In keeping with the yellow theme from last month’s blog post on the FIRE Aspect, I give you another yellow combination. And yes, it’s still a liquid one(!) *Note to self, make the next recipe something that you’ll chew*
But as I’m getting myself geared up for Whole Detox™ in about 10 days I’m enjoying a few smoothies here and there. Though I’m not really one for cold food in cold weather, (and boy is the warm winter we had turning cold and struggling to move out of the way) it can be hard to look past the convenience of smoothies when it comes to simple ways to increase the amount of fresh produce you eat. Eating enough can be such a challenge at times, and who would have thought, since the message that’s mostly thrown around it the one “eat less, move more”.
I’ve even had people on some of my programmes freaking out because of the volume of food on their plate. The beauty is though that when we increase the amount of colourful plant based foods we eat, we get to eat MORE, not less.
I remember doing this simple math’s exercise with a group I had on a weightloss programme a few years ago. Though, as you know I’m not a huge fan of counting calories but for this simple visual experiment they do serve a purpose.
So visualise this; One 500 ml bottle of soft drink (minerals / soda / fizzy drink – pick your name) contains roughly 500 kcal. Without having a label in front of me it will give you a fair amount of sugar, probably 10-14 teaspoons (remember this is a completely man-made product so any carbohydrate content will be pure sugar and count as your “added sugar intake”). There will also be some colourings and additives, more or less depending on the type and brand you choose.
Now let’s take those same 500 kcal and see how that translate into vegetables. So (from memory) 500 kcal worth of vegetable is about two full shopping bags worth! Lots of vital nutrients, fibre and volume. I would honestly think you’d struggle to chomp it all down in the course of a day.
That’s why the very handy, yet simple strategy of filling half your plate with vegetables is such a powerful way to reduce the total amount of calories yet maximise the amount of quality nutrition you get. There’s a lot to be said for keeping it simple.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends 7-10 servings of fruit and vegetable a day for any diet to be disease preventable. 5-a-day is actually a minimum. And I see people who are only getting 2-3 at times.
How many portions are you eating daily?
I even know for myself when we did food diaries as project back in college, that upping it to 7-10 actually takes a conscious effort. Perhaps that’s one reason I’m so drawn to smoothies?
Anyway, another thing that I realised the other day is this; What if we look at the food we eat in a symbolic way? The majority of us want to have more energy so we can do more (and even BE more) and if we have a constant feeling of lack luster and even low mood holds this may hold us back from doing all that we want. It’s seriously frustrating. I can still remember what it felt like some years ago when my energy levels where down on 3-4, out of 10. A lot of the time I just functioned and got through the day, doing what had to be done. I was constantly tired.
So what if we focus on eating more foods that are vibrant and alive? What about adding more colour to the plate? My whole food philosophy is about feasting your eyes as much as feeding your body. In case you hadn’t noticed…
So without a degree in nutrition and if you want to keep it simple, yet knowing that you are getting lots of essential nutrients to fuel your body and mind, think colour! Think rainbow and aim to eat a rainbow of colours every day.
So with colour in mind, here is a yellow zingy smoothie that is sure to put some zest and brightness into your day.
If you are feeling brave and have a strong blender, like a Nutribullet, then go ahead and blend the whole lemon! It sure makes for some serious digestive power! Otherwise just use the juice.
And since the sun is still shining with it’s absence I am trying to brighten my days in other ways. This is one such way. Enjoy 🙂
Zingy Smoothie for Grey Spring Days
1 cup fresh pineapple – peeled, cored and diced
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled
Juice of one whole lemon – or peel (if you have an organic one you can blend the whole one) and use the whole fruit!
1 small fresh root of turmeric or 1 tsp of turmeric powder
1 tbsp of hulled hempseeds
1 tbsp of pea, rice or hemp protein (I like the Pulsin brand)
200-250ml plant milk of choice
Place all the ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth. Drink immediately.
***Note, personally I don’t like really cold drinks (unless the weather is really hot) but if you want a colder drink feel free to add some ice too***
The start of a new month! Spring is almost palpable. How are those New Year’s resolutions coming along? I hope you haven’t given up already… One of my resolutions is to start using my (rather large) collection of cookbooks a little more. So I’m going to kick off this year with a delicious gluten free banana bread from one of my favourite books I bought last year.
