Monday, October 24, 2011

Rosemary Butter Steamed Potatoes

One of my all time favourite ways to have potatoes is with rosemary butter. :)

3 medium potatoes, peeled & quartered into wedges
1 - 1 1/2 tbs melted butter
2 tsp ground dried rosemary
salt to taste

1.   Steam potato wedges until cooked (it takes 45 minutes in my steamer for them to be quite soft).  Once done, salt them to taste.
2.   Ground your rosemary to release the flavours:
Isn't this mini mortar & pestle too cute? :D
3.   Add rosemary to butter, mix to combine and pour over potato wedges to coat them.  After dishing up the potatoes, pour the remaining butter over them too.
Yummmmmm...... :)  I love steamed veggies.

Banana Strawberry Smoothie

Another yummy breakfast. The strawberries make this one pink and delicious.  :)

3 large bananas, chopped
10 strawberries
3 dessert spoons plain greek yoghurt
1 cup rice milk
2 tbs ground flaxseed
2 tbs ground uncooked oats

Blend everything together, and serve. :)
Makes 2 large servings.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Gluten-Free Banana Honey Oat Muffins

These muffins are so delicious and so sweet - as well as gluten-free & white sugar-free. 

3 very ripe bananas, mushed
3/4 cup honey
2 tbs ground flaxseeds mixed with 4 tbs water & left to stand for +- 5 mins before adding
1/3 cup apple sauce (or oil if you wish)
1/3 cup plain greek yoghurt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup buckwheat flour
3/4 cup uncooked oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chopped pecans

1.   Preheat oven to 180 C / 375 F and grease muffin tins.
2.   Combine bananas, honey, apple sauce, yoghurt, vanilla & flaxseed mixture
3.   In a large bowl combine flour, oats, baking powder & baking soda.  Pour banana mixture into dry ingredients and stir to just combine.
4.   Stir in pecans and divide among muffin tin.  Bake for about 15-18 minutes or until tester stick comes out nearly clean.

I used mini bread loaf tins because my muffin tins were occupied by cinnamon sweet potato muffins, so I baked it for 18 mins and they came out perfect, so you may have to bake them for a slightly shorter time if using a muffin tin.

These sticky, moist & soft muffins would make for a great dessert served with cream. :)
Linked up at these tasty blogs:
Sweet as Sugar Cookies   It's a Blog Party
Craft-O-Maniac               C.R.A.F.T.
Keeping it Simple             The DIY ShowOff

Apple Cider Vinegar & Honey Drink

I often have this ACV drink for the health benefits that ACV has to offer, especially it's alkalizing, detox and weight loss-assisting properties.

To be honest, it did take me 3 tries to develop a liking for this drink, but now that I've found the ACV to honey ratio that I find tasty,  it's actually quite refreshing. :)

2 tbs apple cider vinegar (not the fake "flavoured" stuff)
2 big squeezes of honey
2 cups water

I add the ACV, then the honey, 1/3 of water and then mix until the honey has dissolved (just takes a few seconds), then add the remaining water.

I don't measure the honey that I add, I just add 2 big squeezes from the bottle of honey...but the usual recommendation is 1 tbs honey for every 1 tbs ACV - start there and add more honey if you like it sweeter, or less if you like the strong taste of ACV.

I try to drink at least 1 glass a day.

Foods with Benefits: Honey

  • has anti-bacterial and anti-sepctic properties, so it is also useful in treating burns and wounds
  • has a healthy glycemic and may be suitable for diabetics in certain instances
  • contains no fat, cholesterol or sodium and is a much healthier option to sugar
  • helps with sore throat
  • may help with seasonal allergies - eat 2-3 spoons of local honey daily, several months prior to pollen season - it may act similar to a vaccine (this is only said to work with local honey though, since the bees obtain the honey from the very plants growing locally which cause your allergies)
  • provides instant energy - when mixed with water it is absorbed into the body within several minutes
  • it is said to aid in sleep - mix a spoonfull in milk and drink before going to bed
Honey can also be substituted for sugar in baking, and it adds a really lovely taste to banana muffins.

