I've been running a series of Healthy Eating Workshops with North Glasgow Homes in Springburn.
The focus is on healthy, cheap, tasty food, made with ingredients that can be bought locally.
All of my workshops are plant based with a heavy reliance on lentils, beans and pulses which are cheap, versatile and extremely healthy. Add in loads of seasonal veggies and you have an extremely climate friendly, healthy, inexpensive way of eating.
This week the theme was Indian so we made lots of delicious rice, lentil and bean dishes. The favourite dish was this Coconut Lentil Dhal so I thought I'd reshare the recipe! I posted this one last year, it really is one of our go to family favourites.
It's perfect comfort food, like a big warm coconutty hug! Richly flavoured with spices, this lentil dish is good enough to impress your friends, your husband/wife and kids!
It's made with orange split lentils, the easiest to digest and fastest to cook so its a perfect dish for the weekend. You can rustle it up in no time!
All lentils are high in protein, fibre, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and literally support every system in the body. They are also incredibly cheap, versatile and you can store them for ages and they won't go off ( less waste!) so they do tick a lot of boxes!
Delicious, nutritious and super healthy; with superstars turmeric, garlic, ginger and coconut providing bags of anti inflammatory, pain relieving, circulation boosting, energy boosting, immune boosting benefits.
You can up the nutritional benefits even more by serving with brown rice and steamed greens! Dinner, in my opinion, is just incomplete without some kind of greens. My favourites at the moment are kale, cavolo nero, pointed cabbage and spring greens, all highly alkalising, and packed with minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and fibre.
Food is medicine right enough and what a delicious way to improve your health! I hope you give this a go and consider at least having one or two meat free days a week, your body and the planet will thank you!! All the recipes I share are plant based so you won't be short of ideas and inspiration! If you haven't already then consider subscribing to the blog so you won't miss any posts! They will all be sent directly to your inbox, the power of technology!! And its free so go ahead and fill in your details, it could be the best decision you make for your health! Well you'd have to actually make and eat some of the food before it would benefit your health! Just reading the posts won't do a thing so follow up with action steps! Go out and buy some healthy staples including lentils and beans and no I don't mean Heinz baked beans, they are high in sugar and salt! I've just had an idea for another post, Healthy Shopping List..., coming soon....!
Here is my recipe...
COCONUT LENTIL DHAL WITH TOASTED ALMONDS
Wee point to note, I added a spoonful of Coriander Detox Pesto to mine instead of fresh coriander. This adds bags more flavour! I just dolloped a spoonful on each portion before serving, then topped with toasted almonds. Delicious!
.......your health in your hands......
Happy Pancake Day everyone! I've been busy recently running healthy eating sessions and Big Cook Little Cook sessions with parents and kids at St Bartholomews in Castlemilk.
It's so rewarding seeing kids excited about cooking classes and to be honest kids are far more likely to eat something if they have made it themselves!
I've been trying out lots of new fast, simple, kid friendly recipe ideas. The limitations are we only have an hour to prepare, cook, eat and clear up, the school have very limited cooking equipment and we have 7 kids with a parent at each session, all keen to do some hands on cooking!
A big saving grace was a couple of mini ovens I bought from Aldi for £10 each, they are so good and perfect for wee mini pizzas!
I have to do a fair bit of the old Blue Peter, here is one I made earlier!!
So far we have made Lentil Soup, Soda Bread, Mini Face Pizzas and Berry Smoothies!
Next session is tomorrow and I'm contemplating either mini filo pastries with apple and cinnamon and veggie fillings or these rather awesome pancakes!
I did an earlier banana pancake post using only banana and egg but for most kids its a bit too eggy, so when I came across this recipe I was immediately excited to try it!
This one has the addition of oats and the eggs are separated, the whites are whisked which makes these light and fluffy.
Anything which avoids added sugar and white refined flour gets my vote, as do these lovely pancakes!
