon juice
onion bhaji
Mung bean cakes

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Main

veggie Korma sweet potato and cauliflower curry
cauliflower rice (one of my first blog posts!)
Yellow rice 
sag aloo

Desert

fresh fruit salad 
yule log

Raita Recipe

1 pot of natural fat free greek yoghurt
1 cucumber (de-seeded and drained)
1/2 small green chilli (NO SEEDS)
a small handful of fresh mint chopper roughly
a tablespoon of lime juice
Salt to taste

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grate the cucumber and chop up the chilli as small as possible. Add all the ingredients together and mix. Preferably do this a couple of hours before serving so the flavours blend.

Onion Bhaji (courtesy of the guardian website)

90g gram flour
1 tbsp ghee or butter, melted
Juice of ¼ lemon
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin seeds, coarsely chopped
1 tsp of garam masala spices
1-2 hot green chillies (to taste), finely minced
2 tsp root ginger, finely grated
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Small bunch of coriander, chopped
2 fresh curry leaves, chopped (optional)
2 onions, halved, core removed and thinly sliced
Vegetable oil, to cook (I used corn oil instead)

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Sift the flour into a mixing bowl, then stir in the butter and lemon juice and just enough cold water to bring it to the consistency of double cream. Stir in the spices, aromatics and herbs and add salt to taste. Stir in the onions so they are well coated.

In a large pan a third full with oil –  heat – a drop of batter should sizzle as it hits the oil, then float. Meanwhile, put a bowl of cold water next to the hob, and a plate lined with kitchen paper. Put the oven on a low heat.

Once the oil is up to temperature, wet your hands and shape tablespoon-sized amounts of the mixture into balls. Drop into the oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pan, then stir carefully to stop them sticking. Cook for about four minutes, turning occasionally, until crisp and golden, then drain on the paper and put in the oven to keep warm while you cook the next batch.

Sag Aloo Recipe-

I am not sure which recipe was used but here is great one from BBC goodfood and it looks familiar!

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 500g potatoes, cut into 2cm, ¾in chunks
  • 1 large red chilli, halved, deseeded and finely sliced
  • ½ tsp each black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric
  • 250g spinach leaves
  1. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion, garlic and ginger, and fry for about 3 mins. Stir in the potatoes, chilli, spices and half a tsp salt and continue cooking and stirring for 5 mins more. Add a splash of water, cover, and cook for 8-10 mins.
  2. Check the potatoes are ready by spearing with the point of a knife, and if they are, add the spinach and let it wilt into the pan. Take off the heat and serve.

We didn’t actually get round to eating desert but it made a great hungover snack the next day!

So here is to the year of the horse, to a year of discovery and learning and to not knowing whats round the corner but being excited to find out!

Happy new year and Happy chomping! 

And Henrys alter-ego to make you smile this gloomy January

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Seaweed Crackers

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Alllo allo allo!

Todays recipe is Seaweed Crackers..!

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But first… I had my first test this weekend as part of my course and it was on the cyto-skeletal-muscular systems. I have never worked so hard for a test before! Not even in my 4 years of university, and this test didn’t even count towards anything. But I am pleased with how it went…I say all of this but we haven’t yet got the results back so it’s still a bit of wait and see.

We then spent the rest of the weekend covering the cardiovascular system. And you know what – the scariest part about learning this was the fact that over two thirds of the weekend we were talking about cardiovascular pathologies and diseases that arise in the heart, the blood, the immune system response, the veins, the arteries.

It was mind blowing the amount of damage we are doing to our bodies and we don’t have a clue whats going on inside us, often until it is too late.

Something that has stuck with me is that unless we act on these in a preventative manor – before we have symptoms such as deep vein thrombosis or varicose veins or a aneurysm thats traveling up to your heart – then we are pretty much unable to treat these with an alternative medicine or remedy. This is because action needs to be taken pretty much immediately when one of these symptoms arrive and therefore blood thinners such as statins or warfarin are used. Once on these medications it is very difficult to come off them. Natural remedies such a fish oil are a great blood thinner but can not be taken along side these prescribed medications as they will over thin the blood as they will act as a double dose. Therefore this is an example of when preventative medication is hugely important.

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Anyway thats all the boring stuff… yesterday was a great day. A wonderful day.