Sweet Rice

When I have left over basmati rice, I like to make this sweet meal out of it:

left over basmati rice
butter to taste
agave nectar to taste

Heat up your rice, add a small dollop of butter, drizzle over some agave nectar, mix and munch.  I really like it. :)

Foods with Benefits: Agave Nectar

  • it's a syrup similar in colour and consistency of maple syrup
  • it's a low GI sweetener, and also safe for some diabetics
  • it's a natural alternative sweetener to sugar, honey, syrup & maple syrup
  • known to have anti-bacterial properties - especially for the intestine, but also when applied topically
  • sweeter than sugar - can replace 1 cup of sugar with 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • it contains inulin which may have cancer preventing and other beneficial properties for the intestines and colon (it's said though that, if you have an over-abundance of bad bacteria in your gut, you may be sensitive to inulin and you may exibit, among other symptoms, a number of stomach problems)
While it is generally considered a healthier alternative to sugar, there is still some debate about the benefits (or lack thereof) of agave nectar, mostly due to the fact that there are companies who sell substandard non-organic agave nectar which is not at all good for your health (because their product goes through an extensive chemical refining process which converts the natural structure of the syrup into man-made chemical fructose) it's best to only buy 100% organic agave nectar from a trusted source.

Banana Oat Peanut Butter Smoothie

When you only have bananas to work with as far as fruits go, you need to get a little creative in making a smoothie out of them, and banana and peanut butter go well together. :)

3 large bananas
3 dessert spoons plain greek yoghurt
2 tbs raw oats, ground
1/2 tbs smooth peanut butter
1/2 tbs agave nectar
1 cup rice milk

Makes 2 large servings.
Chop bananas, combine everything in a blend and blend until smooth.  If you're not already adding flaxseeds to another part of your breakfast (eg muesli), then add 2 tbs ground flaxseeds to the smoothie as well.
You can add more agave if you want to taste it more in the smoothie - I just added a little so that the peanut butter isn't too overwhelming in the smoothie.

Agave nectar is a low GI natural sweetener that can be used in place of sugar and honey, with the added benefit that it's vegan because it's obtained from a plant.  It has a really lovely flavour and can be used in the place of syrup as well, such as on pancakes, and is really good for replacing sugar in baking.  I'll post some more info on this soon. :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Creamy Banana Oat Cinnamon Smoothie

Today I thought I'd try adding some cinnamon to my banana smoothie and I think it was yummy. :)

3 large bananas
1 cup rice milk (I'll use more next time though, since this smoothie was very thick, almost like a pour-y porridge - but still drinkable)
2 tbs raw oats, ground
2 tbs flaxseeds, ground
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Makes 2 medium servings.
Chop bananas into small chunks, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Creamy Banana Oat Smoothie

I like the flavour the oatmeal adds to this smoothie. :)

4 bananas
2 dessert spoons plain greek yoghurt
2 tbs raw oats, ground
2 tbs flaxseeds, ground
3/4 cup rice milk

Blend everything together until smooth.

I'm thinking maybe cinnamon might be interesting to try with this smoothie....maybe next time. :)

Spicy Cinnamon Butternut & Cinnamon Baked Veggies

Another one of my favourites is baked veggies, especially the spicy butternut with cinnamon - and it's so easy and quick to make too.

Spicy Cinnamon Butternut
butternut chuncks sliced to about 1/4 inch thickness
olive oil
cayenne pepper

Coat the butternut with oilve oil, place in baking tray and sprinkle with a generous amount of cinnamon and a little bit of cayenne (if you're not familiar with cayenne pepper, it's quite hot so only sprinkle on a tiny bit if you don't want it too spicy).

Cinnamon Baked Veggies
sweet potato, peeled & sliced to about 1/4 inch thickness or just less
onion, chopped into big chunks
olive oil

Coat the veggies with olive oil, place on baking tray and sprinkle with cinnamon and a little bit of nutmeg.

Bake all veggies for about 45 mins (or until tender) at 180 C / 350 F on the lowest rack  If it's on the higher rack mine seem to be baked to a crisp.

