Meatless Monday: Lentil & Peach Salad w/ A Tarragon Dressing [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes, Meatless Monday

Serves: 4
Prep:15-20 mins
Cooking: 20-30 mins
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Sieve, large non-stick pot w/lid, chopping board, sharp knife, resealable jar, small frying pan, pastry brush, grill tray, kitchen foil, mixing bowl

Hello everyone! Although this year’s Easter weekend has been a bit of a wash-out (particularly this morning!), we hope that you’ve all found some time to unwind, maybe go for a relaxing walk and enjoy some good food with family and friends. ūüôā

The recipe that we are sharing with you today is a¬†delicious¬†salad we created¬†weeks ago…when the weather felt more ‘spring like’ and everyone was still¬†optimistic¬†about a sunny Easter! However, we think that you’ll be happy to hear that this salad requires minimal prep (and cooking), of which the majority¬†could be organised the night before, particularly¬†if you plan on having this salad for lunch.¬†

We love adding fruit to salad, not only is it¬†a great way to add some fibre, vitamins and minerals into your diet, such as¬†vitamin C, potassium and potentially¬†folate, but it’s the perfect solution for¬†satisfying¬†your sweet tooth in the evening. We’ve tried adding oranges, pineapple, mango, apples and even pears, but never peaches. So as you can probably gather, we’ve never¬†grilled peaches before either. So when thinking about some new, exciting and delicious salad¬†possibilities, this idea came to mind. The experience¬†was not life changing, but we definitely feel like we have been missing out! Delicate and juicy peaches become creamy and tender (almost dessert like). A sure fire way to transform your salad and enjoy one of the many plants nature has to offer. We threw in a few juicy blueberries and dried cranberries for another pop of colour, but the peaches (and dressing!) were¬†definitely¬†the stars of the show. The delicate and peppery rocket works beautifully with the sweet and slightly tangy/’aniseed-y’¬†tarragon dressing and the toasted walnuts provide¬†a delicious crunch. The inspiration for the dressing came from a well-known chef, which we adapted with much love and care into a format we can use happily throughout the summer months to come.¬†

 

 

The result: a salad full of bold flavours, great textures and the¬†privilege¬†to feel smug; eating2health has never been so easy (or tasty)!¬†With¬†hearty and nutritious lentils, plump and grilled peaches, toasted and¬†crunchy¬†walnuts, wild and peppery rocket and a sweet¬†and vibrant tarragon dressing… it’s just a sensory overload waiting to happen!

Happy cooking everyone! ūüėÄ

 

If you are looking for some additional salad inspiration, please make sure to check out some of our other ideas from our recipe index!

 

Fancy this recipe?! Just contact us¬†us for an easy-print PDF! ūüôā

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Pomegranate Sauce [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 10
Yields: about 400ml
Prep & Cooking Time:¬†‚ȧ 8mins
Type: Dip, Sauce, Dressing
Tools: Large measuring jug, whisk, small dish, non-stick pot

Like other¬†‘healthy’ and wholesome foods,¬†pomegranate¬†can play a great part in supporting a healthy diet and lifestyle! Originating from the¬†Middle East, this lovely fruit is¬†a good source of fibre but¬†also contains vitamins C, E & K, iron and other antioxidants. Although there has been studies (1,2,3,4)¬†that have indicated and helped support possible health benefits, such as protecting us¬†against heart disease, high blood pressure, inflammation and some cancers, the evidence is still inconclusive. Nonetheless we can still enjoy¬†this delicious fruit as one 150ml serving of (pure) juice/day or by scattering these¬†lovely,¬†red jewels over¬†our porridge, yoghurt,¬†salads, rice dishes¬†or any other delicious plant-based meal¬†that¬†we desire! It can be a wonderful¬†way not only¬†to¬†brighten¬†up our meals, but to¬†add some additional nutritional value to them. ūüôā

Today we are sharing a lovely pomegranate sauce (dressing or dip)! It’s easy to make and variable depending on what you want to use it for. In all honestly though, this sauce is a ‘treat’, simply because one being we don’t really drink juice and two, unless you can source cheap pomegranates or (100%) pomegranate juice (as ‘juice drinks’ tend to have added sugar, colourings and/or¬†additives), it can be a bit¬†pricey to make.

If¬†you’re feeling rich or the change in your pocket is starting to weigh you down, then we¬†recommend¬†that you whip up a batch!¬†You can adjust how much starch you use to create your prefect consistency and even experiment by adding a cheeky splash of red wine and/or your favourite spices or herbs for a delicious and unique fusion of flavours! We hope that you enjoy some¬†as a dressing over salads or a plate of steamed¬†veggies (mmm broccoli please!) or as a dip/sauce for your plant-based burgers (or bites) or tasty crudities!¬†

Have a great weekend everyone and happy cooking! ūüėÄ

 

Ingredients

+++400ml            100% Natural Pomegranate Juice (or 4 fresh pomegranates/juiced)
+++1 tbsp              Lemon Juice (fresh or concentrated)
+++¬Ĺ-1 tbsp ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Fruit Sweetener (*optional)
+++4 tsp                Potato Starch (*variable)

Need and easy-print recipe? Print here. ūüôā

 

Directions

1. Pour the pomegranate and lemon juice into a large measuring jug. Add the sweetener (if using). Whisk together.

2.¬†Place the starch into a small dish with equal parts water. Whisk with a fork to dissolve the flour and until combined; forming a ‘slurry’. Tip: you might want more or less potato starch depending on whether you are making a dip, sauce or thinner dressing.

3. Pour and whisk the slurry into the measuring jug.

4.¬†Transfer¬†the mixture into a non-stick pot. Place it over a medium-low heat. Keep whisking¬†until the sauce starts to thicken (and/or your desired consistency is achieved); do not allow it to boil.¬†Tip: start with a small volume of ‘thickener’. You can always add more of this ‘slurry’ mixture if you want a thicker sauce; just remove the pot from the heat and whisk through. Return to the heat and whisk until your desired thickness is achieved. Remove from the heat. Allow it to cool before storing.

5. Serve warm or cold as a dip, sauce or dressing!

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Mmm, it’s delicious¬†with our kidney bean burgers!

 

Refrigerate any leftover sauce in a sterilised, air tight and resealable jar; best consumed within 5-7 days.

 

Sources:
NHS Choices- Pomegranate: superfood or fad?
USDA

 

Have you tried making pomegranate¬†sauce before? What’s your favourite (homemade) go-to sauce that you just can’t live without?!

Vegetable Miso Soup W/Fusilli [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 8
Prep & Cooking Time:¬†‚ȧ 35 mins
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Measuring jug, 2 *non-stick pots, chopping board, sharp knife, colander, measuring spoons, wooden spoon.

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C, K & E, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and per serving is low in added sugar*, salt* and sat fats! *Variable due to brand and/or quantity of soya sauce, stock and/or miso used.

Firstly, I am going to vent (sorry). This has nothing to do with this post or food, but I just wish that WordPress would stop changing their¬†formatting! Don’t be surprised if some of our older posts¬†start looking ‘shabby’ because of it.¬†

Secondly, it’s been so cold lately that this has meant there has always been a pot of soup cooking away in our kitchen! Not that we’re complaining, we love soup we’re just not too keen on cold weather; me especially as I suffer from Primary Raynaud’s Phenomenon.¬†It’s not¬†physically¬†deliberating, you can self manage and you’ll find that slightly¬†more women suffer from it than men, it’s just not very nice.¬†

Anyways, back to the food!¬†We love¬†authentic¬†miso soups, but we do not enjoy their excessive salt contents. However, it’s not all or nothing in our kitchen, we’ve come up with a suitable alternative (at least for our palates!). That being a¬†delicious and savoury soup that we made a couple weeks ago- our vegetable miso soup with fusilli. It’s packed full of inspired Asian flavours, nutritious ingredients and some pasta to help keep you going throughout the day¬†! It’s also completely adaptable¬†to the¬†season, your own personal tastes and/or budget and¬†definitely¬†one not to¬†miss! We only hope that you enjoy it as much as we did!

A few good things to note include:

  • We tried to keep most of our ingredients bite-sized, but feel free to adapt as you see fit.¬†
  • Only add your pasta before serving, especially if you are planning to eat this soup over several days (the pasta will lose some of its lovely texture if it’s left soaking in the soup). We¬†refrigerated¬†ours¬†separately¬†to the soup; just add a drop of rapeseed oil to the pasta before¬†storing to help prevent it from clumping together.¬†
  • Only add the miso to the soup once it has been removed from the heat; adding it to boiling hot water will kill its beneficial¬†probiotics.¬†Traditionally, you can dissolve it in some warm¬†water (creating a miso ‘slurry’) before adding it into the soup to prevent it from clumping. We skipped this step; ours was at room temperature and it didn’t ‘clump up’ when it was¬†whisked¬†through.
  • Rewhisk/stir your soup before serving as miso has a habit of settling to the bottom of the pot.¬†

 

Quick Foodie Facts:

  • Miso is a naturally aged fermented paste that is made from fermented soya beans, cultures, salt and grains, e.g. giving rise to various types of miso paste. Quite commonly it’s a staple food item used in East Asian¬†cuisine, giving dishes a great depth of flavours! Savoury, salty, sweet and umami comes to mind!¬†
  • Soya beans (also known as edamame beans) are a legume native to East Asia but are now commonly seem/grown throughout¬†others parts of the globe. They are highly nutritious and¬†healthful; a great source of protein, insoluble fibre, iron, potassium, polyunsaturated fats, phytoesterols, isoflavones (just to name a few) and various other vitamins and minerals! They also¬†give rise to many other soya products (such as milk, miso, tofu, tempeh, flour and oil) and can¬†be a great alternative to meat!¬†

There are many potential health benefits from soya foods. For instance, they have been shown to actively lower cholesterol levels and therefore reduce your risk for heart disease (*when consuming 25g of soya protein/D as part of a healthy diet), e.g. two glasses (500ml) of soya milk, a 250ml glass of soya milk and 75g of silken hard tofu or 85g of soya (edamame) beans would be plenty.

Have a great weekend and happy cooking everyone! 

 

Ingredients

+++++++++++2                Garlic Clove (fat ones!)
+++++++++++100g          Spring Onion
+++++++++++100g          Root Ginger
+++++++++++400g         Carrot
+++++++++++420g          Bell Pepper (red & yellow)
+++++++++++2.5L            Water
+++++++++++400g         GF fusilli
+++++++++++                   Vegetable Stock Powder (low-salt/DF/GF)
+++++++++++300g          Frozen Soya Beans
+++++++++++200g          Bok Choi
+++++++++++10g             Fresh Coriander
+++++++++++2-3 tbsp    Soya Sauce (low-salt/ or Tamari Sauce for a GF alternative)
+++++++++++50-60g      White Miso Paste (about 3 tbsp)

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. ūüôā

 

Directions

1. Fill a large, non-stick pot with 2.5L cold water. Cover with a lid. Bring to a boil.

2. Fill another pot with cold water. Bring to the boil. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain.

3.¬†In the meantime, peel and dice the garlic. Wash, trim the ends and then roughly slice the spring onion. Wash, peel and then chop the ginger into small cubes. Wash, peel, trim the ends and then chop the carrot into small, bite-sized pieces. Wash, remove the stem and core and then chop the bell pepper into¬†¬Ĺ cm pieces.

4. Once the water is boiling, add some vegetable stock (we kept ours to a minimum). Stir until dissolved. Add the garlic, spring onion, ginger, carrot, bell pepper and soya beans. Stir to combine. Cover with a lid, bring back to the boil. Cook and simmer for 6-7 mins or until the beans and vegetables are tender.

5. In the meantime, Remove the bok choi leaves from its stalk, wash and then roughly slice (as small or as large as preferred). Wash the coriander, remove its leaves from its stem and then roughly chop them.

6. Remove the pot of soup from the heat. Add 2-3 tbsp of soya sauce and 50-60g miso paste. Stir to dissolve.  Add the bok choi and coriander. Stir through. Taste and season the soup as necessary. Cover with a lid and allow the soup to sit for 10mins.

7. Add the cooked pasta just before serving. Stir through.

8. Give the soup a good stir before serving. Ladle the soup into a serving bowl. Garnish with coriander and sesame seeds.

Enjoy!

 

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in an air-tight and resealable container; gently reheat in a pot over a medium-low heat and consume within 4 days.

 

Sources:
BDA- Soya food and health
USDA
Cooper Smith_Orthorexia nervosa_Flickr

A Healthy Diet & Lifestyle: Why You Should ‘Detox’ Your Attitude and Goal Setting Criteria & Not Your Body

Diet & Weight Loss, Exercise, Healthy Mind

HAPPY 2016 EVERYONE! ūüėÄ

We’ve had a relaxing break and hope that you’ve all had a safe, happy and healthy festive period too!

As we transition into this sparkling New Year, it offers the chance of promise and a ‚Äėclean slate‚Äô of fresh opportunities. What are you planning; resolutions to rid yourself of bad habits, drastic diets or some realistic permanent and positive changes?

 

This is a cheeky picture of us during Christmas and no we hadn’t been drinking, but we were still enjoying the moment! You do not have to drink to enjoy social occasions, and having preconceived ideas of what you need to do to have a good time can set you up for a bumpy ride. This can also apply to ‚Äėgetting healthy‚Äô, especially at this time of year.

January usually brings a flood of clich√©s and crazy regimes, including ‚Äėdetox diets‚Äô. We have previously mentioned how we feel about ‚Äėsuperfoods‚Äô, ‚Äėdetox/BS Health Terms‚Äô and ‚Äėdiets‚Äô and to recap, it‚Äôs unnecessary and typically diets will set you up to fail. Instead of trying to ‚Äėdetox‚Äô your liver, gut, or your right foot, maybe you should try ‚Äėspring cleaning‚Äô your attitude and goal setting criteria instead.

 

 

 

…So here are five areas which we recommend you concentrate your energy on:

 

1. Give Up On Quick Fixes & Following Fad Diets

Photo by: Steve Davis, Fad diet stock photo_flickr

Photo by: Steve Davis, (Fad diet stock photo) Flickr

We all know that quick fixes and fad diets do not work long term and yet a great many people convince themselves that this time they’ve discovered the secret to easy and rapid weight loss. The only secret is the one kept by the marketers of these diets, which is that you’ll regain the weight as soon as you stop following the diet. However, this isn’t much of a secret, as we’re sure many followers of these quick fixes have been through this cycle at least once already. So what we should be doing is retraining our brains and attitudes.

Creating bad, good or even easy habits can be addictive by nature, but when it comes to creating long term and permanent commitments, we should be seeking only positive ones. Recognise your strengths and weaknesses when modifying your diet and lifestyle and realise that it’s a long-term commitment, not just an intermittent hobby; meaningful changes will not occur overnight.

We have previously talked about ‚Äėfad gluten free diets‚Äô, but the principle can be applied to most fad regimes. You might think you need to give up carbs, gluten or go on a seven day detox to lose weight, but why has this become ingrained into your thought processes? The important question to ask yourself is why no accredited nutritionist and/or Dietitian worthy of the name would suggest a quick fix or unscientifically based mantra?

So if someone and/or a product suggests that you can achieve meaningful weight loss through a quick fix (a.ka. a fad diet!), you should put as much distance between them and yourself as possible… and query any other health advice they have to offer.

Which leads us to‚Ķ.‚ÄėDetoxing‚Äô.

The term ‚Äėdetox‚Äô is very real, especially if you‚Äôre suffering from alcoholism. When it comes to ‚Äėdetoxing‚Äô, there isn‚Äôt enough credible scientific data published to show that we should take it upon ourselves to ‚Äėcleanse‚Äô or detoxify our bodies in the absence of any genuine addictions. Eating whole foods and eliminating processed foods is a lifestyle change that will benefit anyone. A healthful diet and lifestyle helps our liver, kidneys, colon and other organs to preform our natural mechanisms of ‚Äėdetox ‚Äôto help keep our bodies running without fail; detox kits and/or regimes do not offer us any substantial benefit and can cause diarrhoea, short term water loss, nutritional deficiencies and a dent in our wallets.

 

2. Be Realistic About Exercise

Photo by: Randy and Sarita, Shoemakers Photostream (ReneeB_Crunchy time) Flickr

Exercise can help reduce our risk in developing heart disease, dementia and other chronic conditions but it does not always promote weight loss, especially if we disregard food portion controls and other healthy eating advice! It can be a great way to improve our mental and physical fitness, but don‚Äôt expect it to provide you with a ‚Äėdetoxing‚Äô solution. When we sweat, we release sodium, not toxins; as mentioned above, our body has other processes to deal with this. Don‚Äôt get us wrong, you can work up a great sweat and detoxify your mind of negative and destructive thoughts, which is great a way to de-stress your mind of day-to-day anxieties and fears.

Developing a realistic exercise programme (one that we¬†can easily fit into our day-to-day lives and enjoy!) can take time and a lot of trial and error. As we are hardwired to conserve energy, we can naturally procrastinate, trying to put off the inevitable… including regular exercise.

If you are new to exercise, it might be worth checking with your healthcare professional first. Embarking on a new exercise regime will take persistence and patience and there are ways to make it easier, but quite honestly it won‚Äôt always feel ‚Äėfun‚Äô. There have been times where we have felt that exercise was a bit bothersome or that prior to the session it just wouldn’t be ‚Äėgood‚Äô. All of this pessimistic thinking only leads to failing before you have begun. Putting it into perspective, you wouldn’t expect that going into your office everyday would be prefect, bad days happen, but you do get through them; no one calls in sick because the day in question might be rubbish, so why treat your exercise sessions any differently?!

 

3. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Photo by: Comradehomer (Easy tricks to help you lose weight fast) Flickr

Genetics, age, personal circumstances… we are all different, including the way that we lose weight. For example, Alex has the metabolism of a jet engine and struggles to gain weight, whilst my metabolism needs regular exercise and meals to make sure it’s running efficiently and to help keep my health (and waistline!) in check.

When it comes to meaningful weight loss, there are no quick fixes and there is definitely not a ‚Äėone size fits all approach‚Äô; one method that will allow everyone to lose weight in the same timespan or manner.

Additionally we all come in different shapes and sizes; not everyone is designed to be a size 4! We need to appreciate our own circumstances, bodies and cast aside any unrealistic or unhealthy ideals.

