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....
Its been a heck of a busy week here at Nourished by Nature! I've been out and about spreading the word on Healthy Eating at Nurseries, Community Halls and schools!
I've started a blog post on sugar but haven't finished it so will post it next week, its such a big topic!
Instead I thought I'd share this rather genius pancake idea from the lovely people over at Food Matters
It passes the NbyN test in that it is free of anything unhealthy or artificial, is super easy, tastes delicious and your kids will love it!
Its so simple you don't need a recipe at all.
I'm a big fan of bananas, they are naturally sweet, a great energy source and easy on the digestion. Likewise eggs are a great source of omega 3, protein, vitamins and antioxidants but please buy organic eggs, they are so much higher in omega 3 and antioxidants and the chickens who produced them will have had a natural life, see blog post Eggsellent eggs.
Anyway back to the super simple pancakes!!
Makes 1 large pancake
1 ripe banana
1 medium to large organic egg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional but recommended)
1 spoonful coconut or rapeseed oil
The cinnamon gives your body a wee helping hand to deal with the sugar in the banana.
1. Simply mash the banana in a bowl then add an egg and whisk them both together to form a batter, add the cinnamon.
2. Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a non stick pan, add your batter and cook on a medium heat for around 5 minutes until bubbles start to form on the surface, lift the edges and check if the pancake is browned, then flip it over and cook the other side for another few minutes until cooked and nicely browned.
I didn't actually manage to flip mine, I had visions of it stuck to the ceiling or my face!! I just used a lifter but feel free to flip yours!
.I'm a big fan of coconut oil which has many health benefits and is the most stable oil to cook with and it tastes delicious, will boost your metabolism and every other body system.
Rapeseed oil is also very stable at high temperatures, has a great fatty acid profile and is a great alternative to coconut oil. A lot of it is produced in Scotland and I am a big promoter of quality, healthy Scottish products. I use both oils for cooking, a blog post on oils will be coming soon!
A wee note, I made a pancake for Laura's breakfast this morning and used a fairly small egg. Its rather strange I have 2 ex battery chickens, both the same size and they lay quite significantly different sized eggs!
Anyway the pancake tasted fine but was more difficult to turn and broke up slightly so I'd always use a medium to large egg, for ease of flipping!
The pancake doesn't taste remotely eggy, its deliciously sweet and is perfect served with some lovely berries for extra vitamins and antioxidants and a drizzle of maple syrup or rice malt syrup, for a lovely sweet but nutritious breakfast!
Give them a go this weekend, you will be pleasantly surprised how simple and delicious these pancakes are!!
Apologies about the random coloured text, Weebly is playing up today so it's not my fault!
.........your health in your hands......
Today we've been busy decorating our lounge and we needed something quick and nourishing for lunch. Jenna quickly threw this soup together in literally 5 minutes and it was delicious so I thought I'd post the recipe.
This soup ticks a lot of boxes for me, its simple, nutritious and tastes great!
You get fibre, protein and vitamins from the chickpeas, a good dose of antioxidants from the tomatoes, and your good gut bacteria will be very happy with the fibre from the red onions.
This soup also packs a real punch flavour wise from the sun dried tomatoes, paprika and balsamic vinegar.
I finished mine with seaweed flakes to add more minerals but Chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds or fresh basil or parsley would also be a great addition.
It's also so much fun creating a nice pattern with some soya or oat cream!
It never ceases to amaze me how delicious and healthy a soup can be made from a few store cupboard ingredients!
I hope you give this one a go!
1 tin tomatoes
1 tin chickpeas
1 red onion, chopped
1heaped teaspoon paprika
2 garlic cloves, chopped or crushed
1 litre vegetable stock
4 sun dried tomatoes, chopped or 1 tablespoon red pesto
Splash of balsamic vinegar ( optional)
.......your health in your hands.....
I'm running a series of Healthy Eating Workshops for the students at Glasgow University, through Glasgow Uni Food Coop, who promote affordable healthy foods and organic veggies, for the students.
Its a brilliant idea and I honestly think that every University should do the same. It was great to meet so many enthusiastic young people, all really interested in learning how to cook simple, nutritious food and we had great fun last night preparing healthy food together.
It was also a trip down memory lane for me, I studied at Glasgow University about 35 years ago and it was great to be back!
One of the things we made were Tortilla Pizzas, such an easy idea and a great way of using up veggies. They went down a treat with the students and they all agreed, these taste much better than frozen or shop bought ones.
The base of the pizza is a tortilla wrap, in this case we used Warburtons rectangular wraps for the simple reason that we could fit more on a baking tray and since we had about 10 students, that was indeed a good idea!
