I love houmous, our whole family does, and I honestly can't imagine life without it! Its a perfect snack spread on oatcakes or with vegetable crudities. It's packed with protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals, and in my opinion, its a superfood!
So houmous is just chickpeas, tahini, good quality olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and whatever other flavourings take your fancy!
Now I like to mix things up a bit and plain old houmous can be a bit boring so I decided to jazz mine up a bit! I also love beetroot, it has so many benefits for our health and its such a fabulous vibrant colour and its incredibly cheap.
All the supermarkets sell vacuum packed beetroot, which is simply cooked in water, then vacuum packed to preserve it. Jars of beetroot are very popular in Scotland though they are pickled in vinegar which can be a bit overpowering so I always use the vacuum packed beetroot for dips.
Tahini is another one of my favourite ingredients and an essential ingredient in houmous. Its basically just sesame seeds ground into a paste. Its packed with calcium and magnesium and high in protein and its alkaline so easy for the body to absorb. Its a great food for building strong bones so great for growing kids and for all women to prevent oesteoporosis which is a horrible disease, mostly affecting women after the menopause. Exercise is another great bone builder so get yourself outside for a walk! Prevention is always better than cure so don't wait until your bones start thinning, do something about it now!
Anyway a wee digression there but back to the houmous!
Houmous is very versatile and I frequently have it as a topping on a baked sweet potato for my dinner, with caramelised red onions, tamari seeds and a big salad. Its actually one of my favourite dinners and so easy!
I have so much mint growing in the garden, it smells wonderful, is incredibly good for the digestion and I frequently have a big pot of mint tea, after dinner. If you have mint in your garden then just take a handful of leaves, put them into a warmed tea pot, then add boiling water and let the tea infuse for 5 minutes before you drink it. It's so delicious and way nicer than peppermint tea bags. A perfect end to a meal!
I guess the amounts of mint in this houmous are entirely up to you but I tend to use about 10 big leaves. Equally you could omit it altogether if its not a flavour you enjoy. That's the beauty of making your own dips, just add whatever you have to use up and switch ingredients around to make new combinations. Olive and coriander and sun dried tomato and basil are another two flavours I really enjoy. I can now add beetroot and mint to those two!
I had half an avocado to use up so added it to my houmous to make it extra creamy and delicious but its equally good without it. Just add another tablespoon of oil or water to get the consistency you prefer.
I have posted various other dips on the blog here so you can try a few other options!
BEETROOT & MINT HOUMOUS
1 tin chickpeas, drained
300g vaccum packed beetroot (about 3 to 4 small to med beets)
2 tablespoons tahini
juice of half a lemon ( approx 2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
sea salt to taste
1/2 ripe avocado, peeled (optional)
10 big mint leaves ( add more or less to your taste)
1. Quite simply put everything in a food processor and blitz until smooth. Add more oil, salt or lemon juice to taste.
2. Enjoy as a spread on oatcakes, wraps, baked potato topping or with vegetable crudities!
.......your health in your hands....
Now that Bonfire Night is here and I'm talking about how the weather affects our food choices and some healthy foods for Bonfire Night on BBC Radio Scotland Kitchen Cafe so I thought I'd quickly write a blog post to share some simple, healthy ideas to make your Bonfire Night Celebrations go with a bang! Big thanks to my lovely hand models Megan and Daniel from Juice Warriors for holding my paper cones of nuts and popcorn! They did eat them after I took the photos!
I have to admit its not a time of year I particularly enjoy, our dog Ben is absolutely terrified of fireworks and shakes uncontrollably when he hears them, which these days is not just on the 5th but for a few days before and after, so he's going to the kennels in the country this year.!
Soup in a mug always goes down well and there are many simple and delicious options to choose from on the blog. Just click on the soup category. I'd recommend Tomato and Chickpea it's so easy and delicious!
So back to some simple, healthy snack ideas. You really want finger foods that you and your guests can enjoy al fresco while you are watching the fireworks.. Also you don't want to be washing lots of dishes so these wee paper cones are perfect, I made mine from a Lidl magazine, half pages for spiced nuts and a full page for popcorn.
Here is the link showing you how to make them, its really easy!
These are delicious and way better than ordinary salted nuts. You can use any combination of nuts and seeds, I used walnuts, cashew nuts and pumpkin seeds but almonds, hazelnuts, pecans would work well too. Nuts are a great source of protein, good fats and minerals and seeds are packed full of antioxidants, protein, calcium and magnesium.