A picture of a skinny body does not necessarily depict a healthy diet, it might be down to genetics or a case of someone having high levels of will power and/or potentially disordered eating behaviours.

So don‚Äôt compare yourselves to others, we all have our own journey and it is never truly finished; healthy living continues beyond ‚Äėweight loss‚Äô, which is only one of many steps.

 

4. Manage Negative Influences

Photo by: Beauty Playin 'Eh's Photostream_img8564_digging for more_Flickr

Photo by: Beauty Playin ‘Eh’s Photostream (img8564_digging for more) Flickr

Negative influences can include anyone or anything that provokes or causes unnecessary stress, roadblocks and/or illness in our lives. Remember it is OK¬†to say NO to people, especially to those ‚Äėoffice feeders‚Äô, a friend that always gets you to skip your gym sessions, a spouse that does most of the cooking but refuses to cook vegetables or to fad health enthusiasts or even your friend‚Äôs mother that advises you to give up carbohydrates or that you shouldn’t eat after 6pm‚Ķ these are all examples of negative influences.

 

Social Contagion Theory

It‚Äôs been shown that social networks can influence the size of your waistband. According to a study (regarding obesity in large social networks) published during 2007 in the New England Journal of medicine, their analysis showed that a person‚Äôs risk of obesity has a greater influence from their social networks than their genetics. When a study participant’s friend became obese, that first participant had a 57% greater chance of becoming obese himself. We guess that it can be put down to social norms or preconceptions of what is ‘normal behaviour’.

To paraphrase a leading psychologist speaking on a BBC Radio 4 programme last month ‚Äúwe normalise our own behaviours and attitudes based on the averages of our social groups.‚ÄĚ E.g. If your entire social network is overweight, you are unlikely to believe that being overweight yourself is unhealthy and/or a problem and are likely to avoid examples, groups and messages to the contrary. You may have heard the saying ‚Äėwe create our own realities‚Äô!

It’s not all bad news though; a study published during 2013 in Public Health Nutrition looked at weight-control strategies among adolescents with the assistance of family support. It showed that 50% of the group reporting sustained weight loss seemed to have more familial support.

Quite truthfully, you might lose friendships as you adapt and change your lifestyle because¬†not everyone is ‘game to being a fitness buddy‚Äô or ready to make permanent lifestyle changes themselves. However, true friends should understand your principles about making these healthy changes and should not be out to sabotage your good intentions.

 

5. Create Regular Consolidation (a.k.a Zen & Realistic Problem Solving!)

Photo by: Hannah Johnson_yoga_flickr

Photo by: Hannah Johnson (yoga) Flickr

It’s important for us to be diligent and create regular ways in which to reflect, focus on the positives and generate our own bespoke plans; allowing us to change our attitudes, behaviours and/or thought processes that could inhibit us from leading a healthier life, particularly one that we truly desire and deserve!

Plans might be set in motion in order to:

  • Quit smoking.
  • Reduce our alcohol consumption.
  • Improve¬†our cooking skills so that we can eat healthier meals.
  • Go to our GP to see why we are having intestinal cramps (not just putting ourselves on a GF diet!).
  • Understand what the potential reasons are as to why we are overweight.
  • Learn how to control our emotions- jealously, anger, fear or sadness could all be a recipe for disaster!
  • Exercise to improve our total quality of life- but hey, that could mean spending more time in the bedroom too! ūüėČ
  • Learn how to unplug from the mainstream (saying goodbye to long hours spent in front of a computer or iPhone!).
  • Become more social- spending¬†more quality¬†time with the people that matter.
  • Reduce frivolous spending, learning how to¬†budget and/or reduce debt.

 

It could also include ways to help us unwind and deal with the stress in our lives, such as: meditation, yoga, trying not to overcommit to social engagements or making time to read in our bedrooms without any interruptions for one hour a week. Another trend is expressing your thoughts on paper; daily or weekly gratitude journal entries. Planning can help instil positive and long term behaviours, helping us to avoid temptations, distractions and/or being able to find the best time(s) in order to start modifying our diet and lifestyles.

It can be recognising that changing one thing in our life may not create the happiness that we have been craving, e.g. losing weight will not necessary make us happy. If you were depressed before the weight loss, it might be there afterwards. Sometimes it’s not only about weight loss- it’s about finding ways to enrich our lives, becoming happy, healthier and hopefully blessed with more friendships and positive experiences as a result.

 

So let’s remember that everyone has the ability to lead healthier and happier¬†lives (no ‚Äėdetox‚Äô pills, drinks or crazy regimes needed!)… we just need to focus on the right decisions, methods and actions to do it!

Are you feeling optimistic? Are you ready for some permanent
and positive changes this year? What are your SMART goals?

 

Article written by:
A. Risby BSc, RD and L. Risby BSc, Nutritionist

 

Sources:
BDA-Detox Diets
NHS Choices- Benefits to Exercise
NHS Choices- 10 Minute Workouts
PubMed
The New England Journal of Medicine
BBC Radio 4 Programme РA leading clinical psychologist !
Public Health Nutrition
BDA-Weight Wise (SMART Goals)
Feature Image by: Cooper Smith (Orthorexia nervosa)_Flickr

 

One Year Blogging: A Year in Review

Other

Happy ‚ÄėBlogiversary‚Äô to us¬†!¬†

Unfortunately there is no celebratory cake, but that’s¬†only because we are still working thorough Alex’s birthday cake from last week! ¬†Yum! ūüėÄ

A delicious, homemade, raw, vegan cake… still defrosting at this stage!

 

It was one year¬†ago today that we created our first post and now one-hundred and fifty posts later we decided to look back at that first one;¬†an article discussing diet and exercise! It’s hard¬†looking back at any of our first posts without being critical, but we should all embrace our previous experiences, learn from it and move on.

Initially publishing content seemed impossible; from battling with a one week, self-led crash course in WordPress (WP), inclusive of plenty of hair pulling and profanities(!), to the thought of having a published voice was, in all honesty (at least at the time), a little bit daunting!

We think that those that persevere and battle through all of WP‚Äôs ‚Äėtechy wizardry‚Äô, social media platforms and who generally take a leap of faith will agree that it is an amazing roller coaster ride, one that you cannot completely prepare yourself for!

Blogging doesn’t really come with a manual or person spec, although there are plenty of websites and eBooks to help with promotion and IT troubleshooting, it just comes with a learning curve. A right of passage which involves learning how to use HTML, SEO, analytics, correct tags and formatting, in addition to learning how to proof read like your life depends on it, the reality of how long it actually¬†takes to create quality content and even knowing what direction you‚Äôre going with it. You will also (and most importantly) develop the ability not to sweat the small stuff, especially when it does not go to plan.

Anyone that starts blogging will start out with an idea or a ‚Äėplan‚Äô, but what has materialised one, four¬†or even twelve months on? Even the best intentions can change, but it¬†doesn’t mean that we should give up on our goals. Our blog is our own. Our own creative outlet that we have decided to share with the world! We will all have different expectations and measurements for success, but the key is passion, hard work and commitment. Keep hold of why you started blogging in the first place. You cannot compare your progress to others, expect to have overnight success or even assume that your last three months of Google Analytics will be indicative of your next six. We‚Äôre pretty sure that we’ve read somewhere that about¬†half of all new blogs give up after nine months; anyone belonging to this¬†crazy ‘blogosphere’ could easily emphasise with this.

It you are new to blogging, please don‚Äôt give up! Inspiration and motivation comes and goes with the reality that blogging is hard work, but it’s also very rewarding! It can almost end up being a full-time job, but unless your blog is your business, you need to be realistic about it. Like all the other components in your life, it‚Äôs just one more to learn how to juggle and to find balance with. Our lives will inevitability encroach upon our blogging goals, but it might also help to inspire new ideas‚Ķwhich is fantastic because blogs continuously need new, genuine and interesting content.

We‚Äôve really enjoyed blogging; from meeting new people, reading your guys fantastic posts, discovering new islands in the Pacific Ocean and having a lot of self-discovery, reflection and personal growth along the way. One bonus about providing food posts is that we can finally put¬†all of our recipes in one place‚Ķ instead of countless pieces of paper and notebooks! Yes, a virtual notebook that can also be used to highlight what we actually eat when we say to people that we consume ‚Äėplant-based foods‚Äô and of course the response is ‚Äúso what do you¬†eat?!‚ÄĚ ūüėõ

As you guys¬†will know, Eat2Health encompasses ways on making sure you can make healthy and informed decisions regarding your health, as we all deserve to be healthy, happy and in control of our life. We‚Äôd like to thank everyone that has supported, inspired and joined us over the last year. We really love hearing about the things that you have enjoyed or how¬†we might of helped you in some way; it’s priceless. There are no words to describe what you mean to us but we would like to reciprocate by saying that our door is always open. We always appreciate feedback and if there is a topic you would like to know more about (even about blogging) then please do not hesitate in dropping us a line!

We’d also like to mention that it‚Äôs been really interesting to see the search terms and the literature that has taken the most interest and maybe even resonated with you. Based on your views, here are Eat2Health’s all-time top five recipes and articles over the last year:

 

All-Time Top 5 Recipes

 

All-Time Top 5 Articles

 

So again,thanks so much for joining us for year one! ¬†What would you like to see more of during year two? Please share your ideas below. We’ve got a few possible ideas in the pipeline and are definitely looking forward to another great year ahead! ūüėÄ

Happy blogging everyone and let’s always remember that when we put our minds to it, we are all capable of great things! ‚̧

 

1 Year Anniversary Achievement

 

Feature Image: Pink-birthday-cupcake By: ladybug-julie_Flickr

Thai Green Coconutty Adventures!

Product Reviews

 

Opened Coconut_JustyCinMD_Flickr

Photo: Opened Coconut By: JustyCinMD_Flickr

For some, coconuts and coconut products are consumed on a daily basis, particularly for those living in subtropical areas around the globe where it is cheap and plentiful; they will probably also learn how to cut a coconut¬†open from fairly youngish age? Who knows… but we think the that idea of hacking into a standard/matured brown coconut can be a little daunting!

We both have memories of adults¬†needing a hammer (or rolling pin and chisel) to open it’s hard exterior; allowing you to¬†pour out what seemed to be a worthless amount of water, followed by an extended period of time to remove its meaty flesh. #palava

Question: How often do you eat fresh coconuts and why?

 

 

Coconut face_Tree_Specles_flickr

Photo: Coconut face_Tree By: Specles_flickr

“Coconut (Cocos nucifera) belongs to the Palm family (Arecaceae). Grown in abundance in Malaysia, Polynesia and southern Asia, Spanish explorers named the cocos – meaning ‘grinning face’, because of the three little eyes on the base which they thought resembled a monkey.¬†Classed as a fruit and frequently confused for being a nut, the coconut is actually a one-seeded drupe. ” . (1)

 

 

Of course sometimes nature makes us work for things, but it can also supply us with easier alternatives…such as Thai Green/baby/young coconuts! They have more water as in the mature ones it’s replaced by the white flesh. So if you have a craving for¬†a refreshing coconutty drink, these are the ones to go for!

There was probably just over a cup of water, maybe 300ml in each of our coconuts; it’s hard to say as hacking these open was thirsty work (j/k!) so we didn’t bother measuring it! It’s good to note that this volume (and the quantity of coconut meat) will probably vary, depending on the size of the fruit (oh sorry, we meant drupe!).

All of this coconut water is great for rehydrating, especially because it’s rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, including important electrolytes: potassium, magnesium, calcium and sodium.(2) These electrolytes are vital for the health our¬†muscular, cardiovascular, nervous and immune systems, as well as to help with the absorption and balance of the body’s internal fluids.

Coconut water is not a miracle drink, but a natural and healthful one; one study¬†showed that coconut water is just as effective for rehydration as other carbohydrate-electrolyte sports drinks. Whilst on the topic of sports drinks, it’s good to note that the¬†majority of people do not sweat enough through regular exercise to warrant buying manufactured sports drinks (laden in added sugars!); ideally they are designed for elite athletes that are¬†exercising more than an hour a day. Erm but even then, how many Olympians do you see drinking Gatorade or Lucozade Sport?!

Anyways, let’s move on¬†with our coconutty adventures…

 

Thai Green Coconuts!

We’ve previously read¬†that once these coconuts are harvested, their outer green husk is removed, they are shaped for easy access and handling and then finally wrapped in plastic to help keep in the moisture.

 

Oh and labelled…complete with easy instructions on how to access its sweet water and flesh,¬†but how easy was it?!

 

Pre-Step One

Buy the coconuts! Please note that standard/matured ‘brown’ coconuts are generally a lot cheaper.¬†Our¬†duo pack costed ¬£3.50 (at ASDA of all places, who’da thunk it?!). For lovers of coconut water but not so much the meat, this seemed a little pricey… but it’s a novelty and we’re not going to experience a cheaper one on a Thailand beach anytime soon! Make sure to thoroughly inspect them (as you would any other expensive piece of merchandise!); only in this instance check for mould, cracks, leaks and/or soft spots.

As you can clearly see above, the¬†best before states: consume within 3 days of purchase; it’s been two weeks since we purchased ours!¬†Perhaps we’ve lost a few nutrients, but ours still tasted fresh and down right delicious!

 

Step 1

Give yourself ample room to work with (safety first folks!). Place the coconut on it’s side, then whilst keeping a firm grip you’ll need to hack into and saw off the top; the directions recommend using a ‘sharp chef’s knife’. Even without a really ‘chefy’ knife, this step was¬†easy enough; the outer, white, husky skin is very ‘manageable’. Tip: If the husk is really thick, you’ll have to make your first cut further away from the tip to help expose the hard brown shell; our first cut was about one inch below the tip.

 

Step 2

Whilst still keeping a firm grip, chisel or hack the husk down to expose the top of the brown shell (which is again manageable). The more experienced you are with this, the less mess you will make! Tip: Lie the coconut on its side or keep it upright, whatever you feel most comfortable with.

 

Steps 3 & 4

Alex attempting this without glasses or even a morning cup of coffee!

This is where the fun begins (not really)! It’s advised that you¬†have to hit the brown shell at a 45 degree angle (whilst upright) with the edge of your knife, preparing grooves or a substantial cut in order to be able to lever off the top! Sound simple? Well,¬†if you do not have a sharp (or large) enough knife (because it’s not worth damaging your standard kitchen knives over) or lack strength, then it really isn’t! #nomeatcleaversinthishouse

Unlike this guy…

Photo: Coconut Man By: Christian Senger_Flickr

Photo: Coconut Man By: Christian Senger_Flickr

…straight from the local trees, onto his¬†chopping block and hacking it like a boss!

 

We preformed this step by using two methods; firstly by utilising its recommended approach and then secondly by using an impromptu, quirky but highly effective method! It just goes to show that you don’t need to use anything too sharp.. in fact if your strong and brave enough, you could probably use a simple dinner/butter knife!

Tip: You might need safety glasses for the first approach… husky splinters were known to fly everywhere!

The first approach produced this…

 

 

The second approach was quicker (well at least for us), safer and produced a much wider opening.¬†Perhaps you can try using the latter; a bread knife and rolling pin! Sounds daft but as you’ll see in our¬†(above) 60¬†second video; it made step three and four easy and simultaneous. It’s also good to note that we didn’t really spill any of the liquid!

***Please excuse our amateur video skills!***

 

Step 5 (The Sweetest Step!)

The product advises topping with a straw and a festive umbrella… erm yeah, we were fresh out of the latter (obviously!)… and our orchid didn’t flower this year, so we still couldn’t fake the much needed ambiance!

So all there was left to do was simply enjoy it’s sweet nectar and imagine being somewhere warm, without grey and murky skies…that we are so fortunate to have in the UK! ūüė¶

‚Üď

Photos: Hammock and coconuts_ Les Salines Beach_Carribean Sea_Martinique By: lo lo_flickr

Photos: Hammock and coconuts, Les Salines Beach, Carribean Sea, Martinique By: lo lo_flickr

 

Our closing thoughts…

There are loads of health claims around coconut water (or coconut products for that matter), subsequently encasing them with the term ‘superfood’… but as we have previously mentioned here, ‘superfoods’ do not exist.

Taste, Price & Value:

Alex found the coconut flesh quite bland while I found it to be¬†quite¬†sweet. Additionally, the flesh was very creamy and jelly-like (living up to its nickname ‘jelly-nut’), it can¬†easily be removed from its shell and tasted absolutely delicious in our morning bowl of porridge (definitely a step up from your standard desiccated coconut topping)!

Although healthful, refreshing and the water having a much sweeter taste than most standard cartons of coconut water, it is pricey (but its no surprise as it is imported). You can buy approx. 500ml of unsweetened/pure coconut water for about the same price as one of these coconuts!

You shouldn’t feel obligated to buy coconuts. If you love them, great;¬†as we have mentioned above, a well balanced diet can provide you with all of the same essential nutrients that are found in¬†coconuts. #nosuperfoods. So unless you desire fresh coconut water and/or meat, or a novelty cup for your next summer party (which sounds AWESOME¬†btw), stick to purchasing¬†cartons of (organic?) unsweetened/natural coconut water, preferably ones that do not contain any added bits of fruit, pesticides or husk!

 

Sources:
1.BBC Good Foods
2.USDA
3.NCBI

 

*Disclaimer: We have not been paid for this product review and all thoughts and opinions are our own.

Masala Lentil Curry Bowl [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 2
Prep & Cooking Time: 30-40 mins
Type: Main meal
Tools: Chopping board, sharp knife, veggie peeler, non-stick pot w/lid, wooden spoon, small dish, fork

Notes: This recipe contains*: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & K, carbohydrates, protein, fibre,calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and per serving is low in salt, sugars and sat fats!  (*These nutritional contents can vary due to the ingredients and quantities used).

This is such a quick and easy dinner! Just a few staples from your pantry, fridge and/or freezer to produce a tasty and impromptu Masala curry! We had some previously cooked raw pulses and legumes, but don’t feel that you have to stick to our ingredients list; utilising¬†any spare vegetables and/or legumes or pulses (tinned, frozen or fresh) and some spices that you have lying around in your kitchen is all part of what this recipe is all about!

With minimal prep, delicious flavours and a great way to help meet your 5-A-Day, this curry will start making you feel good from the inside out!    

