Do you ever find yourself with a couple of very ripe bananas and don't know what to do with them?
Well I have the answer, in fact I have a few answers but this post is about the simplest wee cookies you could ever make! They are packed full of healthy ingredients, in fact there are only 5 ingredients in them and they are delicious!
First for the health benefits:
Bananas as we all know are a great source of energy and are easy to digest. They also contain tryptophan which the body converts into serotonin, the feel good chemical which improves our mood and helps us to relax! They do contain a fair amount of sugar, albeit all natural, so the addition of cinnamon helps our body to deal with it and we all need to give our body a wee helping hand!.
Both oats and coconut are great sources of soluble fibre which will slow the rate at which the sugar is released into the system, so another helping hand right there, and lower your cholesterol at the same time and feed your good gut bacteria!
Last but certainly not least the dark chocolate chips will act as a natural mood enhancer and they taste quite decadent!
In conclusion these are well worth making, kids will love them, and will most definitely enjoy helping you to make them. They can easily be rustled up as a healthy after school snack! The recipe makes between 12 to 15 cookie bites depending on the size you make them. The smell of baking bananas is quite wonderful and really gets your taste buds tingling! Feel free to add some chopped nuts or sunflower seeds to boost the benefits even further and provide a bit of crunch! If you use gluten free oats then the recipe is also gluten free! Remember to use ripe bananas, ones with brown spots on the skin are so sweet and will make your cookies yummy! Here is the recipe
2 ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup of oats, any kind will do, I used jumbo oats
1/4 cup desicated coconut
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
handful dark chocolate chips
1. Heat oven to 350F/170C
2, Mash the bananas in a bowl and add the other ingredients.
3. Mix together until well combined. If the mixture seems too wet add another spoonful of oats or coconut.
4. Lightly grease a baking tray, put spoonfuls of the mixture on the tray, flatten them slightly.
5. Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
6. Cool for 5 minutes then eat and enjoy them!!
........your health in your hands.........
I just had to share this recipe I came across this week. It has to be the easiest chocolate dessert ever and its delicious and healthy so it certainly gets my vote!
It only has 2 ingredients, its dairy and sugar free ( apart from the sugar in the chocolate!) I used 70% dark chocolate with orange pieces but really any good quality chocolate would work well. The other ingredient is a can of coconut milk, buy one with at least 75% coconut. Some of them can be as low as 50% so don't buy them! All the supermarkets stock coconut milk these days and its an ingredient well worth having in your cupboard, its so versatile and its packed full of good fats with many health benefits.
This dessert is good enough to serve at a dinner party and can be decorated with raw cacao nibs, grated chocolate, chopped nuts or finely grated orange zest! I am confident that if you try it, it will become a firm favourite!
So here is the very simple recipe!
1 can of coconut milk (preferably chilled in the fridge for a few hours)
100g dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids.
Optional extras, a few drops of mint or orange extract.
1. Carefully open the can of chilled coconut milk and scoop the solid coconut cream into a glass bowl, you should get about a cup full. Be careful not to include any of the liquid. You can add it to your smoothie or soup!
2. Put some water in a pot and bring to the boil, then turn down to a gentle simmer. Place the glass bowl over the pot and stir until the coconut cream has melted.
3. Break the chocolate into pieces and add to the bowl with the coconut cream and stir until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate melted.
4. Pour into small glass dishes or ramekins and chill in the fridge for an hour or so until firm.
Makes 4 small portions
Decorate with raw cacao nibs, grated chocolate, chopped nuts or finely grated orange zest and enjoy guilt free!
........your health in your hands.........
Personally I really enjoy eggs, not every day but once or twice a week, they are so versatile, nutritious and easy to cook and make a great lazy weekend brunch or light dinner. There has been a lot of controversy over the years relating to eggs, mostly unfounded, which I'd like to clear up!
We’ve been led to believe that eggs are loaded with artery clogging cholesterol and will increase our risk of heart disease and stroke. Yes eggs do contain cholesterol, as do all animal products but research has shown that dietary cholesterol from eggs has little bearing on blood cholesterol. Cholesterol is made in the liver so in the presence of dietary cholesterol, the body simply makes less!
A recent review of 17 scientific research papers showed no association between egg consumption and heart disease or stroke risk.