These would be fun to make with your kids at the weekend when time allows for a more leisurely breakfast! Added sliced fruit and a drizzle of maple syrup or honey adds a lovely natural sweetness. These would also be lovely served with some ice cream! These are also a great way to use up over ripe bananas!!
So without further ado, here is the recipe!
BANANA OATY PANCAKES
Ingredients - makes 8 pancakes
....your health in your hands....
Mince pies are odd things. You wouldnt be alone if you believed they actually had mince in them! The mincemeat is actually diced dried fruits and peels mixed with spices and often some brandy.
This a lighter take on the classic. Why add sugar to dried fruit when it is already very sweet?! The filling is very simple and tastes like christmas in a bowl! I chose to make a gluten free oat crust which is very lightly sweetened with maple syrup. Its a bit fiddly but has a lovely crisp texture and doesnt feel like a stodgy lump as many pastries do!
If the pastry is a bit too faffy you can easily use ready made shortcrust pastry or follow this recipe for a simpler non-gluten free option.
makes 12 tarts with a bit of filling to spare. Keep in a jar in the fridge and try as a decadent festive porridge topping!
200g dried fruits (I used apricot, fig and cranberries but really any dried fruit would work)
50g nuts (almond, apricot, brazil, pecans, walnuts etc.)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground mixed spice
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
zest and juice of 1 orange
1 small pear, chopped very finely or grated
1 small apple, chopped very finely or grated
1 tbsp ground flax seeds
optional: 2 tbsp chcoclate chips
note: pastry is rather crumbly but very nice and crispy!
180g jumbo oats (certified gluten free if necessary)
20g dessicated coconut
4 tbsp oil (rapeseed, sunflower or neutral tasting olive oil)
4 tbsp cold water, more as needed
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of sea salt
Place a heaped tbsp of filling into each case then top with a star. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Leave to cool in the muffin trays before carefully loosening each pie with a knife and sliding out on to a plate or into your mouth. Up to you. Heat them up in the oven again before serving if you like, for extra crunch. Dust with icing sugar for extra festive cheer.
...your health in your hands...
I'm sharing another sweet recipe this week but I promise to move on to healthy savoury dishes and main courses suitable for a plant based Christmas next week!
Who doesn't love a chocolate truffle...? We love healthy, delicious chocolates but not so much the dairy and refined sugar kind! Last year I shared this recipe for festive chocolate truffles which are nut free and lovely too, but these ones
are a bit fancier and more festive in flavour.
The base for these delicious truffles are dates and nuts, two of my favourite ingredients and packed with fibre, protein, minerals and good fats so as well as tasting great these truffles do your body good as well!
These also make a lovely gift, packaged up in a nice box or a wee bag. I just think there is something special about a home made gift and just love to receive them!
I am very lucky that my daughter Jenna always makes special gifts for the whole family, she is a very talented and creative young lady! Handmade chocolates, chutneys, jewellery, lip balms, body scrubs and lotions, hats, place mats and beautiful natural floral arrangements have all been given and received with love. One year Laura, my youngest daughter, gave everyone a voucher for home made cakes, to be redeemed throughout the year! She is an ace vegan baker so her cakes are a real treat!! Kathryn writes lovely poems and puts such thought into them and that only leaves Emma, my oldest daughter who although she says she isn't good at making stuff, made delicious sloe gin last year with a handmade label!
It's just so nice when someone takes the time to make something.
We are fortunate in that we spend a lot of time trying out recipes and having lots of fun in the kitchen, one of the great things about writing this blog actually! So I hope that the recipes and stories I share are of interest and inspire someone out there to try something new!
So back to these very simple and delicious Festive Truffles, Chocolate Mint and Ginger, two flavours which I love, especially chocolate and mint which is a winning combination!
The method for making both flavours is the same so here are the ingredients you will need!