#seasonalvegetables  #nofoodwastage  #plantbasedlove

Happy cooking everyone! ūüôā

 

Ingredients
~Make sure to wash your veggies first!~

1               Garlic Clove, peeled and crushed
40g          Root Ginger, peeled and grated
1               Green Bell Pepper, core removed, deseed & finely chopped
250g       Cooked Brown Lentils
120g        Cooked Chickpeas
2tsp         Rapeseed Oil (or low-fat frying oil)
20g          Masala Curry Paste
5g            Cumin seeds
+++++++  Ground Black Pepper
1               Tin Chopped Tomatoes
20g          Tomato Puree
15g           Corn Flour
30g          Baby spinach, large stems removed
10g           Fresh coriander, remove leaves from stems & finely chop
————————————————————————————————–
100g        Green Beans, steamed
2               Salad Tomato, stem removed & diced
1                Red Bell Pepper, core removed, deseed & sliced
2               Radish, stem removed & sliced
60g          Roasted Butternut Squash, sliced
4 tbsp      Soya Yoghurt
4g             Brown Mustard Seeds

 

Directions

1. Heat a non-stick pot over a medium heat. Spray it with low-fat cooking oil (or add 1-2 tsp of rapeseed oil). Add the garlic, ginger and green bell pepper. Gently fry for 1-3 mins or until softened.

2. Add the lentils and chickpeas. Stir to combine.

3. Add 20g curry paste, 5g cumin seeds and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir to coat. Gently fry for a further 30 seconds or until fragrant.

4. Add the tinned tomatoes and 20g tomato purée. Stir to thoroughly combine. Cover with a lid. Bring to boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 10-12 mins or until the tomatoes have become tender.

5. In the meantime, steam the green beans and/or prepare any other veggies that you wish to company this dish!

6. Add 15g corn flour into a small dish with equals parts water. Stir into a paste. Once the curry has finished cooking, stir and pour this mixture into the curry. Keep stirring, the sauce will thicken slightly. Tip: If you prefer a thinner sauce, skip this step.

7. Add the spinach and coriander into the curry. Stir through. Cover with a lid. Remove from the heat. Allow the spinach to wilt slightly before serving.

8. Serve in a large bowl! Place any additional veggies around the edges of the bowl. Ladle the curry into the centre. Add a couple spoonfuls of soya yoghurt. Garnish with the mustard seeds and additional coriander if desired!

Tip: Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable and air tight container; reheat and consume within 3-4 days. Alternatively, if you are making a bigger batch, store and freeze this curry instead; reheat and consume within 1-2 months.

Enjoy! 

 

 

Love curries as much as we do??! Check out some of our other recipes for some further inspiration!

Recipe updated: 19/02/16

Baked Tofu & Chickpea Flour Omelette [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves 2-4
Prep & Cooking Time: 60-70 mins
Type: Main meal

Notes: This recipe contains: B- Vitamins, Vitamins D & E, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and (per serving) is low in salt, sugar and sat fats!

Vegan omelette or savoury pancake?! We’ll let you decide! This baked ‘omelette’ has a delicious faux ‘egg’ taste with the consistency of a pancake!¬†Fill it with your favourite grain and/or seasonal vegetables and feel free to experiment with the spices and/or flavourings you use to season it with!

Admittedly¬†we over estimated on the amount of rice we¬†needed; I guess our stomachs¬†got the best¬†of us at the time! We used 150g of dried brown long grain rice, but we’d recommend using 80-100g¬†instead…unless you have a hungry crowd or fancy the idea of putting it onto a bed of rice. Be warned though, this omelette is already pretty filling on its own! ūüôā¬†

Our¬†‘omelette’ is also very versatile¬†and relatively cheap to make! We sourced our gram flour (on sale!) in our¬†local¬†grocers; two ¬†thumbs-up for cheap ethnic¬†aisles! As most of you may already know,¬†gram flour (which¬†is also know as chickpea, garbanzo or besan flour) and tofu are both a great¬†source¬†of nutrients including: protein, iron and zinc (just to name a few)! It’s also good to note that gram flour is¬†gluten free (but still check your package labels before purchasing folks)!

Soooo…

Have you got a lazy Sunday at your disposal? Fancy something new on the menu? Well then try whipping this recipe up for brunch or dinner!

Happy cooking everyone!

 

 

Batter Ingredients

+++++++++++++++++++++3g          Asafoetida (or onion powder)
+++++++++++++++++++++1g           Garlic Powder (unsalted)
+++++++++++++++++++++1g           Ground Cumin
+++++++++++++++++++++1g           Mild Paprika (or Pimenton de la Vera Dulce)
+++++++++++++++++++++1g           Ground Tumeric
+++++++++++++++++++++5g          Mustard Powder
+++++++++++++++++++++110g       Gram Flour
+++++++++++++++++++++2g          Baking Powder
+++++++++++++++++++++—————————————————————————-
+++++++++++++++++++++349g      Silken tofu
+++++++++++++++++++++120ml    Soy or Coconut milk (unsweetened & fortified)
+++++++++++++++++++++10ml      Cider Vinegar
+++++++++++++++++++++               Salt
+++++++++++++++++++++               Ground Black Pepper

 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 180¬įC/350¬įF.¬†Place the dry ingredients (the first 8¬†items listed!) into a large mixing bowl. Mix with a fork until thoroughly combined.

 

 

Place the tofu into a food processor. Pulse until creamy and smooth.

 

 

Add the soya milk, vinegar and gram flour mixture. Blend until the ‘omelette’ batter is thoroughly combined. Season it with some salt and ground black pepper to taste.

The batter might seem thick, but do not be tempted to make it thinner by adding additional milk!

 

 

Line a baking tray with a silicone mat or some parchment paper. Pour in the batter. Use a silicone spatula to spread it evenly over the tray.

If lining your tray with parchment paper, leave some overlapping, like the mat.

 

 

Place the tray onto the middle oven shelf. Bake for about 25-35 mins or until lightly golden and cooked through.

Test it towards the end of baking (like you would a cake) with a toothpick- does it come out clean?! If yes, then it’s ready! NB:We used a fan-assisted oven.

 

In the meantime, cook some rice according to the packet instructions and prepare your veggie fillings! Wash, chop and cook (if required) any veggies that you would like to ‘roll’ into your omelette!

 

Once your omelette is removed from the oven, leave it to cool for about 5 mins in the tray and then transfer it (still on the mat/parchment paper) onto a cooling rack. Leave it to cool for a further 6-10 mins. NB: the longer you let it cool, the more stable the omelette becomes.

 

Assemble your fillings!

Our assembly went a little like this…

Firstly, gently (and carefully) loosen the omelette away from the mat or parchment paper using a palate or large kitchen knife. NB: you don’t want your omelette¬†sticking and tearing when you finally roll it up! :/

Secondly, layer the ‘flatter’ ingredients first…

 

 

…followed by your¬†bigger ingredients!

 

 

Finally, add your seasoned rice (or any other grain you prefer!).

We had a lot of filling, which made rolling it up super tricky! NB: our rice had red and spring onion, salad tomato, red bell pepper, cumin seeds, salt, pepper and some fresh coriander. Yum!

 

Carefully roll it up (a bit like rolling sushi or making a ‘Yule log’ cake!).

 

 

Finally, (and carefully!) slide it off the mat onto a serving plate for all to enjoy…

 

…or slice and serve instead!

 

As we mentioned earlier, we overestimated the rice…so we had an overload of plant-based deliciousness!

Enjoy!

8 Modern Fitness Hacks That Are Making Your Workouts Easier

Diet & Weight Loss, Exercise

Avoiding exercise is like trying to avoid the tax man, it may be possible in the first instance, but both have unavoidable repercussions in the end!

We should all know that having a daily fitness regime will have a huge and positive impact on every aspect of our health. Most of us know that this can be difficult and even contemplating a jog around the block can seem like too much effort, but it is possible to go from your ‘Couch to 5k‘ within two to three¬†months. It takes motivation, dedication and plenty of will power, and there are not any short cuts to getting in shape, but they are things that can help.

…So let’s look at some modern fitness hacks that are allowing us to¬†lead healthier and easier lifestyles as a result!

 

Workout Kits

Apparel That Holds Your House Key!

Image: courtesy of Nike.com

Image: courtesy of Nike.com

Particularly during the summer months, I find that not all of my workout kit has appropriate pockets… so this hack is essential! Gone are the days where keys were placed under door mats, or in our shoes or sports bras! Modern key holders¬†come in many forms, including:

  • Pouches that attach to your waistband or trainers (as shown above).
  • In the form of wristbands.
  • As part of your armband that holds your phone or Mp3 player.
  • Devices that allow your key to be clipped to your finger!

 There is something for every budget!

 

 

Specialised Sport Trainers!

saucony-ladies-hurricane-15-shoes

Image: courtesy of Barrington Sports

Personally, this modernisation has been a lifesaver! As an adult, I’ve felt the effects of having predominately flat feet; they’re great for swimming (ha!), but unfortunately¬†nature is not very forgiving towards those that lack arches!

Specialised trainers have allowed me to enjoy the activities that I love whilst preserving my knee and hip joints. Variable to your sport and personal needs, they have really come a long way, both from a fitness and design perspective. When it comes to workout kits, you should only invest in the essentials (trainers being at the top of the list!). The phrase that I am familiar with goes like this, “spend ¬£80 on your trainers and a fiver on your t-shirt”!

This is partially true, apart from the next couple of items.

Such as…

 

Sports Bras!

Image by: Heikki Siltala_Flickr

Whether you’re well-endowed or not, all bosoms need some TLC when it comes to sports and leading an active lifestyle! Expect to forgo at least ¬£30 for anything decent. It’s a small price to pay considering¬†what the alternative is, but¬†can you really imagine a world without this fitness hack?!

 

sports-bra_BBC image

Image: courtesy of the BBC

The first sports bra was developed nearly¬†40 years ago! It was initially called ‘The JogBra‘, developed by¬†Lisa Lindahl, Hinda Miller and Polly Palmer Smith. It’s certainly come a long way since then and¬†our appreciation and recognition for this light-bulb moment¬†has definitely not been loud enough!

Many major brands offer support to all shapes (big and small), even for nursing mothers. ¬†However, a lot like well-used trainers, they will lose their shape and support over time (especially if you skip the handwash cycle girls!) and will need to be replaced…but this item is indeed priceless. No?

 

Specialised Clothing (and we’re not talking brand names)!

SION Apparel_Trapani_BSO_Flickr

Image by: SION Apparel_Flickr

Thermal or moisture absorbent tops, bottoms, socks and/or hats can be a lifesaver for die-hard runners and/or year-round fitness enthusiasts. Helping to regulate your body temperature and/or draw moisture away from your skin is a modern day fitness hack that most people take for granted. Definitely worth spending the pennies if it keeps you active and enjoying the outdoors all year round! Some general advice regarding fitness attire, wear something fun but skip the name brands unless it’s really offering you something of substance; the words ‘Do it!’ across your chest is free advertisement at best and only professional athletes reap the benefit of that one!

 

Fitness Aids

Image by: Fitness Crazy_Bosu Ball_Flickr

Fitness devices might sound ‘gimmicky’ to some, but I cannot stress enough the importance of a core (aka our back and abs) workout! Ever suffer the result of bad posture and/or weak core muscles? Well naturally slumping forward in a chair, being struck down with sciatica and/or slipping over wet rocks/leaves on a nature hike might ring a few alarm bells! Some of you might regularly practice yoga or Pilates, whilst the rest might be doing nothing or relying on these fitness aids! None the less, as we rely on our core for a variety of everyday movements, it‚Äôs especially important that we develop our own core workouts in order to improve our mobility, balance and overall muscle strength and fitness.

I was first introduced to this gismo over eight years ago and it was love at ‘first step’, particularity because I hate ‘standard’ sit-ups! It was an overdue awakening, highlighting that I was not truly as fit as I would like to think. It’s just so much fun too- no matter how silly I looked doing it!¬† How it works, you will simply wobble so much on it that you will really have to engage your core muscles, keeping them iron-tight so as not to wobble off!

The Bosu company provides a range of products (research before buying!), but the Bosu Ball offers a multitude of exercise platforms:

  • Dome side up: to build lower body strength, work on your core and for cardio workouts (which will have you in a pool of sweat)!
  • Platform side up: for upper body workouts and some ab work.

It’s great for all levels and if treated with respect, it can last a very long time! Unless you already have a rock-solid core, your legs will start to ‘shake like a leaf’ initially, but over time you will grow stronger and really feel and see the positive affects it has on your body (as long as you consistently use it!).

Thinking back, the infamous eighties ‘Pogo Ball’ (for those lucky enough to have one) got children active whilst strengthening their core muscles at the same time!

Now that's a happy face! :D Ignore the iconic stone wash jeans and '80's phrase shirt'.

Now that’s a happy face! ūüėÄ Ignore the iconic 80’s stone wash jeans and ‘phrase shirt’.¬† Image by: Billy Lane_Flickr

 

 

Home Cardio & Strengthening Equipment 

Image: courtesy of Review-fr.com

This has always been an area of debate! Some might question why we would want to exercise indoors when we have nature on our doorstep¬†(particularly those lucky enough to live near a lot green space or parks)?! Well sometimes it’s just not that clear cut; professional and/or personal circumstances (had a baby recently?!) don’t always allow us to have our dream or even the ideal and frequent workouts that we desire! Sadly, sometimes the things that we can afford (aka nature walks) do not offer’ the same benefits as, e.g. a cross trainer, some dumb bells and a yoga mat will.

I’ve owned my cross trainer for nearly four years and it’s been bliss, particularly for the times where I’ve finished work late, couldn’t afford leisure activity, the weather has been less than desirable or when I wanted a joint-friendly/diverse exercise; it’s really facilitated the momentum of my healthy lifestyle. I initially bought it and lost about ten pounds of laziness (bonus!) and it has not become a coat rack, dust magnet or a nuisance to my neighbours (its’ very quiet when in use)!

If you consider the cost of an average gym membership, it’s paid for its self in less than a year and a half (given that you use it frequently- and I have!).

My top tips, as long as you do try and make this your sole source of cardio and keep updating your music and the exercise programmes that you use on it, home exercise equipment is never boring.

Oh, and do not skip on doing some research before you invest in one!

 

 

‘You Got Music In Your Step (Literally Whenever You Feel Like It)’!¬†
Xnet Online_Flickr_Mp3_Mp4 Player

Image by:Xnet_Flickr

Kids today (yes, I’ve¬†said it- I must be getting old!) don’t fully appreciate the handicaps¬†of their predecessors! Walkman’s and portable CD players were not the best mediums for fitness (our struggle was very real)! Previous¬†generations¬†did not only endure the stress of manoeuvring them throughout¬†their workout, with occasionally poor and inconsistent sound quality, but we had to source the music first! Recording music off the radio, creating ‘mix tapes’ or purchasing expensive CD’s ring any bells?? Torrent sites and Spotify were non-existent!

Ash Dowle_vintage sony walkman_flickr

Image by: Ash Dowle_Flickr

Mp3 players and modern mobiles that act as music players have limitless music supplies (ahem! large storage capabilities and internet connections!), enabling us to create timeless and/or addictive work-out playlists; not to mention that we can also source audio books to listen to whilst cycling at our local leisure centre (score!)

These devices are obviously a lot smaller and/or compact, making listening to music easy for everyone.

Some studies have shown that listening to music whilst working out can be moderately healthful… and I for one could not imagine workouts without music!

 

 The Internet
Computer screen macro

Image by: Cvrcak1_Flickr

The internet, for good or the bad can offer a huge range of information that can facilitate us with healthy eating and fitness hacks. Some areas of interest includes:

  • Your local markets for cheap produce and other food items.
  • Free workout videos (*but consult your GP before embarking on a new regime).
  • Food and fitness apps: making us accountable for our calories and fitness (as mentioned below!).
  • VLOGS:¬†informative¬†food prep and cooking instructions for all levels.
  • Blogs and health sites: that offers a tonne of free recipes and ‚Äėhealth advice‚Äô. ****Click¬†here for some tasty plant-based recipe ideas!****

In terms of health advice, just¬†make sure to access quality information. For the love of God, use evidence-based information over someone’s opinion, pleaseee!

 

Fitness Trackers and Apps 
Karlis Dambrans_FitBit_Flickr

Image by: Karlis Dambrans_Flickr

For the tech-savvy or those that are motivated by having the facts and figures staring them straight in the face, these type of gadgets could possibly assist you in reaching your fitness goals and developing a more positive and permanent quality of life!

¬†Making yourself accountable for what you are eating (at the touch of a button!) and the rate at which you are ‘actually’ burning it off, could be the¬†wakeup call and¬†motivation that you need to¬†make some informed choices about your health.

These devices and apps can aid a better workout (as some studies have shown) by tracking your fitness and helping you to meet your fitness goals. Personally, I think that  they could also help to bring out our competitive sides, pushing us to go on and be a healthier version of ourselves!

Unfortunately, unless you use them more often than none, it could end up being expensive paperweight.

 

The World Around Us Has Changed to Facilitate Our Health

Image: Eat2Health Blog Photography ©2015

It has been show that sitting for extended periods can have a¬†negative effect on our health; it’s linked with¬†chronic diseases and premature morality- as shown here.

Luckily the modern world has facilitated us to get off our bottoms by:

  • Modernised trails (some of which used to be rail lines, now allow for on-road and off-road cyclists and easy walking).
  • Modernised parks with free fitness equipment for all ages.
  • Free tennis and basketball courts (although we still need more!).
  • Dirt cheap and (occasionally 24 hour) gyms and¬†leisure centres; some of which have childcare!

…just to name a few, all of which can help us to lead healthier lifestyles! #change4life

It’s also worth considering modern day architecture! Yes, odd structures and buildings, e.g. sports stadiums in the heart of our cities can allow us¬†to make use of their design (and space) as part of our daily exercise regime.

Herrett_061015_0036 Steps leading to the new Arsenal Emirates Football Stadium London UK Copyright © Roberto Herrett. All rights reserved.

Image by: Roberto Herrett_Flickr

For instance, we used to run up and down the Arsenal Stadium’s front and posterior steps as part of our half marathon training (many moons ago)!

This particular stadium also allows for people to run or skate around it’s outside…just please do not do it when¬†matches are on- unless you want possible confrontation with¬†angry football fans!