Yum yum. :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tropical Smoothie with Apple

I added an apple to my usual tropical smoothie, but I didn't peel the apple, since eating the whole apple has certain heart benefits in that the combined ingredients of a whole apple lowers your amount of blood fats.  The skin is also a good source of fibre.  So, eat them apples whole!  :)

2 bananas (not too overripe, otherwise their flavour is too sweet and overpowering)
1/4 small paw-paw (+- heaped 1/3 cup)
2-3 slices fresh pineapple
1 red apple, cored
1/3 cup orange juice (freshly squeazed is better, otherwise sugar-free, preservative free boxed juice will do) (or more as needed)
1/3 cup rice milk (optional) (or more as needed)
 4 heaped dessert spoons of plain greek yoghurt
1 tbs ground flax seeds

Makes 2 medium servings.
Chop fruits, add everything in blender and blend until smooth.  You can add more liquids if you would like the smoothie more liquidy.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Turmeric Yoghurt Salad Dressing

This is my favourite salad dressing!  Well, it's the only one I use, I don't like buying store bought ones anymore, I'd much rather make my own healthier ones from scratch.  I make a jar-full each time and it does keep for a while in the fridge (well, it's never lasted more than maybe 2 weeks max with me, I think...I use it a lot, so can't vouch that it keeps any longer than that).  :)

1 1/2 cup plain greek yoghurt
3/4 cup olive oil
3 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cayenne powder

Add yoghurt and oil, then spices in a glass jar.  Mix very well until completely combined.  Close jar and store in fridge.  You may have to just mix it a little before each use, since the oil tends to separate.

It makes a delicious creamy bright yellow dressing.  These spices also have a lot of health benefits, I'll post something about spices some time soon.  :)

Creamy Strawberry Tropical Smoothie

What better way is there to start the day off than with a fresh fruit smoothie? :)

3 bananas (not too overripe, otherwise their flavour is too sweet and overpowering)
1/4 large paw-paw
handful strawberries
1/3 cup orange juice (freshly squeazed is better, otherwise sugar-free, preservative free boxed juice will do) (or more as needed)
1/3 cup rice milk (optional) (or more as needed)
 3 heaped dessert spoons of plain greek yoghurt
1 1/2 tbs ground flax seeds

Makes 2 large servings.
Chop and then throw all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.  Add more liquids if you're like it more liquidy.  Now you have a delicious pink smoothie. :D
(As you may notice from the pic, I didn't add any flaxseeds to this particular smoothie because we had muesli as well and so I just sprinkled it over that instead.)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Foods with Benefits: Sprouts

Sprouts are one of the healthiest foods you can include in your diet - they are full of fresh, living, rejuvinating life-force:
  • they contain one of the highest vitamin and mineral content of any food, and are classified as a superfood
  • they contain, among others: Vit. A, B complex and C, chlorophyll, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, protein...
  • they're alkalizing on your body
  • they support the regeneration of cells
  • good source of fibre and protein
  • low in calories and low GI
  • their nutrients are easily digested and absorbed by the body
  • sprouts are raw food - they contain oxygen which is vital for healthy cells - it has been found that cancer cells, viruses and bacteria cannot live in an alkaline, oxygen-rich environment.  Oxygen is also destroyed when food is cooked.
  • since they sprout within a matter of days and are immediately eaten absolutely fresh, they are full of vital life-force, which is often lacking in fruits and veggies in store, as the living enzymes are depleted between the time they are picked to the time you get to eat them, sometimes more than a week later.  Thus sprouts provide us with much more nutrients than food that has had a shelf life.
  • they are cheap, can be grown all year long, use up only a tiny part of your kitchen/home and is so easy that a 5 year old can do it.  If you have a bean sprouter, sprouts are the easier, quickest and most hassle-free food you'll ever prepare. :)
  • examples of things you can sproute are alfalfa seeds, mung beans, chickpeas, wheat (which in it's sprouted form are safe for those who can't normally tolerate wheat products), lentils, broccoli etc
There is so much info about sprouts and their many, many health benefits that it's too much for me to cover here.  One site that has a lot of info on different sprouts and their nutritional value is Herbs are Special - if you're interested in learning more, start there!

See my post HERE on how to sprout seeds.

Mixed Avocado Salad

This is my husband's favourite salad - he loves salad and most of all salad with avo.  For me, avo or feta complete a salad.  :)  We have this with dinner several times a week - it's fresh, easy, quick to make and so healthy (also alkalising).  The more ways you can find to add raw fresh foods to your diet, the better.