Gingerbread Truffles - makes 12
1 cup of soft pitted dates
pinch sea salt
1 cup of almonds, walnuts, brazil or pecan nuts or a mixture
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger or 1 inch piece of freshly grated ginger
pinch of ground nutmeg and cloves
coconut or finely chopped nuts for rolling
Chocolate Mint - makes 12
1 cup of soft pitted dates
1 cup of almonds, walnuts, pecans or brazil nuts
pinch sea salt
2 tablespoons of raw cacao or cocoa powder
1/2 to 1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract (taste and add accordingly)
cocoa or raw cacao for rolling
1. In your food processor, pulse the nuts until they are finely chopped. Put into a bowl.
2. Add the dates and sea salt and process on high until a smooth paste forms.
3. Add the processed nuts and the remainder of the ingredients. Process until thouroughly mixed.
4. Roll the mixture into balls ( makes 12 truffles) and coat in chopped nuts/coconut/cocoa.
5. Store in a covered container in the fridge or the freezer.
...your health in your hands...
I haven't shared a beetroot recipe recently so thought I'd share this humdinger of a beetroot casserole with sweet potatoes, herbs and mushrooms with a good glug of red wine to lift the flavour to dinner party fancy!! I assure you, its that good! If you love beetroot and hearty casseroles then you will absolutely love this recipe!
Beetroot ticks a lot of boxes for me, its cheap, readily available, delicious, a fabulous colour and has lots of health benefits! It can lower blood pressure, improve memory and brain function by basically improving blood flow and relaxing the arteries, all down to nitric acid which beetroot has lots of! Its also a very effective internal cleanser, due to the powerful antioxidant betacyanin and supports kidney, liver and gallbladder function. Its also a great source of vitamins, minerals, fibre and easily digestible carbohydrates for a wee energy boost!
It's also extremely versatile and lends itself well to juicing, cakes, dips, soups, salads and casseroles!
I really do love the humble beetroot, whats not to love?
Anyway back to this fabulous recipe, the idea came from the awesome Anna Jones cookbook A Modern Way to Eat. I love Anna Jones, she makes the most delicious vegetarian food, wholesome, flavoursome and nutritious. A fabulous book if you want to transition to a more plant based way of eating, full of family favourites, lovely photos and simple, easy to follow recipes.
So back to this one...
I used vacuum packed beetroot, instead of fresh beetroot. I always have packs of beetroot in the fridge for dips, houmous, salads and soups and it's already cooked so can just be added for the last 10 to 15 minutes. Fresh beetroot can take up to an hour to cook, so if you are using fresh then cut into smallish chunks, to speed up the cooking time.
Puy or dark green lentils are another favourite ingredient of mine. They are packed with fibre, protein, minerals and vitamins and support health on every level. They are really filling and make a great substitute for meat. They don't require soaking prior to cooking and cook in around 20 minutes. All the supermarkets sell puy type lentils now, they hold their shape well and don't go mushy, which the more common red lentils do! I always have a selection of lentils in my cupboards, they are so versatile and delicious and great for adding fibre and protein to a meatless meal.
Sweet potatoes add lots of beta carotene which is converted to vitamin A and supports skin and digestive health. They contain a wonderful sugar called fructo-oligo-saccaride which acts as a food source for good bacteria in the gut, producing a chemical called butyric acid that can repair and strengthen the gut wall and rejuvenate the digestive tract! We should all be feeding our good gut bacteria and sweet potatoes are just so delicious this is just another excellent reason to eat loads of them. Even though they are naturally sweet, they contain blood sugar regulating properties and improve the cells responsiveness to insulin, so won't spike your blood sugar!
So all in all a very healthy dish to make for dinner, its just full of beneficial veggies, lentils, herbs and lots of garlic to boost the immune system and add lots of flavour!
We had this served with a big pile of creamy mashed potatoes and steamed green beans and Jenna used the leftovers by adding more mushrooms, stock and potato and blending it to a smooth velvety pink delicious soup!
We never waste food at Nourished by Nature!!