And finally…

 

Inventive Workouts- Something for everyone!
Kevin__Flickr

Image by: Kevin_Flickr

I think that most people would agree that workouts have the nature of becoming very repetitive and boring. Changing our¬†workouts is¬†great for continued motivation, (keeping our¬†sanity!) and partially because our body has an amazing ability to adapt, and exercising is no exception. Over time, doing our ‘go-to’¬†exercises over and over will decrease the effectiveness of our workouts. #weightlossplateau

This is why, if you are able, you should have a variety of strength and cardio workouts.

It’s a great feeling to do a new regime, testing our abilities and feeling ‘new muscles’… ones that might even keep us¬†walking like a cowboy for three¬†days! Yes, I’m sure we’ve all been there, the realisation that we have not utilised¬†our inner thigh or glute muscles as much as we¬†should of in the past. One sure solution, make sure you ‘stretch it out’ after each workout to help prevent your muscles from seizing up.

It’s worth looking at local bulletin¬†boards or having a quick internet search; these should highlight¬†a variety of fitness classes (there is something for everyone, no matter how young or old!) that should help to spruce up your current regimes.

If all else fails, you can literally¬†exercise anywhere…

  • At your work desk: ‘glute flexing’ or bicep curls with water bottles anyone?!
  • In your kitchen: dance or do some squats whilst your waiting for the kettle to boil or your pasta to cook!
  • On your way to your local shops: speed walk¬†or take longer strides… even break into full-blown lunges if you dare!
  • Whilst talking to your friends or family on your mobile: hands free options allow you to go lift some dumb bells and do leg lifts (Jane Fonda style if you like!).
  • Especially in front of the TV: cardio equipment or yoga poses can be easily positioned in front of your tube!
  • Utilising tried and true fitness hacks: walking whenever you can, e.g. getting off the bus, train or tube a couple of stops early, cycling to work, using the stairs instead of the lift or limiting the time spent in front of electronic devices.

Just go for it (30mins every¬†5/7¬†days if you can)! The only thing that can truly stop you from enjoying fitness and a healthy lifestyle is yourself…

…well, maybe your boss?! exercise with discretion!.

 

Sources:
NHS Choices
Nike.com
Flickr
BBC
Bosu.com
NCBI
Written by: L. Risby BSc Nutritionist

Broad Bean, Roasted Bell Pepper & Spinach Sandwich [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 1
Prep & Assembly: ‚ȧ8 mins
Type: Main Meal

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins. Vitamins C & K, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, iron, magnesium, potassium and per serving is low in salt, sugar and saturated fats.

It’s Friday- so let’s make this post quick and tasty! ūüôā

This is¬†a great vegan sandwich (that¬†admittedly¬†we made ages ago) that is perfect for those lunch time slumps!¬†We’re not just talking about fuelling you with postprandial energy (because this sandwich has loads of sustainable energy!), but for when you are bored with your regular lunchtime menu. #stuckinarut #samelunchforamonth !!

Planning is important¬†to help create¬†a well-balanced and healthy lifestyle¬†(particularly¬†one that you won’t loathe and that will¬†continually¬†develop your palate and cooking skills!)…

…but if you follow a plant-based lifestyle, this typically means that you will have¬†to plan ahead (unless you don’t¬†budget!?!) and really tap into your creative and¬†adventurous¬†side, so that your meals avoid becoming repetitive,¬†boring and/or potentially unhealthy or just not¬†nutritionally balanced!¬†

If you’re like us, lunchtime is the most difficult meal to meal plan, not only due to schedules but general¬†indecisiveness! We can be creatures of habit when it comes to our main meals, but sometimes we really don’t know what we’ll fancy for lunch until the day; all the more¬†reason to meal plan¬†some decent eats!¬†

This sandwich can be prepped in advance and prepared on the day (or the night before). It contains our lovely and zesty broad bean and spinach dip (that also makes an awesome sandwich filling!). Add some beautifully roasted red bell peppers and delicate baby spinach; all layered¬†between¬†a couple slices of toasted multi-grain bread (delicious!).ūüĎĆ Wash it down with a glass of unsweetened almond or soya milk and you’re good to get on with the rest of your day! #thatfridayfeeling

Check out some of our other sandwiches, salads, soups or our vegan bites for some further hearty and healthful lunchtime inspiration!

Quick fact:

  • Per serving, this sandwich provides you with approx. 2.5¬†servings of fruits/veggies towards your 5-A-Day!

Have a great weekend everyone! ūüôā

 

Ingredients

1           Roasted Red Bell Peppers, cut into strips
3T.       Broad Bean & Spinach Dip
1           Handful of Baby Spinach, washed & dried
2          Slices of Multi-Grain Bread, toasted (GF if required)

 

Directions (In Seven Simple Steps!)

¬† 1. Chop the¬†roasted bell pepper into strips (if you haven’t already done so).

       2. Wash and dry the spinach. Remove and discard any large stems.

       3. Place the bread into a toaster and heat until lightly brown and crispy.

  4. Spoon 2 tbsp of broad bean dip onto one slice of the bread. Spread evenly.

 

5. Layer the spinach over the spread.

 

6. Layer the strips of roasted bell pepper over the spinach. Spoon 1 tbsp of bean spread onto the other slice of bread, spreading evenly.

 

7. Place the slice of bread (with just the bean spread) over the roasted bell pepper. Slice into halves and serve.

 

 

Enjoy!

 

BS Health Terms

BS Articles

Here we discuss some of the bewildering array of terms and phrases that are used when talking about a healthy diet. Even the word ‚Äėhealthy‚Äô can be interpreted differently; for some its lack of illness for others it‚Äôs an idealised state of bodily perfection; so when you throw the word food or diet on the end, you‚Äôre left with a lake of ambiguity full of misunderstanding and ripe for exploitation by unscrupulous peoples.

Terms such as ‚Äėclean eating‚Äô, ‚Äėheath foods‚Äô, ‚Äėsuper foods‚Äô, ‘juicing for health’ or even ‚Äėeating a healthy diet‚Äô have caused great interest among health enthusiast‚Äôs, along with controversy and confusion; as their definitions are ambiguous and transient. They might resonate with you, but what do they actually mean?

Well it‚Äôs likely that the average person, health enthusiast and Health professionals (and those scientifically-minded) will have differing views. Scientifically minded people are likely to define them using scientific evidence and reasoning whilst health enthusiast‚Äôs tend to measure their definitions not with true science, but more subjective reasoning; how these types of things ‚Äėmake them feel‚Äô or through even less tangible concepts. The food industry and health enthusiast make use of the ambiguity of these terms so that to them it can mean anything they want it to! It allows them to tell each other and the unfortunate ‚Äėaverage person’ whose stuck in the proverbial middle how health regimes should be followed, which products to consume and why everyone should join their ‚Äėbubble‚Äô.

Below is a table listing some terms along with how they are often perceived/interpreted by the public and by science.

 

  Spoiler alert

This is BS corner so you can be sure that these terms are not evidence based!

 

We will continue to add to this list as we encounter new terms. If you have any terms that you have seen and want added, please let us know!

 

Article written by: Alex Risby BSc, RD & Lynn Risby BSc Nutritionist
Feature image by: Susan von Struensee_Nutrition_flickr
Links:Detox¬†The truth behind ‚Äėsuperfoods‚Äô¬†FSA¬†BS Corner(our blog’s latest section!)

Mexican Salad Bowl

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 1
Prep & Cooking Time: 45 minutes + 12 hours to soak the dried beans (if applicable!)

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & E, protein, fibre, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and is low in salt, sugar and saturated fats! 

Here’s a salad we made two months ago! Nothing really says you desire sunnier weather and a warmer climate more than preparing a colourful salad bowl named after a hot country! Luckily at the moment the SE of England has been blessed with plenty of sunshine and blue skies…let’s hope it lasts!

Let’s sum this recipe up in three words: simple, vibrant and delicious! Give our recipe a go or use it as a guide to create your perfect (wish it were summer!) salad! Keep it vegan or add some grated low-fat cheese! ūüôā

 

Ingredients:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++150g   Cooked black turtle beans
+++++++++++++++++++++++++150g   Cooked brown long-grain rice
+++++++++++++++++++++++++30g      Frozen sweet corn kernels
+++++++++++++++++++++++++40g      Kale
+++++++++++++++++++++++++40g      Carrot
+++++++++++++++++++++++++30g      Iceberg lettuce
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1/2       Fresh red chilli
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1           Radish
+++++++++++++++++++++++++40g      Cherry tomatoes
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1/4       Avocado
+++++++++++++++++++++++++4           Jalapeno slices (in brine or fresh)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++5           Black olives (in brine)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++6           Almonds
+++++++++++++++++++++++++              Wedge of lime

 

Directions:

1. Cook your pre-soaked beans (approx. 75g dried) according to the packet instructions (if applicable). Otherwise open, drain and rinse a tinned variety (heat if desired).

2. Cook the rice according to the packet instructions. NB: Approx 75g (dried).

3. Wash the kale. Place the kale and sweetcorn into a steamer pot with some cold water. Bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer. Steam for 3-5 minutes or until tender. Drain.

4. Meanwhile, wash, peel, trim the ends and then grate the carrot.

5. Wash, dry and shred the lettuce.

6. Wash, remove the stem, de-seed (if preferred) and chop the chilli into thin slices.

7. Wash and remove the stem from both the radish and tomatoes; slice the radish.

8. Peel, remove the stone and slice the avocado.

9.¬†Drain the¬†jalape√Īo’s and olives (rinse if preferred).

10.¬†Assemble the salad in any which way you please…or try our method! Place the lettuce into the centre of a large serving bowl. Layer the avocado over the lettuce. Place the kale, jalape√Īo’s, beans, carrot, tomatoes, corn, radish, olives, rice and nuts¬†around the lettuce/avocado. Garnish the rice with the chilli. Lightly season the salad (if desired) or just dress it with a squeeze of lime juice!

11. Serve.

 

 

 

 

Enjoy!

 

 

If preferred…

  • Fancy something a little fruitier?! Consider¬†adding some whole fruit or a fruit-based salsa; try mango, papaya, guava, prickly pear, pomegranate, or mamey!
  • Omit the rice and add a few more beans, vegetables and salsa instead! Use your ‘altered salad bowl recipe’ as a sharing platter for flat breads or a few plain tortilla chips (just make sure to eat them mindfully!)…or try stuffing it into some wholemeal tortilla wraps!
  • Swap¬†the avocado for some homemade guacamole.

Saturated Fat: A Killer or Not?

Diet & Weight Loss

This is a topic that I have sat on for some time, mainly because the media have been all over it and opinions have been going back and forth. However, I was eventually drawn into writing this article because of an experience in my work recently; I was educating a group about fats and was interrupted by a patient stating that butter is good for us and I was wrong to tell people to avoid or limit it. They were quite insistent and it required all my diplomatic skills to respond and move past the point. Afterwards I reflected on the experience and realised that many people might feel this way due to the recent (relatively) debate around the effect of fat, especially saturated fats on heart health.

 

So what’s all the hype about saturated fats?!

You’re likely already aware but to summarise…fat has long been blamed for causing heart disease, and in particular saturated fat; international guidance pushed for a reduction in total fat and saturated fat intakes with swaps to unsaturated (poly and mono) fats. So far no surprises, but in the last couple of years rumblings began about the evidence behind this stance, and in short order several studies and meta analyses came out which appeared to contradict our long held beliefs(1,2,3); namely saturated fats have no impact on heart disease risk,¬†and that the guidance on reducing fat intake was based on unfounded research!

Some commentaries and media organisations took this further and suggested we had been lied to or that the carbohydrates were the real killers.

 

So what’s the real story?

To preface, as a Dietitian (yes there is no C) I am required to follow evidenced-based guidelines and best practice, this can appear to sometimes lag behind the latest research and trends/fads but for a good reason.

I had heard the news stories and read up on the topic when the topic resurfaced over a year ago… but I didn’t change my practice or advice!¬† Why you might ask?

Well the obvious answer is because the guidelines haven‚Äôt changed; but maybe they’re lagging? Well, that‚Äôs where best practice can step in… but no, that hasn’t changed either and neither has my own personal opinion.

 

…Why not?¬† You ask.

 

It’s because of what the media missed (through no real fault of their own), is that the underlying message from the studies is that more research and evidence is needed before any real conclusion can be made, and certainly before guidance is changed. Such was the confusion that many of the authors of the studies issued statements to try and clarify the situation; from the British Heart Foundation:

At the moment UK guidelines encourage us to swap saturated fats for unsaturated fats. You might have seen reports about a recent study we helped to fund which suggests there’s not enough evidence to back the current UK guidelines on the types of fat we eat. We think more research is needed before suggesting any major changes to healthy eating guidance.

 

So what does this mean?

 

Well it might turn out that saturated fat isn’t as bad as we all feared but hold off on eating that bacon and cheese sandwich full of butter.

It would be unwise to think that the claims that saturated fat is healthier than we previously thought, provides some sort of answer to our current health crisis. If your already obese and don’t exercise, eating more saturated fat and less sugar is not going to solve your problems.

The issue is further complicated because our overall health is affected by many factors; saturated fats being only part of an equation that includes almost every diet related public health message out there.

 

Why is this?

1. For starters, we don’t eat foods in isolation and many people avoiding saturated fat replace them with equally unhealthy foods.

2.Secondly, fats are twice as high in kcals as other food groups and it’s easy to over consume on a high fat diet and become overweight or obese, which increases heart disease risk. As our national rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease show; with ischemic heart disease a leading cause of death in the UK.(4)

3. Thirdly, a diet high in animal products (a major source of saturated fats) can be a risk factor for cancer.

4. Finally, processed meat products are high in salt, which is a risk factor for heart disease.

 

For now though, the UK Guidance for a cardioprotective diet is:

  1. No more than 30% energy from fat and less than 7% from saturated fat/day*.
  2. Replace saturated fats with mono and polyunsaturated fats.
  3. Aim for 2 servings of oily fish per week.

 *66g of fat and 15g of saturated fat/day based on 2000Kcals.

 

The bottom line, don’t take news stories at face value and appreciate that scientific studies are designed to be read by scientists who can fully evaluate the results; that’s not to dissuade you from taking an interest and reading up on nutrition, and I would recommend the following article: Is butter really back? It was written by the school of public health at Harvard, which does a great job of explaining the situation.

 

 

Article written by: Alex Risby BSc, RD
Feature image source: Krivochenco_Flickr

 

References:
1: Patty W Siri-Tarino, Qi Sun, Frank B Hu, and Ronald M Krauss (2010). Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/91/3/535 (accessed May 2015)
2: Chowdhury et-al 2014. Association of Dietary, Circulating, and Supplement Fatty Acids With Coronary Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis, http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1846638 (accessed may 2015)
3:Harcombe et-al (2015).  Evidence from randomised controlled trials did not support the introduction of dietary fat guidelines in 1977 and 1983: a systematic review and meta-analysis:  http://openheart.bmj.com/content/2/1/e000196 (accessed may 2015)
4: ONS 2014.Mortality Statistics: Deaths Registered in England and Wales (Series DR), 2013 : http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/vsob1/mortality-statistics–deaths-registered-in-england-and-wales–series-dr-/2013/stb-deaths-registered-in-england-and-wales-in-2013-by-cause.html#tab-Leading-Causes-of-Death-in-2013

Butternut Squash, Carrot & Chickpea Tagine

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 4-6
Prep & Cooking Time: 65-70 minutes

Recipe adapted from: ASDA

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, protein, fibre, iron, potassium and is low in salt and saturated fats. 

This recipe has so many wonderful flavours to offer… all of which were absorbed by the delicious veggies! We adapted this recipe from a supermarket magazine (that we were lucky enough to pick up last¬†year!). Occasionally some of these free magazines will contain decent/healthy recipes…while other¬†times their more about ‘product promotion’! Erm, just because the magazines have beautifully crafted a recipe (that happens to include a brand name sausage)…does not make it healthy…or even appealing for that matter (50p coupon on offer or not)!

The original recipe requests you to use a flame-proof casserole dish (which is good, as most people do not own a tagine!), but we cooked ours in a large/standard saucepan over our stove-top. 

We made this recipe a couple of times last year and as a result have changed the quantities of most¬†of the ingredients used (especially when it comes to the spices!); we also added paprika¬†and green beans, and omitted the use of olive oil. All in all, it’s a great, healthy, full-flavoured and inexpensive¬†recipe that’s definitely worth all of the chopping involved! ūüôā

 

Quick facts:

  • Here’s a snapshot regarding tagines! A¬†tagine is quite similar to a rich ‘stew’ in consistency, but the taste encompasses all of the wonder warm flavours of Moroccan spices; this is because it is traditionally¬†a North African dish. The word¬†itself refers to the type of cookware (it’s a clay or ceramic dish with a distinctive¬†conical¬†top) that’s used to slow cook this classic stew; it can contain meat, fish or poultry along with dried fruits and vegetables that are cooked to a mouth-watering and succulent consistency.¬†

Tagines can be hand painted with painstakingly intricate and beautiful designs! The material itself (which is naturally porous unless treated) retains moisture whilst you cook; it also helps to retain all of the rich flavours from your stew (which will help intensify the flavours of your next meal)! The conical top helps let steam circulate (above and around the food) whilst the stew cooks; this also contributes to the rich flavours and tenderness of the dish. 

  • Our tagine recipe contains 6.5 portions of fruit/vegetables (per serving/*based on 4 servings) towards your 5-A-Day quota!

 

 

Most of the ingredients were prepped earlier that day! God bless inventions…a.k.a. …tupperware!

 

 

Ingredients:

 NB: When served with couscous, this dish is really filling!

 

 

Directions:

 Prep the vegetables. Peel and finely chop the onion. peel, trim the ends, de-seed and chop the squash into bite-sized cubes. Wash, peel, trim the ends and cut the carrot into slices; if using a large carrot, chop into halves. Wash, peel and grate the ginger. Peel and mince the garlic. Drain and rinse the chickpeas (if applicable).

 

Dice the apricots.

 

 

Heat a large, non-stick saucepan over a medium-low heat. Spray it with some low-fat cooking oil.

 

 

Add the onion. Gently fry for 1-2 minutes or until softened.

 

 

Add the squash and carrot. Stir together. Cook for 2 minutes.

 

 

Add the ginger and garlic. Stir together. Cook for 1 minute.

 

 

Add the spices and water. Stir to coat.

 

 

Add the chickpeas, apricots, puree and tomatoes. Stir to combine.

 

 

Add the stock. Stir together.

 

 

Cover with a lid. Bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cook for approx. 45 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

 

 

 In the meantime, heat a small, non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat.