2 tomatoes
1/4 cucumber
2 leaves lettuce
1 stick celery
1/4 large green pepper
1 avocado
2 tbs sunflower seeds
2 tbs pumpkin seeds
drizzle olive oil
Himalayan crystal salt, to taste

Dice, slice and chop the veggies, sprinkle over the seeds, olive oil and salt, mix and serve. 

I don't particularly like celery actually, but it's so healthy that I include it anyway - it's good for the kidneys, helping them to eliminate waste; it helps cleanse the body of toxins; it contains a lot of nutrients such as Vit. C, fibre, folic acid, potassium and compounds known as coumarins and acetylenics which help prevent free radicals from damaging cells, aids in cancer prevention and has also been show to stop the growth of tumors. 

I grow my own basil, so when I have that on hand I love to add it with this salad. 

I also sprout mung beans, alfalfa seeds and chickpeas, so when I have these on hand as well I add them to salads.  They're extremely nutritious - I'll post some info on them soon.

Mashed Potato Salad

This is one of my all time favourite things EVER!  This is where I decided to combined 2 of my favourite dishes (mashed potato and potato salad) into 1 delicious 'tato dish that's now even better. :)

This isn't a precise recipe, you just add everything depending on your taste.  But I usually make as big a batch as my largest cooking pot can hold, and even then it only lasts no more than 2 days with me and my husband.

+- 6 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch slices for quicker cooking
at least 2 tbs butter
salt to taste
5-6 dessert spoons full tangy mayo
1 small to medium onion, very finely chopped

1.   Add potatoes to pot, fill with water to just cover them, add a glug of olive oil on top to help control the foam, and boil until potatoes are very soft and ready for mashing.  Pour out any left over water
2.   Add salt and butter to taste, and mash those 'tatoes with a potato masher until mixed well
3.   Add the onions and mash again until mixed well
4.   Finally add the mayo (again, to taste) and mash some more until it's mixed well and creamy-looking

And after that arm workout, you get to be the first privileged one to taste your amazing potato creation.  I like it best when it's still's almost better than chocolate.  I said almost.

I like the onion very finely chopped so that you don't get big chunks of onion in one bite, and no onion at all in the next. 

Enjoy!!  :D

Gluten-free Cinnamon Sweet Potato Muffins

I think I now love baking with sweet potatoes, because of the 2 different sweet potato muffins that I've tried out, both of them always turned out so soft and moist and spongy and yummy!  :)

1 cup oats, uncooked
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
300 ml mashed sweet potato (the original recipe actually called for 450ml, but due to a mistake on my part in converting ounces to cups, I ended up with 300ml....but it seemed to work out perfect!)
1/4 tsp stevia powder
1/2 cup plain greek yoghurt
1/3 cup oil
1/4 cup rice milk
1 tbs ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tbs water, let stand for +- 3 mins before adding to rest of ingredients
1 tsp vanilla

1.   Preheat oven to 200 C / 400 F and grease muffin tin.
2.   In a large bowl, add oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and stevia - mix well.  Then add sweet potatoes, oil, milk, flaxseed mixture, yoghurt and vanilla and mix until just well moistened.
3.   Divide into 12 muffin tins and bake for about 15 mins (or until tester stick comes out mostly clean).

I actually prefer if there is still some doughy-ness on the end of the tester stick, because then I know my muffins aren't too dry - but they're never still uncooked inside.

Also, I froze them for a day or 2 to test 'em out, and they freeze well - they're still soft and moist after defrosting.
Linked to these tasty blogs:
Rook No. 17         Be Different, Act Normal
Sugar Bananas       Muffin Monday
I Heart Naptime     .

Mashed Cinnamon Sweet Potato

I had some coconut milk left from the 'tato, lentil & coconut curry, so I decided to try something new (for me anyway) - I made some sweet potato mash with coconut milk.  I only made a small portion because I didn't think my husband would have any since he's not a big fan of sweet potatoes unless I bake 'em along with a bunch of other veggies...oh well, his loss. :)

I think it turned out good, and would make a nice sweet side dish with....well, some savoury main meal.

1 cup mashed sweet potato
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
6 tbs coconut milk
small pinch powdered Himalayan crystal salt

Mix all together.  Use more or less coconut milk depending on how you want the consistency of the mash to be.  And it really doesn't need any other sweetening as it's quite sweet already.