On the contrary, many leading health experts call eggs the perfect food, containing vitamins, healthy fats, protein, trace minerals and other nutrients all in one low calorie package! Not that I count calories but for those of you who do, there are only 72 calories in a large egg!
I remember the saying Go to work on an egg and boy were we healthier when that was the case. After all the false negative health connotations, we were encouraged to switch to high sugar breakfast cereals with milk instead, not great for our health on any level as we are now discovering!
It’s not dietary cholesterol which causes most health problems, its sugar and most commercial breakfast cereals are loaded with the stuff as well as salt and other questionable ingredients.
So back to nature’s super convenience food EGGS!
What’s so great about them?
They contain omega 3 fatty acids, zinc, B vitamins, choline, iodine, folate, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, selenium, phosphorous, chromium, lutein, zeaxanthin, protein and fat soluble vitamins A, D, and E.
Now that’s a pretty impressive list, and I wouldn’t expect you all to know what all those things are or do so I’ll break it down and make it simple. Here are the most important benefits
1. Eggs strengthen your brain function, thanks to the omega 3 fats, B vitamins and choline.
2. Eggs help you to lose weight, due in part to the protein and good fats which keep you fuller for longer.
3. Eggs are great for your eyesight, thanks to lutein and zeathanthin, both antioxidants which can prevent macular degeneration and cataract formation.
4. Eggs boost your immune system, thanks to vit D, which most of us are deficient in these days and it’s kind of important since it underpins the whole immune system!!
5. Eggs contain good quality protein which along with choline helps to build cell membranes and repair tissue and muscles.
So quite a few good reasons there to include eggs in your diet!
However the nutritional quality of eggs varies enormously depending on what the chickens who lay them are fed on and the conditions in which they are kept!
Organic, free range eggs are higher in omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin E and antioxidants, basically the things with most benefits for our health so its most definitely worth buying them!
Here is a useful link from Compassion in World Farming explaining higher welfare products and the different types of eggs available in the UK. Ciwf.org.uk/guide
It is very confusing trying to make sense of all the labels on eggs from cage free, free range, natural and organic. Most of them are meaningless. Cage free simply replaced caged battery chickens and means that although the chickens are not confined to tiny cages there can be thousands of them packed into large barns which is no better for the chickens or the quality of their eggs.
They are routinely fed antibiotics to prevent disease, which is rife since they are crammed together in un natural conditions, never see the light of day and are generally fed grain which is not their natural diet, again resulting in less nutritional eggs. They have no room to spread their wings or display any of their natural behaviour and it’s just wrong on so many levels but if we want cheap food then this is how it’s produced! Free range doesn’t mean that the chickens are outside all day, all it means is there is outside access provided, which for a barn packed with hundreds of chickens generally means a small outside area at one end which few can access.
I have first hand experience of the sorry state of these poor chickens through rescuing some of them through the British Hen Welfare Trust and I can tell you it, it’s shocking, the state they are in, hardly any feathers, big floppy combs, twisted or stunted beaks and big long toe nails restricting their ability to walk.
I have rescued Polly, Martha, Nessie, Faith, Hope and Grace over the years and given them a natural life and I can tell you they reward you big time with their funny antics, yes they all have different personalities and respond to love and treats, just like any other animal and they provide you with a regular supply of delicious eggs! We call them Pets with a Purpose!
Here are some pics of the ladies enjoying their natural life, foraging and generally living as nature intended them to.
If anyone can offer some of these lovely souls a home then contact BHWT on for details of re-homing hens in your area.
So the best kind of eggs to buy are organic, free ranging preferably from a named farm in your area. Luckily for those of us in Glasgow, Locavore have a flock of genuinely free ranging chickens and ducks and I would highly recommend their eggs. Locavore will deliver them along with your weekly veg bag and other sustainably sourced, organic staples.
Next benefit, they are incredibly easy to cook – nature’s healthy version of convenience food!
Here are some of my favourite ways of eating them.
Omelettes with fresh herbs, tomatoes, and feta or goats cheese for extra protein boost.
Scrambled with smoked salmon for breakfast or lunch.
Boiled as a convenient snack or Salad Nicoise with boiled potatoes, lettuce & olives.
Poached on rye toast with seaweed flakes for a mineral and flavour boost.
My absolute favourite is an omelette but not just a plain boring omelette! Oh no at Nourished by Nature we can do better than that. So here’s how to up the nutritional benefits and the flavour of your omelette and raise it to gourmet standards!