I went to meet a man about a job. and it went well! All being well the man will let me know about the job by the end of this week and work shall commence come January. More information shall follow at a later date – sorry for being so obscure but don’t want to jinx anything yet!

camden

After this I spent a few hours wandering around Camden – I always forgot what a love hate relationship I have with Camden town. I love the shops the atmosphere the place, but I am always happy to leave. Although I found a few gems for christmas presents yesterday. A funky nepalese shop which lured me in with their incense sticks outside. And I also found an amazing cookware shop which will be dangerous if I get this job because I could spend hours in there just looking at all the cooking tools I could buy!

Once arriving home in a positively glowing mood – it only got better. I spent a few hours experimenting in the kitchen and it was great fun!!

This particular recipe was one that I picked up from one of the (few) men on my course. It is a great low fat, low cholesterol, high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and vital nutrients recipe, so it ties in well with this weeks theme of preventative measures for heart and blood diseases.

So this recipe is from a lovely guy called Olivier and he is French and he is a gourmet chef! He was kind enough to be offering out snacks after lunch and I was lucky enough to be siting in front of him and be offered one. This is his recipe for these seaweed crackers. But maybe interpreted differently because its me making them not him🙂

What I loved about this recipe is that every ingredient I used was so so good for you and full of lots of lovely health benefits.

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Most importantly the seaweed! Seaweed is actually the most nutrient dense you can get in your green leaves. Its just not spoken about as much because in our western diets we only eat seaweed in our sushi! Apparently (I read this somewhere online) if you eat about a gram of seaweed you are getting your daily iodine dose, and iodine is a nutrients that’s hard to come by in foods but is essential for boosting thyroid and brain health, so we receive our doses from iodized table salt. But now table salt is being replaced by fancy exciting salts like himalayan salts so now we need to eat more seaweed!

Other than Iodine, seaweed is high in calcium, protein, Vitamin B-3 (only vegetarian source!), B-12 (essential for healthy blood!), Vitamin A and a great source of fibre. And this fibre is a soluble fibre so it slows down the digestive process and therefore limits the absorption of sugars and cholesterol. All great ways to look after your cardiovascular system!!

So – here’s the easy peasy recipe for Seaweed crackers

Ingredients

  1. 2/3 sheets of sushi Nori sheets (dried and toasted seaweed) (can use more depending on how many you want to make)
  2. selection of seeds you want to use – I used sunflower and pumpkin seeds
  3. agave syrup
  4. Apple cider vinegar
  5. Himalayan Salt

Method

  • preheat oven to 100 degrees
  • cut up the sushi sheets into cracker sizes
  • spread a drop of agave syrup on the seaweed
  • sprinkle on the seeds
  • flick with a small amount of vinegar and sprinkle the himalayan salt on topIMG_4588
  • put in the oven for 5-10 minutes
  • leave to cool and then enjoy!

Happy Chomping!

Beetroot, Pear and Toasted Walnut Salad! (and more!)

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Helloo!

It’s only Wednesday and it’s already been a busy week🙂 but busy is good. This is something I am starting to realise that busy makes you feel alive. The past couple of months have been very slow paced for me with a lot a lot of self-motivation being needed to get through the day. This has been tricky as some days there is not a whole lot to get up out of bed for. But I have realised that has been my challenge sent to me for a while. It’s the universe’s way of saying ‘ Joanna – we want you to learn some self-motivation’ and I have.

Well I have to some extent. I still have those days when all I want to do is stay in bed and have long bubble baths (like today)

However I now have more exciting things to get me up in the morning. And it’s important to appreciate and acknowledge them so here I go…

  1. My CNM course! It is bloody difficult! and I have an exam a week on Saturday which I have not done nearly enough revision for – the cyto – skeletal – muscular systems all in 20 minutes! BUT that has given me something to work towards!
  2. My food, my cooking and my blog! It’s like a release coming on here and typing away. Its been my saviour!
  3. Getting back into my hot yoga with Feelhotyoga and being welcomed back with such open arms.
  4. Being given a chance to work on the production side of Raw Ecstasy! Had my first shift yesterday and it was great fun!
  5. My friends. Soppy I know, but they are great, Im having a new appreciation of how luck I am to have them around and to talk to.
  6. My family – especially mum, dad and brother. They are definitely my biggest supporters and believers. (this will make them very happy as they read this religiously!)
  7. My wonderful fella😀 he takes a lot of crap when things go wrong – but is still here!

and you know what this has made me smile because actually the list could go on and that is something really important to realise – all the things that keep you going.

