Baked cinnamon apple with vanilla nut cream ‘bling’!

Baked apple and cashew cream

The Ingredients:

This is a superb occasional treat. Relatively low in natural sweetness (compared to other desserts).

Full of flavour, texture..
Delicious!

Serves 5

5 Apples – preferably organic. Buy apples when they are in season in your country.
5 teaspoons of Raisins – organic, and/ or diced dates – preservative-free.
(Use 1 tsp of dried fruit per apple).
Cloves – 2 for each apple (these get removed after baking).
A teaspoon of cinnamon and mixed spice.
Cashew or almond cream made from soaked raw cashews or almonds
(or any other type of delicious nut).. I used walnuts in this dessert..

The ‘How To':

Peel and care your apples.
(You don’t need to peel if your apples are organic – there are nutrients in the skin).

Hydrate the dried fruit if you have time. You can quickly ‘re-hydrate’ the dried fruit first by soaking it in some warm water, then draining it.

Mix the cinnamon and mixed spice into the dried fruit.

Lovingly put the teaspoon of chopped dates or raisins and 2 cloves in the middle of each apple.

Bake in the oven on a moderate heat for about 20 mins.
I like mine to still be a bit crunchy.

To make the nut cream:

Soaked raw cashews – 1 cup
OR Soaked almonds.
Pure vanilla the seeds from one pod or a couple of teaspoons of pure (real) vanilla essence.
A tiny bit of date or a little stevia to sweeten the cream. Doesn’t need much – 2 pitted dates..

Garnish with some soaked raw nuts – any type and a sprinkle of cinnamon and mixed spice.

Enjoy! Remember to not eat the whole cloves but to put them aside
when you discover them while eating!

A wee note:

Portion sizes/ amounts are important when it comes to not spiking our
blood sugar levels
 too far upwards.

1 apple each person.. really hits the spot..
The skin on the apple, the nut cream and whole nuts add healthy fat and fibre
that also help to moderate the effect of this yummy dessert on our blood sugar levels.

Baked apples with cashew cream

SO Yum.

Lovely cold too.

Baked apple and cashew cream

 

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“The future belongs to those that believe in the beauty of their dreams!”

QUOTE Photo of the sun rising - beautiful

I just love this quote!
What a remarkable lady Eleanor Roosevelt was. She was the longest serving First Lady in the USA.  She was a politician and a human rights activist.
She didn’t have an easy life.
She had such character and depth.
Hard times tend to grow that in us, eh?!
I think that her quote is profoundly encouraging.
We all have those dreams ..sometimes they can be deeply buried?
Eleanor’s words encourage us to listen, to cherish and to step into our dreams. There is real hope and promise, and ‘future’ in this.
May you take one step today towards your dreams. A small daily step with perseverance is just as valuable as a big leap!
This post for me is part of me stepping into one of my dreams. It is to offer both real food inspiration (around the physical, healthy food that we eat) and ‘soul food’ fodder. I want to encourage as many people as possible while I am on the face of this earth! My movie is to  facilitate real, lasting transformation in people’s lives. One daily step at a time.
Bless your day today!
Margaretxx

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Permission to be the unique you that you are created to be!

Some ‘SOUL FOOD’ thoughts..

I went to my lovely ladies group last week and was given this beautiful daffodil with this wee message on it. There was a flower and note for every person there.

 

Daffodil - Soul food

I think that the message is really profound. We can spend a lot of time and energy in life trying (often subconsciously) to be like others. We are unique. Our fingerprint is literally unlike anyone else’s on the face of this earth. We have a unique set of giftings. A unique purpose and plan for our lives. Why would we want to try to be like anyone but ourselves?!

Bless your uniqueness and the freedom to be you.

Don’t you just love Spring?
Don’t you just love having good friends?

Margaretxx

‪#‎realfoodforrealhealth‬ ‪#‎encouragement‬ ‪#‎inspiration‬ ‪#‎soulfood‬‪ #‎healthcoach‬

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A Green Juice With Attitude + Tips On Juicing

 

3. Immune boosting green juice

 

This wonderful vegetable juice ‘with attitude’ is one of my favourites.
This juice really does have attitude, in that the ginger and garlic gives it a bit of a kick. It warms the mouth and throat and energises the body. This easy juice has plenty of phytonutrients – antioxidants and enzymes to boost your immunity. Great for wintertime. Great for anytime of the year!

