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.......
I had another OMG moment this week when I finally got around to trying out this 2 ingredient chocolate mousse!
Why is it magical, you may ask?
Well one of the ingredients is the liquid from a tin of butter beans!
Yes you read that right !! It's called aquafaba in foodie circles and literally translates as bean water!
A rather smart french chef noticed that bean water had a similar consistency to egg whites so he whipped it up and Voila, it formed perfect peaks exactly like egg whites!
Now this is very good news for vegans and folks with an egg allergy!
Meringues, macaroons and the most deliciously light chocolate mousse are now on the menu!
Now I was a bit sceptical and thought the bean water would impart a beany taste but it didn't at all!
I thought I'd start with the simplest recipe I could find and it doesn't get much simpler than this chocolate mousse and I have to admit, it is absolutely delicious, fluffy, chocolatey, light and airy!
You really have to try it out, it's truly magical!
I used a bar of dark chocolate with orange but you could use any good quality chocolate. I'm thinking that chocolate mint would be a great and I'll be trying that next!
So impress your friends and family with this most delicious and healthy dessert this Christmas!
Oh I forgot to say, you can use the butter beans in Broccoli, Spinach & Bean Soup so nothing is wasted. I detest food waste and this is a great way of using everything!!
So here is the recipe........enjoy!
MAGICAL CHOCOLATE MOUSSE Makes 6 small or 4 medium dishes
1 100g bar of chocolate, preferably 60 or 70% cocoa solids
1 or 2 tablespoons sweetener, maple syrup or brown rice syrup (optional)
liquid from a tin of butter beans or chickpeas
pinch of sea salt
1. Break the chocolate into pieces and put into a glass bowl. Put the bowl on top of a pot with some boiling water. Keep the water on a gentle simmer and stir the chocolate occasionally until it's fully melted.
At this stage you can add sweetener, if you prefer a sweeter mousse.
Put aside to cool
2.Put the liquid from the beans into a bowl, add a pinch of sea salt and whisk until peaks form. I used my mixer but a hand whisk or a hand blender would also work but will take a little longer. You need the mixture to form stiff peaks. A good test is to turn the bowl upside down and the mixture should stay put! If it slides then its not stiff enough!
3. When the chocolate has cooled a bit, gradually add spoonfuls of the whisked bean mixture and gently fold it into the chocolate. You want to keep as much air as possible to keep the mousse light and fluffy so don't be tempted to beat it too hard. Just be patient and take your time.
4. Pour into nice glasses or ramekin dishes and decorate with cacao nibs, grated chocolate, lemon or orange zest or chopped nuts!
Chill in the fridge for an hour or so.
5. Serve and enjoy!!
...........your health in your hands............
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....
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.....
A healthy lifestyle blog with green living tips, plant-based recipes and natural health magic.