Anyway these are all the reasons Ive had a busy week and aren’t they great reasons🙂

SO I should get to the foodie bit !! Earlier on in the week I made this amazing salad. It’s great for this time of year because it’s warm and toasty which is just what you need in the UK at the moment with the weather turning grey.

I got the recipe from a great new blog i’ve been following called ‘Love and Lemons’ it was one of their tasty suggestions for vegetarian thanksgiving options.

I slightly added my own additions but on the whole followed this recipe to the word and thought it was absolutely fantastic!! It was also so so easy to do!

So here we go… Roasted Beetroot with pear and toasted walnuts – and more! 

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Ingredients

  • 3 medium sized beets, any variety (I just did 2 large beets and added 3 small red onions to roast with them)
  • a small drizzle of olive oil, for roasting the beets (and onions)
  • 1 ripe pear, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted ( I added a sprinkle of pine nuts to toast too)
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled (or more)
  • a few handfuls of salad greens of your choice (I recommend spinach or rocket)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup cooked quinoa (optional, for a heartier salad)
  • micro sprouts, for garnish (also optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoons walnut oil
  • a drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • a drizzle of honey
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Cut the beets and red onions into wedges and roast by drizzling them with a bit of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and some salt and pepper they should take from 30 – 40 minutes depending on the sizes you cut them to. When they are fork-tender they are done. Chop into smaller cubes and set them aside to cool completely. (or use whilst warm for a toasty salad!)IMG_4504
  2. (optional step) Take the already-cooked quinoa and toast it a little, by tossing it in a small hot skillet/pan for a couple of minutes. Drizzle a little walnut oil and some salt on it, and remove from the heat and set aside.IMG_4506
  3. Assemble all salad ingredients on a platter. Drizzle with a liberal amount of walnut oil, a bit of balsamic vinegar, a little honey, and some salt and pepper. IMG_4507

Happy chomping!! 

Where to buy your green shots?

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I had a couple of people message me in response to last nights post about the green super powders, asking me where they can buy them from… 

Like with all things there are different qualities and with the different qualities come the different prices…  

Spirulina 

for example here is a link to Holland and Barratts difference selection of Spirulina products http://www.hollandandbarrett.com/pages/categories.asp?cid=142&searchterm=spirulina&rdcnt=1

these range from £6.89 for the tablets to £20.49 for a powdered form. The tablet versions should be avoided as they take longer to be absorbed into the body and you should try and find a powdered version. 

P.s. Spirulina tastes gross…! just saying…

Wheat Grass

For the Wheat grass – I just found some on Amazon – again remember that the price reflects the quality. This means that the powder may have been made from different parts of the plant. The idea part to use is the baby shoots as these are alive and growing and therefore full to the brim of all these nutrients I was talking about. Often the cheaper ranges use different parts of the plants of maybe aren’t 100% wheat/barley grass as they are a combination. So just check the mg content of the nutrients as you may pay less but then not get the total benefit of the green shot! 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=wheatgrass+organic&tag=googhydr-21&index=aps&hvadid=23274898849&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=156918797073435164&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_1mvwqg5ft2_b

Thats the link to amazons wheat grass choices. 

Barley Grass

And for Barley grass – you can again buy it everywhere – I just typed it into google and this was the top result 

http://www.greensorganic.co.uk/Barley-Grass-Powder-250g?gclid=CNPSk4fshLsCFZLKtAodT1oAQA

However we use a beautiful barley grass which has been made from the baby shoots of the plant. It is also 100% organic and therefore avoids any sneaky extra elements being in our green magic. 

It also is cut very finely making it dissolve very easily into the apple juice or water and therefore making the shot more palatable. 

The make is Nikken and although it is pricier than the other options you do pay for quality. It is also quite a large jar and should last you about 6weeks. 

Here is the link for this particular brand http://www.nikkenwellbeing.co.uk/PWP/Products/Products.aspx?ID=352&MediaType=Image&RootGroup=156

So just remember 

1. Buy a powdered form
2. ORGANIC 
3. Check quantity of powder in packet
4. Check if it’s a combination 
5. Check how much mg of the nutrients you will be getting
6. buy some apple juice! 

Please get in touch if you have any questions! 

Rise and Shine it’s Breakfast Time!

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Morning all🙂

How do you like to start your day?

The positive side of being unemployed is the leisurely pace at which I can start my day…

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Barley Grass, porridge, chia seeds, nuts and ginger and lemon tea.