Ingredients:

The best of the best is using organic ingredients. Or just spray-free is OK too. See below for more thoughts on this.
This recipe makes juice for one person. Feel free to double, triple the ingredients if you have more people to ‘feed’.

2 big bunches of fresh, well washed raw spinach
1 apple
1 carrot
A piece of fresh, raw ginger half the length of your thumb in size
1 medium sized clove of raw garlic
About 1/2 cup of filtered water – or more to your taste.
1/2 a lemon (optional)

You could add other green leafy vegetables as well. Go with what is in season and fresh. Feel free to be creative. You absolutely can ‘taste and tweak ingredients’ as you go to suit your palate. A handful of fresh herbs can be a wonderful taste and health boost. Cilantro/coriander…basil…the sky is the limit.

After juicing, you could mix in a little spirulina for even more goodness.

‘How to':

If not using organic / spray-free vegetables and fruit, peel them first. If organic, keep the skins on.
To make the spinach easier to wash, separate the spinach into its individual leaves. Do this by chopping the very ends of the bunches. Use all of the stalks – don’t waste these!
Throw all of your ingredients into a large bowl or pot. Fill with cold water (preferably filtered) and quickly wash well. Drain. Good not to leave the greens sitting in the water as they can lose their nutrients.

Juice!
Add the water and mix.

Enjoy!

Some more thoughts on juicing and our health + money saving tips..

Using fresh, organic produce is my first choice. Spray-free would be my second choice, also better than ‘conventionally’ grown produce. However… most of us aren’t eating enough vegetables! When this is the case, the first priority is to get the wonderful nutrients in – organic or not. As you increase your vegetable intake (via juicing and eating) it is great to source more organic, and spray-free produce. Farmers markets are great for this. Joining a collective in your community and purchasing at wholesale prices is fantastic. Growing our own organic vegetables is the freshest option and can be the absolute cheapest – a bit like printing money!

Let’s all ask at our supermarkets and everywhere we shop, for more fresh, seasonal, organic and spray free produce! Our collective spending dollar is surprisingly powerful. I feel that a revolution in our food supply could happen if enough people started to assertively ‘vote’ with their dollar. Exciting.

The environmental working group give guidance on what vegetables and fruit have the least and the most pesticides and herbicides. Their clean fifteen, and dirty dozen can guide you in what you decide to buy organic or not. e.g apples, celery, cucumbers, spinach, kale, collard greens are best to buy spray-free / organic if possible.

If you juice regularly, it is a wonderful thing to vary the type of vegetables that you put in your juices. This helps us to get the maximum possible nutrients from different foods.
e.g. Instead of having spinach every time you juice, add many other types of vegetables.

Green vegetable collage

When we juice, the fibre is removed. This means that the nutrients can be really quickly absorbed by our bodies. I can literally feel a ‘boost’ within about 15 minutes of drinking a green juice!

It is really important, to not have too much fruit in your juices. Too much fruit will rocket your blood sugar levels upwards which is not good for our health. Being aware of the sweet vegetables is important too. e.g. carrots and beetroot are good to have in moderation. A really good principle is to not ‘drink’ more pieces of fruit (or sweet vegetables) than you would normally eat in one sitting. A very good explanation around not juicing and drinking too many pieces of fruit at one time, is in the wonderful movie ‘That Sugar Film’ by Damon Gadeau. I recommend this movie.

Speaking of the fibre.. I really don’t like throwing any food away! I like to keep the fibre from juicing and put it into soups and casseroles. Fibre has many wonderful benefits for our health.

The fibre from juicing

What type of juicer is best?

Slow juicers compress the fruit and vegetables in a sedate sort of a way and this apparently reduces the oxidation of the juice.

Our juicer

Fast juicers are OK though too. I’ve seen these at second-hand shops and online for next to nothing. Well worth keeping an eye out for buying one this way if on a tight budget.

