I love houmous, our whole family does, and I honestly can't imagine life without it! Its a perfect snack spread on oatcakes or with vegetable crudities. It's packed with protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals, and in my opinion, its a superfood!
So houmous is just chickpeas, tahini, good quality olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and whatever other flavourings take your fancy!
Now I like to mix things up a bit and plain old houmous can be a bit boring so I decided to jazz mine up a bit! I also love beetroot, it has so many benefits for our health and its such a fabulous vibrant colour and its incredibly cheap.
All the supermarkets sell vacuum packed beetroot, which is simply cooked in water, then vacuum packed to preserve it. Jars of beetroot are very popular in Scotland though they are pickled in vinegar which can be a bit overpowering so I always use the vacuum packed beetroot for dips.
Tahini is another one of my favourite ingredients and an essential ingredient in houmous. Its basically just sesame seeds ground into a paste. Its packed with calcium and magnesium and high in protein and its alkaline so easy for the body to absorb. Its a great food for building strong bones so great for growing kids and for all women to prevent oesteoporosis which is a horrible disease, mostly affecting women after the menopause. Exercise is another great bone builder so get yourself outside for a walk! Prevention is always better than cure so don't wait until your bones start thinning, do something about it now!
Anyway a wee digression there but back to the houmous!
Houmous is very versatile and I frequently have it as a topping on a baked sweet potato for my dinner, with caramelised red onions, tamari seeds and a big salad. Its actually one of my favourite dinners and so easy!
I have so much mint growing in the garden, it smells wonderful, is incredibly good for the digestion and I frequently have a big pot of mint tea, after dinner. If you have mint in your garden then just take a handful of leaves, put them into a warmed tea pot, then add boiling water and let the tea infuse for 5 minutes before you drink it. It's so delicious and way nicer than peppermint tea bags. A perfect end to a meal!
I guess the amounts of mint in this houmous are entirely up to you but I tend to use about 10 big leaves. Equally you could omit it altogether if its not a flavour you enjoy. That's the beauty of making your own dips, just add whatever you have to use up and switch ingredients around to make new combinations. Olive and coriander and sun dried tomato and basil are another two flavours I really enjoy. I can now add beetroot and mint to those two!
I had half an avocado to use up so added it to my houmous to make it extra creamy and delicious but its equally good without it. Just add another tablespoon of oil or water to get the consistency you prefer.
I have posted various other dips on the blog here so you can try a few other options!
BEETROOT & MINT HOUMOUS
1 tin chickpeas, drained
300g vaccum packed beetroot (about 3 to 4 small to med beets)
2 tablespoons tahini
juice of half a lemon ( approx 2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
sea salt to taste
1/2 ripe avocado, peeled (optional)
10 big mint leaves ( add more or less to your taste)
1. Quite simply put everything in a food processor and blitz until smooth. Add more oil, salt or lemon juice to taste.
2. Enjoy as a spread on oatcakes, wraps, baked potato topping or with vegetable crudities!
.......your health in your hands....
Now that Bonfire Night is here and I'm talking about how the weather affects our food choices and some healthy foods for Bonfire Night on BBC Radio Scotland Kitchen Cafe so I thought I'd quickly write a blog post to share some simple, healthy ideas to make your Bonfire Night Celebrations go with a bang! Big thanks to my lovely hand models Megan and Daniel from Juice Warriors for holding my paper cones of nuts and popcorn! They did eat them after I took the photos!
I have to admit its not a time of year I particularly enjoy, our dog Ben is absolutely terrified of fireworks and shakes uncontrollably when he hears them, which these days is not just on the 5th but for a few days before and after, so he's going to the kennels in the country this year.!
Soup in a mug always goes down well and there are many simple and delicious options to choose from on the blog. Just click on the soup category. I'd recommend Tomato and Chickpea it's so easy and delicious!
So back to some simple, healthy snack ideas. You really want finger foods that you and your guests can enjoy al fresco while you are watching the fireworks.. Also you don't want to be washing lots of dishes so these wee paper cones are perfect, I made mine from a Lidl magazine, half pages for spiced nuts and a full page for popcorn.
Here is the link showing you how to make them, its really easy!
These are delicious and way better than ordinary salted nuts. You can use any combination of nuts and seeds, I used walnuts, cashew nuts and pumpkin seeds but almonds, hazelnuts, pecans would work well too. Nuts are a great source of protein, good fats and minerals and seeds are packed full of antioxidants, protein, calcium and magnesium.
2 cups of nuts
1/2 cup of pumpkin or sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon tamari
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
1tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp to 1tsp cayenne pepper (depending how hot you like them)
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsps chopped rosemary (optional)
Put the nuts and seeds in a bowl and add the tamari, oil and all the spices and mix well until the nuts are coated in the mixture.
