I was running a workshop yesterday for a lovely family, whose young son has many serious food allergies, among them lentils and beans, and sesame seeds, so that rules out falafel and humus for him!
He can however tolerate red kidney beans so I concocted this wee recipe using a spoonful of spicy mango chutney instead of tahini (sesame seeds!) to bind the ingredients together, a tin of kidney beans, some spices and grated veg and a couple of spoonfuls of sweetcorn. I rolled them in polenta (gluten free) for a nice crunchy coating and they turned out rather well, so I thought I'd share the recipe!
It is after all the year of the Pulse and all beans are pulses, extremely nutritious, planet friendly, cheap and versatile and well worth including in your diet!
Kidney beans, like all beans are high in protein, soluble fibre, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins and support every body system.
In particular kidney beans are high in folate and soluble fibre which promotes cardiovascular health, Soluble fibre binds with cholesterol so lowers its amounts in the body and folate deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke so we want to keep our levels high!
They are exceptionally high in a class of antioxidants known as flavanoids, which are protective against damaging free radicals and the effects of aging, which is good news for us oldies!
Fibre, protein and complex carbs in kidney beans help to stabilise blood sugar levels, which is great news for diabetics and our waistline!
So red kidney beans are all round good guys and they taste pretty good too!
So back to the recipe
These wee bites have tons of flavour from all the lovely spices and a nice sweetness from the sweetcorn and mango chutney. I always tell parents to encourage their kids to eat as many colours as possible, and no I don't mean skittles or smarties! I mean natural colours in fruit and veggies.
We have a few good colours here, purple, yellow, orange and green, all bringing different antioxidants and vitamins to benefit our health.
Eat the rainbow for maximum health benefits!!
Another huge advantage of these is there is no pre cooking of anything or faffing around with a hot frying pan. Simply chop and grate a few veggies, open a can of kidney beans and mash them together! Then just shape them into wee balls or you can make small burgers instead. The recipe makes 12 small bites. The polenta gives a nice crispy coating and its gluten free.
These are baked in the oven so literally fat free as well.
So these wee bites are perfect for kids and adults alike. We love them in a wrap or pitta bread with a dip and some grated or spiralised veggies, on their own as a wee healthy snack or served for dinner with tabbouleh, quinoa or spicy couscous and green salad.
So here is the very simple recipe, feel free to adapt the flavours, add your own spice combinations or just leave them out for fussy eaters, a
simple seasoning of salt and black pepper still tastes great.
I hope you give them a go!
FAFF FREE BEANY BITES
Ingredients makes 12 small bites
.....your health in your hands.......
Since we are in the season of detoxing, I thought I'd share this rather delicious Fennel and Pear soup recipe, from the Honestly Healthy cookbook.
Although it sounds an odd combination, it works really well and is silky smooth with a hint of sweetness. Admittedly, our house is divided when it comes to adding fruit to savoury dishes, only myself and Jenna appreciate the combination, so all the more deliciousness for us then!!
Fennel, for those of you who haven't yet discovered its unique aromatic flavour, tastes a bit like aniseed while its texture is crisp and similar to celery.
Both pear and fennel are high in pectin, which help to draw toxins out of the body.
A wee point to note, you really ought to stop putting toxins into your body in the first place but one step at a time!
Fennel is a natural diuretic and promotes liver, kidney and spleen health. Like all vegetables, it contains phytochemicals, including rutin which strengthens blood capillaries, quercetin which inhibits inflammatory conditions like asthma, kaempferol which has been found to reduce heart disease risk and anethole which is anti-spasmodic and can relieve some of the symptoms of IBS. Its also packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre.
Its really worth trying and can be eaten raw sliced in salads, it makes great juice with pear, pineapple, lime and ginger and its also delicious sauteed with some garlic and some butter beans.
If you have been less than healthy recently (and lets face it who hasn't!)
then this soup will give your body a real boost.
Soups are easy to digest so you will have extra energy to deal with other things, like boosting your immune system, which this soup also helps with! Both garlic and onions are great infection fighters which is very helpful at this time of year when there are so many bugs around!