 

 

Add the nuts. Dry roast until lightly toasted. Remove.

 

 

Transfer into a small dish.

 

 

Meanwhile, snap the beans into halves/bite-sized pieces.

 

 

In the meantime, cook the couscous according to the packet instructions.

 

 

Add the beans when the tagine has almost finished cooking. Mix to combine. Cover with the lid. Continuing cooking for a further 4-5 minutes or until the beans are tender. Remove from the heat.

 

 

Allow the tagine to cool slightly. Leave covered until served.

NB: We find the flavours intensify once the meal has cooled down.

 

 

In the meantime, wash, dry and roughly chop the coriander.

 

 

Serve warm. Spoon the couscous into a lipped serving plate or bowl. Ladle over the tagine. Garnish with nuts, coriander and seeds.

 

 

Enjoy!

Leftovers! ūüôā

 

 

Here is one we made last year with some GF couscous!

This GF couscous was corn-based. The consistency was quite similar to the original, but obviously the taste was completely different! We would recommend it though. We prepared it quite similarly to the cooking instructions of authentic¬†couscous; the box instructions weren’t ideal (which seems to be the case with¬†a lot of GF products)!

 

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable container; reheat and consume within 2-3 days. Alternatively freeze in a resealable container(s); defrost, reheat and consume within 1-2 months.

NB: Leftovers are great because one, they saving you time on cooking (and cleaning!) and two, the flavours intensify (even if the meal has been previously frozen)! Do not freeze the couscous, nuts or seeds.

 

Sources: Melissa Guerra, About food and Lakeland. 

Roasted Cauliflower & Almond Soup

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6
Prep & Cooking Time: 40-45 minutes

Notes: This recipe contains: B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & E, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and is low in salt and saturated fats!

This is probably one of our last soup recipes for a while. We meal planned for another soup- based lunch this week as the weather has yet to pick up (#wherehasspringgone)!

So, what can we say but this¬†soup…well it’s fibre-licious! It’s not too surprising as our recipes are normally crammed full of delicious veggies! We found that the roasted cauliflower added a slightly nutty element to an already nutty base. The only amendments we would make would be to adjust the amount of cauliflower or liquid (stock, milk and/or water) used. This is because the¬†soup (even though it’s tasty and highly recommended by us!) was a little thicker than we would have liked; luckily although it was thick, it was not a ‘heavy soup’! We would suggest reducing the amount of cauliflower by approx. 500-600g or increasing the volume of¬†liquid¬†used by approx. 500-600ml.¬†Additionally, it you would like a smoother¬†consistency, use ground almonds instead of whole ones; personally, we liked the grainy texture! ūüôā

The ingredients list shows our original measurements but feel free to experiment! 

 

 

Ingredients:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++1.4kg       Cauliflower head
+++++++++++++++++++++++++200g      White onion
+++++++++++++++++++++++++100g       Celery stalk
+++++++++++++++++++++++++30ml       Rapeseed oil
+++++++++++++++++++++++++2g            Ground nutmeg
+++++++++++++++++++++++++                Salt & ground black pepper
+++++++++++++++++++++++++60g         Almonds (unsalted)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++450ml     Vegetable Stock (low-sat/DF; GF if required)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++200ml     Soya or Almond Milk (unsweetened & fortified)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++650ml     Water

 

 

Directions:

Heat the oven to 200¬įC/400¬įF. Line a baking tray with a silicone mat or parchment paper.

 

 

In the meantime, remove the outer leaves from the cauliflower and discard them. Cut the cauliflower head into half and break (or cut) off the florets from the stem. Discard the stem. Wash and soak the florets in a large container full of cold water. Drain.

Sometimes it’s just easier to clean large quantities¬†of chopped vegetables in this manner! ūüôā

 

 

Lightly pat the cauliflower dry.

We placed them onto the baking tray (lined with kitchen paper) and patted them dry.

 

 

Pour a little of the oil onto the tray and spread it evenly over the surface.

NB: Use a pastry brush, silicone spatula or your fingers! ūüôā

 

 

Place the cauliflower onto the mat. Sprinkle over half the quantity of nutmeg. Season it to taste with some salt and black pepper. Drizzle over the remaining oil.

NB: Using your hands, toss the cauliflower around in the oil.

 

 

Place it into the oven. Roast for 25-35 minutes or until lightly browned and tender; turn once (if desired). Remove. Leave on the tray and allow to cool.

We baked ours for 35 minutes, but it probably could have come out after about 30!

 

 

In the meantime, heat a small, non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat.

 

 

Add the almonds. Dry roast until lightly browned and/or they start to ‘pop’.

 

 

Remove from the heat. Transfer into a small dish. Allow to cool slightly.

 

 

Meanwhile, peel and dice the onion. Wash, trim the ends and slice the celery.

 

 

Place the frying pan back over a medium-low heat. Once hot add a spoonful of water. When it starts to bubble, add the onion and celery.

 

 

Gently stir together. Cover with a lid. Steam-fry for approx 5 minutes or until tender. Stir occasionally and add more water if necessary. Remove from the heat.

 

 

In the meantime, add the almonds into a blender. Pour in the stock. Allow to soak.

 

 

Add the onion and celery into the blender.

 

 

Blend until processed.

 

 

Add as much cauliflower as your blender will allow.

 

 

Blend until smooth.

 

 

Pour the mixture into a large saucepan or resealable container.

 

 

Add the remaining cauliflower and the milk into the blender. Process until smooth.

 

 

Pour into the applicable saucepan or container. Stir together.

 

 

Add the remaining nutmeg. Pour in the remaining water.

 

 

Stir to combine. Taste and season as necessary.

 

 

Place the saucepan over a medium-low heat. Gently warm (if applicable).

 

 

Serve warm. Ladle into serving bowls.

We garnished ours with a few whole almonds (for a little bit of crunch!) and a sprinkle of dried chives and chilli flakes for colour. ūüôā

 

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Refrigerate in a resealable container; consume within 2-3 days. Alternatively, freeze in a resealable container(s); defrost, reheat and consume within 1-2 months.

Soya & Vegetable Spaghetti Bolognese

Healthy Recipes, Meatless Monday

Serves: 4
Prep & Cooking Time: 35-40 mins
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Chopping Board, sharp knife, sieve, bowl, 2* non-stick pots, wooden spoon

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, iron, potassium and per serving is low in added salt, sugars and saturated fats.

‘Veganising’ a¬†recipe of this nature was effortless! In no time at all we created a pasta¬†sauce¬†that is not only plant-based and versatile but most importantly, nutritious and¬†delicious! If you’ve never used dried soya mince before and/or fancy something new for your pasta night, we’d thoroughly suggest that you give this recipe a try! It’s packed full of great flavours from a tasty medley of veggies and¬†seasoning’s¬†alike (hint: the¬†soya mince is great at absorbing of all these tasty¬†elements¬†from your dish!), and a¬†wonderful ‘meaty’ texture from the mince! Serve it over some hearty wholemeal or GF spaghetti¬†and you’re good to go!

It’s good to note that:

  • We used some frozen veggies because we had some on hand, but feel free to use fresh, frozen and/or anything seasonal!

 

Quick Foodie Facts:

  • This meal contains about 4 servings of vegetables (per serving/*based on four servings) towards you 5-A-Day!¬†
  • The soya mince is easy to use, inexpensive and also a great source of protein! Check out some of other health benefits from¬†soya products mentioned here.

Happy cooking everyone!

 

Ingredients

++++++++++++180g        Frozen Mushrooms
++++++++++++100g        Frozen Bell Peppers
++++++++++++80g          White Onion
++++++++++++8g            Garlic Clove
++++++++++++240g        Courgette
++++++++++++180g         Carrot
++++++++++++50g          Dehydrated Soya Mince
++++++++++++                 Low-Fat Cooking Oil
++++++++++++ 10g          Balsamic Vinegar (2 tbsp.)
++++++++++++10g           Lemon Juice (2 tbsp.)
++++++++++++4g             Herb Blend (2g of each: Dried Basil & Dried Oregano)
++++++++++++2g             Sweet Paprika
++++++++++++                 Salt & Ground Black Pepper
++++++++++++2               Tins Plum Tomatoes (800g/ unsalted)
++++++++++++40g          Tomato Purée (unsalted)
++++++++++++65-80g    Wholemeal Spaghetti (use GF if required)/person

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. ūüôā

 

Directions

  • If you’re using frozen mushrooms and bell peppers, place them into a microwavable dish. Place them into a microwave and¬†defrost them. Drain.
  • Alternatively wash and prepare any fresh mushrooms and peppers to your own personal preferences.¬†Prepare the remaining vegetables. Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic. Wash¬†the courgette,¬†trim off its ends, slice it (vertically) and then chop it into thin slices. Wash, trim the ends, peel and then dice the carrot.
  • Rehydrate the soya mince according to the packet instructions. Drain. Tip: Make sure to follow the instructions to a ‘T’!¬†We used about¬†150ml of freshly boiled (and seasoned) water; the whole process took about 7¬†mins.

 

In the meantime…

  • Heat a non-stick pot¬†over a medium-low heat. Spray it with some low-fat cooking oil.
  • Add the onion and garlic. Gently fry for 1-2 mins or until softened.
  • Add the mushrooms, bell pepper, courgette and carrot. Gently fry for 3-4 mins or until softened.
  • Add 2 tbsp vinegar, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 4g herb blend and sweet paprika. Season it to taste with some salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Mix to coat.
  • Add the tin tomatoes and tomato pur√©e. Mix to combine. Tip: Use the edge of your frying spatula or wooden spoon to crush the tomatoes.¬†
  • Add the rehydrated soya mince. Stir it through the sauce.
  • Cover with a lid. Simmer and cook for about 12 mins, stirring occasionally. NB: Leave the lid loosely covering the pot for the last half of the cooking process.
  • Remove from the heat. Taste and season the sauce as necessary. Tip: Tinned tomatoes can be slightly bitter; if necessary just add a pinch of sugar or sweetener to help balance out the flavours! Leave the pot covered until you are ready to serve.¬†Give the sauce a good stir before serving.
  • Meantime, cook the pasta according to the packet instructions whilst the sauce is cooking. Drain.

 

Serve warm. Transfer the pasta into a large serving bowl. Ladle over the sauce. Tip: A drizzle of balsamic glaze or a scattering of fresh herbs and/or toasted pine nuts would make for an extra tasty finish!

 

Enjoy!

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in an air-tight and resealable container; reheat and consume within 2-3 days. Alternatively freeze in a resealable container(s); best consumed within 1-2 months, just defrost and reheat before use.

Tofu, Pea & Oyster Mushroom Stir-Fry

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 4
Prep & Cooking time: 65-75 minutes

Notes: This recipe contains: B-vitamins, Vitamins C & E, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, and (per serving) is low in salt and saturated fats!

This stir-fry recipe can be summed up into three words: spicy, fresh and delicious! It’s a simple recipe with a spicy sauce;¬†it uses the Eat2Health’s ‘baked tofu’ as seen in previous recipes!¬†If you prefer things a little less heated, use half the amount of raw chilli and chilli flakes. ūüôā

 

If your short on time, prepare the tofu the day/night before!

 

 

 

Ingredients:

 

 

Nutritional Info:

NB: To reduce the fat content further, omit the rapeseed oil and use more low-fat cooking oil instead and slightly reduce the quantity of tofu used.

 

 

Directions:

Open and drain the tofu. Place it between two heavy chopping boards for approximately 20-30 minutes to remove any excess water.

 

In the meantime, heat the oven to 200¬įC/400¬įF. Line a baking tray with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Spray it with a little low-fat cooking oil (if desired).

We used approx. four¬†‘sprays’ and then spread it across the mat with a silicone spatula.

 

 

Meanwhile, wash, remove the stem, de-seed and dice the chilli. Wash, peel and chop the ginger. Peel and dice the garlic.

 

 

Wash the peas. Wash and dry the mushrooms. De-shell the nuts (if applicable). Wash, trim the ends and slice the onion.

 

 

 Drain and chop the tofu into small pieces (cubes). Place them onto the baking tray. Lightly spray with some low-fat cooking oil.

We used approx. three more ‘sprays’.

 

 

Place the baking tray into the oven. Bake for approx. 20 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove.

 

 

Meanwhile, place a small saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the onion, water, sugar, starch and chilli flakes. Whisk together until the flour and sugar have dissolved. Pour in the vinegar. Season it to taste with some salt. Mix together.

NB: We have advised you to use slightly less water than we have here.

 

 

Keep whisking until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from the heat.

It will develop a glossy appearance from the starch.

 

 

 In the meantime, cook the noodles according to the packet instructions. Drain.

Ours took 3 minutes to cook!

 

 

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a non-stick wok over a medium heat.

 

 

Add the chilli, ginger and garlic. Gently fry for 1-2 minutes, or until softened.

 

 

Add the peas. Gently fry for 1 minute.

 

 

Add the mushrooms. Gently fry for a further 1-2 minutes.

 

 

Add the baked tofu. Gently mix together.

 

 

Pour in the sauce. Mix together. Stir the mixture until the sauce comes to a gentle boil.

 

 

Remove from the heat. Add and stir through the nuts.

You might see the odd noodle in our wok; we changed our minds at the last moment! We were going to mix the noodles into the mixture, but felt there was already enough going on in the wok!

 

 

Serve warm. Transfer the noodles into a large serving bowl. Top with the stir-fry mixture.

We garnished ours with a sprinkling of sesame seeds. ūüôā ¬†How does everyone rate their ‘chop stick’ skills?!

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable container; reheat and consume within 3 days.

Oriental Vegetable & Rice Bowl

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 2
Prep & Cooking time: 35-40 minutes

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-vitamins, Vitamins C, K & E, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and is low in saturated fats!

Who doesn’t love a bowl full of ‘colourful goodness’?! This recipe has all the flavours of a stir-fry but without actually stir-frying! ¬†It’s a simple, nutritious, frugal, and tasty meal that you can throw together any time of the week!¬†Use fresh or frozen ingredients; check out our other ideas below for further¬†ways¬†to adapt this recipe!¬†

Quick facts:

  • This recipe contains approx 4.5 portions of fruit/vegetables towards your 5-A-Day!
  • This is a high fibre meal (talk about pointing out the bleeding obvious!)!

 

We didn’t use the low-fat cooking oil; we ended up steaming and boiling everything instead!

 

 

Ingredients:

 

Nutritional Info:

NB: Per serving, this recipe contains moderate amounts (orange traffic light alert!) of fat and salt and low levels (green traffic light!) of saturated fat; there is approximately 1.8g of added sugar/serving (another green traffic light!).

 

 

Directions:

Cook the rice according to the packet instructions.

 

 

Meanwhile, place a small pot full of cold water over a medium-low heat. Bring to the boil. Add the beans. Reduce to a simmer. Cook for 4-6 minutes or until tender. Drain.

It was a freezer ‘clean out’! We used 50g of soya beans and 30g of broad beans.

 

 

In the meantime, cut the stalk off the head of broccoli. Separate the florets from the remaining stem; cut the florets into halves (or quarters if preferred). Discard the stalk/stem (or prepare it and use it in your meal!) and wash the florets.

 

 

Wash, trim the ends, peel and chop the carrot into ‘match-stick’ pieces.

 

 

Place the broccoli and carrot into a steamer pot with some cold water. Bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer. Steam for 4-5 minutes or until just tender. Drain.

 

 

In the meantime, wash, peel and grate the ginger. Wash, remove the stem, de-seed (keep the seeds intact if you prefer spicier dishes!) and chop the chilli into thin strips. Wash, trim the ends and chop the onion into half (tops & bottoms); finely slice the onion and keep the halves separated. Wash, remove the stem, de-seed and chop the bell pepper into cubes.

 

 

Meanwhile, prepare the dressing. Place the ginger, chilli, onion (top half only), soya sauce, vinegar, sugar, lime juice and oil (if using) into a large measuring jug. Mix to combine and dissolve the sugar.

 

 

Place the beans, broccoli, carrot and bell pepper into a large mixing bowl.

 

 

Pour over the dressing.

 

 

Mix to coat. Taste and season/flavour it as necessary.

We added a little bit more lime juice!

 

 

Serve warm. Place the rice into a large serving bowl.

 

 

Add the vegetable mixture. Garnish with the remaining onion and peanuts.

We added¬†a sprinkling of sesame seeds on the rice. ūüôā

 

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable container (ideally, place the rice into the fridge within an hour after cooking); reheat and consume within 1-2 days.

NB: When reheating, always check to make sure the rice is steaming hot all the way through and do not reheat the rice more than once. 

 

If¬†preferred…

  • Make the vegetable medley and dressing your own! ¬†NB: Try making a spicy mustard vinaigrette or sweet chilli dressing- the sky is the limit!
  • Use quinoa, millet, brown long grain rice, wholemeal pasta or buckwheat soba noodles instead of the basmati rice!
  • We recommend washing down this meal with a small glass of unsweetened and¬†fortified almond milk!

 

Vegan Jambalaya

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 4
Prep & Cooking time: 50-60 minutes

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & K, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, has no added sugar and is low in salt and saturated fats!

 

We’d like to start off by saying that this was a great dish to make! It contains so many great flavours that are easily created in your own kitchen (essentially by using whatever ingredients you have on hand!) …and in virtually no time at all. We did a little bit of reading around this dish, and this is what we found…

The origin of jambalaya is not completely clear, but it seems to have originated in Louisiana. It’s a simple, inexpensive and versatile rice dish that was created out of necessity, one that is prepared differently depending upon the region. It is believed to have been inspired by both French and Spanish culture, which is why it’s quite similar to Spanish paella (a multi-faceted mixture that was also designed to feed many people inexpensively)! Unlike paella it does not use saffron; smoky and/or hot¬†spices accompanying delicious herbs make this a very distinguishable dish.

It’s now a popular dish enjoyed in particularity in the Southeastern regions of the United States. There are two types, ‘Creole’ and ‘Cajun’ style, both of which have slightly different cooking methods and ingredients that were indicative of the local resources available at the time and were also shaped through¬†cultural influences; original European settlers (particularly French and Spanish) versus the ‘Acadians’.

Classic versions of this recipe contain not only vegetables but generally some type of seafood, meat, poultry or sausage…but not in the Eat2Health kitchen. We used hearty kidney beans, robust garden peas, various other vegetables and of course a tasty seasoning!