Empty the nuts and seeds onto a lightly greased baking tray, spreading them out into a single layer
Bake in the oven at 180C for around 10 to 15 minutes, shaking the tray to make sure they don't stick.
Cool then serve in paper cones!
Popcorn is a wonderful snack and its a wholegrain so has useful amounts of fibre. Its incredibly cheap to buy and you can make loads which is great for a party. Its a great kids snack and way better than Pringles or artificially flavoured crisps. Its even better if you use coconut oil to cook it in or rapeseed oil both of which are stable at high temperatures and add additional health benefits. A wee sprinkling of Himalyan Sea salt will add 86 trace minerals the body can use as well as a nice salty flavour!
Voila a cheap and healthy snack!
You don't need a popcorn maker, just a good sized solid pot with a lid.
So put enough oil to just cover the bottom of the pot, add a good grinding of sea salt and a single layer of corn kernels. Its important not to add too many or they will overflow and pop all over the place!
Just put the pot on a fairly high heat, put the lid on and hold it on, you will hear the corn start to pop. Don't be tempted to take the lid off or you could be hit in the face or the eye with a hot piece of popcorn, which is most definitely not fun! Give the pot a shake and when the popping stops, turn heat off, remove the lid and you have a pot full of delicious popcorn.
Season with some Himalyan sea salt, pour into large paper cones and enjoy!
Fun Filo Pastries
These healthy pastries make a delicious lunch or snack, are really easy to make and they are really versatile. They are baked in the oven so are pretty much fat free, compared to shop bought samosas which are generally deep fried in questionable oil! Not great for your health on any level! There are lots of alternative fillings but the simple curried filling seems appropriately warming and spicy for eating al fresco on Bonfire night!
1 pack of filo pastry, 30 x 50 cm (12 x 20 in) each,
1 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
1 tsp coriander seeds, coarsely crushed
1 potato, peeled and diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
½ cup frozen peas
1-2tbsp curry paste
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
pinch of salt
Quite simply, half and thinly slice 2 red onions. Sauté the onions in a tablespoon of olive oil over a low heat with a pinch of sea salt for 10 minutes until soft. Add a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and stir for a few minutes.
Crumble or cube the feta cheese and mix together.
Chickpea, spinach and feta cheese
Drain a tin of drained chickpeas, and add to food processor with 100g feta cheese, couple of handfuls spinach, zest of a lemon, tablespoon lemon juice, ½ tsp smoked paprika and blitz until combined.
I have so many memories of bags full of tooth rotting sweets at Halloween! For some parents its a nightmare trying to limit the amount of sweets they eat at one go!
Anyway I'm all for having fun and treats and Halloween is just one of the times that sweets and unhealthy stuff take over, so I'm offering a few wee simple ideas for a healthier Halloween!
At Nourished by Nature, its all about eating real food, especially fruit and veggies and encouraging kids to eat them from an early age. After all fruit is naturally sweet and delicious and should be given instead of sweets at every opportunity!
So here are some simple spooky ideas to try out on your kids!
Banana ghosts and satsuma pumpkins. Pretty self explanatory, put half a banana on a stick and put two chocolate chips for eyes. These can be frozen and given instead of an ice lolly! Peel satsuma and put a piece of celery (preferably organic, celery is on The Dirty Dozen list and high in pesticide residues) for a stalk!
This is my favourite and my daughter Jennas idea. She spent last Halloween at a farm in New Hampshire where Halloween is a big deal, and came up with the idea of ghost toast!
Its simply small wraps, cut into triangle shapes with eyes and a mouth cut out using a straw. Bake at 180C for around 10 minutes until browned.
Sweet Potato Dip
I really don't like pumpkin flesh, its really watery and tasteless and Halloween pumpkins are really better for carving into lanterns, in my opinion.
So simply boil or steam a large or a few small sweet potatoes then mash or blend them with a tablespoon of tahini, then add a teaspoon of paprika and a wee sprinkling of Himalyan Sea Salt for a healthy, delicious dip!
Serve with ghost toasts!
Last but not least, here are some simple spider biscuits. Just use ritz or any small savoury cracker, small oatcakes would work well. spread with some cream cheese, add 6 pretzels for legs and a couple of raisins for eyes!
I would also offer green smoothies and call them Slime Juice or something similar. A good blend is pineapple, banana, kiwi, orange, carrot and spinach.
If you use frozen banana or pineapple, it will be lovely and cold. You can add some yoghurt if you want to make it more creamy or half an avocado! You could also sneak in some spirulina powder or wheatgrass if you had any!
....your health in your hands....
🍃 Health educator🍃