I don't often invent recipes from scratch, so I'm glad this one turned out nice (at least I think so). :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Spicy Potato, Lentil & Coconut Curry

I love the flavour of coconut curries. :)  So here goes:

2 tbs olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped finely
2 tsp grated dried ginger
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp dried crushed chili
1 tsp curry powder
3 medium potatoes, peeled & cut into+- 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup orange lentils, uncooked
300 ml canned diced tomatoes
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup veggie stock
1 tsp salt
5 drops liquid stevia extract
1 1/2 cups basmati rice, cooked separately

1.   Heat oil and fry onions until they're translucent.  Add the ginger, chili and all the spices, mix, and cook for about another minute.
2.   Add potato and lentils, and stir to coat them with the spices.
3.   Add tomatoes, coconut milk, stock, salt, stevia and bring to the boil.  Cover with lid and simmer until potatoes are tender, while stirring frequently.  I forgot to time it. :(  But it could have been about 1 hour.  Serve over rice.

This is so filling and SO delicious!

Foods with Benefits: Blackstrap Molasses

  • good source of protein, which also helps increase energy levels - compared to meat, blackstrap molasses provides more iron for less calories, and is totally fat free
  • there are many testimonies from those who say that blackstrap molasses is a better than taking iron supplements, since iron supplements tend to cause constipation and stomach problems
  • good source of calcium
  • also a good source of copper, manganese, potassium, magnesium, selenium and Vitamin B6
  • it's a healthier option for sweetening foods since it has a lot more nutritional value than sugar (which contains nothing but sugary carbs)
  • it's low GI, so is safe to use with most blood sugar level issues
If you can find the unsulphered blackstrap molasses that will be even better, since sulpher dioxide has been identified as a problematic substance involved with allergic reaction to sulfite in foods.  Sulphur dioxide is used as a preservative.  Also, sulpher dioxide is a primary component in the production of acid rain, and we wouldn't want to support that when we don't have to, now would we? :)

Blackstrap has a very distinctive flavour - some people easily take to it, but those who have tastebuds that have been conditioned for years by sugar and other rubbish artificial sweeteners may find it lacking in sweetness and will have to acquire the taste over time.  But once you have begun the transition from unhealthy processed and artificial "tasty" food to healthier real foods, you'll wonder how you could have eaten so much junk food in the first place!  Trust me. :)  Example, after only 1 month of cutting out sodas completely, and consciously making the decision to drink almost only water, I find it hard now to drink more than a few sips of soda at a time - it's just not enjoyable anymore.

Gluten-Free Cinnamon Banana Raisin Muffins

These are nice for breaksfast and for snacking on the run too.  They're sugar free too, and because of the buckwheat flour that I used, they're also gluten-free!

3 very ripe bananas, mushed
1 tbs ground flax seed mixed with 1 tbs water, let stand for 2-3 minutes before adding to rest of ingredients
3/4 cup plain greek yoghurt
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup oats, uncooked
1/4 tsp stevia powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp himalayan crystal salt (the fine, not course, one)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (I hardly taste this so next time I'll add at least 1 tsp)
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup almonds, pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional, for crunch)

1.   In a small bowl mix mushed bananas, flax mixed with water and yoghurt.
2.   In a larger bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, oats, stevia and cinnamon.  Pour banana mixture into flour mixture and stir just to combine.  Stir in raisins and nuts.
3.   Divide mixture among prepared muffin tin and bake at 200 C / 400 F for 18 minutes or until test stick comes out mostly clean.

I tried half the muffins with raisins and the other half with chopped dates - I prefer the raisins as it adds more sweetness and besides, you can barely taste the dates.
I also prefer using almonds since they are alkaline forming whereas pecans and walnuts are acid forming.
And even though the cinnamon is hardly noticable, these muffins are still good. :)

I also froze them for a few days to test them out, and they freeze really well, they're still soft and moist after defrosting.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Rice & Beans

This is my version of a rice and beans dish which I make quite often - it has subtle flavours, is filling, and is a good vegetarian protein-rich meal, as red kidney beans, lentils and chickpeas are good sources of protein.