I have a thing for books. It goes back years. I used to be a library junkie as a child taking bags of them home to read with each visit. Most of the time the stories would have contained horses in some for or another. These days what entices me the most is cookbooks. Thing is, getting a cookbook from the library just doesn’t cut it as you have to return it sooner or later. I want have my cookbooks to hand at all times so I can pull one out when ever I need a little inspiration.
A good sign of a well treasured cookbook is one with a few crinkled pages, some stains and a couple of rough edges. I mean it’s not there to be sat on a shelf gathering dust, it’s there to be used and help you whip up delicious meals in your kitchen, when ever you need a helping hand.
To be honest I’m not sure how many cookbooks I actually own. I’m afraid to count and there’s always yet another one added to the Amazon wish list… When I first started buying cookbooks the purpose was just for general use, and I used to pick books with a variety of recipes.
I’ve always been drawn to ones with short listings of wholefood ingredients and pictures. In recent times the quality of the photography has taken even more center stage. I just love the book as a whole to be esthetic and pleasing to the eye. In a sense this is a little ridiculous as you may end up missing out on some amazing books with fantastic recipes, which just doesn’t have a lot of images. Though I have found that the more experience I get using a variety of ingredients, the better I have become at reading a recipe and can often get an idea if I’m going to like a dish or not, based on reading the ingredients list. What kind of cookbooks do you prefer? Would you care to share one of your favourites?
This lovely and moist gluten free banana bread is from the lovely Emma Galloway’s first book My Darling Lemon Thyme
I’ve been a fan of her blog for sometime but I absolutely LOVE her book. I love every thing about it. The broad variation of recipes, the useful cooking hints & tips, the layout and most of all Emma’s beautiful writing and and photographs. I have cooked lots of things from her book but this banana bread is by far one of my favourites and I have made it many times. It’s an easy recipe with not too many ingredients and it is one that make for (almost) guaranteed gluten free baking success!
I often just read the list of ingredients and look at the image when I try to re-create a recipe from a book but with baking you’ll never get away with that. And even less so with gluten free baking. I love baking and for me it’s one of my preferred ways of de-stressing. But I’m far from an expert at it. Particularly when it comes to recipe creating. That’s why I prefer relying on someone elses successful recipes.
I have only made two tiny tweaks to Emma’s original recipe. I tried and tested it with dried figs, rather than dates and I usually put sesame seeds on top of my loaf instead of the seed she is using. But other than that, I’ve pretty much stuck to how it is in the book. Make sure you also use a nice fruity olive oil. I tried with cold pressed rapeseed oils, but the bread didn’t turn out half as tasty.
I also love that the sweetness in this bread comes entirely from sources which are naturally found in nature without the need for processing.
Gluten Free Banana Bread – From My Darling Lemon Thyme
Makes one standard loaf
1 cup of dried figs, stems removed & roughly chopped
1 tsp of baking soda
3 large over ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
2 eggs, preferably organic, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla powder
grated zest of one lemon
1 1/2 cups (21g) fine brown rice flour – I usually weigh it out
1/2 cup (80g) potato starch – I usually weigh it out
2 tsp gluten free baking powder
a pinch of sea salt
a few tbsp sesame seeds, to sprinkle
Preheat your oven to 180C. Line your loaf tin with parchment paper.
Start by placing chopped figs and baking soda in a small bowl. Add 2 tbsp boiling water and stir well. Set aside.
In a large bowl combine mashed bananas, olive oil, beaten eggs, maple syrup, vanilla and lemon zest. Whisk the mix until smooth. Then carefully sift in rice flour, potato starch, baking powder and a pinch pf salt into the wet mix.
Stir until the flour and the wet mix is combined and then add in the figs and any remaining liquid from them. Stir the batter to disperse the figs evenly. Pour the batter into you lined loaf tin. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
Bake for an hour or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 min before taking it out of the tin. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before cutting in (the hard part). If you try to short cut this final step your banana bread will just crumble up. So refrain from the temptation and exercise patience.
