Healthy Balanced Eating – A Simple Checklist

Healthy Eating

Healthy Eating

It’s been rather a long time since my last post, so I thought I’d start again with some advice on how to eat healthily rather than a recipe.

Inspired by rather a good book that I was given to read this summer on healthy eating (Food & Healing by Annemarie Colbin) here’s a quick checklist on how to cook/eat to support your health…

1. WHOLE: As nature proves them, with all their edible parts (grains with their bran and germ, apples with their skin), cooked or raw vegetables and fruits rather than juices or vitamin pills. Whole foods supply all of nature’s nutrients in a team, as well as providing us with the life energy of the food.

2. FRESH, NATURAL, REAL, ORGANICALLY GROWN: Not canned, not frozen, certainly not irradiated or genetically engineered; free of chemical additives, colourings, preservatives. The foods we choose should be the real thing, full of their life energy, not imitations (like margarine or artificial sweeteners), which invariably turn out to have some health-damaging effect. Organically grown foods not only have been shown to be higher in nutrients but also taste far superior to the commercial kind.

3. SEASONAL: To be in harmony with our environment, it is a good idea to choose summery foods in the summer, wintery foods n the winter. Fruits and vegetables in season are cheaper and do not lose nutrients like foods that have been transported long distances (not to mention the lower carbon footprint of less transport). They also taste better.

4. LOCAL: Local produce tastes better, costs less and is more nutritious because it is picked riper.

5. TRADITIONAL: We should pay attention to what our ancestors ate and incorporate those foods into our modern diet whenever possible. If our ancestors ate it then it will be more appropriate for us i.e. oats and barley from the UK, rye and wheat from Europe, millet and rice from Asia etc

6. BALANCED: It is important to make sure there is enough protein, carbohydrates, fat and micronutrients in our diet as a whole. For sensory and aesthetic satisfaction, we also need to include foods with a variety of flavours, colours and textures.

7. DELICIOUS: There is no point in eating ‘healthy’ food if it doesn’t taste good!

Lentil & Minted Pea Pate

lentil pea & mint pate

minted lentil & pea pate

At the yoga retreat one day we had a left over Lentil dish that I needed to use up, a pate always goes down well on a hot sunny day and is super simple and quick to make – so I decided to turn the leftover lentils into a yummy summer pate. The lentil dish that I was using was one that had been made by someone else the previous day, so Im not sure of the exact ingredients, it had some veg in it (peas & carrots) and this would have added to the taste.
Although Im not sure of the exact ingredients, I still wanted to post this recipe just to show that you really can use anything, it is so simple to make delicious new dishes out of leftovers from the following day (and a pate is probably the easiest of all) – just taste and see what you feel would be good to add.
Remember it really does not matter if it doesn’t quite work, this is how we learn how to put flavours together.  It’s all about getting to know how tastes, spices, oils, etc go together.  Enjoy tasting as you go, and relax and laugh if it all goes wrong – Im sure the dog will be most impressed with his new pate lunch!  😉

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really just have a play, taste your leftovers first and see what you have in your cupboard that could make a new and exciting dish.
For the dish in the photo I used….
Cooked Speckled Lentil leftovers
Tahini
Olive Oil
Fresh Mint Leaves
Balsamic Vinegar
Lemon Juice
Salt

If you are not sure of a lentil dish to use then have a look at this Lentil & Pea dish from one of my previous posts.  However, if you use this dish then you won’t need to add much or maybe any of the balsamic as it has quite a bit already.
Place all the ingredients in a bowl and blend with an electric hand blender.   Taste and add more of the same or add something new.
Garnish with some fresh leaves and there you go.  Simples!

Delicious Dahl and Root Veg Soup

root veg & dhal soup

root veg & dhal soup

I’m adding this delicious, simple, vegan, vegi soup recipe as a special request from Rikke who was a student at the yoga retreat some weeks ago.  She enjoyed it so much that she wanted the recipe immediately and said that it didn’t matter that I had not yet published a dahl recipe and that any old dhal will do!  So there you go.  However I shall endeavour to post a dhal recipe soonish.
So this one is for you Rikke :-)

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Sweet Potatoes 
Celeriac
Carrots
Left Over Dahl
Coconut Milk
Coconut Cream (optional)

Chop up your veg – I used more or less equal amounts of each.  Place in a large saucepan  with water, just enough to cover the veg if you like your soup thick like I do.  Simmer until the veg is soft and then add your left over dhal & coconut milk and blend until smooth.  Add a little more salt if needed and if you like your soup sweet and coconutty then add some extra coconut cream.