Big round wraps are a bit awkward to fit on a baking tray! You can also use muffins as a base, which is a perfect size for kids and they can be decorated like a smiley face or you could use Corn Tortillas for a gluten free option.
We cut each wrap in half, which was actually a good size for a light lunch, along with some lovely soup, which we also made!.
We used red or green pesto as the sauce, which is a good choice, it tastes great and is way lower in sugar than a lot of the tomato based pizza sauces.
We decided to go Mediterranean with our toppings so we had tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, olives, red peppers, finely sliced red onions, feta cheese and grated mozzarella and of course lots of lovely oregano.
The Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest due, in part, to their regular consumption of good quality oils, olives, tomatoes, peppers and oily fish. so we can follow their lead and hopefully enjoy better health.
However you can be really inventive with your toppings, please let me know if you come up with any interesting combinations!
One of my favourites is red onion, goats cheese, figs and rocket with fresh oregano and thyme from the garden, finished with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Yum!
My daughter Laura’s favourite is red onion, peppers, spinach, sunflower and pumpkin seeds with olives and a drizzle of oil and balsamic. She doesn’t do dairy and really doesn’t miss it at all.
The problem with most frozen and shop bought pizzas is that they are loaded with cheese with a stodgy base and hardly any veggies.
Now at Nourished by Nature the mission is to eat lots of healthy veggies so I’m continually looking for ways to cram more into our diet.
Sliced mushrooms, sweetcorn, peppers, tomatoes, courgettes, red onions all work well on these pizzas.
You can boost the protein content by adding flaked tuna, salmon, feta or goats cheese and a wee sprinkling of seaweed flakes will add lots of minerals.
You really don’t need to add mozzarella at all or at least use less than you usually would and add a wee drizzle of extra virgin olive oil when your pizza comes out of the oven to provide good fats and a dose of vitamin E and antioxidants.
So you really don’t need a recipe at all for these, simply spread a good spoonful of pesto on your chosen wrap, then load with lots of lovely veggies and then bake in a hot oven (200C) for about 10 minutes!
I hope you give them a go, they really are so simple and delicious.
.......your health in your hands......
This is the simplest, most delicious bread, from one of my favourite Vegan Authors, Aine Carlin. This is definitely my kind of bread, it’s yeast free so no waiting around for the dough to prove and rise. Also no messy and time consuming kneading, just mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and bake it for 30 minutes! Voila, healthy delicious bread packed full of nuts, seeds and veggies with none of the bad stuff found in most of the shop bought bread. It also makes the most delicious toast! I always use organic flour since wheat is one of the crops most heavily sprayed with pesticides and we want to avoid them if we value our health! So here is the recipe!
Aine Carlin's Keep it Vegan is a brilliant book full of simple, healthy, easy to follow recipes. Its a great introduction to plant based eating and has loads of family favourites from chilli, lasagna, curries, breads, desserts and snacks. Well worth buying!
Here is a link to her blog
We've been a bit baking crazy in our house since The Great British Bake Off and thought Nadiya was a very worthy winner. I loved her wee speech when she won. and I think we can all relate to what she said.
I'm never going to put boundaries on myself
I'm never going to say I can't do it,
I'm never going to say maybe,
I'm never going to say 1 don't think I can
I can and I will!,
It's something we could all do with, believing in ourselves! We can all achieve great things if we believe we can!
So back to the baking, I've always loved baking, my mum was an ace baker
and I loved helping her! This easy coconut loaf is one of my mums recipes which I've adapted to make it vegan and healthier. There is something wonderful about the smell of cakes baking in the oven, it brings back all sorts of happy memories!
Now most of us don't have the luxury of afternoons dedicated to baking so this loaf takes minutes to throw together. It is, quite simply,the easiest I have ever made and its delicious and relatively healthy!
The only equipment needed is a bowl, a cup, a wooden spoon, a fork and a loaf tin!!
No weighing of ingredients, everything is measured in the cup!
The original recipe used an egg and milk, which is fine, but I prefer the dairy free, vegan version, which replaces the egg with half a banana and the milk with a dairy free version. I use Organic, Soya Milk for baking but almond, coconut or oat milk would work equally well.
The original used yellow food colouring, which is just artificial and not a great idea so I replaced it with ground turmeric, which imparts a nice yellow hue and a wee pinch of freshly ground black pepper, which helps us to absorb it better. It sounds odd but turmeric is a superstar food and I add it to as many foods as I can. It doesn't have much of a taste but has so many health benefits it is definitely worth sneaking into your diet!
Having said that, its not essential to use it here, it just makes the loaf a nicer colour!
The other adaptation is to reduce the amount of sugar, which we all know is bad news! Both banana and coconut are naturally sweet and contain soluble fibre which slows the rate at which the sugar enters your bloodstream. I use 1/4 cup of sugar.since I don't have a sweet tooth but feel free to add up to 1/2 cup, if you prefer it sweeter. It is a treat after all!!
