Sunshine in a bowl :Baby Pumpkin and Orange Puree for Halloween

Sunshine in a bowl for your baby ! Halloween is round the corner, so why not make a dish with the seasonal orange coloured vegetables and fruits, packed with B carotene and other nutrients you shouldn’t miss !

Puree

Ingredients

750g organic carrots, washed and diced (with the skin)
1 medium to large organic sweet potato peeled and diced(the smaller the better)
1/2 an orange (the juice)
1/2 a butternut squash or the equivalent in pumpkin/ winter squash, diced
1/2 pint of filtered water
1 chamomile teabag

Method: Take a pan of water, add the diced root vegetable and simmer; cook gently, and add the chamomile teabag; once starting to boil, simmer until the vegetables are soft enough but not mushy. Scoop out the vegetables and add a small portion of the juice; put into either a food processor or blender or puree to the desired texture. Place back in the pan with the rest of the liquid and gently warm again. Serve with half of a freshly squeezed orange juice.

Nutritional nugget
-Pumpkin makes a great baby food that’s loaded with vitamin A, C, E, and many other important nutrients
-Sweet potatoes are also a good source of dietary fibre, vitamin B6 and potassium . A very good source of vitamin A, C and manganese
-Squash is also a wonderful nutritious first food for you baby
-Chamomile is very relaxing and gentle on a baby’s tummy

You can use the pumpkin seeds for your own (adult) snacks or to top up your soups/salads, these are packed with fibre,mono-unsaturated fatty acids, protein and zinc amongst other vitamins and minerals.The latter of which we can be easily deficient of.

Look out for more mother and baby information and baby recipes in the near future.

Irresistible Avocadoes

I’d like to share with you my love for avocadoes. If you are not an avocado lover yet, you may now be. Full of oleic acid, fibre, vitamin E, and packed with anti-oxidants. It has a rejuvenating effect on your body. It gives you beautiful complexion (besides being anti-ageing) and keeps your hair luscious which men just love! With the right type of fat it contains, it will keep your hearts healthy for donkey years. It is an incredible fruit; containing over 20 vitamins and minerals.
Food for thought: Ayurvedic vaidyars consider avocadoes to be anti vata and anti kapha; therefore if occasionally you suffer from dry skin or joint aches, avocado is the remedy for you. It moisturises dry hair and moistens dry lungs. It is a builder of ‘ojas’, hence it is wonderful as baby food! With its high content of electrolytes as well as containing calcium and magnesium, it is crucial for muscle functioning and balance, making it ideal for you to re-fuel after your TRX or HITT sessions or bodypump classes!You name it !

Have your avocadoes on toast, in smoothies, in salads, as a side guacamole or in a chocolate mousse below !
Nutrient breakdown per half avocado:
• Protein } 1/2 avocado contains 2g protein
• Fibre } 1/2 avocado contains 7g fiber
• Healthy fats } 1/2 avocado contains 15g fat
• Vitamins :Vitamin C } 17% DV; Vitamin E } 10% DV ;Vitamin K } 26% DV ; Folate } 20% DV ;B6 } 13% DV ; B5 } 14% DV
• Minerals : Magnesium } 7% DV ;Potassium } 14% DV; Copper } 9% DV ;Manganese } 7% DV

Dark Chocolate and Avocado Mousse for you and your guests

Ingredients:

2 very ripe avocados, 3 tbsps cocoa powder, squeeze of lime juice or more, 3-5 tbsps of organic runny honey (or agave syrup).
For the honeyed strawberries: 200g of strawberries, halved and thickly sliced,1 tbsp of organic runny honey, a good squeeze of lime/lemon juice.

Method :
Combine the strawberries, honey and lemon/lime juice. Cover and leave for 20-30 minutes then, once the juices start to seep out of the berries, stir again an set aside until ready to serve.  Meanwhile, make the mousse, halve the avocadoes, remove the stones, peel , and put the flesh in a food processor. Add the cocoa powder, a good squeeze of lime juice, and 3 tablespoons of honey. Process to a velvety, thick puree, then taste and add more honey or lime juice as you like.
Scoop the mousse into small serving dishes, cover and chill for an hour or so. Serve the honeyed strawberries and their juices spooned on top.

Sun dried tomato Hummus

We always have some hummus in our fridge, that we can have as a snack, as an entrée while cooking dinner or as an addition to our packed lunches. Hummus gives you a healthy source of vegetarian protein and is filling enough to keep your hunger at bay before your next meal. It is a great side especially when having a vegetarian meal and hummus is so versatile with the flavours you can add to it. Yes hummus is always available from the supermarket, but why not make your own, with organic ingredients or not, it is  fun and a better option than constantly purchasing it all made up.

Nutritional benefits : High in Manganese for energy production, High in Iron(important for menstruating women, pregnant or lactating women and growing children). Iron has an important role since it forms part of haemoglobin, which transports oxygen from the lungs to all our body cells, and is part of key enzyme systems for energy production and metabolism. Cholesterol lowering; Low Glycaemic index and therefore supports blood glucose levels and can be ideal for any imbalances in hormones or  in pre-diabetic/diabetic states; High in fibre and great for the digestive tract;High in saponins, antioxidants that help us fight against disease and play a role in cancer prevention.