Firstly use coconut oil to cook it in, adding antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral benefits, boost your metabolism, your immune system, your digestion, your brain and every other system!
Next add turmeric, a superstar in the health stakes, beating drugs hands down for just about everything! For pain relief, anti inflammatory benefits, supporting brain function, immune system, and every other body system! Wee important note on the use of turmeric, its not absorbed very well so to boost uptake use black pepper.
Wee sciency bit, the curcumin which gives turmeric its yellow colour and all its amazing health benefits is boosted by a compound called piperidine which is a constituent of freshly ground black pepper and absorption is further enhanced in the presence of oil, hence the coconut oil!
Next add some finely chopped red onion, the sulphur compounds will help to fight infection. A big handful of chopped spinach which will further support your immune system with a powerful array of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, then top it all off with some feta cheese, goats cheese or flaked salmon or mackerel for an extra protein boost and omega 3 fatty acids which will give you energy and keep you feeling full for hours!
I tend to finish mine under the grill and garnish liberally with seaweed flakes for a mineral boost or freshly chopped oregano or flat leaf parsley, although dried herbs are nice too!
So you can see how easy it is to boost the nutritional value and flavour of a few eggs!
Here is the basic recipe for a superstar omelette for 1 person.
2 organic, free range eggs
1 tablespoon water
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 spoonful coconut oil or rapeseed oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Himalyan sea salt to season
Small red onion, finely chopped
Good handful of spinach, chopped
Feta cheese, cubed or goats cheese, sliced (optional)
Salmon flakes, cooked mackerel cut into bite sized pieces (optional)
1 tsp dried mixed herbs or freshly chopped oregano or flat leaf parsley
1. Whisk the eggs and water in a small bowl, add few grinds of black pepper and sea salt
2. Heat the oil in a non stick omelette pan.
3. Add the chopped red onion and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the chopped spinach and stir until wilted.
4. Add the egg mixture and cook for 5 minutes or so, gently lifting the edges with a spatula and tilting the pan to let the uncooked egg from the middle cook evenly.
5. Add selected toppings, feta or goats cheese or fish or sliced tomatoes
6. Put pan under a hot grill until the top is nicely browned and the egg is cooked through.
7. Garnish with chopped herbs and/or seaweed flakes.
It is worth noting that although eggs have many nutritional benefits, they are among the most common allergenic foods so not everyone can eat them! So most definitely don’t include eggs in your diet if you think you may be allergic to them! Sounds obvious but I’m just saying that even though foods are considered healthy, it doesn’t necessarily mean we can all eat them and feel great!! No-one knows your body better than you so choose foods which make you feel good. If you suffer from digestive upset or any other symptoms after eating certain foods then don’t eat them!
........your health in your hands.....
I’ve just made a batch of these delicious and so healthy Date and Oat Energy Bites. They are so simple, healthy and delicious and way cheaper than any you will buy in the shops!
We all need a wee sweet energy boost and these really do tick all the boxes.
As I'm sure you are all aware, refined white sugary snacks will give you a short lived energy boost, offer no nutritional value and within a short time the sugar cravings hit and you are reaching for the biscuit tin again! A scenario we are all too familiar with!
We are hard wired to like sugar and it’s been proven to be more addictive than cocaine, yes really!! We have sugar receptors all over the place that crave to be satisfied.
However if you listen to your body and choose to eat something naturally sweet but totally nutrient dense packed with protein, fibre and good fats then the cravings subside because your body is satisfied and I can assure you one or two of these energy bites will give you a real boost!
Right so what is the secret ingredient to make these energy bites so sweet, healthy and delicious?
Dates are absolutely delicious, especially the big plump juicy Medjool ones, they really are the king of dates. Deglet Noor are a close second but beware of dates with added glucose syrup and preservatives.
Dates are an excellent source of fibre, potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium and a host of other beneficial minerals and antioxidants and support good digestive health, maintain fluid balance and can help with intestinal problems, among other things!
They are traditionally used to celebrate the end of Ramadan because they are such a nutrient dense food source!
I think dates fell out of favour because they are so sweet and people assume that they can’t be good for us but the exact opposite is true for all the reasons mentioned above; so please be assured that your body will thank you for incorporating dates into your diet!