Raw Porridge

raw porridge

raw porridge

I got to make this delicious raw porridge for our breakfast on the days off here at the yoga retreat, it is perfect for warm days and can also be heated if you would rather a yummy hot porridge for those winter mornings.
It takes just two minutes to prepare in the evening and two minutes to complete in the morning!
This porridge is so delicious you will have trouble believing that it is also super good for you.  And, as if it needs any more benefits, oats are high in fibre and nutrients and so slow to digest, so along with the nuts and chia seeds this raw porridge breakfast will keep you full and more likely to be snack free until lunch time.

Shopping List
Unsweetened Brown Rice Milk (or almond milk)
Porridge Oats 

Chia Seeds
Raisins
Almonds (chopped)
Pinch of Ginger Powder
Two Pinches Cinnamon Powder
Pinch Sea Salt

Mashed Bananas

Any other fruit – I used chopped fresh Apricots 

Place all the ingredients (except the bananas and fresh fruit) in a large bowl and cover well in which ever milk you are using – it needs to be quite liquidy at this point so that the milk can be readily soaked into the oats and chia seeds.  Give it a good stir and have a little taste now, adding more of what ever you need/like.  Cover and leave in fridge overnight to soak.
In the morning, add more milk if necessary until you reach your desired consistency, then mash the banana and stir into the porridge.
Top with your favourite fresh chopped fruit to serve.

 

Tofu Bolognese

tofu bolognese - vegan

First time I have made a vegan version of the traditional bolognese sauce, we served it on the day off at the yoga retreat and it went down a storm and it’s sugar free, dairy free, meat free, gluten free (if using tamari and not shoyu) – it’s practically angelic!!

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Plum Tomatoes
Onions
Carrots
Firm Tofu
Tamari (or shoyu)
Fresh Basil
Garlic
Capers
Dried Origano 
Dried Marjoram
Salt
Olive Oil

Break up your tofu into little pieces and cover in the tamari, you need enough to turn the tofu dark brown.  Leave to marinade until later (you could even leave marinading overnight in the fridge).
Take a quarter of your tomatoes and half of the carrots, roughly chop and then place in a roasting dish with a couple of garlic segments, cover in oil and salt and place in the oven to roast for about an hour.
Dice the onions, great the remaining carrot, finely slice two more segments of garlic and roughly chop half of your fresh basil.
Heat some oil in a large saucepan and sauté the garlic until soft, then add the basil, and stir and then the onions and carrot and a large pinch of the dried origano and marjoram.  Stir well until onions and carrots are soft.
If you have time peel the remaining tomatoes (place tomato into boiling water until skin splits and then slide skin off being careful not to burn your hands). Then roughly chop and add to the saucepan.  Chop the capers and add to the sauce.
Leave to simmer for about an hour, stirring every now and then to prevent burning at the bottom.
When the roasting tomatoes and carrots are ready, remove from the oven, place in a bowl and blend with an electric hand held blender – then add to the bolognaise.
Now is a good time to have a taste – add salt, more herbs, maybe even a little tamari if needed.
In a separate pan or wok, heat a little oil and then stir fry the tofu with a little salt until cooked and beginning to crisp (don’t stir too often, let it brown a little)
When the Bolognese is tasting delicious stir in the cooked tofu, chop the remaining basil (leaving a few leaves to garnish if you wish) stir into the sauce.

Serve with some brown rice noodles if you want to avoid pasta.

Almondaise

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Super simple vegan, raw, gluten free, dairy free, sugar free recipe for a really yummy mayonnaise.  This was made at the yoga retreat last week, as I couldn’t find the recipe I kinda made it up as I went along, and it turned out rather yummy.
As you can see this was very popular, I didn’t have time to take the photo before it had all gone!!!  This recipe is especially for Olga :-) x

Shopping List
Almonds (soaked)
Olive Oil
Apple Cider Vinegar
Rice Milk
Sweet White Miso
Wholegrain Mustard

Leave the almonds to soak overnight. I used a cup of almonds, a cup of oil, a cup of rice milk, less than half a cup of vinegar, a couple of spoons of mustard and a spoon of sweet white miso.  Then I added a bit more of each in varying amounts once blended and tasted.

Place all the ingredients high powered blender (vitamix is fantastic for this job) and blend away until smooth.  Make sure you taste before adding to your bowl, or coleslaw, or jug, or chips!

Chocolate Peanut Fudge

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yum yum yum yum yum yum yum!!!!