Ideally great to drink green juices within about 20 minutes for maximum goodness, however you can take these with you when you are out and about. Put your juice into a screw top jar with a well-sealing lid. Storing in a fridge or wee chilli bag while you are out is great if you can do this. Green juices can make a great energy drink. A super-healthy alternative to coffee, tea, soda, and other drinks while going about life. You might want to skip on the garlic…and add other inspiring ingredients instead to avoid any garlic breath!

Immune boosting green juice to go

I think that it is wonderful to drink green vegetable juice and to also eat a wide variety of plant-based, real, whole foods with an intentionality for building wellness for ourselves and our families. In society, we currently have a paradigm of sickness care, we collectively need to shift our focus onto prevention and wellness.
What are your thoughts? Feel free to share below..

Bless your wellness.

 

 

 

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Yummy chia dessert for breakfast – an easy step by step recipe

 Chia berry dessert for breakfast - or anytime of day

This is one of my favourite breakfasts…or snacks…or desserts…

I love that this is nutritious, processed sugar-free, dairy-free and gluten-free. It has a creamy, decadent feel about it while being really healthy. You can prepare this the night before and put in the fridge, or make it about 10-15 minutes before needed.

There are no rules with making this recipe.
There may be other ingredients that ‘call’ to you from your fridge/pantry and beg to be added?!
If you want the consistency to be more liquid simply add more almond milk.
Kids (and adults) love seeing the way the chia seeds absorb the nut milk and become bigger and gelatinous…in a non-gross sort of a way!
This recipe feeds about 5-7 people.

The Ingredients:

 

Labelled collage - Chia dessert ingredients

The ‘How To’ – Step by Step:

Create your creamy dairy-free milk in minutes -

Put these ingredients into your blender container:
(High speed blenders work the best, but a standard upright blender will also do).

1 cup of soaked raw almonds. This is about 3/4 cup of un-soaked almonds. They bulk up.
1 litre of filtered water.
4 pitted dates or a small amount of stevia.
A little pinch of Himalayan rock salt – this brings out the flavour of the almonds.
1-2 teaspoons of pure vanilla essence or the seed paste from the inside of one vanilla bean.

Making almond milk

Blend the almonds, water, dates, salt and vanilla together. It takes about a minute.

Blending almond milk ingredients

After blending, there will be some texture or sediment in the milk. There may be small chunks of almond and date. I don’t strain it, but put every bit of this delicious goodness into the recipe.

Creamy almond milk

Pour your frothy, creamy almond milk into a good sized bowl.

Creamy almond milk

Gradually add 7 tablespoons of chia seeds (dark or light ones) to your milk while stirring.
Using a whisk helps. Adding your chia like this prevents clumping.

Mixing chia seeds into almond milk

Stir again in a few minutes. Let the chia seed bulk up beautifully. This takes about 10-15 minutes.

Chia seed dessert for breakfast
Add 1/2 cup of desiccated coconut.

Adding coconut
Add 3/4 cup soaked raw sunflower seeds.

Adding soaked sunflower seeds
Add 1 cup of mixed fresh or frozen berries (or just one type of berry).

Berry coconut almond chia dessert for breakfast

Stir well.

For Decoration or ‘Bling':

Put some more berries and a sprinkle of coconut on top – either desiccated or flaked. You could also top with any other soaked nuts or seeds, or a little fresh seasonal fruit that inspires.

Serve and enjoy!

Kids (and big kids) enjoy stirring in the berries and watching the colour of the milk change to bluey pink. Raspberries create lovely marbled effects.

If you are transitioning off processed sugar it can be helpful to put more berries into this recipe to naturally sweeten it a bit more. Alternatively you may want to add a couple more dates to your almond milk. Once your palate adjusts to less sugar, you can decrease the amount of berries/dates.