Our recipe seems to be an amalgamation of the two types. Cajun recipes do not tend to include tomatoes, and use more spices and less herbs (like ours), whilst Creole recipes can use an abundance of vegetables (similar to the ones we have included; which includes tomatoes!), as well as less spice, and all of the ingredients are cooked together; Cajun recipes brown and caramelise their meat first, giving the dish a brown colouring. This is why the two types are also known as Cajun ‚Äėbrown‚Äô jambalaya, and Creole-style ‚Äėred‚Äô jambalaya.

Although our recipe may not be authentic (we are aware that¬†lemons are not the norm!), it’s still a cheap, versatile, healthy, one-pot dish, that is great for the whole family and (maybe most importantly) delicious and bound to put a smile on your face! …Thank you Cajun spice mix!

 

Feel free to use your own spice mix!

 

 

Ingredients:

 

 

Directions:

Place the frozen bell peppers and peas into a microwavable dish; defrost in the microwave. Drain.

 

In the meantime, peel and dice the onion and garlic. Wash, remove the stem, de-seed and chop the chilli (leave the seeds intact if you prefer your dish extra spicy!). Wash, trim the ends and finely slice the celery. Wash, trim the ends, peel and quarter the carrot. Wash, remove the stem, de-seed and chop the bell pepper into cubes. Drain and rinse the beans. Prepare the Cajun seasoning mix (if applicable); place all of the spices and herbs into a small dish and mix together.

 

 

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium-low heat.

 

 

Add the onion, garlic and chilli. Gently fry for 1-2 minutes or until softened.

 

 

Add the defrosted peppers, celery, carrot and bell pepper. Gently fry for 3-4 minutes or until slightly softened.

 

 

In the meantime, boil some water in a kettle. Prepare the stock.

 

 

Add the Cajun seasoning. Stir to coat.

 

 

Add the rice and tomatoes. Stir and mix together.

Gently break apart any big pieces of tomato with the edge of your frying spatula.

 

 

Pour in the (boiling hot!) stock and water. Add the defrosted peas, beans and bay leaves. Stir to combine.

 

 

Cover with a lid or a sheet of kitchen foil. Bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20-30 minutes or until the rice is cooked.

 

NB: Check your mixture about half way through the cooking time; we had to quickly stir the mixture and add a few extra tablespoons of water.

 

 

In the meantime, wash and place the kale into a steamer pot with some water. Bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer. Steam for 3-4 minutes or until tender. Drain.

 

 

Meanwhile, wash, dry and chop the coriander; we ripped off and discarded most of the large stems…but the choice is yours. ūüôā

 

 

Wash and quarter (or slice) your lemon.

 

 

Remove the pan from the heat. Remove and discard the foil (if applicable). Give the jambalaya a thorough stir before serving.

NB: Also make sure to remove and discard the bay leaves before serving!

 

 

Garnish with the coriander and the lemon (or whatever else you desire). Bring the frying pan to the dinner table for the whole family to dig in and enjoy!

NB: Make sure to place it over a heat-proof mat or chopping board! We decided to add some fresh thyme and pitted black olives! ūüôā

 

 

Serve immediately. Place the kale into the bottom of a large serving bowl. Spoon over the jambalaya.

We served ours with kale (not only because we love the taste!) but we felt felt that this dish needed a further¬†‘green’ element to it!

 

 

Enjoy!

 

 

 Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable container (ideally within an hour after cooking); reheat and consume within 1-2 days. Alternatively freeze in one or more resealable containers; defrost, reheat and consume within 1-2 months.

NB: When reheating, always check to make sure the rice is steaming hot all the way through and do not reheat the rice more than once. 

 

 

If preferred…

  • Feel free to use your own Creole or Cajun seasoning mix! Experiment with the levels of spice and¬†herbs to create your perfect combination!
  • Adapt¬†the vegetables as you see fit!
  • Use a low-fat frying spray instead of rapeseed (canola) oil¬†to further reduce the fat content.
  • Use your favourite type of rice; we recommend brown basmati or brown long grain rice.
  • Try using a different type of bean (a dry or tinned variety), lentils, or maybe some tofu or tempeh instead!

 

Jambalaya Origin Sources:
About Food
Kitchn Project
New World Encyclopedia
Cooking Light

Black Bean Stir-Fry

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 2
Prep & Cooking time: 35-45 minutes

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, protein, fibre, iron, potassium, magnesium and it’s low in saturated fats.¬†

Here’s another quick stir-fry recipe for those of you that love healthy and quick food! Feel free to use any medley of vegetables you have (fresh, frozen and/or seasonal). In retrospect, we wished we had used more broccoli!¬†

Check out our other stir-fry recipes for some more great ideas and inspiration!

 

 

Ingredients:

 

 

Directions:

Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain.

NB: If you want to make your finished dish more ‘manageable’, snap the pasta into half before cooking it- the choice is yours!

 

In the meantime, place the bell peppers, mushrooms and broccoli (or any other frozen vegetables you are using) into a microwavable dish. Defrost in the microwave. Drain. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†NB: You can cook your vegetables from frozen however, they will produce a lot of water that will increase your cooking time and they won’t be as ‘crunchy’ as stir-fry vegetables should be.

 

 

Meanwhile, prepare your sauce. Wash, peel and grate the ginger. Wash, remove the stem, de-seed and finely chop the chilli. Peel and dice the garlic. Wash, trim the ends and then chop the spring onion into half (tops & bottoms); finely slice the top half an save the remaining half for a garnish (if desired). Drain and wash the beans.

 

 

Place the water, soya sauce, sugar and flour into a large measuring jug. Whisk together until the sugar and flour has dissolved.

 

 

Place approximately 3/4 of the quantity of the beans into a food processor; save some to add to the stir-fry later on. Pulse until partially ‘broken down’.

 

 

Add the ginger, chilli, garlic, sliced spring onion and the contents of the measuring jug into the food processor.

 

 

Blend until blitzed; you should have a thick and ‘chunky’ sauce.

 

 

Transfer the sauce into the measuring jug. Taste and season/flavour it as necessary.

 

 

Peel and slice the white onion. Wash, peel, trim the ends and chop the dakion (if using) and the carrot into ‘chunky match-stick’ pieces. Chop the remaining spring onion into slices (if applicable).

 

 

Heat the oil in a large non-stick wok over a medium heat.

 

 

Add the onion, dakion (if applicable) and carrot. Gently stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.

 

 

Add the bell peppers, mushrooms and broccoli. Stir-fry for approx. 2-4 minutes.

Yes, we forgot to add the broccoli! We had to quickly cook it in the microwave and add it towards the end.

NB: This is why we have advised you to defrost your vegetables first… look at the puddle of water in the middle! We had to tip this out, we didn’t want soggy vegetables. :/

 

Add the remaining beans. Stir through.

Our broccoli finally makes an appearance!

 

 

Pour in the sauce. Stir through. Gently stir for approximately 1 minute or until the sauce thickens slightly. Remove form the heat.

 

 

Serve warm. Transfer the pasta into a pasta bowl or lipped plate. Top with the stir-fry mixture. Garnish with the seeds and remaining spring onion (if applicable).

 

 

 

Dig in and enjoy!

 

 

If preferred…

  • Use a GF pasta or rice noodles if gluten is of concern.
  • Use a low-fat cooking oil instead if you want to reduce the fat content further.

Broad Bean & Spinach Dip/Spread

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 8-10
Prep & Cooking time: 15-20minutes

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & K, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, no added sugar and is low in salt and fats!

This dip/spread is has a wonderful fresh and zesty flavour that is absolutely delicious…feel free to adapt it with some of our suggestions below. ūüôā

 

Quick facts:

  • Broad beans are also known as ‘fava’ beans.¬†In the UK these beans¬†are normally in season during¬†June-August; don’t worry, you can still buy frozen varieties that are just as nutritious!

NB: To find out when your favourite fruits and vegetables are currently in season, check out this link!

 

Ingredients:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++360g     Frozen broad beans
+++++++++++++++++++++++++100g     Baby spinach
+++++++++++++++++++++++++20g       Fresh parsley
+++++++++++++++++++++++++100g     White onion
+++++++++++++++++++++++++4g          Garlic clove
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1             Lemon (Zest & Juice)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++120g      Plain soya yoghurt (unsweetened)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++10ml      Olive oil
+++++++++++++++++++++++++               Salt & ground black pepper
+++++++++++++++++++++++++125ml     Water

 

Nutritional Info:

If you’re a fan of using the FSA traffic light system, this is another one of our dips that gets green lights all the way!

¬†This recipe is great for those leading a healthier lifestyle. ūüôā

 

 

Directions:

Place a small saucepan full of cold water over a medium heat. Bring to the boil. Add the beans. Reduce to a simmer. Cover with a lid. Cook for 3-6 minutes or until tender. Drain. Allow to cool slightly.

 

 

Wash the spinach and allow it to drain (if applicable). Wash, dry and gently rip the parsley into half. Peel and dice the onion. Peel and finely grate the garlic. Wash, finely zest and then juice the lemon.

We were only half way through our prep at this point!

 

 

Place the beans, yoghurt, parsley, onion, garlic, lemon zest and juice, oil and as much spinach as you can push into a¬†food processor. Season it with some salt and black pepper to taste. Pulse and blend until the mixture starts breaking down; feed the remaining spinach into the food processor’s feed tube. Pour in the water. Blend until combined.

 

 

The mixture will be ‘chunky’. Taste and season as necessary.

NB: We added a little more lemon juice.

 

 

Remove and transfer the mixture into a resealable container.

 

 

Serve as a dip or sandwich spread.

Ready for sharing! ūüėÄ NB: Our ramekin contained 100g. It was just enough for us to enjoy this whole wheat baguette with.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

NB: Refrigerate in a resealable container; consume within 3 days.

 

 

If preferred…

  • Add a little more oil and some pine nuts…and you’ll have yourself another fun and tasty vegan pesto flavour!
  • Swap the lemon for lime and add a little ground coriander for more of a ‘Mexican-inspired’ taste.
  • Substitute the broad beans for soya beans; our broad beans were cheaper to source!
  • When making this recipe, you may prefer to push the beans out of their skins prior to processing however, by doing this you will reduce the fibre content of this dip/spread. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†NB: Broad beans and spinach are both a¬†great source of insoluble fibre!

Lentil Wrap (A Quick & Nutritious Lunch)

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 1
Preparation:10 minutes
Cooking time: 20-30 minutes
Assembly: 5 minutes

Notes:

Being¬†vegan doesn’t imply that you have to rely on faux meat and cheese, nor does it necessarily¬†mean¬†that you have to recreate the wheel when it comes to making food…or in this case, wraps! I completely understand¬†though, sometimes we will have ‘cravings’, but when we can we should strive to prepare healthy, nutritious and authentic dishes. We should take enjoyment in what nature has to offer us- like pulses and legumes…and on that note, we decided to make a lentil wrap!

We took it upon ourselves and completed some meal prep; one batch of lentils and bean and red pepper dip prepared! Check out our recipe for the dip. It took a little bit of time… but it just means that our meal prep for the following days drops from¬†thirty¬†minutes to approximately ten …brilliant!

NB: Wraps¬†can be quick and nutritious, although some do contains higher levels of salt and/ or fats…so make sure to always read the label! We also recommend¬†choosing¬†a wholemeal, wholegrain or¬†seeded variety. ūüôā

 

Ingredients:

++++++++++++++++++++50g            Cooked brown or green lentils
++++++++++++++++++++                   Fresh salad veggies
+++++++++++++++++++++1                Stick of celery
+++++++++++++++++++++4               Black/pitted olives
++++++++++++++++++++124g            Butterbean and red pepper dip/spread
++++++++++++++++++++  1                Standard seeded, multigrain or GF tortilla wrap

 

 

Directions:

Rinse and prepare the lentils according to the packet instructions. Drain. Rinse under cool water. Allow to drain. Lightly season (if desired).

NB: Ours took approx. 25 minutes to cook. We used approx. 150g of dried, brown lentils (to use for approx 3 lunches/person); approx. 2tbsp.(50g)/person/wrap.

 

 

 

Wash, dry and prepare all of your intended ‘wrap’ veggies!

 

 

Wash, trim the ends and slice the celery into sticks. Drain and wash the olives.

 

 

Measure and place the dip into a small dish/bowl.

You don’t have to jazz yours up with nuts!

 

 

Warm your wrap in the microwave according to the packet instructions.

 

 

Prepare the wrap

Spoon a couple of spoonfuls of the dip (from your dish) down the middle of the wrap. Spoon and spread the lentils over the dip with a spoon.

 

 

Place your smaller salad veggies over the lentils….

 

 

…followed by any lettuce or leaves you’re using.

 

 

~Fold or roll up your wrap!~

 

 

Lunch is served! Place your wrap onto a serving plate or board. Serve with the remaining dip and vegetables. NB: We separated the celery, olives and any leftover veggies from the wrap (to avoid making our wrap soggy from any remaining veggie water!).

Our lunch came to approx. 340Kcal (*Not counting the salad veggies: the lettuce, rocket, coriander, carrot, tomato &¬†cucumber- but that’s negligible anyways, so don’t get hung up on that!). ūüôā

 

 Enjoy!

 

Tofu & Veggie Ravioli + 5 Minute Marinara Sauce [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6-8
Yields: about 24 ravioli
Prep: 60-90 mins
Cooking Time: 3-5 mins
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Mixing bowl, silicone spatula, kitchen film, frying pan, food processor, bowl, rolling pin, large plate, large pot(s)

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & K, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese,potassium, has no added sugars and per serving  is low in salt* and saturated fats*! 

Who loves pasta dishes?! We do! Apart from preparing pasta sauces, we’ve never attempted making our own pasta. It truly is a labour of love- one that needs to be respected; we’re sure we have broken the hearts of many Italian grandmothers‚Äô‚Ķ as they look at our finished product in despair! Sorry! Maybe we should consult with L at Bubblesandbooyah¬† or Kiana at The Italian Vegan way of Life on this matter?!

Our ravioli does not look¬†authentic, that’s for sure…more anaemic! This is because typical¬†ravioli recipes use several eggs, which gives it its standard yellow/beige appearance; not ideal for us following plant-based diets! If this is a big issue for you, try using fresh herbs, spices (make sure it complements your filling) or perhaps some cooled, green vegetable water (from the drained spinach) instead of the plain water the recipe instructs to help colour your pasta.

For anyone that has attempted GF baking or has prepared GF pastry or dough…it’s not very straight forward! To say that it’s daunting might be a bit of an understatement! However, this feeling passes- it’s quite liberating preparing a whole meal from scratch (apart from growing your own foods of course!). We’re¬†not going to lie though; this recipe can be quite time consuming, especially if you do not own any pasta gadgets, are new to the ‘pasta making world’ or using GF dough for that matter.

If you have the patience and the desire to make GF ravioli, then you‚Äôre in good hands! Ours was really tasty (we can’t stress that enough!) and the finished product was ‘respectable’…well, it definitely looked ‘homemade’, perhaps by people¬†that doesn’t really know what they‚Äôre doing?! …Well, that might be partially true! ūüėõ

We¬†admit there is a science to it, one that we are¬†still working on!¬†If you are have stronger, GF pasta making skills than we¬†do, or any advice or tips it would be greatly appreciated!¬†We have also included another marinara sauce recipe. This one is slightly different from our other recipe¬†that we supplied you with last week; it’s ultra-quick and thrifty! If you do decide to use a store bought brand instead, as always, be mindful of the salt, sugar and fat contents!

Happy cooking everyone! ūüôā

 

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. ūüôā

 

Ingredients

NB: If you have a ‘tried and true’ GF or standard dough recipe, feel free to use that instead!

 

 

Nutritional Info (Prepared Ravioli Only)

NB: To reduce the fat content further, omit the olives and the tahini from the filling.

*Low in salt and saturated fats based on eight servings.

 

 

Directions

Prepare the dough. Place 300g rice flour, 60g corn flour, 80g potato starch, 8g xanthan gum, 1g basil, 2g thyme and 2g salt into a large mixing bowl.

 

 

Mix until combined. Make a ‘well’ in the centre of the mixture.

 

 

Add 1 tbsp oil and 300ml cold water.

NB: Make sure you use cold water! Hot water will make the corn flour, potato starch and xanthan gum turn into a horrible mess.

 

 

Use a spatula; stir and combine the mixture until the dough is smooth and tacky.

 

 

Place the dough onto the middle of a piece of kitchen film.

 

 

Wrap and completely seal. Place it into the fridge for a minimum of 20 mins.

 

In the meantime, prepare the filling.

 

Place the spinach into a microwavable bowl; defrost in the microwave. Drain. Place the bread into a toaster. Gently heat until lightly brown and crispy. Place it into a food processor. Peel and dice the shallot and garlic. Wash, dry and finely dice the mushrooms. Wash, remove the stem and core and then finely chop the bell pepper. Wash, peel and finely grate the carrot. Drain, rinse and dice the olives. Wash and chop the basil leaves; discard most of the stems. Place the bread in the food processor. Process it until breadcrumbs are achieved; remove and transfer into a small bowl.

The amount of bell pepper we have advised is approx. half a pepper…so this is why we have suggested to use the other half in the marinara sauce.

 

Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium-low heat. Spray it with some low-fat cooking oil. Add the shallot and garlic. Gently fry for 1-2 mins or until softened.

NB: We used four ‘sprays’.

 

 

Add the mushrooms, bell pepper and carrot. Gently fry for 3-5 mins, or until softened and most of the water has been removed. Remove from the heat.

NB: We used two more ‘sprays’.

 

 

Meanwhile, drain the tofu. Place it into in the food processor. Pulse until creamy.

 

 

Transfer it into a large mixing bowl.

 

 

Transfer the vegetable mixture into a separate bowl. Allow it to cool slightly.

 

 

Place the spinach and olives into the frying pan. Gently fry for 1-2 mins; allow the spinach to steam-dry slightly. Gently separate/shred some of the fibres with a fork. Remove from the heat.

 

 

Add the vegetable and separate spinach mixture, along with the basil, breadcrumbs, oregano, thyme and tahini into the large mixing bowl. Mix and thoroughly combine.

 

Add the flour. Mix to combine.

 

 

Let’s Assemble The Ravioli!

Disclaimer: We¬†will be¬†commentating¬†on the best ‘working scenario’ (based on our¬†previous¬†failures and current mistakes); occasionally the pictures may not seem in sync or an accurate representation of¬†each step. So please bare with us- we’ll get there in the end!