Another point to note, we all get stuck in boring food ruts, buying the same old stuff every week when in fact there is a whole smorgasbord of amazing seasonal produce out there!
So if you do nothing else different this week, then at least try one new recipe, and why not start with this delicious, cleansing, creamy soup! I've just scoffed two bowls, its rather moreish but so healthy you can happily eat the lot!
Please leave a comment, if you try it!
Here is the recipe......enjoy!
FENNEL and PEAR SOUP- Serves 4
i large fennel bulb
1 tablespoon coconut or rapeseed oil
1 medium onion, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, chopped or crushed
500ml vegetable stock
1 pear, cored and chopped
1. Slice the fennel bulb in half, then slice it finely. Use all of it, the stalks and any green leafy bits, its all good! Reserve a few thin slices for garnish, if you like!
2. Heat the oil in a large pan and saute the onion and garlic for a few minutes on medium heat.
3. Add the sliced fennel, stock and the chopped pear, bring to the boil then simmer gently for around 40 minutes until the fennel is meltingly soft.
4. Blend until smooth with a hand blender or transfer to a blender or food processor.
5. Add more stock or water if you prefer a thinner consistency.
1 served mine with some reserved finely sliced fennel and some chia seeds.
Hemp seeds, cooked quinoa and/or sprouted seeds would all be great to garnish and add extra health benefits!
....your health in your hands.....
I came across the recipe last week on Twitter, created by the lovely Laura over at The Whole Ingredient and was waiting for an occasion to try it out.
I love cauliflower and its in season right now so the best time to eat it! I should just add that cauliflower is a bit of a superstar in the health stakes. Its a great source of Vit C, Vit K, B vitamins, fibre, omega 3 fats, magnesium, antioxidants and phytonutrients which protect against cancer. It contains choline for brain health, its anti inflammatory, supports the digestive system and detoxification.
So quite a few good reasons to include it in your diet!
This recipe ticks all the boxes for me. Its so easy, delicious and nutritious.
It takes literally 5 minutes to prepare and only 30 minutes to cook. Any recipe which encourages us to eat more veggies gets my vote and this one certainly does that. Forget about soggy cauliflower dripping in cheese sauce, this is literally unrecognisable and its so delicious and moreish, you could quite happily eat a whole bowl, well I certainly could!
I had Graham from The Fat Loss Coaches over for lunch yesterday so thought I'd try the recipe out on him.
.I served it with sweet potato and bean burgers and steamed kale with garlicky balsamic dressing. Graham scoffed the lot and declared it delicious, so it was a real winner!
I only cooked some of the cauliflower and kept the rest marinating in the sauce to have with dinner which gave the flavours some time to develop. I think the next time I make this (which will be soon!) I will add some crushed garlic and some turmeric to up the health benefits, add extra flavour and impart a lovely yellow colour! You could really add any other spices, coriander, cumin, sumac or indeed a spoonful of curry paste would work well too.
Its just great to have a few simple but totally delicious and healthy recipes up your sleeve!
This is one of those recipes that once you've tried it, will become a family favourite. It has a few of my favourite healthy ingredients in it, including peanut butter, tamari, lime juice and coconut oil and its so easy, you can literally throw it together in 5 minutes. So if you have a cauliflower lurking in your fridge and don't know what to do with it, give this a go!!
I'm convinced that kids would happily eat this and fussy husbands too, its that good! Please leave a comment if you convert any veggie haters!
Cooking time will depend on the size of your cauliflower - over-cooking will result in soggy florets, which you don't want!
...............your health in your hands...........
I hope everyone had a lovely relaxing Christmas and New Year! I'm still trying to motivate myself out of hibernation, which has been my preferred state of being since Christmas! I don't know if its the awful weather and lack of sunshine or the fact that I have lots of new books to read, which is keeping me indoors!
Even now since Laura has gone back to school I'm still trying to find my groove!
I have actually half written three different blog posts and haven't finished any of them. I fully intended to start the year full of great intentions and to do lists but I have just decided that we all need to just chill out sometimes and just be, instead of always doing!
We are human beings, after all!
So on that note I'm not annoyed with myself, I have lots of time to spread the word on healthy eating, through the blog and workshops.