So here is the recipe, please leave a comment if you try it!
Ingredients Serves 4 to 6
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
2 red onions, peeled and cut into wedges
4 cloves of garlic, chopped or crushed
8 to 10 small cooked beets, quartered or fresh beetroot peeled and diced
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into dice
4 bay leaves
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
250 ml red wine
1 litre vegetable stock
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1 cup (200g) small dark lentils, rinsed and drained
handful of mushrooms, halved (optional)
....your health in your hands.....
It's been so cold recently but I'm loving the crisp, frosty days! I've had to bring Grace my wee chicken into the house since the temperature has been -7C the past two nights! I'd never forgive myself if she froze to death!! She has been happily eating porridge for breakfast with coconut oil, raisins, sweetcorn and sunflower seeds and washing it down with a good glug of kombucha, which she loves! She is a discerning chicken for sure!
Anyway I thought I'd share another of my favourite soup recipes, which is just the job for lunch on a freezing cold day! This one is adapted from a macrobiotic recipe, acquired during my studies to become a macrobiotic health coach, which I am, but I find the macrobiotic way too bland and restrictive for my liking, so I adapt the recipes to suit my taste!
So mung beans are very small dark green beans, mostly eaten as beansprouts here but they are also delicious cooked! Like all beans, mungbeans are packed with fibre, protein and minerals with major benefits for our health. They lend themselves very well to soup and make a pleasing change to the more common lentils, which most of us are familiar with.
I do think its wise to introduce new foods, most of us have a limited repertoire of recipes and sometimes get stuck in a boring food rut, which is where Nourished by Nature comes in!
I never cook or eat boring or bland food, life is too short for that, I embrace all the wonderful natural flavours and enjoy vibrant good health as a result!
Soup is one of the easiest things to make, and the varieties are endless! It's just such a brilliant way of sneaking more veggies and wholegrains into the diet.
One of my favourite things is a big bowl of steaming hot soup, served with a slice of home made sourdough bread!
The simple things are sometimes the best...
Most supermarkets and natural food stores stock mungbeans and they keep for ages.
So this soup is thick, nourishing, tomatoey, flavoursome and stick to your ribs delicious!
Here is my recipe
MIGHTY MUNGBEAN & TOMATO SOUP
1 cup of mungbeans (approx 200g)
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 glug of rapeseed oil
1 onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, finely diced
1 stick of celery, chopped
1 leek, finely sliced
1 courgette, diced (optional)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 litre vegetable stock (Marigold or Kallo are good)
freshly ground black pepper
....your health in your hands......
Autumn is definitely here, I love autumn with all the beautiful colours and the chill in the air. There is something very comforting about snuggling up indoors with the heating on and enjoying a lovely warming, nourishing bowl of home made soup!
This one fits the bill perfectly!
The shops are full of pumpkins and squashes of all shapes and sizes, some of them delicious, some not so much! The large orange variety are really for carving and are rather watery and fibrous and not so good to eat.
Butternut squash and sweet potatoes are available all year round and always taste deliciously sweet and can easily be used interchangeably so this soup can be made with either butternut squash, sweet potato or any other type of squash.
The orange flesh of all these vegetables is really high in beta carotene which converts to vitamin A in the body and supports skin health, digestive health and vision. Sweet potato also contains prebiotic fibre which feeds our gut bacteria so its well worth including some of these orange fleshed veggies in your diet, if you haven't already!
I have been spiralising sweet potatoes all summer and ended up with a lot of wee end bits which I collected in a freezer bag, just perfect for making soup, so that's what I used for this!
I hate waste so I'm always looking for ways to use up odd bits of veggies.
I noticed pre-peeled cubes of butternut squash in the freezer section at Waitrose the other day which is a great idea if you don't have time to peel a whole one! It's obviously more expensive to buy pre prepared veggies but a great standby to have your freezer stocked with some essentials. I buy frozen peas and sweetcorn, which I use a lot!