Enjoy a slice, or two with your favourite beverage. The loaf will keep for a few days, stores in an airtight container. Apparently it will freeze well if cut in thick slices, too. However I can’t vouch for this as none of mine ever made it that far…
We are still enjoying some warm weather here in beautiful co. Cork, so this week I am going to treat you to a really simple yet healthy “ice cream” recipe. And not too many words, promise! I’m currently writing this from my temporary outdoor office. God bless the inventor of laptops, is all I can say. Yay to flexibility and working from home. I just love this warm weather and can’t get enough of it so even though I am working, I’m grateful I can do so much of it from my own computer, outside, at home. Life is good.
If you haven’t yet tried “Nana icecream”, you are seriously missing out. You will need to be a little ahead of yourself to make this recipe, since the bananas need to be frozen for a couple of hours, at least. But once you get into the swing of chopping up your very ripe bananas (instead of throwing them out) and putting them in the freezer, you’ll have this yummy treat/dessert/breakfast/snack/whatever you want to call it, whipped up in no time. For those non-banana lovers out there, fear not, you can hardly taste the banana flavour, especially if you blend the frozen banana with another fruit or something like cacao powder, for a chocolate hit. Perfect for anyone who needs to be dairy free and feel like their missing out.
You will need as food processor or a good blender for this recipe.
Strawberry Nana Icecream
3 medium sized bananas, peeled, chopped & frozen
6-7 fresh strawberries (depending on size), washed, hullled & halved
1-2 tbsp coconut milk
Fresh berries or edible flower to decorate with – optional
Place all ingredients into your food processor or blender. Note, a handblender won’t be strong enough for this job.
Blend until you have a smooth looking “ice cream”. Serve immediately in individual bowls. Savour a guilt free treat, while doing something good for your health.
This “ice cream” won’t refreeze so needs to be eaten straightaway. But, sure, where’s the harm in that?
It’s Pancake Tuesday! Finally. What more do I have to say. Pancakes are really good any time of year, especially on a lazy Sunday morning. For the past few years I’ve had friends over to my house for Pancake Tuesday. It’s great to cook and share a meal with your best friends.
The Irish tradition is to serve them with some lemon juice and sugar. Or with Nutella. I used to be a eating-nutella-with-a-spoon-straight-out-of-the-jar kind of girl. These days I prefer to make my own hazelnut spread though. Then you can be sure that it only has wholesome goodness ingredients. No funny E-numbers or cheap vegetable oils.
Last year I made lovely spelt pancakes with butter milk and fried in butter. Super tasty, and really great if you can tolerate dairy. My body seems to be happier without dairy products though, so I have made these pancakes with Koko coconut milk, but use any plant milk you prefer. Keeping with the “free from” theme, I used brown rice flour. Rice seems to be the grain best tolerated by most people with sensitive digestive systems. It is actually possible to have nice pancakes without both wheat and dairy. I did add an egg, hence they are not egg free, or vegan. Personally I find to hard to achieve that proper pancake consistency without eggs, but if you have a great egg free pancake recipe, please share. I would love to hear about it 🙂
The bananas add a lovely body to the batter and a subtle sweet flavour. No need for any extra sugar. To keep it really simple I mixed all ingredients with my hand blender, so no whisking.
I hope you and your family will enjoy them as much as we did in my house. No need to miss out on Pancake Tuesday, just because you are on a gluten and/or dairy free diet! If you prefer more crêpe style pancakes then these buckwheat crêpes may be what you are looking for.
Makes about 10 pancakes
3 medium sized bananas, chopped – Preferably organic
1 egg – free range, preferably organic
5 heaped tbsp brown rice flour
80 ml plant milk of your choice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder, gluten free
coconut oil, to cook pancakes in
50g dark chocolate, melted, to serve
200g fresh raspberries, to serve
Add all ingredients to you your blender and blend until smooth. Let the batter rest for about 20 min. Heat your frying pan. Add some coconut oil to the pan and then add a small soup ladle of batter. Cook on medium heat. Keep an eye on this as you need the batter to set on top before you can flip it over, but you don’t want the pancake burnt in the process. Once the batter has just set on top, flip over and cook on the other side until golden. Repeat with the next ladle of batter.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over some hot water. To serve, mash a couple of raspberries and smear out between each layer of pancakes. Drizzle the melted chocolate on top. Serve immediately, while still warm.
Happy Pancake Tuesday!