2 cups of nuts
1/2 cup of pumpkin or sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon tamari
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
1tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp to 1tsp cayenne pepper (depending how hot you like them)
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsps chopped rosemary (optional)
Put the nuts and seeds in a bowl and add the tamari, oil and all the spices and mix well until the nuts are coated in the mixture.
Empty the nuts and seeds onto a lightly greased baking tray, spreading them out into a single layer
Bake in the oven at 180C for around 10 to 15 minutes, shaking the tray to make sure they don't stick.
Cool then serve in paper cones!
Popcorn is a wonderful snack and its a wholegrain so has useful amounts of fibre. Its incredibly cheap to buy and you can make loads which is great for a party. Its a great kids snack and way better than Pringles or artificially flavoured crisps. Its even better if you use coconut oil to cook it in or rapeseed oil both of which are stable at high temperatures and add additional health benefits. A wee sprinkling of Himalyan Sea salt will add 86 trace minerals the body can use as well as a nice salty flavour!
Voila a cheap and healthy snack!
You don't need a popcorn maker, just a good sized solid pot with a lid.
So put enough oil to just cover the bottom of the pot, add a good grinding of sea salt and a single layer of corn kernels. Its important not to add too many or they will overflow and pop all over the place!
Just put the pot on a fairly high heat, put the lid on and hold it on, you will hear the corn start to pop. Don't be tempted to take the lid off or you could be hit in the face or the eye with a hot piece of popcorn, which is most definitely not fun! Give the pot a shake and when the popping stops, turn heat off, remove the lid and you have a pot full of delicious popcorn.
Season with some Himalyan sea salt, pour into large paper cones and enjoy!
Fun Filo Pastries
These healthy pastries make a delicious lunch or snack, are really easy to make and they are really versatile. They are baked in the oven so are pretty much fat free, compared to shop bought samosas which are generally deep fried in questionable oil! Not great for your health on any level! There are lots of alternative fillings but the simple curried filling seems appropriately warming and spicy for eating al fresco on Bonfire night!
1 pack of filo pastry, 30 x 50 cm (12 x 20 in) each,
1 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
1 tsp coriander seeds, coarsely crushed
1 potato, peeled and diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
½ cup frozen peas
1-2tbsp curry paste
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
pinch of salt
Quite simply, half and thinly slice 2 red onions. Sauté the onions in a tablespoon of olive oil over a low heat with a pinch of sea salt for 10 minutes until soft. Add a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and stir for a few minutes.
Crumble or cube the feta cheese and mix together.
Chickpea, spinach and feta cheese
Drain a tin of drained chickpeas, and add to food processor with 100g feta cheese, couple of handfuls spinach, zest of a lemon, tablespoon lemon juice, ½ tsp smoked paprika and blitz until combined.
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....
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’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......
I just love dips and quite honestly don’t think our family could survive without hummus of some sort! It’s a frequent snack in our house but really healthy and delicious.
Based on chickpeas which are a great source of protein, fibre, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium and loads more, chickpeas support literally every system in the body!
Add in tahini, full of calcium and magnesium, Garlic a nutritional superstar, olive oil full of Vit E and omega 3 fats to support brain health and fresh lemon juice a great source of Vit C, antioxidants and highly alkalising and you have a fabulous snack food on your hands!
That is the nutritional impact of hummus! Impressed, you should be!! Hummus provides sustainable energy, controls cholesterol, reduces risk of heart attack and strokes and maintains a healthy digestive system. So if hummus isn’t already part of your healthy eating then it really should be!
Here is the basic recipe:
1 400g can chickpeas
1 tablespoon tahini
2 tablespoons olive oil or extra virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
1 garlic clove, crushed
About 100ml water
½ teaspoon ground cumin
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
1. Simply add the ingredients to a food processor or blender and gradually add the water until you get desired consistency.
2. Taste and adjust the seasoning. You can add more lemon juice and/or garlic till you are happy with the flavour.
Its so versatile and great on a wrap with salad, on oatcakes, rice cakes, my favourite brand is Kallo, they do a fabulous range of organic rice cakes and they even write a cute wee poem on each packet.
They are a great company making real quality products with the best organic ingredients.
Contrasting with the other well known brand, Snack a Jacks which have MSG and all sorts of additives you don’t want to be eating. You have been warned!! Choose wisely for your health!
Anyway back to the dips, the other thing about hummus is you can make so many variations. Another favourite of ours is olive and coriander. Olives add great quality fats and fresh coriander is incredibly detoxing and supports your liver and it tastes great!