So back to this lovely warming, nourishing soup with lots of flavour from garlic, ginger, red onion, coconut, turmeric and chilli flakes.
There are some real inflammation fighters and immune boosters among this lot so you will be doing yourself a big favour if you make this!
I also added peanut butter for an extra protein boost and splash of tamari for extra flavour.
I have to say it is delicious and very moreish. I think I'll be having a huge bowl of this tonight for dinner with a few slices of my rather delicious home made sourdough!
This is a great soup for autumn and winter due to all the immune boosting, cold and flu busting ingredients and it tastes delicious.
Like every other soup, it can be frozen to enjoy at a later date or kept for when your immune system needs a wee boost and you don't feel like cooking!
So here is the recipe.....
Thai Squash Soup
3 cups of butternut squash or 3 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed, peeled and diced
1 medium red onion, finely sliced
2 large cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
1 tablespoon coconut or rapeseed oil
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 level teaspoon turmeric
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 teaspoon tamari
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
750 mls vegetable stock
100g coconut cream or 1 can of coconut milk
1. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the red onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, turmeric, ginger, diced sweet potato or squash and a good seasoning of salt and black pepper. Cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes.
2. Add the coconut cream and stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook until the sweet potato or squash is soft, around 15 minutes. If you are using coconut milk then reduce the stock to 500mls.
3. Add the peanut butter and tamari, stir to dissolve then blend with a hand blender.
....your health in your hands....
It's definitely soup weather so I thought I'd try a new recipe! I had some lovely organic potatoes to use up and I've been meaning to make a sweetcorn type soup for a while so I came up with this one!
As always I try to add extra ingredients with health benefits, in this case red onion, turmeric and coconut.
Red onion provides the gut with fibre and helps us fight infection, which at this time of year, can be rife and who has time to be ill? Certainly not me, which is why I support my immune system with the best quality food and look after my gut bacteria with lots of plant based fibre.
So back to the soup, I used frozen sweetcorn, which I buy from Lidl, its deliciously sweet and grown in France so it's not GM, which a lot of the corn grown in the US is, so we want to avoid that for sure!
I actually prefer using frozen sweetcorn, it's less wasteful and you just cook what you need.
Wee Gracie, my chicken loves sweetcorn, she has some every morning in her porridge and is very partial to a whole fresh corn on the cob, which she can demolish in no time!
Nutritionally sweetcorn like all veggies, has benefits for health. It's a good source of fibre and complex carbs and contains a fair amount of insoluble fibre which is great news for our gut bacteria! It also contains antioxidants, some B vitamins, Vitamin C, magnesium and potassium so plenty of reasons to eat and enjoy it!
It's also naturally sweet so most kids will eat it! Interestingly a whole corn on the cob contains less than a quarter of the sugar in an apple!
This soup has a lovely flavour with a wee bit of heat from the chilli flakes. Sweet paprika has a lovely warming flavour and the coconut adds a creamy sweetness which works rather well.
The turmeric which I try to add to as many dishes as I can has a mild earthy flavour so I generally only use a half or a teaspoon. Adding black pepper and oil enhances the absorption of curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric so its always worth adding both.
Turmeric really deserves the title, superfood, or superspice! It beats drugs hands down for just about everything, from pain relief to reducing inflammation to killing cancer cells.
It's so easy to start adding some of these immune boosting, disease fighting foods and spices to our diet to build a great immunity and strong vibrant health.
I added turmeric to my porridge this morning with a pinch of black pepper and a spoonful of coconut oil! It was a lovely yellow colour and I added sliced banana, goji berries, coconut flakes, bee pollen and coconut kefir for a breakfast fit for a king!!
So I've had a double dose of turmeric today since I just had a bowl of this lovely soup!
I had to try it before I share the recipe but it was really delicious. I think I would make it a bit thicker next time by adding more potato or less stock. I blended half the soup which made it nice and creamy and there were still some texture from the unblended veggies!