Social media is full of diets, detoxes and exercise plans to improve ourselves, so I thought the last thing anyone needs is another person promising that their way is the best way to being slim, happy and fulfilled!
Life is a journey, not a destination and we will all get to where we are meant to be eventually!
I've been eating lots of warming, nourishing soups recently which are a great boost to health at this time of year but since I have already posted lots of delicious soup recipes I thought I'd kick the year off by sharing this rather fabulous, flavour explosion detox coriander pesto recipe.
This is a recipe I have had since the summer and just never got around to making, until now!
I bought two large bunches of fresh coriander from an Asian food market and so I decided the time was right to make this pesto. Its such good value and the bunches are huge and fresh and green, way better than the supermarket measly pots!
I'm a huge fan of coriander but I know its probably one of those love them or hate them herb. So if you don't like the flavour of coriander, you most certainly will not like this and there is no point in making something you won't enjoy, no matter how good it is for our health.
Herbs and spices have been used through the ages as a method to preserve foods and make them safer to eat and also add great flavour.
Research has shown that herbs have way more to offer than just good taste. Coriander or cilantro, is such a herb whose unique benefits were discovered through the work of Dr Yoshiaki Omura.
He discovered that coriander was an excellent chelator of heavy metals like mercury, lead and aluminium and essentially could eliminate them from the body in a relatively short time.
Accumulation of heavy metals in the body can cause or contribute to hormone imbalances, cancer, thyroid problems, neurological disturbances, Alzheimers, learning problems, depression and food allergies. So it makes sense to get rid of them and what a delicious way to help your body to detox!
One person suffering from high blood pressure, due to mercury poisoning, had her blood pressure return to normal after eating 2 teaspoons of this pesto daily for only a week!
The other ingredients in this pesto offer their own health benefits so the combination is a Knock Out, packed full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, omega 3, with garlic contributing antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal benefits. The dulse flakes are a great aid to detoxification as are all seaweeds. I use Mara who do a great range of Scottish seaweeds. You can order them here
The synergistic effect is at work here, where each ingredient enhances the benefits of the others. It is well known that vitamin C increases absorption of iron, and black pepper enhances the action of turmeric and there are so many more instances where this is the case.
That's what makes nutrition so interesting, there are so many possible interactions and it simply can't be broken down to individual components causing an effect.
I'm reading a very interesting book at the moment called Whole by Dr Colin Campbell, the author of The China Study, which looks at this in great detail.
His unanimous conclusion is that whole foods work better than individual supplements and that food is more than the sum of its parts. I totally agree with him!
Without further ado here is the recipe, which takes 10 minutes......
DETOX CORIANDER PESTO - a powerful tissue cleanser!
4 cloves garlic ( antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal)
1/3 cup Brazil nuts ( selenium)
1/3 cup sunflower seeds ( cysteine)
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds ( zinc, magnesium)
2 large bunches ( about 2 cups) of fresh coriander, including stems (Vit A)
2/3 cup of flaxseed, hemp, rapeseed or extra virgin olive oil ( omega 3)
4 tablespoons lemon juice ( vitamin C)
2 teaspoons dulse flakes (minerals)
Himalyan sea salt to taste
1. Wash the coriander well, then add to a food processor with the oil and process until blended.
2. Add the garlic, nuts, seeds, dulse, lemon juice and blend to a paste.
3. Season with sea salt and blend again.
4. Store in a glass jar in the fridge. It also freezes well.
This pesto is an absolute explosion of flavour so a little goes a long way and its so versatile! So far I've had it spread on rye toast with sliced avocado, as a garnish for soup, as a spread on oatcakes with some humus, in a quinoa bowl with stir fry veggies and tonight its going to be adding bags of flavour to a coconut and lentil dhal.
It would also make a delicious topping for baked potatoes or sweet potatoes or stirred through pasta. So I think it should be no problem at all to eat a few teaspoons of this for a week and cleanse your body of toxic heavy metals!
That's a tasty and healthy way to start 2016 for sure!
............your health in your hands.......
A healthy lifestyle blog with green living tips, plant-based recipes and natural health magic.