Money and time-saving tips:

  • Chia seeds do really ‘bulk up’ in size so they go further than you think. They are also filling. We buy our organic chia seeds in bulk through a community collective. They are much cheaper this way. Otherwise you could buy them when on special from the bulk food bins at your local supermarket, or from bulk food stores. Store chia seeds in the fridge to keep them nice and fresh. If you want to, you can use less chia in this recipe and more sunflower seeds and/or coconut.
  • You could use less almonds to make your almond milk. I like mine really creamy though.
    You can soak almonds (and other raw nuts and seeds) overnight and then store in the fridge for up to a couple of days. This way they are on hand when you need them. Drain these and give them a good rinse before using. Soaked nuts and seeds increase in size too which is great. I LOVE seeing food grow!

Bulk food preparation in advance is a wonderful time-saver! Simply make up this recipe and keep it in the large bowl. Cover the bowl with a plate and put into the fridge for easy self-service the next morning. Another very cool option is to divide the mixture into glass jars (or non-breakable containers for younger kids) one for each member of your family. Put a well-sealing lid on each container. Put into the fridge overnight to let the magic happen. The seeds bulk up even more overnight, and really absorb the delicious flavour of the other ingredients.

These make wonderfully easy ‘chia to go’ breakfasts or snacks for work or school.

Chia to go edited collage

A quick rave about the goodness of the ingredients in this recipe..

This recipe has plenty of protein, fibre and also some good fats, all of which help to make us full for longer. This is always a good thing for the beginning of the day as it can prevent mid-morning sugar cravings and tiredness!

Raw chia seed – a super food. Contains omega 3 fatty acids, protein, fibre and important minerals. Also contains protective antioxidants. Chia seeds can apparently help to improve blood sugar control.
Raw almonds – have protein, fibre and healthy fats. They have magnesium, Vit E, and other antioxidants. The thin brown skin of the almonds contain most of the antioxidants. Soaking almonds ‘activates’ them and helps deal to the phytic acid making the nutrients better absorbed by our bodies.
Dates – a very effective natural sweetener. As we are adding the whole pitted date, all of the fibre and nutrients are included. If you need to watch your blood sugar levels, some natural stevia (the green powdered variety) is an excellent choice.
Vanilla – the smell of vanilla has been linked to the production of endorphins! When vanilla is added to a recipe, less natural sweetener is needed. Vanilla seed paste from the inside of a vanilla bean has the best flavour.

De-seeding a vanilla pod

Coconut - contains fibre, protein. The fat contains a little lauric acid (also found in breastmilk) which has antiviral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal properties.
Raw sunflower seeds - contain vitamin E, also selenium, copper, zinc, folate. They have protein, fibre and good fat.
Berries – have wonderful phytonutrients. They are anti-oxidant rich (blueberries have the most). Berries in general are considered to have a low glycaemic index. This means that when eaten in moderation, they don’t spike your blood sugar levels too far upwards – which is important.

A couple more thoughts to do with our health..

  • Choose organic berries whenever possible as non-organic berries have spray residues.
  • Glass or stainless steel food storage containers are better than plastic, as plastic (even BPA-free) has the potential to leave residues in the food. Younger kids need non glass chia-to-go containers.
  • Avoid giving chopped nuts and small seeds to really young children due to the choking risk.

 

If you like this recipe, feel very free to share this post with friends and family. I’d really appreciate it. Thanks!

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No rules, power-packed sushi

Sushi nori rolls with a difference

This delicious idea came to me one day as I dug into the fridge and pulled out whatever inspired to make some sushi with a really creative difference. I was hungry and wanted something that was going to fill me up.

I love this type of sushi as it is using a variety of nutrient-dense whole foods that are by their nature filling. It has fermented veges so is great for gut health and has sprouts that are packed with health-building goodies. The gluten-free quinoa with a little millet is healthier than white rice.

I had a wee epiphany on typing up this blog post and looking at my ‘no rules’ sushi photos. It dawned on me that the contents of this sushi are perhaps symbolic in that they represent a shift in what we need to be putting on our plates. For a long time there has been the recommendation to ‘eat mostly’ carbohydrates. You know, the bottom of the old food pyramid? Now there is a growing realisation that what we need to be eating most of is salad and vegetables, and less in the way of carbohydrates (especially the refined, white ones).