Back to the recipe, these wee bites are so simple to make. The most complicated part is blitzing the dates with warm water to make a paste, for which you really need a food processor. After that you just add the other ingredients, all healthy with lots of amazing benefits. My favourite, coconut, adds fibre and natural sweetness, whilst oats add soluble fibre and B vitamins and will help with lowering cholesterol and keeping your heart healthy.
Sesame and sunflower seeds are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with vitamins, calcium and magnesium plus good fats; they are a really good source of protein.
Walnuts are a fantastic source of omega 3 fatty acids and support brain health - ever noticed that a walnut looks like a brain!!
Chia seeds are an optional ingredient but again are packed with omega 3 fatty acids, protein, fibre and magnesium and are pretty tasteless, so really easy to add to any recipe to boost the nutritional benefits. They are deserving of the title superfood!
Goji berries are another useful addition to this recipe, a great immune booster and containing all the essential amino acids, so a great source of protein. They are also high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and a fab vibrant red colour with an intense flavour, like a cross between a cherry and a cranberry.
Both maca and lucuma powder can easily be added to this recipe. Both are in the superfood category for different reasons but are nutrient dense with major health benefits. Maca is particularly good for balancing hormones and can help to alleviate hot flushes! Lucuma will help to balance blood sugar levels. Both taste sweet, lacuma tastes like maple syrup whereas maca has a slight butterscotch, nutty flavour. Both are packed full of vitamins, minerals, protein, fibre and good fats.
I think most of us are guilty of reading or hearing about the next great superfood, then rushing out to buy, but then not really knowing what to do with it! These energy bites are perfect for using up your sweet tasting superfoods but are equally delicious without them!
So do yourself a big favour and rustle up a batch of these energy bites to see you through the week! If you use Medjool dates you can eat the bites straight from the freezer! Other dates are not so juicy so you may need to defrost them for 10 minutes or you may break your teeth! They will keep quite happily in a covered container in the fridge for a week or so, if they last that long! If you have a nut allergy then you can just replace the nuts with more seeds!
Here is the recipe.....Enjoy..
Makes 20 medium balls
· 2 cups pitted dates, Medjool are the the best
· 1/4 cup warm water
· 3/4 cup jumbo oats
· 1 cup desiccated coconut plus for ¼ cup for rolling finished balls in
· 1/4 cup sesame seeds
· 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
· 1/4 cup chopped almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts
· 2 tablespoons chia seeds (optional)
1 handful goji berries (optional)
1 tsp maca and/or lacuma powder (optional)
1. Place dates and warm water in a food processor and process until smooth.
2. Transfer into a bowl and fold in the remaining ingredients. If the mixture is soggy then slowly add more oats, if the mixture is too dry slowly add warm water.
3. Shape into balls and roll them in desiccated coconut.
4. Enjoy right away or keep them in fridge or freezer in a covered container.
........your health in your hands.......
I’ve actually wanted to buy a Spiraliser for ages but just made do with my julienne peeler until I noticed a Dexam Spiraliser on offer at my local Wholefoods, for £19.99 and I couldn’t resist!
Boy am I glad I did, it’s the best fun ever!
What a brilliant way to cram more raw veggies into our diets and who doesn’t need to be eating more veggies?
So far I’ve spiralised piles of sweet potato which I’ve oven roasted at 160C for 15 to 20 minutes with some rapeseed oil, paprika and Himalayan sea salt. You need to shake the tray and turn them so they crisp up nicely and don’t burn. Put them in a single layer on the tray,the more you have the longer they take to crisp up, so allow up to 30 minutes if you have lots. So simple!
DELICIOUS doesn’t do them justice, they are rapidly becoming a very healthy obsession!!
I could eat loads of them, totally guilt free and boost my vitamin A levels, improve my skin, eyesight and bones and supply all the good bacteria in my gut with a great food source!
Result for me and my microbes!
Then I tried another favourite vegetable of mine, beetroot;
Wow so crispy and crunchy and well moreish! What’s not to love and it just looks fab all piled up! Beetroot is just delicious and features a lot in my life and recipes and it’s so good for us. It has powerful detoxifying properties and helps to cleanse the liver, gallbladder and kidneys. It also opens our blood vessels to reduce blood pressure, contains fibre to support digestion and is a great source of natural sugars to provide energy and its delicious and such a vibrant colour!