So all in all a good recipe and a great use of my organic potatoes!
Here is my recipe!
· 2 or 3 medium potatoes, scrubbed and diced (around 500g)
· 2 cups of fresh or frozen sweetcorn (300g)
· 50g of creamed coconut, roughly chopped
· 1 tablespoon coconut oil or rapeseed oil
· Small red or green pepper, chopped
· 1 medium red onion, diced small
· 2 teaspoons paprika
· ½ teaspoon turmeric
· ½ teaspoon chilli flakes
· Freshly ground black pepper
· 1litre vegetable stock
1. Heat the oil and add the red onion and pepper. Cook on a moderate heat for 5 minutes.
2. Add the turmeric, paprika and black pepper.
3. Add the diced potato, vegetable stock and coconut cream, then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Add the sweetcorn and cook for a further 5 minutes.
5. Blend half with a hand blender to keep a bit of texture or just blend it all for a creamier smoother texture.
The creamed coconut comes in a block, most supermarkets stock it. If you are using coconut milk then you will need a bit less stock, around 500ml should do!
....your health in your hands....
I have started a block of healthy cooking workshops with a lovely group of ladies from Clydebank and we are using herbs and veggies from the community gardens, which is just great! You don't get any fresher than just picked from the garden, no pesticide residues to contend with and loads of nutrition to boot!
So this week we had rainbow chard, cavolo nero, beetroot, spring onions, tomatoes and loads of flat leaf parsley!
It was soup, snacks and smoothies week so we ended up with a few bunches of rainbow chard leftover which I gladly brought home since no one else knew what to do with it! That's part of the point of the workshops, to introduce new ways of cooking and introduce new ingredients!
We are doing meat free mains next week and I'll be demonstrating how easy it is to add greens to your diet. Finely shredded and steamed or lightly stir fried is a great way to use greens, they retain most of their incredible nutrients cooked this way and the addition of some good quality oil helps with the absorption of the fat soluble vitamins! I always add a delicious garlicky, turmeric, balsamic vinegar dressing too to add heaps more health benefits and incredible flavour!
There are no boring boiled plain veggies at Nourished by Nature!
We did add a lot of greens to our various soups but rainbow chard has quite an earthy taste, its from the beetroot family and so it can be a bit of an acquired taste!
I didn't think the green smoothies would go down so well packed with chard so we made do with spinach, avocado and frozen peas! We did however add kiwi, orange,pineapple and banana and some coconut soya yoghurt and everyone loved them! There is always a way to sneak more veggies into your diet!
So I made this rather easy, nutritious and delicious curry recipe to use up the lovely rainbow chard
I can't abide waste and its shocking the amount of perfectly good food that is thrown away, I can feel a rant coming on!!
I'll save it for another post and get on with the recipe.
I've demonstrated this recipe at various healthy eating workshops and it's always a favourite.
Part of the appeal of this recipe is that it uses few ingredients, just Thai Green or Red (if you like spicy!) Curry paste, some peanut butter and coconut milk. A lot of curries need lots of different spices which most of us don't have, unless we are curry fanatics, which I am not.
Red onions, garlic and ginger make up the other flavour components, adding a fair amount of anti inflammatory action to this dish!
So you can literally have this cooked in 30 to 40 minutes. You can cheat by using the jars of ready chopped ginger and garlic but I always prefer the fresh option!
Spinach is a good alternative to the rainbow chard and you can add a whole bag since it wilts down so much and is packed with all sorts of nutritional goodies!
On that note, I'm off to prepare a vegan lunch for tomorrow for the volunteers at the most successful Lets Eat Glasgow event last weekend, which I was a part of!
It's great to see so much quality Scottish food being promoted and even better to be a part of it all!
It's Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight so please support local producers!!
Here is the recipe, it's perfect for the weekend....
Chickpea, Squash & Rainbow Chard Curry
Ingredients - Serves 4
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