Tip:¬†If you have a ravioli mould/tray or cutters- dig them our of your cupboards and use them!¬†Otherwise let’s prepare these ravioli’s using this ‘freestyle’ method.

 

Prepare a clean and lightly floured work surface. Tip: have a large plate, a little dish of water and some spare flour nearby.

We were  ambitious and thought we could make the ravioli in 2 stages instead of four! Two words- fat chance!

 

Divide the dough into four pieces/balls. Place one piece onto the work surface and re-wrap the remaining dough. NB: This dough tends to dry out quickly, so always re-wrap it!¬†Knead the dough into the flour until it is slightly ‘less’ tacky.¬†Roll the dough into a long and narrow-ish strip (approx. 12″x4″).

We measured the dough and these were the approx. dimensions. Please feel free to experiment! NB: We feel that this is about as thin as this dough would allow without it falling apart!

 

 

Test and try to lift the dough slightly. Tip: you need to make sure it’s not sticking to the work surface (if it is, add a little more flour) and that it’s not going to completely fall apart when moved.

We¬†tested our dough by re-rolling it onto the rolling pin. NB: The dough on this rolling pin represents half the quantity of dough. It wasn’t long after this picture that we¬†divided the dough into four working pieces.

 

 

Roughly mark the dough into six equal squares.

 

 

Spoon and place the filling onto the centre of one side of the dough.

NB: This represents the maximum amount of filling you can use.

 

Cut the dough down the middle. Separate the dough into two strips. Tip: a quicker method would be to fold the half without the filling over the other half of the dough. Press, mould, shape and then cut out the¬†individual¬†ravioli’s.¬†

 

Gently re-roll the strip (without the filling), creating a slightly larger and¬†thinner half. Tip: we¬†have suggested this because GF dough is less forgiving/stretchy than normal wheat-dough (because of its¬†wonderful powers it obtains from¬†gluten) and you have to make sure it’s going to cover all of the ravioli! However, if you are using half of the amount of filling, you may be able to skip this step entirely.

 

 

If you’re brave enough, place and align the re-rolled strip over the top of the other strip (with the filling). Gently press down in-between each piece; helping to shape the ravioli. Gently cup and continue to shape each piece with your hands; allowing the dough to wrap around the filling. Cut and separate the six¬†pieces. Pinch the edges of each ravioli together and then fold the edges up and over itself; crimp and press to seal the ravioli. NB: You might have to complete¬†this step with the help of a wet fork.

If your a little clumsy with GF dough or with the ravioli-making process (like myself)….you can do what I did (explained below!)

 

 

After you have re-rolled the strip, cut it into six separate pieces. Cut the other strip (with the filling) into six separate pieces. Individually place each piece re-rolled piece of dough over a piece of the prepared dough (as shown).

i.e. prepared dough with filling.

 

Cup and shape the ravioli dough around the filling with your hands. Pinch the edges of the ravioli together and then fold the edges up and over itself; crimp and press to seal the ravioli (as we have previously mentioned, a wet fork is great for this step!).

We’re¬†¬†sorry about the lack of pictures at this stage! Our¬†hands were covered in flour and filling- neither of which you want smeared on your camera!

 

 

Place all of the prepared ravioli’s onto a clean plate. Cover¬†and¬†seal with a piece of kitchen film.¬†Repeat these steps with the remaining three pieces/sections¬†of dough and filling until all of it has been used.

To stop them drying out!

 

Now might be a good time to place two large pots over a medium heat and bring to the boil; it can take some time to heat the water. However, if you are slower at this process, just wait until you’re finished- there’s no need to add more potential stress into the equation!

You can use one large pot….if you have it…and/or if your brave enough to man-handle over ten ravioli’s cooking at once!

 

All twenty-four¬†ravioli’s ready to go!

 

 

If you haven’t already, place two large saucepans over a medium heat and bring to the boil.¬†Meanwhile,¬†prepare our ‘5 minute thrifty marinara sauce’ (if applicable)! Just open the tinned tomatoes and then place all of the sauce ingredients into a blender.¬†Blend until smooth.¬†Pour into a small pot.¬†Place the pot¬†over a medium-low heat. Gently heat the sauce to low-grade simmer and then reduce the heat. Cover with a lid; keep it over a low heat setting until served.

We ¬†saved some for later in the week and some for now… ūüôā

 

Cooking The Ravioli!

Once the water begins to boil, place about 4-5 pieces into each pot using a large, slotted spoon;¬†reduce to a medium heat. Loosely cover with a lid.¬†Once the ravioli’s start to rise to the top and/or the water comes to more of a rapid boil- remove the lid. Cook the ravioli’s for 3-5 mins or until tender.

NB: Ours took approx. 4 minutes to cook.

 

 

Remove them with the slotted spoon. Place them into a large colander (not onto a plate like we have in this picture!). Cover with some kitchen foil and allow them to drain.

NB: They don’t get a chance to drain properly on a plate…which means extra water added to your sauce! :/

 

 

Repeat these steps until all of the ravioli has been cooked.

All in all the cooking process was a success! There were a few that lost a corner on the way out of the pot but that’s trivial! Previously, we’ve had ravioli’s that have disintegrated whilst cooking because we¬†allowed the water to boil too rapidly…lol (it wasn’t really that funny at the time)! ¬†Cooking 101: DO NOT allow you ravioli’s to ride tidal waves in your saucepan!

 

 

Serve warm. Spoon the ravioli into a large bowl or pasta dish. Ladle over the sauce. Season it with some black pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh basil and/or chopped tomatoes (if desired).

NB: This picture represents 2 servings (*Based on the ravioli serving 8).

It might be advised to wear a red t-shirt; it depends on how ravenous you are! J/K! We are all ‘mindful’ eaters. ūüėÄ

Enjoy!

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable container; reheat and consume within 3-5 days. Alternatively, freeze in an air-tight/resealable container; defrost, reheat and consume within 3 months.

NB: Do not store uncooked ravioli in the fridge overnight. We¬†attempted this once (trying to save time with food prep for the next night), but the next day they were all a bit soggy…and cooking them didn’t improve matters! We’re¬†not one-hundred percent¬†sure as to why this occurred…and unless you do, we wouldn’t recommend it!

 

If preferred…

  • The world is your oyster! Make the¬†filling your own! Just make sure to decrease/remove the water content of any vegetables used (by lightly frying/steam-frying) before preparing your ravioli.
  • If gluten is not of concern, try using wholemeal or grade ’00’ flour instead, along with salt, oil and water (and maybe some eggs if you’re not vegan!); adjust the quantities accordingly and omit the xanthan gum.
  • Use our marinara recipe, your own pasta sauce, or drizzle a little olive oil over the pasta¬†(and garnish with herbs) just before serving!

 

 

¬†If anyone prepares this recipe- send us some pictures! We’d love to see¬†how you got on and of course, your thoughts!

Baked ‘Green’ Falafels

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 5-10
Prep & Cooking Time: 70-80 mins

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & K protein, fibre, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, has no added sugars and (per serving) is low in added salt, sugar and saturated fats*!

This recipe is an example of how fast/processed foods can be healthy! Authentic recipes can use undesired cooking methods, such as deep or shallow frying; these methods are not ideal to use on a regular basis. Our recipe provides you with a healthier alternative to help keep the fat content to a minimum; which is also why we opt for using a little flour and not excessive amount of tahini to help hold our falafels together. The kale provides a nice and healthy twist (and a lovely shade of green!) for this tasty and popular food.

This delectable Middle Eastern food (traditionally Arab) can be made suitable for all types of diets; traditionally they are made ‘vegan’. These little ‘patties/fritters’ are typically served in a warmed pitta or flatbread with ‘Israeli salad’ or some lettuce, tomatoes, onion, pickles with some houmous, tahini or tabbouleh; cucumber, aubergine, feta cheese, yoghurt and/or tzatziki are also sometimes used. Serving styles can vary as this is now a popular meal/snack in most countries.

NB: Our preparation technique has been seen to alter the texture and flavours slightly (*when compared to authentic cooking methods). However, we think our falafels are still delicious and full of great flavours; reduce the cooking duration slightly if a ‘softer’ falafel is desired.

 

Our kale is busy ‘steaming’ away! NB: If gluten is not of concern, use a plain flour instead. Our drained chickpeas equated to approx. 480grams.

 

Ingredients:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++100g    Kale
+++++++++++++++++++++++++160g    White onion
+++++++++++++++++++++++++8g        Garlic cloves
+++++++++++++++++++++++++40g      Fresh Coriander
+++++++++++++++++++++++++2           Tins Chickpeas (in unsalted water)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++30g      Tahini paste
+++++++++++++++++++++++++10g       Olive oil
+++++++++++++++++++++++++15ml     Water
+++++++++++++++++++++++++4g         Ground cumin
+++++++++++++++++++++++++2g         Dried parsley
+++++++++++++++++++++++++2g         Sweet Paprika
+++++++++++++++++++++++++20g       Rice flour
+++++++++++++++++++++++++              Salt & ground black pepper
+++++++++++++++++++++++++              1kcal Fry Spray (low-fat cooking oil)

 

 

Nutritional info:

NB: Serve 2-4 falafels as part of a healthy meal or have 1-2 as a healthy snack. 

 * Low in saturated fats when 2-4 pieces are consumed (**Based on 20 prepared falafels).

 

Directions:

 Wash the kale. Place it into a steamer pot with some cold water. Steam for 5-8 minutes or until tender. Drain. Rinse under cool water.

 

 

In the meantime, it’s time to start using your food processor…

1. Peel and chop the onion into halves. Peel the garlic. Place the onion into a food processor. Process until minced; add the garlic whilst the processor is still running. Transfer into a large mixing bowl.

2. Wash the coriander. Ripe it into halves. Place it into the food processor. Process until minced. Transfer it into the mixing bowl.

3. Place the cooked kale into the food processor. Process until minced. Transfer into the mixing bowl.

4. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Place them into the food processor. Add the tahini, oil and water. Process until almost smooth.

 

 

Heat the oven to 190¬įC/375¬įF. Line a baking tray with some parchment paper or a silicone mat. Lightly spray it with some low-fat cooking oil.

 

 

In the meantime, assemble the falafels!

1. Transfer the chickpea mixture into the mixing bowl. Add the cumin, parsley, paprika and half the quantity of the flour. Season it with some salt and black pepper to taste.

2. Using a spatula, mix and thoroughly combine the ingredients.

3. Add the remaining flour. Mix to combine.

4. Divide the mixture up.

 

 

Roll the mixture into balls; use lightly floured hands if necessary. Place them onto the baking tray. Repeat this step until all of the mixture is used. Lightly spray them with some low-fat cooking oil.

We created 20 ‘balls’.

 

Gently press down on them to form ‘patties’ (if desired).¬†Place into the oven. Bake for 15 mins; remove and turn once. Increase the oven temperature to 200¬įC/400¬įF.

Traditional falafels are normally round, but it can depend upon the ¬†utensil used to shape them. ūüôā

 

 

Once turned, lightly spray them with some more low-fat cooking oil (if desired). Place back into the oven. Bake for a further 8-10 mins or until lightly browned. Remove. Allow to cool slightly.

 

 

Serve your falafels with some salad and a wholemeal (or GF) pitta, couscous or rice.

We also added some nibbles, along with low-fat houmous and plain/minty soya yoghurt. :D

We also added some nibbles, along with low-fat houmous and plain/minty soya yoghurt. ūüėÄ

 

 Enjoy!

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable and air-tight container; consume within 3-4 days. Alternatively, wrap them in kitchen film and freeze in a resealable container; defrost, reheat and consume within 2 months.

 

 

If preferred…

  • Use dried chickpeas; soak over night, drain and cook before preparing the falafels.
  • Try using soya or broad(fava) beans instead of chickpeas.
  • Use some steamed spinach or swiss chard instead of kale.
  • Adapt the flavours and seasoning’s to suit your personal tastes.
  • Serve these lovely falafels with veggies (of course!) and some plain/minty soya yoghurt, tahini dip, tabbouleh or houmous; check out our houmous¬†recipe as a guide!

Sweet And Sour Battered Tofu With Rice

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 4
Prep & Cooking Time: 60-70 mins
Type: Main meal
Tools: Heavy plates, chopping board, sharp knife, small bowls, baking tray, silicone mat or parchment paper, non-stick pot w/lid, frying spatula, steamer pot, food processor or blender, whisk

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc and per serving is low in added salt, sugar and saturated fats!

A plant-based lifestyle does not all have to be about celery, steamed tofu and rice… er, but when has¬†that ever really been the case?! This recipe is a prime¬†example¬†of how delicious and exciting vegan meals can be. It’s also¬†a great¬†alternative¬†for those that love Chinese foods but are trying to adhere to a healthier¬†lifestyle…and it’s¬†coeliac friendly. ūüôā

Apart from stir-fry’s, we¬†don’t normally eat Chinese foods; a lot of authentic dishes can be high in salt, fats and/or sugar! However, I was thinking about this the other week when I initially made my¬†battered tofu; the tofu looked a little like ‘battered chicken pieces’… and that got my creative juices going!

…I suppose my love of¬†pineapple may have biased my choices slightly! ūüôā

Happy cooking everyone! ūüėÄ

NB: We used some frozen bell peppers to help bulk out the quantity and some fresh pepper to help keep the meal visually appealing!

 

Ingredients

Battered tofu:
396g Firm tofu (*Serves 4)
See our previous recipe for instructions and a full ingredients list.

NB: Our pineapple tin contained approximately 130g of juice.

If gluten is of concern, double check your vinegar before you purchase it, e.g. in case it contains ‘extra’ ingredients, such as barley malt.

 

 

Nutritional Info (Sauce Only)

NB: 4 grams is approx. one teaspoon!

Store bought varieties can easily contain¬†two to three times the amount of added sugars/serving, whilst ‘take-away’ versions (dependant on the serving size) can contain up to six to eight times as much.

 

 

Directions

Prepare the tofu. Open and drain the tofu. Place it between two heavy and/or weighted plates (or chopping boards) for about 20-30 mins to remove any excess water. In the meantime, prepare the batters. See our other recipe for instructions.

 

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200¬įC/400¬įF. Line a baking tray with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Spray it with a little low-fat cooking oil (if desired).

 

 

In the meantime, prepare the vegetables for the sauce. Place the frozen bell peppers into a microwavable bowl; defrost in the microwave. Drain. Wash, peel and dice the garlic. Wash, remove the stem and chop the chilli. Wash, trim the ends and slice most of the onion; set the rest aside (to use as a garnish later). Remove the stem de-seed and chop the red bell pepper into cubes. Open the pineapple; separate the fruit from its juice into two separate containers.

 

 

Drain, chop and slice the tofu into¬†small pieces (about ¬Ĺcm thick rectangles). Place them onto the baking tray.

 

 

Batter the tofu; refer to our other recipe. Once all of the tofu has been coated in batter, place the baking tray into the oven. Bake for about 20-30mins or until lightly golden. Turn once during cooking. Remove.

NB: This tofu has not been baked.

Baked. ūüôā

 

 

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Heat a non-stick saucepan over a medium-low heat. Spray it with some low-fat cooking oil.

 

 

Add the garlic, chilli and onion. Gently fry for 1-2 minutes or until softened.

 

 

Transfer into a small dish. Allow to cool slightly.

 

 

In the meantime, cook the rice according to the packet instructions. Remove from the heat. Steam any side vegetables in a steamer pot. Drain.

NB: Frozen green beans and broccoli normally cooks faster than cauliflower!

 

 

Add the bell peppers to the saucepan. Gently fry for 2-3 mins.

 

 

Transfer into a small dish. Allow to cool slightly.

 

 

Place the garlic, chilli and onion into a food processor. Add the pineapple juice, water, sugar and vinegar. Season it with some salt and black pepper to taste.

 

 

Pulse until combined and the¬†chilli and onion have ‘broken down’ slightly.

 

 

Transfer the mixture into the non-stick saucepan. Add extra dried chilli flakes (if desired). Add the potato starch and bell peppers. Whisk together.

 

 

Chop all or half of the pineapple slices into cubes.

NB: Save some for serving or chop all of it and add it into the sauce.

 

 

Add the chopped pineapple. Stir to combine.

 

 

Place the saucepan over a medium-low heat. Whisk until the sauce has thickened; approx 1-2 mins. Add a little water if a thinner consistency is desired.Remove from the heat. Cover with a lid to keep warm.

 

 

Meanwhile, shred or chop the remaining onion (if applicable) .

 

 

Serve warm. Spoon the rice onto a large serving plate (or into a small bowl); garnish with the onion. Transfer the tofu next to the rice and ladle over the sauce. Serve with the accompanying vegetables and a piece of the remaining pineapple (if applicable). Season it with some black pepper to taste (if desired).

NB: This shows one portion of tofu, rice and sauce. Add a dash of low-sodium soya sauce to the rice (if desired).

Leftovers!

 

Enjoy!

Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable container; reheat and consume within 3-5 days.

NB: This container shows all of the sauce. I made my sauce in advance and reheated what we needed later on.

NB:

  • When reheating the sauce, do so in a non-stick saucepan over a medium-low heat. The sauce can be a bit¬†gelatinous after being refrigerated; add a little water to loosen the sauce (if desired).
  • The tofu can be gently reheated in the microwave; approx. 1-2 minutes on a high heat setting.
  • Store the tofu and sauce in two separate resealable containers.

 

 

If preferred…

  • Use standard baked tofu or temph, or some cooked white beans instead of my battered tofu.
  • Serve with rice, millet or quinoa.
  • Use dried chillies instead of fresh; feel free to use more or less than instructed!

Red Kidney Bean & Quinoa ‘Meatballs’ [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6-8
Prep, Cooking & Assembly: 75 Mins
Type: Main meal
Tools: Sieve, non-stick pots and lids, roasting tin, silicone mat, food processor, colander, silicone spatula, casserole dish, baking tray, parchment paper, ladle, blender

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, zinc and (per serving) is low in added salt, sugar and saturated fats! 

So we made this recipe a week ago. Al came home and asked if I had been ‘cooking meat’?! I burst out laughing and said, “Of course not!”…quickly followed by, “mission accomplished babe”!