I had a long chat with my friend Liv last night about different nutritional advice she’s been receiving from a program she’s been subscribing to. She asked me lots of questions and some of them I found hard to answer so I went and did some research I thought I would share.

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1) What is the difference between all the different green super foods, e.g. wheat grass, spirulina and barley grass? And what is the benefit of each one?

First of all, Wheat grass, Barley Grass and Spirulina are magical! This is why they are called Super Greens. They really are super and I would recommend everyone adds one of them in to their diet in some form.

These super greens are nutrient rich. Full of the vitamins, minerals, enzymes, proteins and anti-oxidants that we need in our daily diets. Additionally, they are also ‘readily’ absorbable. Meaning that these nutrients enter straight into our bodies without my ATP energy being used, leaving it to concentrate else where. 

This is the Vitamin Content of Barley Grass when being compared to other food and vegetables that we eat on a daily basis.  

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But why green super foods?! I know it’s not the most appetising colour…

Green is for Chlorophyll.

If you remember any of your primary school biology you know that chlorophyll is essential to all green plants and is central to their ability to grow and be alive.

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The molecular structure of Chlorophyll has been related to that of hemoglobin in the body which makes it very easy for the body to take in these foods and benefit from their nutrients.

But what does Chlorophyll actually do?

It increases the hemoglobin count of the blood.

Hemoglobin is the iron-containing oxygen-transport system in blood. This means that more hemoglobin translates to a more oxygen rich blood and fast rebuilding of the blood stream. E.g. animals with a low red blood cell count that were given wheat grass had a healthy blood count level within five days.

In addition, chlorophyll can stops bacterial growth in the digestive tract as well as the production of yeasts and fungi. As Chlorophyll manages bacterial growth throughout the body it is also though to eliminate bad bodily odours… pheweeey!

In all honesty all three of these super foods are pretty equal in their value to the human body. I am bias towards barley grass as I have been taking it now for two years and swear by it as an immune system booster and also for getting rid of my teenage acne.

However, each green magical powder has its own specialist claim to fame.

Barley Grass

This to me is my number one choice. It’s hard to summaries how great it is! 

Barley grass is a whole food concentrate acts as close as possible to it’s natural state and simultaneous provides what we naturally need to absorb in the easiest way.

All 8 of the essential amino acids are found in Barley grass which assist in the generation of proteins which we need to assist our cell building and regeneration and our energy production.

Vitamins and minerals in EXCESS! (see table above)

barley grass powder has been said to be beneficial in asthma, obesity, skin rejuvenation, anaemia, arthritis, gastritis, peptic ulcers, diabetes, cellular damage from x-rays, heart disease and hepatitis.

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Wheat grass

Wheat grass benefits inflammatory conditions.

  • It reduces toxins in the blood that collect around the joints and cause pain;
  • strengthens damaged bodily tissues;
  • prevents inflammation in the first place.

This is predominately due to the high amount of enzymes it puts into the body. One of which is P4D1. This enzyme stimulates the renewal of nucleic acid and this in turn is what aids the anti-inflammatory benefits.

WheatGrass3

Spirulina

Spirulina is one of the highest sources of chlorophyll out of the greens and as an extra bonus is also one of the highest sources of protein. The protein found in Spirulina is also more digestible than any other source. Even though animals are known to provide the body with high amounts of protein, once taken into the body only 20% of beef protein is actually digestible whereas with Spirulina the protein is 95% digestible!!

In this way, Spirulina is great for weight loss as a person can eat less and not be hungry as they have been satisfied by the protein in their magical greens!

And as if that wasnt enough, another benefit of Spirulina is the blue pigment, phycocyanin which is not often found in foods. It has shown to inhibit the formation of cancerous cells. In this way it helps to stop the spread of cancer in the body.

spirulina

Dosage

Whichever green magical powder you choose I would recommend taking it first think the morning and eventually replacing your normal cup of coffee of tea with your shot of greens. I never drink caffeine anymore and when I need an energy boost I reach for my barley grass! I mix one teaspoon of barley grass with a small amount of apple juice (NOT FROM CONCENTRATE) and it tastes fab. My brother drinks it with water and he says it’s fine but I am not quite man enough for that just yet.

As this has become such a long post I will tackle other breakfast gem in my next post!

xxx

Slightly Spicy Tomato and Red Lentil Winter Soup!

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It’s SO cold!

