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....
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......
🍃 Health educator🍃