This is a recipe that we have adapted from the days when we used to make turkey mince meatballs …so I¬†guess I am not totally surprised that¬†I received the reaction that I did; it’s funny how our minds¬†perceive¬†things…storing sounds and smells as triggers for certain memories, or in this case food!¬†

We’re very happy about how this recipe turned out. The meatballs are not dry and horrible ‘meat’ substitutes; they are lovely little ‘veggie balls’ that are packed full of protein, fibre, and plenty of vitamins and minerals! Obviously it’s¬†another¬†great recipe that can be adapted to your own personal taste and shared with your family and friends.¬†

I took the executive decision to use two tins of kidney beans instead of one… but other than that, the recipe went to plan and we are happy to be sharing it with you. We have also provided a recipe for a homemade marinara sauce, but feel free to use your favourite tomato-based sauce instead; if you plan on using a store bought variety, be¬†mindful¬†of the fat, sugar and salt¬†contents! ūüôā¬†

Quick Foodie Fact:

  • One serving of meatballs (based on 6 servings)* provides you with approx. 1 serving (of fruits/vegetables), towards your 5-A-Day; so make sure you have a veggie packed sauce (like ours) to help increase your servings!

 

‘Meatball’ ingredients; we used our homemade GF bread.

 

Ingredients

¬†Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. ūüôā

 

Nutritional Info (‘Meatballs’ Only)

 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 190¬įC/375¬įF. Line a roasting tin with a silicone mat or some aluminium foil.

 

In the meantime, cook the quinoa. Place the quinoa into a sieve; rinse under cold running water for 30 seconds to help remove some of its bitterness. Cook according to the packet instructions. Remove from the heat.

NB: Cooked quinoa! Ours took 15 mins.

 

 

  • Meanwhile, start preparing the marinara sauce (unless you are using another sauce; just start preparing the ‘meatballs’ instead!). Wash the tomatoes, remove the stems and then chop them into halves.¬†Peel and quarter the onion.
  • Place the tomatoes (cut-side up), onion and the garlic into a¬†roasting tin. Drizzle over 15ml olive¬†oil and 10ml of the balsamic glaze. Tip:¬†If you do not have any glaze, use balsamic vinegar instead. Sprinkle over 1g¬†dried basil (if desired). Season it with some salt and ground black pepper to taste.
  • Place the tray into the middle oven shelf. Roast the vegetables for about 25-30 mins. Remove and allow to cool. Do not turn off the oven.

 

 

In the meantime, line a baking tray with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Lightly spray it with some low-fat cooking oil.

 

 

Prepare the ‘meatballs’. Get out a large casserole dish. Wash, trim the ends and finely grate the courgette. Wash, trim the ends, peel and finely grate the carrot.¬†Place the courgette and carrot into a casserole¬†dish (or large mixing bowl).

  • Peel and chop the onion into halves; place it into a food processor. Pulse¬†until minced.¬†Remove and transfer into the dish.
  • Lightly toast the bread. Place it¬†into the food processor. Pulse and process until bread crumbs are achieved.¬†Place them¬†into the casserole dish.
  • Open, drain and rinse the beans. Transfer¬†them into the food processor and pulse¬†until almost smooth. Transfer it into the dish.
  • Wash, dry and finely chop the basil; add it into the casserole dish.¬†Fluff the grains of quinoa with a fork and add it into the dish.

 

Here’s what our casserole dish looked like…

Add 20g¬†tahini into the casserole dish and¬†sprinkle over 2g¬†Italian seasoning and 2g sweet paprika. Season it with some salt and black pepper to taste. Using your hands, mix¬†together the ingredients; until it’s fully combined-like a giant ‘meatball’!¬†Divide the mixture into 8 pieces. Tip: We¬†shaped three¬†‘meatballs’ out of each segment (so twenty-four¬†in total).¬†

Dust your hands with a little bit of flour (if necessary) to shape them.¬†Place the ‘meatballs’ onto the tray.¬†Repeat this step until all of the mixture has been used. Lightly spray them with some low-fat cooking oil (if desired).¬†Place them¬†onto¬†the middle oven shelf. Bake for approximately 15 mins. Remove.

 

 

In the meantime, cook the pasta according the packet instructions. Drain.

We recommend (and have used some) wholemeal pasta; if being GF is not of concern.

 

 

Meanwhile, finish preparing the marinara. Wash some basil. Remove the skins from the roasted garlic and discard them.

Garlic skins and a few bits of onion that were too crispy!

 

  • Place the roasting juices (if desired), tomatoes, onion, garlic, the remaining¬†10ml¬†of balsamic glaze, basil, 20g tomato pur√©e, 100ml water and 30ml lemon juice into a blender. Process until fairly smooth. Taste and season it with some salt and black pepper.
  • Transfer it into a small, non-stick saucepan over a medium-low heat and gently warm. Cover with a lid; keep it over a minimum heat until it’s served.

 

 

Once you have removed the¬†meatballs after the initial 15 mins, increase the oven temperature to 200¬įC/400¬įF. Carefully turn the ‘meatballs’ over. Lightly spray them with some more low-fat cooking oil (if desired).¬†Place them back onto the middle oven shelf and bake for a further 8 mins or until lightly browned. Remove. Allow to cool on the tray for 5 mins (if possible).

 

Serve warm. Transfer the¬†pasta into a large serving bowl or lipped plate. Pour over the marinara (or sauce of choice!) and top with the ‘meatballs’. Garnish with some fresh basil or oregano (if desired) and enjoy!

See, it’s not dry and crumbly, just packed full of ‘goodness’!

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable and air-tight container; reheat and consume within 3-5 days. Alternatively, freeze in a resealable container(s); defrost, reheat and consume within 2 months.Tip: We covered ours with parchment paper and cling film before sealing it with its lid.

Recipe updated: 23/02/16 

Leading A Healthy Lifestyle & Weight Loss: A Personal Account

Diet & Weight Loss

When it comes to leading a better quality of life, we all have a journey, a story to tell, one that most can relate to‚Ķ including mine. I am not searching for empathy or a pat on the back, nor am I trying to be your go-to health-nut guru. I’m just trying to express my views, my personal account of the pitfalls and harsh realities of weight loss and healthy living; an account that not everyone is capable of or willing to divulge. So, before you judge a book by its cover, let me tell you about some very candid personal truths.

 

Photo by: alyssa kirby_flickr

Photo by: Alyssa Kirby (Flickr)

I too can empathise with you…if you’re trying to lose weight…trying to find a balance of diet and exercise, or mindlessly eating without reflecting on the contents of your food. You may not believe it to look at me now, but I too have overcome my own personal demons and moved on with my life.

I‚Äôm someone who could put on and lose weight fairly easily- if I put the effort into it; whether it is eating too many snacks, having frequent/large portions or exercising 4-5 times a week with sensible meal planning. Genetically speaking, I am predisposed to a number of ailments‚Ķ.but so is everybody else‚Ķbut this doesn’t mean that my health or future is completely mapped out.

Avoiding type two diabetes, heart disease, stroke and obesity is in my hands; I do not wish to live a life dictated by chronic illness and prescribed medications.

 

As our blog has mentioned before, we all have to take personal accountability; there is always a price to pay for lack of awareness and ignorance. Obviously one shoe does not fit all‚Ķ but we can all take similar steps to lead healthier lives; as we’ve mentioned in a previous article¬†in January.

There were periods in my life where my weight yo-yoed. I‚Äôve never been clinically overweight or obese, but my BMI was 24.5kg/m2; the cusp of being overweight. ¬†Some may think that it‚Äôs not that significant, but the revelation of deciding to change is the same…no matter what weight you are.

 

The truth is a bad diet, lack of exercise, or trying to out exercise a bad diet wreaks havoc on mental and physical health…and I was caught up in this vicious circle like all the other serial dieters…up until about my mid-twenties.

Photo by: Rose Waterman_Flickr

Photo by: Rose Waterman (Flickr)

During this time I tried these types of diets/ideas:

-A Very-Low Calorie Diet (VLCD)
-High protein, low carbs (or more commonly known as ‚ÄėAtkins‚Äô)
-Loads of exercise, low calorie but a high protein intake
-No-sugar, low-fat
-A Smoothie/juice cleanse

 

I don’t need to tell you that these types of fad diets are all rubbish and some are potentially dangerous… and for good reason. Obviously this was before I saw sense, took responsibility and of course when off to university to study human nutrition.

 

Photo by: Katherine of Chicago_Flickr

Photo by: Katherine of Chicago (Flickr)

I took a dogmatic approach towards health, an all or nothing view, and I could never find a healthy and happy medium; a common mind-set I’m sure.

I am not even going to try and justify why I attempted any of these regimes‚Ķ because I can‚Äôt and equally I know the reasons why these diets did not work; I didn’t and couldn’t comply with them (especially long term) and I did not educate myself on portion sizes and general healthy eating. I just bought into the same hype a lot of young health-enthusiasts do, e.g. carbohydrates are bad, don‚Äôt eat after 5pm, everybody juice! and your body needs to be detoxed; nonsense. These types of myths and poor insight still exist which fuels similar diets; check out our article on ¬†gluten free diets.

I also bought into media images; this was before the massive trend of social media and the dreaded skinny selfies…and perhaps there was less fat shaming and instant victimisation of those that were not a size two as a result, perhaps not? But I think that seeing any picture of yourself (fat or thin), or of a thin celebrity, when your mindset is that skewed can bring it all home and produce black and white thinking; creating distorted body images and a shit storm of dieting. It’s funny though, when I look at some of those pictures now- I wonder what I was complaining about?!

 

None of these types of behaviours or drastic thinking sat comfortably with me, and taking my health into my own hands without being properly informed only meant one thing, doomed to start again! Whether that be in a week, a fortnight or in a month‚Äôs time‚Ķ.and I don‚Äôt know about you, but I was tired of it and completely aware that it was my own fault. I needed to take a step back and analyse ‘what was the driving force behind my behaviours’… what steps did I need to take¬†in order to change… and who do I turn to for some sound advice?

Photo by: Oliver Symens_Flickr

Photo by: Oliver Symens (Flickr)

 

When it comes to weight loss, there are some that say ‚ÄúI’ve tried everything and nothing has worked‚Ä̂Ķwell it‚Äôs because they¬†are going about weight loss the wrong way and potentially they’re not dealing with any¬†underlying (personal) issues. The dynamics of weight loss and good nutrition isn’t complicated, but humans are‚Ķ by nature we can over complicate everything! If more of us would just comply with our healthcare professional‚Äôs advice, we would see results‚Ķthis might sound trite, but it‚Äôs true; sadly (healthy & permanent) weight loss won‚Äôt happen overnight, and it takes complete compliance and most of all patience‚Ķso don‚Äôt be too hard on yourself.

As I have mentioned in a previous article, there are too many reasons to be fit and healthy, but ultimately it’s just easier to take the whole healthy lifestyle approach and just run with it! No more fad diets, no more excuses.

Photos by (starting from top left/clockwise): Sam (Flickr), Mikey Sklar (Flickr), Nadyana Magazine (Flickr) & Karyn Bosnak (Flickr).

 

From June last year my husband I started to adopt a vegan lifestyle, but we still ate fish on occasion; that aspect has now diminished. Doing this really helped give my whole outlook on food (ethically and medically) and my health a ‚Äėfull 360¬į‚Äô; I never thought my digestion would improve so much, or that I would be able to get off the unpleasant ‚Äėsugar-train‚Äô‚Ķ and now I have. If you‚Äôre worried that your vitamin and mineral levels will decline, then don‚Äôt. A recent blood test showed my iron and Vitamin B12 levels were thriving; plant-based lifestyles are sustainable! Check out our article on Plant-based proteins for more persuasion and read our articles on Supplements and ‚ÄėSuperfoods‚Äô before you part with your cash! I‚Äôm not saying that this type of approach is suitable for everyone, but countless studies offer evidence to support it. Check out our article on veganism to help you digest some further reasons why people might adopt this type of lifestyle. As always,¬†everybody should consult¬†with their health care professionals before making¬†any drastic changes to their health.

 

As far as healthy eating goes and what foods to buy- everybody has their own individual considerations. Social media, time, cooking skills and affordability can all dictate and influence what we will choose to buy, e.g. buying ground flaxseed may be expensive to some but not for others…and that goes for just about anything on the supermarket shelves.

Photo by: Thinkpanama_flickr

Photo by: Thinkpanama (Flickr)

 

‚ĶBut I‚Äôm telling you right now, everyone can eat healthily on a low-income. We did it when we were students and we do it now because we‚Äôre frugal and trying to prevent food wastage! The ‚Äėfrugal diet‚Äô can put everything into perspective. Try checking¬†out some of our recipes!

Plant-based diets are relatively cheap; on average, we spend £50-70/week (and I’m sure we could reduce it further if we tried). This feeds two people (three meals and one a snack a-day/ 7 days a week). As long as you meal plan, then there really isn’t a problem…and hey, anything to prevent food wastage right? BBC1 has recently started a miniseries on healthy eating & food wastage (Eat Well for Less?); assisting families with how much they spend on the weekly shops by encouraging them to do more of their own food prep (and therefore improve their health), eliminating brand biases (sometimes value brands are OK!) and reducing their food wastage through meal planning; very apt and things everyone should reflect on. It’s also worth checking out thecountyfare.net, they have written a great article recently that touches on meal planning; definitely worth a read. What’s in your supermarket basket? Are you making the most of you pennies? Do your current choices depict your current health status? That reminds me of a post  the Life is Good blog put out last year; check it out!

 

Photo by: Diabetes Care_Flickr

Photo by: Diabetes Care (Flickr)

 

I know, sometimes jumping through these hoops is quite mundane, especially when it comes to chopping vegetables and potentially spending a chunk of your Sunday prepping for the week ahead…but it is worth it in the end.

It‚Äôs the same with exercise, it’s something that we should all partake in‚Ķbut do you opt for more sitting and serial munching or walking and eating healthily? Your waistline and your overall disposition will reflect your choices. A recent article I saw on the blog ‘The Zeit‘,¬†emphasises how we all should have a healthier relationship with exercise; don‚Äôt use it as an escape from your problems. By doing this, exercise can fast turn into a chore and a military style punishment‚Ķbut I was guilty of this. Guilty of pounding the pavement to forget or suppress unpleasant feelings or events‚Ķ. Pounding the pavement (at times) to try to out exercise a bad diet! I started running when I was nineteen and quickly clocked up a lot of mileage. Unfortunately my knees aren‚Äôt built for long term running, but that‚Äôs besides the point. I have now developed a healthier relationship with exercise too.

Photo by: Patrick Marella_Flickr

Photo by: Patrick Marella (Flickr)

 

We should all remember, the three P’s: patience, persistence and a positive attitude, along with having the ability to stay motivated and applying/adapting realistic expectations into our health and well-being. This outlook will carry you through to help you meet your weight loss goals and guide you into that permanent healthier lifestyle that you desire.

We have to remember that were only human and we’re all fallible; even those with health credentials smoke, drink and can be generally hypocritical with the health advice they supply us with.

Life is there to be lived and we all need to find a healthy balance; negative thoughts and filling our heads with nonsensical information isn’t living. We just end up punishing ourselves through gruelling exercise and nightmare eating regimes, making life a lot harder than it needs be.

 

So…

  • Don‚Äôt set yourself up to fail‚Ķ
  • Don‚Äôt torture yourself over small mistakes (this journey is not perfect)‚Ķ
  • Don‚Äôt be afraid to ask for help (especially if you feel a bit blue or recognise that you are an emotional eater)‚Ķ
  • Don’t give up too easily. It can take time to develop a permanent and healthy relationship with food and/or exercise again… to be able to ‘trust your body’…
  • Don‚Äôt take everything at face value, whether that be about what you read about health or how you feel; people can be quite good at suppressing emotions‚Ķstiff upper lip and all‚Ķ

…just follow attainable and informed/accredited health advice and remember to embrace life.

 

This may just be only one person‚Äôs opinion and personal account‚Ķ but I am offering you some informed advice that will hopefully set you up for life and prevent you from making the same mistakes that I’ve made; some of my thoughts and experiences may resonate with you‚Ķor you may choose to ignore them…

Just remember though that healthy living and healthy weight loss is achievable, and there is nothing to be ashamed of; I got there and so can you.

 

 

Article written by: Lynn Risby BSc Nutritionist
Feature image by: Katherine Of Chicago (Flickr)

Slow Cooker Pad Thai Soup W/Tofu (V,GF)

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6
Prep duration: 60 minutes
Cooking Time: 7-8 hours

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-vitamins, Vitamin C, K & E, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, has minimal added sugars and is relatively low in salt* and saturated fats*! (*NB:orange traffic light ratings). 

I think the main¬†thing that enticed¬†us to prepare this¬†recipe (well, me especially) was¬†the peanut butter. Authentic¬†pad Thai soups and/or noodle dishes¬†normally have vegetables, noodles, poultry, shellfish¬†and/or eggs with some nuts….but when your vegan, what are you left with?! Lovely noodles, vegetables and peanuts… so we took the peanut aspect and ran with it!

We’re both peanut butter lovers, me probably more so, but only because I grew up in North America…but my palate and awareness¬†has evolved a millionfold¬†since childhood; no more¬†¬† hydrogenated¬†oils or glucose-fructose, corn¬†syrups! I’ve said it before¬†and I’ll say it again, peanut butter is a love affair most people have for life…so we all just have to be smart about it.¬†Nut butters (in their natural form) can be quite nutritious…but also high in calories and fat (some more than others)- so please consume them within moderation as part of a healthy diet!

As for the recipe, it’s quite versatile and can be made on the ‘cheap’! For this reason we have excluded¬†tamarind¬†paste (a typical ingredient found in this type of recipe); this item isn’t necessarily expensive (especially when bought in its ‘pulp’ form) but¬†for those that do not attempt¬†a lot of ethnic cooking, it may be a waste of money… it does provide a lovely depth of flavour though, if you do decide to treat yourself! Check out our butternut squash curry;¬†we show you how to prepare¬†tamarind¬†pulp (but this is also a great recipe)!

We have also omitted the use of fish sauce and chicken stock for obvious reasons…and soya¬†sauce; just trying to keep the salt content down! Some recipes request using fried noodles- but we thought we’d give that a miss! Using chilli, lime, ginger and the peanut butter provided a lovely vegan/Thai alternative. Feel free to add¬†more veggies- this soup only offers approx. 1.5 servings (fruit/vegetables)/serving, towards your 5-A-Day; considerably¬†less than our other¬†recipes!

We hope you enjoy it!