I used a lot of canned foods in this recipe because I hate cooking and like to get it done as quickly as possible. :)  So you can improve on this by preparing the lentils, chickpeas and beans yourself instead.
Serves 4.  Since we are only 2 people, I mix the left over rice and bean mixture and freeze it for another day when I'm too lazy to cook.

1 1/2 cups brown rice, cooked separately
himalayan crystal salt to taste
1-2 tbs olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1/2 large green pepper, diced
1 can (+- 400g) chopped peeled tomatoes or equivalent of freshly chopped tomatoes
1 can (+- 400g) lentils, drained
1 can (+- 400g) chickpeas, drained
1 can (+- 400g) red kidney beans, drained
1 can corn (+- 400g)drained
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried crushed chillies
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp veggie stock powder dissolved in 5 tbs hot water

1.   Add rice to pot, sprinkle over some himalayan crystal salt to taste, add water and cook as usual.  I use only naturaly himalayan crystal salt as it is a pure salt without the negative health impact of the usual table salt used today.
2.   In a separate pot, heat oil and fry onion and green pepper until the onions start becoming translucent.  Add oregano and mix well.
3.   Add the remaining ingredients, mix, cover and simmer until the rice is done.  Serve on rice.

Start Your Day with Lemon Water

Lemon is one of the most alkalizing foods.  Even though it's classified as an acidic food, once it has been digested and assimilated by your body, it has an alkalizing effect on you, which is helpful if you're trying to bring down the acidity of your body.  It's also one of the best foods to aid in detoxifying your body.

I've got into the habit of squeezing half a lemon worth of juice into almost every of the several glasses of water I drink every day.  I now enjoy the taste of this lemon water. :)

Even if you don't wish to drink it all through out the day, it's good to start off your day with a glass of lemon water before breakfast, since it helps your body, including your liver, to flush out toxins.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Foods with Benefits: Apple Cider Vinegar

  • assists in weight loss
  • may help control high blood sugar levels
  • it alkalizes the body
  • helps with acid reflux
  • helps with sore throat
  • strengthens the immune system
  • helps balance cholesterol
  • improves digestion & gets rid of constipation
  • helps curb allergies
  • prevents muscle fatigue after exercise
  • allevaites symptoms of arthritis and gout
  • assists in detoxing
  • helps with acne (1 part ACV to 4 parts water - apply and rinse after 10 mins; repeat 3 x per day)
  • increases stamina
  • helps with food poisoning
  • helps to alleviate menstrual cramps
Raw unfiltered ACV is the best, and never use any ACV "flavoured" stuff, as they are not the real thing and don't have any of the benefits of real ACV.
It's usually safer to always dilute ACV, whether you're consuming it or applying it topically - it's acidic and may burn when swallowed or applied to the skin undiluted.

Alkalinizing Coleslaw Salad

It's important that your diet consists mostly of alkalinizing foods, since your body fucntions better and is more resistent to disease when it is overall in a more alkaline state, as opposed to acidic.  It is now well known that a body that is predominantly acidic is far more prone to things such as arthritis, cancer, heart disease and many, many more ailments.

Almost all the ingredients of this salad are generally considered alkaline (with the exception of the mayo) and the yoghurt, which is more or less neutral:

3 cups finely sliced/chopped cabbage
2 cups finely grated carrot
1/3 cup raisins
3 tbs sunflower seeds
1 apple, diced (optional)
3 rings pineapple, diced (optional)
1 celery stick, chopped (optional)
5 heaped dessert spoons plain greek yoghurt
1 heaped dessert spoon tangy mayo
20 drops liquid stevia

Mix the first 7 ingredients together.  For the "dressing", mix the yoghurt, mayo and stevia together well.  Mix into the rest of the ingredients.
I usually add whatever ingredients I happen to have on hand, so if I don't have apple, pineapple and celery, I don't add them - it's great tasting either way.

If you would like the dressing more tangy, just use less yoghurt and more mayo.  I like to use as little mayo as I can because of all the additives in there.  I also like to sweeten it a little with some stevia - if you prefer it more tart, then leave this out.  Also, if you're going to be using more mayo, then you may want to add more stevia for sweetness.

Incidentally, stevia is the most alkalinizing sweetener there is.
Also, it's best to eat this salad on the day you make it, so that the apple and celery don't get "old" - it's nicer when they're still fresh and crispy.