I know it gets boring when British people complain about the weather. But thats part and parcel of being British. And I also feel justified because I have just come home from a much much warmer climate so need time to readjust and try to understand why on earth we choose to live in such a cold climate!!!

I have had a very interesting few days since coming home. Things are starting to fall into place and little bits of the puzzle are starting to reveal a bigger picture. I know I am talking in innuendoes but it’s fun.

Wednesday afternoon I met with Inspiral. They look like an absolutely great company to work for. That interview was quite the tricky one and I need to brush up on my excel skills to say the least. However, I have a positive feeling that something will materialise. Fingers crossed anyway. They feed their staff a communal lunch every day!! Thats the main reason I want to work there haha! Brilliant recipe ideas. However this is not a definite and we have to watch this space.

Yesterday was a fantastically productive day, really got quickly back into the swing of being home and enjoyed delving into my books to consolidate some of the overload of information I got from my first weekend studying Bio-medicine. I spent about five hours yesterday trying to master the skeleton and the make up of our bones. On the schedule for today is tendons and ligaments and the connective tissues. How exciting.

The Long Bone

The Long Bone

It was great to talk things through with my mum as she’s a pilates teacher and it meant I managed to apply some of the information to real life scenarios.

This weekend I am mastering the muscular system and respiratory system in two days. You bet I am.

Anyway amongst all that excitement I haven’t had much time to think about cooking so I made a hearty winter classic last night. And to be honest with you I might become rather boring on this blog because me and my mum agreed it’s all we want to eat all through the winter!!

I threw this together very quickly and although I followed a recipe I added my own flare😉 It was quite challenging yesterday because we had run out of our wonderful Bouillon stock (which I have to say if you don’t use it you must try some!) So I was improvising in order to create some taste with just what I had. Anyway I perfected it this morning and good old mum bought some stock!

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The fun part about soup though is that it’s very easy to add a bit of your personality to it. Here I added half a chilli and some picante peppers. But you can really add as much or as little of any ingredients as you want.

Its thick, warming, tasty and nutritious as its full of all the lentils for proteins which are great for filling you up on a chilly day. I love it and want to bring lunch time early because I am excited to eat!

Bon Appetite!

Slightly Spicy Tomato and Red Lentil Winter Soup!

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 mini piccante peppers (mix of red and orange)
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 small (or half a big) red chilli
  • 1&1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • sprinkle of chilli powder for added kick
  • 200g split red lentils
  • 1.5 litres vegetable stock
  • 400g can plum tomatoes
  • 3 tsp tomato purée
  • Himalayan salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 bay leaf

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  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the onion and cook over a low heat until beginning to soften. Stir in the celery, carrot and peppers and cook for a couple more minutes, stirring! Add the garlic, chill, cumin and coriander and cook for a further minute, stirring constantly.
  2. Add the lentils, stock, tomatoes with their juice, tomato purée and bay leaf. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, then half-cover the pan with a lid and simmer until the lentils and vegetables are very soft.

IMG_44893.  Remove the bay leaf from the soup. Blend the soup in the pan using a hand-held blender, or ideally tip into a blender or a food processor as the lentils need more blending than the usual soup consistency, when texture is as you want then return the soup to the pan. My soup was very thick and I prefer it thiner so I diluted with a little more stock. Season to taste, then reheat until just bubbling and serve! – I sprinkled some fresh coriander on top to serve.

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Happy Chomping! 

Spanakopita

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Home sweet sweet sweet home!

I have returned from a wonderful wonderful holiday in a beautiful country seeing my beautiful family. But boy am I happy to be home, sleeping in my own bed!

Unfortunately between the time of landing at 9pm to waking up at 7am I have managed to catch a chill – and its no surprise seeing as I dropped 25 degrees in a day! We got a chilly welcome home of 0 degrees when we landed promptly followed by snowfall today! And to think yesterday morning I was sat on the beach!!

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Anyway I have a very exciting afternoon ahead of me. I am going into tottenham to meet with someone from Inspiral an amazing raw food company who have an amazing ethos and I am hoping to do some part time work for over the next few months.

Inspiral is know for their Kale crisps and most recently have introduced the first biodegradable crisp packets in the UK. It’s all very exciting!

So this is just a short post because I need to go and get ready but here as promised is the Spanakopita recipe from the post below. Its a brilliant recipe, I am looking g forward to making it again!

I also made a delicious tzatziki to go on the side along with the greek theme.

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This was oh so simple.