I'd also recommend buying organic flour since wheat is one of the most heavily sprayed crops and has high pesticide residues, so does anything produced from it. You certainly don't need to be adding more pesticides to your diet.
So here is the very simple recipe, I hope you enjoy it!
EASY COCONUT & BANANA LOAF
Use the same sized cup to measure out all your ingredients. If you use a small cup the recipe will make a small loaf; a bigger cup will make a bigger loaf. Easy peasy. I use a small mug and a small loaf tin 20cm x 10cm
I love soup, I love making it and eating it!! It's such a simple, delicious way to up your intake of nutritious veggies and anyone who knows me knows that I promote the eating of copious amounts of veggies, of all types and colours, for optimum health!
The other brilliant thing about soup are the endless possibilities of flavours and textures. This particular soup recipe came into being last Sunday night when Jenna ( my lovely vegan daughter and awesome cook!) had a look in the fridge and cupboards to see what was left to use up, since we realised that we had nothing much for packed lunches on the Monday. Soup features highly for lunch at our house and we quite literally make soup every day, especially when the weather turns colder.
So back to the soup! This one has leeks, frozen peas and sweet potato as its base with flavour and nutritional benefits added by turmeric, garlic, creamed coconut and Thai Green Curry Paste. You could easily add some spinach at the end to up the benefits. So although this soup has bags of flavour, there isn’t much chopping of onions, fresh herbs, chilli or ginger or grinding of spices, just add a spoonful of Thai Green Curry Paste! Doesn’t get much easier than that!
I’m always amazed at how delicious soup can be with relatively simple ingredients though in my opinion everything benefits from the addition of coconut. In this instance it’s Creamed Coconut which comes in a 200g block, which most supermarkets sell. It’s a great store cupboard ingredient and keeps for ages so I’d definitely recommend buying a few!
So here is the recipe, please leave a comment if you try it!
2 leeks, washed, and finely sliced, include the green bits too!
3 cloves of garlic, crushed or chopped
2 cups of frozen peas
2 small or 1 medium sweet potato, scrubbed and chopped into small dice
1 stock cube ( I use Kallo Organic Vegetable Stock Cubes)
100g creamed coconut
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 or 3 tablespoons Thai Green Curry Paste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon coconut or rapeseed oil
....your health in your hands.........
Launched by Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney in 2009, Meat Free Monday is a not-for-profit campaign which aims to raise awareness of the detrimental environmental impact of eating meat, and to encourage people to help slow climate change, preserve precious natural resources and improve their health by having at least one meat free day each week.
My blog is plant based and I choose to live meat free every day of the week, for health and environmental reasons and because I love animals and don't want to eat them!
Meat Free Monday is a great concept, you can find out more about it here
Most people are unaware of the many health and environmental issues which can arise from eating too many animal products as well as the amount of suffering of the poor animals so let me enlighten you!
When meat becomes a regular part of your meal there is simply less room on your plate for all the vegetables and wholegrains which have way more benefits for your health!
Red meats and processed meats like pies and sausages are linked with an increased risk of colon and bowel cancer. All animal productS are acidic and can lead to inflammation and increase your risk of many chronic diseases including all types of cancer.
Eating lots of meat puts a huge strain on the digestive system, it can take up to 72 hours for meat to be fully digested, compared to plants and veggies which go through the digestive system much faster.
Research performed by Oxford University found that 45,000 lives a year (and £1.2 billion in NHS costs) would be saved in the UK by people reducing their meat intake: 31,000 from heart disease, 9,000 from cancer, and 5,000 from stroke.
The meat and dairy industries use huge amounts of energy and create massive amounts of waste, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, all greenhouse gases (GHG) which is the major cause of climate change.
Here are some interesting facts on the differences in inputs and outputs for beef as opposed to veggies!
Beef uses around 8000 litres of water and produces a total of 30 kg of greenhouse gas (GHG) per kg of food,
while carrots, potatoes and rice use around 170 litres of water and produce 0.42, 0.45 and 1.3 kg GHG per kg of food, respectively.
Thats a MASSIVE difference!!
To put it another way, it takes way more energy inputs to produce, for example, a burger than the energy you get from eating it and it creates huge amounts of waste. Its a totally inefficient energy system and its not sustainable! Here's a thought!!
If the world was vegetarian there would be enough food for everyone!
So if you want to reduce your carbon footprint, improve your health and stop animal suffering then please consider at least reducing your meat intake, starting with Meat Free Monday and hopefully extending to other days as well.
Now for the good stuff.........LENTILS!
I love lentils, they are a wonderful substitute for meat and come in a huge variety of colours, textures and tastes from orange split lentils to green, brown, black and Puy.