Keeping the above in mind, the sky is the limit with this ‘recipe’.
You can add whatever healthy goodies inspire you! Pile as much salad and veges as you can fit inside each nori sheet.

It can work very well for friends and family members if you put the ingredients on the table and let them make their own creations. Kids love doing this.

Mine was messy to eat, I definitely needed a fork!

Ingredients:

  • A sushi nori sheet or more if you are feeding a few people.
  • Any colour (red, black or white) cooked quinoa and cooked hulled millet. I used a combination of  red quinoa and millet. Approximately 1 part millet to 4 parts quinoa. I had bulk cooked them together and stored them in the fridge/or freezer for quick and easy access. When cooked, they were a bit sticky which helped the sushi to (mostly) hold together.
  • A drizzle of raw apple cider vinegar, or gluten-free tamari (soy sauce) – approx 1 teaspoon of either per nori roll.
  • Some fermented veges – I used spicy Kimchee. You could use Sauerkraut and if you like a bit of heat, add a little sprinkle of dried chilli flakes…or cayenne pepper…or finely chopped jalapenos…
  • Mung bean sprouts, or any sprouts.
  • Grated carrot.
  • Fancy lettuce. You could add baby spinach leaves, rocket…whatever inspires.
  • Sesame seeds, or add a little tahini (sesame seed paste) – about 1 teaspoon per nori roll. Some people are allergic to sesame seeds – check with any guests first!
  • A little sprinkle of Himalayan rock salt to taste. Sauerkraut, Kimchee and tamari contain salt so you may not need it.

The ‘How To':

Sushi making - size 9 spacing

  • Put the nori sheet on a plate.
  • Get your cooked and cooled quinoa/millet combination (see cooking instructions below under ‘Time and money saving tips’). Spread a thin layer of these lovely gluten-free wholegrains/seeds on top of your nori sheet. Leave a little gap around the edges so it will stick together when rolled up.
  • Drizzle over the quinoa/millet your raw apple cider vinegar, or tamari.
  • Add your salad ingredients and fermented veges, chilli etc in whatever order you like. Go with the flow. Be creative. N.B Kids may not like too much heat/spice!
  • Sprinkle on some sesame seeds or drizzle some tahini over your salad and fermented veges if desired.
  • Add a little Himalayan rock salt to taste.
  • Roll into a roll. Cut into halves, or quarters. The pieces are large which adds to the fun.
  • Serve.

Provide a fork …and perhaps some serviettes!

Time and money saving tips:

  • Bulk cook your grains and store in the fridge for up to 2 days. We cook ours in a rice cooker that has a stainless steel cooking bowl. I switch my rice cooker onto the ‘warm’ setting after about 15 mins of boiling so that the grains at the bottom don’t burn. Otherwise you can just cook your quinoa and millet together in a pot on the stove. 2 cups of water to 1 cup of quinoa. Cook until the grains are soft (again, approx 15 mins). Soaking wholegrains first makes their nutrients even more absorbable and can also shorten their cooking time. If you are eating in a low carb way, having just a wee bit of these whole grains/seeds in your sushi can satisfy without spiking your blood sugar levels (and appetite) upwards.  
  • Get your family and friends to build their own sushi rolls around the table together – it is social, creative and incredibly time efficient!
  • Buy your nori sheets in bulk. We buy a lot of our ingredients in bulk through a community collective. This is much cheaper. Good to buy nori and other seaweeds from clean seas.
  • Grow your own organic sprouts. These are easy to do and SO cheap…and very nutrient-dense. This means amazing ‘bang for your buck’ nutritionally. If you don’t have time to grow them, you can buy them.
  • Make your own fermented vegetables like Kimchee or Sauerkraut. This is a lot cheaper than buying them. If making these is not an option for you, you could purchase them at health food shops.
  • You could get your fresh salad ingredients at a good price from a local Farmer’s market. That way you can ask if they are spray-free/organic…OR we could start a revolution and start asking at our local supermarkets and fruit and vege shops for more spray-free/organic produce?! Let’s do it.

Enjoy!

Sushi with a difference 03

If you like this recipe, feel free to share this post with your family and friends. Many thanks!

 

 

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