Tzatziki

The best result is achieved by peeling and de-seeding the cucumber before grating. The get rid of whatever excess liquid you can because the water in the cucumber otherwise waters down the yoghurt

This bits the simple part – Combine the yoghurt, cucumber, lemon juice and garlic. Then sprinkle with paprika.

make it as far in advance as possible as the flavours grow together mmmm

and Spanakopita (which i am getting very good at spelling!)

  • 280g Fresh spinach
  • 2 sprigs fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh parsley, chopped
  • 4 spring onions, chopped
  • 200g feta cheese
  • 1 tbsp soft cheese (I used Boursin)
  • 40g (½ cup) finely grated hard cheese like parmesan or pecorino
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tbsp dry breadcrumbs
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Melted butter or olive oil for greasing dish
  • 375g fresh/frozen filo pastry
  • melted butter – guesstimate

Wash spinach leaves and drain well. Coarsely chop the leaves and stalks of the spinach and set aside.

Place the feta in a large bowl and mash with a fork. Add the onions, herbs, soft cheese, parmesan, eggs, breadcrumbs, nutmeg, and pepper. Mix and combine. Add the spinach bit by bit to make sure its mixed well and then put to the side while preparing the pastry case.

Spinach Mix!

Spinach Mix!

Preheat oven to 180C. Lightly grease a 20cm x 30cm x 5cm baking dish.

Melt the butter and get a pastry brush to layer the filo pastry with butter.

Lay the filo out on a bench. Cover with a dry tea towel then a damp one to keep it from drying out. Line dish with a sheet of filo and butter the filo. Top with another sheet of filo and butter and continue until about half the sheets of filo are used.

layering the pastry and the spinach

layering the pastry and the spinach

Make sure the spinach filling is thoroughly mixed and pour into the pastry base and spread evenly. Top with remaining filo, buttering each sheet, ensuring the final sheet is well buttered.

Trim any overhanging pastry and tuck in the sides. Use a sharp knife to mark pastry top into diamonds, allowing the knife to pierce the pastry once or twice to allow air to escape during baking.

Sprinkle lightly with water and bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes or until well browned. Gently shake the pan and the spanakopita will slide easily when cooked. Cover with foil if over browning.

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Cool on rack for 15 minutes before cutting to serve.

Happy Chomping!! 

Israel and spanco peter

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Hey hey!

I’m currently out in beautiful Israel with my dad and my brother.

So it’s not that I’m being lazy and not cooking! We are actually eating the most wonderful meals. Middle Eastern cuisine is definitely top in my books at the moment. Every meal is preceded with copious amounts of salad which they ensure they refill the moment one of them appears low! Salads ranging from humous and tahini to pickled beetroots and chilli tomatoes! It’s fantastic!

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I have such an amazing recipe to share from last week. It was spanakopita which is a Greek recipe – a delicious filo pastry filled with spinach and feta cheese. My mum recommended this to me and when she said the greek name i originally googled it as ‘spanco peter’ but realised soon how un-greek i’d been.

This isn’t my healthiest recipes with all the pastry and butter, but I have to admit its definitely one of my tastiest! I could tell this from the empty plates!

This was inspired by ‘reduced to clear’ spinach from morrisons for 25p! It lead me to look for recipes I could use up large quantities of spinach in one go. Additionally I learnt this week that spinach – our number one super food is actually thought to be an anti-nutrient ad a safer way to eat it is actually cooked. Therefore this recipe is great in that respect as its all cooked!

Another exciting thing about this recipe is its the first recipe I listened to my kitchen intuition.

I read a few different recipes before I began and had a basic idea of how to cook this, but I cut out bits, added in bits, tested out new ideas as it still came out great! So this is the first recipe I will call my own!

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Unfortunately it’s written out on my computer at home and I’m still out in Israel. I just missed writing and wanted to put an update so you don’t forget about me! But I will post it ASAP once I’m home.

It’s beautiful here – having an amazing time. The sky is blue, the sun is hot, we have a private hot tub, a sauna in the bathroom and we have spent the last few days with my wonderful nieces and nephew.

It doesn’t get much better in terms of things to appreciate in life.

So everyone take a minute to appreciate the good stuff in life because there’s lots to appreciate.

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Heart vs Head?

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So I’ve gone from not having any work opportunities the past 3 weeks, to having all my job options open up the past 2 days.