Next I tried spiralising a lovely organic apple ( no pesticide residues for me!) which I ate as a wee snack with a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkling of chia seeds and cinnamon. For me it’s all about adding nutritional value and chia seeds and cinnamon are so easy to add to sweet and savoury dishes and will give your body a wee helping hand!
Chia seeds are quite rightly classed as a superfood, a great source of protein, soluble fibre, omega 3, magnesium & calcium, all things we need more of.
Next I tried spiralising my homegrown courgettes, popularly known as courgetti! These are rather fun and a healthy gluten free replacement for spaghetti and have become rather trendy in food circles, especially among the raw foodies and the gluten free brigade!
I tried them raw with a delicious raw red pepper and walnut sauce, recipe below and also lightly cooked (plunged into boiling water for 2 or 3 minutes, then drained) as a healthy spaghetti replacement with Beetroot Marinara. http://www.blognourishedbynature.com/blog/beetroot-marinara
My daughter had half courgette, half spelt spaghetti which is still healthy and a great way of sneaking more veggies into your kid’s food or husbands for that matter!! Some husbands are worse than kids!!
Red Pepper and Walnut Sauce
1 red pepper, halved, de-seeded and chopped
6 sun dried tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup walnuts, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp tamari soy sauce
Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Add a little water to thin if needed.
I also tried carrots which looked stunning along with the beetroot, such a vibrant colour and equally good as spirals or ribbons!
Next I tried the ribbon blade attachment and ribboned a whole cucumber in seconds! I served this with a lovely apple and mint dressing, which was totally delicious and refreshing.
Here is the recipe:
Apple & Mint Dressing
1/2 firm apple chopped, handful of fresh mint, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, I tablespoon lemon juice, 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or rapeseed oil & sea salt to season.
Simply add all the ingredients to a small food processor or blender & blitz until well blended. You can add a tablespoon of water if you want a thinner consistency but I left mine thick and just served a spoonful with each portion!
Mint is great for the digestion, apple cider vinegar is a superstar, lemon is alkalising, oil is high in Omega 3 & apple has soluble fibre & adds a lovely sweetness so this dressing is a winner in my book! Give it a go, it's delicious, simple & healthy!
One point to note that the spiraliser produces one extremely long ribbon or spiral so you have to cut or break it into more manageable pieces or the first person gets the lot!
We all need more raw veggies, which provide us with a great source of vitamins, plant enzymes, antioxidants, minerals and fibre and a Spiraliser is a great and fun way to do this.
In conclusion the Spiraliser is a great investment, its simple to use, with 3 interchangeable blades which click into place and the other two are cleverly and safely stored in the base.
To be honest I can’t see why you would need to spend any more, it’s a simple gadget and the Dexam does all you need it to with ease and it’s easy to clean.
Amazon has the same spiraliser for £23.99 so the Wholefoods price is a bargain, snap one up while you still can! They are still on offer at Wholefoods Giffnock and last time I checked they had plenty in stock!
SO GO BUY ONE, START SPIRALISING AND ADD SOME RAW VEGGIE FUN TO YOUR LIFE….
....your health in your hands......
Since the weather is turning distinctly Autumnal I thought I'd share one of my favourite, simple, full of good things Creamy Cauliflower Soup to warm the cockles of your heart! This soup is soothing, nourishing, easy to digest, full of coco-nutty goodness, a spicy kick from the chilli & garlic & chock full of anti-inflammatory compounds, vitamins and good fats!
Like all soups it's easy to make & a great way of including more veggies in our diet, which we all need to boost our immune systems at this time of year! So here is the recipe
I tablespoon coconut oil, olive or rapeseed oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped or crushed
1 small red chilli, deserved & finely chopped (optional)
1 level tsp turmeric powder
1 med cauliflower, separated into florets
1 can coconut milk
500ml vegetable stock
2 tsp tamari sauce
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat oil in a large pan over a medium heat & gently sauté the onion, garlic, chilli & turmeric for 5 mins.
2. Add the cauliflower florets & stir to coat in the oil.
3. Pour in coconut milk & stock, bring to the boil then lower the heat & simmer gently for 15 mins or until the cauliflower is cooked.
4. Add the tamari & season with salt & black pepper.
5. Blend the soup using a stick blender until smooth.
6. Serve & enjoy! You can garnish with fresh coriander which is a great detoxifier & tastes great!
.....your health in your hands....
A healthy lifestyle blog with green living tips, plant-based recipes and natural health magic.