Here is the recipe
Green Olive & Coriander Hummus
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon tahini
8 to 10 pitted green olives
large handful of coriander leaves
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Simply add everything to a food processor and blitz until smooth. Add water to desired consistency. Check seasoning and serve!
Another favourite is Moroccan Butter-bean Dip, as the title suggests, it uses butter-beans- as the base, which have very similar benefits to chickpeas, full of fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals. A few apricots add a delicate sweetness with piquancy from the smoked paprika and a wee hit of heat from the cayenne pepper.
Moroccan Butter-bean Dip
1 400g can of butter-beans, rinsed and drained
½ red pepper, sliced
3 dried ready to eat apricots
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
1/4- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, its quite strong so taste then add more if you like
A pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Simply add all the ingredients to a food processor and blitz until well combined.
2. Taste and adjust the seasoning
3. Add water to desired consistency.
4. Serve and enjoy on crackers, oatcakes, with raw veggie crudities.
And last but not least here is my absolute favourite dip, packed full of health enhancing ingredients! It's delicious, so simple to make and such a vibrant colour. I actually won first prize on Twitter with this recipe and won a whole hamper full of Fairtrade products from Liberation Nuts!
So if you want to impress someone, make this!!
Beetroot & Walnut Dip
Beetroot is a powerful detoxifier, cleansing the liver and kidneys and walnuts are a great source of omega 3 fats which support heart and brain function.
250-300g cooked beetroot, vacuum packed
1 or 2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 handful of fresh coriander or flat leaf parsley (optional)
½ cup, (50g/2oz) walnuts
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil or walnut oil
1 tablespoon of balsamic or apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon of tahini
Sea salt and black pepper
1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz to a coarse paste.
2. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, season with salt and pepper.
Dips are also great as a topping for a baked sweet potato, one of my favourite lunches actually with caramelised red onions and tamari seeds on top. Super yum served with a big salad. Totally balanced, delicious, simple and healthy.
....your health in your hands...
These are quite simply the most delicious scones ever! They really melt in your mouth and everyone loves them. My lovely mum and my youngest daughter Laura came up with this recipe one baking afternoon. Jenna my other daughter ( I have 4 lovely girls!) is vegan so we started experimenting with vegan baking and now we actually prefer vegan cakes. So no dairy or eggs in any of our baking and we always minimise or replace refined sugar which is just plain bad on so many levels!
These wee scones have only 1 teaspoon sugar per scone which is 4g but they are deliciously sweet due to the coconut which also has soluble fibre so benefits your digestion. I am known as Crazy Coconut Lady at home, I just love coconut in all its forms and will find any excuse to add it to cakes, smoothies, soups, dips, & curries! In my opinion its just the most delicious flavour and it is so incredibly good for you!
Follow my blog for lots more coconut recipes..... !
Anyway I digress, back to the scones... The most important thing with scones is to cut them quite thick and make sure the oven is hot before you put them in. So often scones end up more like biscuits which is definitely not how they are supposed to be! They are best eaten fresh out of the oven, which isn't really a problem, they are so delicious and light you can eat two or three at one go....!
The scones are delicious served with organic coconut oil, sugar free jam, coconut jam, or good old organic butter. Enjoy...!
8oz/225g self raising flour
2 level teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ oz/40g caster sugar
4 oz /110g soya or sunflower spread
2 oz/55g desiccated coconut
3 or 4 tablespoons soya milk.
1. Heat the oven to 220C/425F/ Gas 7 and lightly grease a baking sheet.
2. The easiest way to make these scones is to add all the dry ingredients to
a food processor and pulse for a few minutes, then add the milk a little at
a time until the mixture comes together,
3. If you don’t have a food processor then put the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Using your fingertips rub the spread into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Vegan spreads are really soft so run your hands under a cold tap before you start and work quickly to keep the mixture from clumping.
4. Stir in the sugar and coconut then add the milk gradually and mix with a
wooden spoon until the mixture comes together.
5. Turn out onto a floured work surface and pat into a round ¾ inch or 2 cm thick.
6. Cut out 10 scones, I use a heart shaped cookie cutter since I reckon
we could all do with more love in our lives!
7. Brush the tops of the scones with milk and liberally sprinkle coconut on
8. Bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes until well risen and nicely browned
The scones are delicious served with organic coconut oil, sugar free jam, coconut jam, or good old organic butter.
A healthy lifestyle blog with green living tips, plant-based recipes and natural health magic.