I have some serious decisions to make. There is always the what if? the big question mark that looms over the daunting path of a career decision. What if this route doesn’t work out? What if I have made the wrong decision? What if I regret saying no to an opportunity?

Today I am struggling between listening to my heart or my head. Who knows me better and who knows the next move I should take?

head vs heart

So the great debate which is waging and pulling me in all different directions….

Head

Take the full time, office job which offers financial security. It is a quiet receptionist job which enables plenty of study time and it is an office nearby your college.

My head “How sensible would that be. you can pay back all the money you owe for the course”
My heart “think how unhappy you will be traveling into town for long days in a job lacking purpose, and with no time to cook!”

Heart

Take the three different part time jobs you have found and juggle your time and your money so you can work in a field you love, with people who have the same interests and build your network of friends and people you can share and grow with.

 
My heart “look how happy this will make you, you’re even smiling thinking about it, just take the plunge”
My head “its’s crazy, there’s no money in this and you will drive yourself mad running round everywhere and juggling study time too”
 

The truth is I have to believe that no matter which I choose it will be the right decision and it will lead me down the right road. Everything happens for a reason. No decision is wrong. If I am meant to end up in a certain place then I will no matter what I choose to do today, tomorrow next week or next year.

What would you do?

Head or heart? Heart or head?

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Celeriac Chips with Raw Tartare Sauce

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Just another quick recipe for today because I made it as an addition to last nights dinner and I think it’s a genius idea.

I found this fabulous recipe from another blog I would recommend – The Ascension Kitchen. This was something else I found whilst ‘procrastinating’ from picking up my biology books! Like I mentioned… old habits die hard.

I am determined to reprogram this particular habit.

I have recently been reading a book called The Power of Habit. I have only got about 30 pages in but so far I have found it really interesting. It has a really simplistic way of explaining very complex brain structures. It explains the integral human ability to alter a habit through adjusting the subconscious actions our brain engages in. I really recommend this book to anyone that is interested.

the power of habit

Anyway the Celeriac Chips – sorry I went a little off the point!

These are a simple, tasty, FANTASTIC alternative to chips or potato wedges.

They have more flavour than potato, they are full of more nutrients than potato and they are cooked in coconut oil too as a bonus! 

Before last night I have to admit I had never cooked and probably never consciously eaten celeriac – I couldn’t have told you what it tastes like. I feel like this is similar to many peoples relationship with the unattractive vegetable celeriac.

celeriac

After a little bit of research into the nutritional benefits of celeriac I have discovered the main quality of a celeriac above other root vegetables is its extremely low calorie content.

It is less starchy than potatoes for example, so a great way to cut down on the carb intake. A half-cup serving of cooked celeriac contains less than 20 calories.

But this low calorie intake doesn’t compromise any of the other nutrients as its bursting with potassium, iron, vitamin C and full of fibre. Fibre aids regular bowel movements (doing a poop) and also the absorption of nutrients (which is great for a healthy gut!).

Low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. BUT High in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Phosphorus, Potassium, Dietary Fiber, Vitamin B6, Magnesium

So all in all – a fantastic alternative to potato chips!

This recipe simply involved peeling off the exterior. cutting up into chunky chips. tossing with coconut oil, salt, thyme and tarragon and popping into the oven until golden! EASY PEASY!

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The Ascension Kitchen recipe also has the fantastic side of tartar sauce. Not just any tartar sauce – a raw tartar sauce made predominately from macadamia nuts rather than mayonnaise. clever.

I didn’t have the white miso or the garlic powder but just substituted this for a crushed clove of garlic and I don’t think I was missing any flavours. It tastes great and Ive been using the leftovers as a side to my salad for lunch today. Also very simple to make and full of lovely protein to keep you fuller for longer!

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Hope you have as much fun trying this one out as I did, I really think it’s a recipe worth trying, it is so beautifully simple and a great little party trick.

Celeriac Chips with Raw Tartare Sauce (from The Ascension Kitchen)

1 Celeriac
Coconut oil
Fresh thyme
Fresh tarragon
Sea salt

  • Use a knife to peel the ugly exterior of the celeriac off
  • Chop him into thick chips
  • Toss with coconut oil
  • Spread out on a baking tray lined with baking paper
  • Scatter a liberal amount of sea salt and freshly chopped thyme and tarragon over the top
  • Bake at 190˚ for 35 minutes or till golden

Tartar Sauce

1 cup macadamia nuts, soaked
½ cup water
2 teaspoons white miso
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Zest of one lemon
¼ teaspoon flaky sea salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons chopped shallots
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
1 tablespoon capers

  • Blend everything except the fresh dill and capers till creamy
  • Add the dill and give a quick blend
  • Pour into a small bowl, add the capers and mix

HAPPY CHOMPING!