Creamy Tropical Smoothie

Fresh fruit smoothies are a staple in our house, I make them several times a week for breakfast.

3 bananas (not too overripe, otherwise their flavour is too sweet and overpowering)
1/2 small paw-paw
3 slices fresh pineapple
1/3 cup orange juice (freshly squeazed is better, otherwise sugar-free, preservative free boxed juice will do) (or more as needed)
1/3 cup rice milk (optional) (or more as needed)
4 heaped dessert spoons of plain greek yoghurt
1 1/2 tbs ground flax seeds
Chop the fruit into small chunks, add all the ingredients in a blender / smoothie maker, and blend until liquid.  It makes 2 large servings.

The rice milk is optional - you can use orange juice as well, but I don't like to add too much orange juice otherwise it's also overpowering in the smoothie, so I add half the liquids in rice milk because it doesn't affect the flavour of the smoothie that much.  Either way, you add as much juice / milk as you want to get it to the consistency that you like.  The yoghurt makes the smoothie more creamy.

You don't have to follow the quantities too strictly here, you add as much as you want to suit your taste.  It's quite difficult to mess up a fruit smoothie. :)
Linked to these tasty blogs:
It's A Keeper                             Shugary Sweets

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Foods with Benefits: Stevia

  • it's a natural healthy alternative sweetener 
  • it's 70-400 times sweeter than sugar
  • safe to use by diabetics and hypoglycemics as it does not adversely affect blood glucose levels (in fact it has been shown to regulate blood sugar and bring it towards a normal balance)
  • it has zero calories
  • it has anti-bacterial properties that helps with tooth decay and gum disease (adding 2 drops of liquid stevia on your toothpaste before brushing, or using a mouthwash made up of a small glass of water and 5-8 drops of stevia, has been shown in improve oral health)
  • may assist with healing of skin conditions such as blemishes, acne, rashes etc
  • studies show that it may lower high blood pressure
  • it decreases hunger sensations, so it aids in weight loss
  • it's the most alkaline sweetener there is (which is a good thing)
  • there are no known negative effects related to the reasonable use of stevia
Whenever possible I substitute any sugar in a recipe with stevia.  I use the following stevia/sugar conversion: 1 tsp stevia (powder) = 1 cup sugar.  Powdered stevia often leaves you with a slightly bitter aftertaste in your food, so what I've tried is using 1/2 tsp powdered stevia for every 1 cup of sugar and that has worked fine for me.

When you substitute stevia for sugar though, you're losing some moisture in the recipe, so you need to replace that lost moisture with something like yoghurt or apple sauce or whatever will suit your recipe.  In recipes containing bananas, I just add an extra banana to make up for the moisture loss, otherwise I usually use plain greek yoghurt.  It has been suggested that for every 1 cup of sugar that is replaced with stevia, 1/4 to 1/2 cup of moisture ingredients should be added.

If you live in South Africa, you can buy this at Dischem.

Strawberries & Stevia-Sweetened Cream

I like to sweeten my cream a little when I eat it with strawberries, and I sweeten it with stevia extract (I use the liquid form here).

1/2 cup cream
5 drops liquid stevia extract

Add stevia and beat the cream as usual until it's thick.  Serve and enjoy. :)  You can add more drops of stevia depending on how sweet you like your cream.

Not only is stevia calorie-free, but it also has a host of other benefits as well, so you can enjoy your strawberries and cream with less guilt now!  ;)

Foods with Benefits: Sunflower Seeds

  • they are rich in Vitamin E, which is an anti-oxidant helping to neutralize free radicals
  • plays a role in preventing heart disease
  • they contain selenium which helps against cancer
  • they contain magnesium which is good for the nerves in that it helps to relax them, thereby reducing blood pressure, muscle tension & migraines.
  • the anti-inflammatory effects of Vit. E helps to reduce symptoms of asthma, osteoarthritis & rheumatoid arthritis.
I sprinkle whole sunflower seeds over muesli, coleslaw and salads (where they add a delightful little crunch), and I often add them to baked goods as well.