The great thing about all lentils is they literally support every system in your body. They are packed full of fibre, protein, B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium and potassium, among others. Now thats a pretty impressive list! With their low glycaemic index and complex carbohydrate content, they can prevent energy slumps by keeping blood sugar levels balanced. The fibre supports digestive health, will regulate your bowels and lower your cholesterol and they will give you an energy boost and combat fatigue by replenishing your iron and B vitamin stores!
If you combine lentils with a wholegrain, like wholemeal or spelt pasta or brown rice then the protein has all the amino acids your body needs!
So in comparison to meat, I'd say that lentils win by a mile and no animals are harmed to provide your dinner! Lentils are also way cheaper than meat, another excellent reason to switch!
On that note here is one of my favourite recipes that should appeal to everyone, adults and kids alike!
Its basically a bolognese with red lentils instead of mince! This is a great dish for kids and can be blended into a smooth sauce to hide all the veggies! The red lentils cook quickly, don't need pre soaking and are easy on the digestion! You can use gluten free pasta or serve the sauce with a baked potato for a gluten free option. So here is the recipe. Enjoy!
Ingredients Serves 4-6
....your health in your hands.....
I came across this brilliant company this week and the savings they offer on top of the range organic products is quite extraordinary! All my favourite brands from Clearspring, Clipper, Amisa, Dr Stuarts, Faith in Nature, Bentley Organic, Nutiva, Vitalife and loads more. The range of products is exceptional and covers Food, Drinks, Kids, Household, Supplements and even Pets. There are also loads of gluten free products, which are generally expensive so the savings on these are substantial. Pretty much everything is organic so if you want to improve your health and have been using the excuse of I can’t afford to eat well, you can now!! The discounts on offer range from 40% to 90% with most of the products I purchased around 70% discount.
You may well wonder, as I did, how the heck is this possible and what is the catch?
Well the company is Love Health Hate Waste. For a minute I thought it was Love Food Hate Waste, who I follow on Twitter since I genuinely hate food waste. Intrigued I checked out their website, what a brilliant inspired idea, this company passes on huge discounts on healthy organic food which is at or beyond its Best Before Date.
Now I’m fairly knowledgable on food waste since I ran a series of food workshops funded by Love Food Hate Waste a few years ago.
While half of the world are starving, the other half throws away mountains of perfectly good food. It’s shocking, every year in the UK we throw away 7.2 tonnes of food and drink, most of which could have been eaten.
There is a bit of confusion about the meaning of Best Before and Use By labels on food. Where Use By relates to the safety of food, and should be adhered to, especially for meat, fish and dairy products which can cause illness if consumed past these dates.
Best Before, on the other hand, relates to food quality and has nothing to do with food being unsafe to eat. It’s mostly found on packets, tinned and dried foods. These foods will typically start to lose their flavour and texture after that date, but that’s all it means!
This date is the manufacturers estimate of when the premium quality of its product may start to deteriorate, it doesn’t mean the food should be thrown away!
So back to the point of this post which is to save you lots of money on your favourite organic health brands!
Jenna and I had a great time checking out the discounts on all our favourite products and some of them were at 90% discount, which is a massive saving!
Here is a small selection of the products we bought.
The majority of the products we bought had BB dates of August or September so considering we ordered mid September, most of the products had just recently passed the BB date. Interestingly a lot of the organic body products had BB dates of 2016 and to be honest I don’t think the quality of a shampoo or washing up liquid would deteriorate significantly anyway even quite far beyond its recommended Best Before Date.
Similarly, Floradix Dandelion teabags had BB of April 2016 and were still sold at a massive discount.
The most out of date product we purchased was Amisa Organic Gluten Free Crispbreads which was 6 months beyond its date. Although they were still perfectly edible they had a slightly stale flavour and weren’t as crisp as I would have expected.
We bought quite a selection of raw and organic chocolate, which we ate before I decided to write this post but I wouldn’t buy it again, especially one of the bars which had hazelnuts in it and tasted a bit rancid. Generally anything with a high fat content such as chocolate and nuts is going to go off quickly so I wouldn’t recommend buying either of those. I do love raw organic chocolate but its definitely not at its peak beyond its BB date.
There is no mention on the website of the actual BB date for each product so you just have to take your chances but if you avoid buying chocolate and nuts then your products should be just fine.
The range changes all the time depending on what is available and postage is free if you spend more than £50, which is quite easy to do since there are so many brilliant products to choose from. You could always share an order with a few friends to qualify for the free postage! So what are you waiting for, click the link and start shopping!
Here is the website- www.lovehealthhatewaste.com
........your health in your hands...........
A healthy lifestyle blog with green living tips, plant-based recipes and natural health magic.