Roasted Mediterranean Squash and Red Onions with Quinoa

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So you will all be happy to know that I picked myself up and got over Monday nights dinner. I am really proud of last nights dinner, it was lots of new elements I hadn’t cooked before and everything came out perfectly. Which was the exact pick-me-up I needed for my confidence in the kitchen

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I start my course in 3 days!! So I spent all of yesterday sat with my laptop open and my course books next to me, telling myself I am going to open them and do some preparation. Unfortunately old habits die hard and I managed to procrastinate and find 6 hours worth of ‘very important’ web browsing which occupied me until it was time for dinner.

I did however do some really interesting reading on Nat Kringoudis’s website and now have about 25 tabs open on my computer waiting for me to delve into her blogs in more detail. I would strongly recommend ladies to go and have a read. She was recommended to me by a friend and I absolutely love her and the things I am learning from her.

So now today is the day I will open my daunting books on physiology and anatomy – so wish me luck! In fact today is the day I finally paid my course fees and that means this is it! I am on track for becoming a nutritional therapist in 3 years time!

Anyway back to last nights dinner… I loved it.

During my web browsing I came across Yotam Ottolenghi and some of his fantastic recipes. I think my next investment is going to be his new recipe book ‘Jerusalem’.

The first element to dinner was his recipe for Roasted butternut squash and red onion with tahini and za’atar (which I found on the guardian) and adapted it so it was a variety of squash and served on a bed of Quinoa which was fab.

Za’atar.

Za'atar spices

Za’atar spices

Now I’ve discovered Za’atar I can’t seem to get away from it!! Absolutely love this mediterranean spice i’ve found – Have a look at my Chickpea Za’atar salad for the ingredients to make your own.

Squash.

I used a mixture of butternut squash and a carnival squash. I found the carnival squash had a more chest-nutty taste.

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I also cooked both the squash with their skin on. I did this for a health reason as most of the nutrients are found directly under the surface of the skin so when you peel off the skin you are peeling off a huge amount of the nutrients in the vegetables. HOWEVER, just a word of warning that the Carnival squash’s skin was slightly tougher. I didn’t mind so much but just warning you incase it’s not to everyones liking.

Tahini.

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Another new element for me was the Tahini sauce. This was a combination of an organic Mediterranean Tahini paste (from a local Turkish shop) with lemon juice, garlic and water.

I found I had to add some extra water to get the tahini in a more liquid form but this is a great source of protein to add to a vegetarian meal as its packed with sesame seeds.

Once the squash is roasted, the pine nuts toasted and the tahini ready simply add all the extra ingredients and serve! Tasty! (Don’t forget the Quinoa!)

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mmmmmm look how beautiful and colourful it is!

Recipe

1 large butternut squash (around 1.1kg), cut into 2cm x 6cm wedges 
2 red onions, cut into 3cm wedges 
50ml olive oil 
Maldon sea salt and black pepper 
3½ tbsp tahini paste 
1½ tbsp lemon juice 
3 tbsp water 
1 small garlic clove, crushed 
30g pine nuts 
1 tbsp za’atar 
1 tbsp roughly chopped parsley

Quinoa – cook as per packet directions.

Heat the oven to to 220C/425F/gas mark 7. Put the squash and onions in a large bowl, add three tablespoons of oil, a teaspoon of salt and some black pepper, and toss well. Spread, skin down, on a baking sheet and roast for 40 minutes until the vegetables have taken on some colour and are cooked through. Keep an eye on the onions: they may cook faster than the squash, so may need to be removed earlier. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Put the tahini in a small bowl with the lemon juice, water, garlic and a quarter-teaspoon of salt. Whisk to the consistency of honey, adding more water or tahini as necessary.

Pour the remaining oil into a small frying pan on a medium-low heat. Add the pine nuts and half a teaspoon of salt, cook for two minutes, stirring, until the nuts are golden brown, then tip the nuts and oil into a small bowl.

To serve, spread the vegetables on a platter and drizzle over the sauce. Scatter the pine nuts and oil on top, followed by the za’atar and parsley. Then I served on top of a bed of freshly cooked Quinoa. 

HAPPY CHOMPING

 

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