Foods with Benefits: Flax Seeds

  • it's a small golden or dark brown colour seed, not much bigger than sesame seeds
  • high in ALA fatty acids, which is one of the omega-3 fatty acids
  • helps to increase HDL (good) cholesterol and helps reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • helps prevent high blood pressure (in fact, some people have replaced high blood pressure medication completely with flax seeds)
  • good source of fibre
  • helps combat diabetes, cancer, menopause, arthritis and heart disease
  • the seed's external hull is very hard to digest, so one needs to crush or ground the seeds to gain maximum nutritional benefit (I ground mine fine in a coffee grinder)
I sprinkle ground flax seeds over cereals and often add some to baked goods.

I also use flax seeds as a substitute for eggs in baking.  1 tbs ground flax mixed with 1 tbs water = 1 egg (or you can add 2 or 3 tbs of water, depending on how much liquid you want to contribute to the recipe). I've only done this with muffins so far.  They say that using flax as a substitute for egg could make cakes less light and fluffy and more crumbly.

Double Fibre Muesli

If I can add some extra nutrition and health benefits to a meal without altering it's taste, then I do so - which is very helpful for people who are fussy eaters.  :)  So here's how I eat my muesli:

1 serving of your favourite muesli
1 tbs molasses bran
1 tbs ground flax seeds
1 tbs sunflower seeds
1 tbs rice or whey protein powder (optional)
plain greek yoghurt

Mix together all the dry ingredients, add a few big dollops of yoghurt (enough to cover your muesli to your liking), drizzle over some of your favourite honey (I use plain or orange blossom runny honey).  Mix and eat.

The molasses bran is a sweet bran, so not only does it add some extra fibre, but also some sweetness.  The flax seeds also add some fibre, as well as a whole lot of other healthy benefits.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

All-in-One Muffins

These muffins are great with breakfast or as a snack, and have a little of everything in them: fruit, veggie, seeds and nuts.  And what's nice about these muffins is that they freeze really well - I place them in individual freezer bags and defrost as needed.

1 cup white flour + 1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 ripe bananas, mushed
3 tbs blackstrap molasses
1/2 cup apple juice, plus more if needed
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots
1/3 cup finely chopped pecan/walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
1 tbs ground flax seeds
1 tbs ground sunflower seeds
1 heaped 1/2 tsp ground pumpkin seeds

1.   Preheat oven to 180 C or 375 F.  Spray muffin tin with nonstick spray or line with paper liners.
2.   Combine flours, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, flax seed, sunflower seed and pumpkin seeds, and mix together.
3.   In another bowl mix together bananas, molasses, apple juice and apple cider vinegar.
4.   Mix together wet and dry ingredients, then fold in carrots, pecan/walnuts and raisins.  Use a bit more apple juice if needed to wet all the flour.
5.   Divide mixture into 12 muffin cups and bake for about 20 minutes or until the top springs back to the touch.  Baking times may vary due to different ovens.  Remove from oven and cool. 
6.   Store in air-tight container or freeze.


Helloooo and Welcome!

I've decided to set up this new blog dedicated solely to delectable, tempting, indulgent, heavenly, delightful foods. :)

I love food.   And I mean, I REALLY love food, especially sweet goodies.  I'm also trying to live a healthier lifestyle by eating healthier and cutting out all those hidden (and not so hidden) nasty ingredients in many of our foods today.

SO,  what you'll find here are also some recipes that I've modified and tweaked a tad so that they're not only delectable, tempting, indulgent, heavenly and delightful, BUT healthier as well!  You can find my healthy foods (or, at least, healthier options) in my Healthy Delights category, where I often try to cram as much nutrition and healthiness as I can, into everything I make.

I am also vegetarian, so you'll find no meat ingredients around here.  And although I'm not fully vegan, I'm trying to incorporate as many vegan options into my diet as well, so you'll find a few vegan recipes here too.

Well I'm glad you stopped by, and I hope you too can learn how to enjoy your food in a healthier way. :)

Oh, and WARNING!! - of course there will be some wickedly delectable, tempting, indulgent, heavenly and delightful receipes that are not so nutritionally beneficial....but we all need a taste of those every now again.  ;)

P.S.  If you have any healthy tips for sugar-free, gluten-free, preservative-free, additive-free or even vegan options, please do share!  :)
Aaaand, if you're crafty inclined, I have a craft blog too, Naturally Me Creations. :)