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Dates
Coconut Oil
Cacao Powder
Carob Powder
Crunchy Peanut Butter
Salt (maybe if needed)

I used equal amounts of dates, oil and powder (mixing the two powders together)
Chop dates and remove stone, then soak in hot water for about 20 mins to soften.  Place the soften dates, coconut oil, cacao and carob powders in a blender and blend until smooth (takes seconds) Have a taste now, does it taste chocolaty enough?  Carob is more bitter so if it you like your chocolate bitter you know what to do.  Place this paste into a bowl and stir in the crunchy peanut butter. Have a taste now, does it need salt?

Place this mixture into a non stick cake tin and place into the fridge to cool and set.  When firm, cut and devour!!!

ps – cacao contains caffeine so best eaten a long time before bedtime (if you are caffeine sensitive you can always use more carob and less cacao)

Sweet & Sticky Orange Sesame Roasted Beetroot

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These didn’t last long, say no more!!!
(they’re a bit naughty really)

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Beetroots – I used the most amazing beetroots, see pic below, but any can be used
Oranges
Roasted Sesame Seeds
Rice Syrup
Olive Oil
Sea Salt

Slice the beets how you like, I sliced them like this so you could see the spirals.  Place in a baking tray, cover in a little oil and salt and stick them in the oven until beginning to brown. (about an hour, depending on how large you slice)
While the beets are roasting, squeeze the juice from your oranges (I used 5) pour the juice into a wok with a spoonful of rice syrup and simmer until it becomes liquid and clear.
Stir in the toasted sesame seeds, pour over the roasties and serve :-)

IMG_2495    aren’t they amazing!!!!!!

makes me go all googly eyed…..

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Rice Balls

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Rice Balls are the most fantastic way to use up left over rice (or millet, or buckwheat etc) a rather versatile recipe, you really can let your imagination run wild with this one, everyone on the yoga retreat seems to love them!

Shopping List
Cooked Rice 
Onions
Carrots
Sesame Seeds
Balsamic vinegar
Tahini
Salt
Oil

Chop the onions into really small pieces and grate the carrot, then sauté the onions until soft, add the balsamic and reduce a little (sauté until the liquid has become less).  Stir in the grated carrot and a spoonful of tahini.  You really could add anything else you like, we had a little left over grated turnip so this went in along with some left over sweet potato.  Add a little salt, give it a good stir and taste now, adding a little more tahini or balsamic – or even a little soya sauce could be nice?  Then stir in the rice and stir well, heat until hot and then leave to cool for a little while.  When cool enough to hold in your hand, take a large scoop and roll into a ball, cover in some sesame seeds and place in an oiled baking tin.  When done, put in the oven and bake at a reasonably high heat until golden brown.
These I made similar to the above but added some a mashed up kidney bean dish from the day before, I also didn’t have sesame seeds so rolled them in hemp hearts…
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Adzuki Bean Hotpots & Pies

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adzuki bean hotpot

Super warming, hearty and delicious Adzuki Beans,  this yummy vegan bean recipe is great for devouring on a cold day after a long yoga practice, and tastes just as good the next day in a pie!!!!  Lots of options to add different ingredients so I’ve listed a few here.

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Adzuki Beans
Kombu
Sweet Potato
Carrots
Brown Rice Miso
some optional extras – leeks, spinach, radish, daikon, what every you fancy!

Cook the beans with kombu.  Chop up the carrots and sweet potato into little bite sized chunks, place in a baking tray with a little salt and cooking oil and roast until delicious. (turn every 15 mins or so to prevent burning)  When the beans are cooked and the roasties are done stir together in a big pot (remember to remove the kombu if you find it)  Take a little hot water and a large spoon of miso and mix together then add to the bean mix.  Have a taste, add more if needed. If you like a lot of flavour live me add a lot more :-)

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adzuki bean hotpot & brown rice

In the above version I did the same recipe but also added steamed mushrooms, stir fried daikon (or radish would do) and stirred in some spinach when all done.  I may also have added a little hijiki seaweed – this would need to be simmered in water for 20 mins before adding the to the beans (ignore the seaweed smell when cooking, it doesn’t taste like this when in the stew)

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adzuki bean & sweet potato bake

In the picture above I used the leftover bean mix the following day, covered in sliced sweet potato and popped in the oven until brown.  Of course the miso will loose its beautiful healthy bacteria benefits when in the oven but its still delicious.  And you could always make a miso gravy.

In the picture below I covered the aduki bean mix in a mash of roast pumpkin, steamed celeriac and a little coconut cream.  Was very yummy :-)

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adzuki bean pie