 

Ingredients

2 cups of tinned organic chickpeas

1/3 cup of tahini

4 tablespoons of olive oil

3 small garlic gloves

5-6 sundried tomatoes

1 teaspoon of paprika and a 1 teaspoon of cumin

Maldon sea salt and pepper to taste

squeeze the juice of half a lemon

Method:

Use a hand blender or a food processor to combine all the ingredients. Depending on the consistency you prefer, add more or less lemon or a dash of water. The creaminess can be obtained by varying your tahini and olive oil quantities.

I had a jar of sundried tomatoes and squeezed out the oil, but you may also purchase organic sundried tomatoes from Suma, Infinity foods, Tree of life online.

Healthy and Indulgent Dark Chocolate Brownies

 

These brownies are a beautiful treat to reward yourself after an intense workout, a difficult day or for one of those days where you need some chocolate indulgence. Brownies are often associated with naughtiness but a healthy version of dark chocolate brownies made from scratch is both undoubtedly delicious and decadent. They have no refined sugars and they  contain healthy fats, fibre, protein, and antioxidants like  good quality dark chocolate. I had no dark chocolate in the house last sunday, so used dark organic cocoa powder instead and got them ready for the oven within minutes before the Master Chef finale !

Serves about 15

Time to prep: 10 mins

Time to bake :25-30 minutes

Ingredients :

28 g or about 5 ounces of high quality organic 60-70% cocoa dark chocolate

1/2 of organic coconut oil

2/3 of agave nectar

1/2 cup of ground almonds

A pinch  of maldon sea salt

1/4 cup of gluten free self raising flour or another type of flour you may prefer using

1/4 teaspoon of baking soda

2 organic free range eggs, beaten

1 tablespoon of bourbon vanilla essence

Method :

Preheat your oven to 180-195 degrees Celsius. Line a square baking pan with parchment paper, or spread some coconut oil well with a kitchen towel.Aim for a baking pan of about 8 inch by 8 inch

Melt the dark chocolate and coconut oil in a saucepan over low heat, and stir gently. If using dry cocoa powder, then you can add it to the bowl with the other dry ingredients.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the agave nectar, almond flour, the gluten-free flour, Maldon sea salt, and baking soda. Make a well in the centre and add the beaten eggs, vanilla extract and melted chocolate mixture. Beat for about under 2 minutes long and allow the batter to come together .At first it will seem like a thin  cake batter but do continue to beat it until it becomes smooth .Spread the mixture evenly in the tray and with a spatula

Add cocoa nibs/ dark chocolate chips to the top of the brownie mix once in the tray, and press in lightly.

Bake in the centre for about 30 mins or until the brownies have set

Cool on a wire rack once ready

Allow to chill for 1 hr before cutting if you wish or have them warm and gooey with a cup of tea

For nutty dark chocolate brownies, add chopped hazelnuts or almonds in the mixture before baking

brownie bake

Spirulina Energy Balls

This is a recipe I have adapted and share regularly with clients. It Is low in glycaemic index with the source of sugars from fruits and agave nectar.It can be an ideal snack for you to carry, and has a content of protein and fibre in addition to the superfood ,spirulina.You can use them as a pre-workout snack or if you have a sweet tooth at 4pm. Flaxseeds from the family of lignans, have wonderful properties, supporting a healthy digestive tract and providing support to the endocrine system. They are not only high in ALA, a form of omega 3 fatty acids giving them  anti-inflammatory properties but are also high in anti-oxidants, thus help to protect against  health conditions(such high cholesterol levels, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, cancer)

Ingredients :

1 cup of rolled oats

4 tablespoons of chopped medjool dates

1/4 cup of flaxseeds

1 teaspoon of spirulina powder (Organic burst)

1/2 cup of almond butter (Meridian)

2 teaspoons of melted coconut oil (allowed to cool down before adding to the mixture)

1 tablespoon of agave nectar

Method :

Combine the dates, almond butter, agave nectar and coconut oil in a food processor and pulse until the dates are fully chopped and everything is combined.

In a bowl, mix together oats, flax seeds, spirulina. Then add your date mixture and stir well until fully combined.

Roll into balls.Place the balls in an airtight container and store in the fridge or freezer.

 

 

 

Apple and cinnamon muffins

Wholegrain Dairy Free Apple and Cinnamon Muffins

These are delicious and perfect for a tea time snack for the family on the weekend, or as an alternative to unhealthy snacks at work or school. They have no refined sugars, no dairy(especially if you try to avoid it like I do) and the wholegrain flour allows you to have a lower glycaemic index snack and keep you fuller for longer. Therefore one muffin should be sufficient and allow you to have better control on your portion. I ran an interactive food club with some of my clients on their weight loss journey last night where the topic was about portion control and hunger management. We know it can be hard to remind ourselves how much is considered reasonable when you are trying to achieve such a goal and break off particular habits (ex: 50 % of the plate filled with unrefined carbohydrates or consuming a whole pack of Nairns oat cakes (6) as a snack when 3 oat cakes should be enough).
I will delve deeper into this in a separate article.
Let’s get back to the muffins

Ingredients :

250g of wholegrain flour ( or gluten free self raising flour is an alternative if you are gluten intolerant)

1 tsp of baking powder

1-2 tsp of cinnamon

50-70g of agave nectar (or organic honey, the amount depends on the sweetness you would like to obtain. Agave nectar is lower in GI than honey/sugar.  )

2 eggs

125 ml of unsweetened almond milk (or organic wholebean soya milk)

2 grated apples (or 1 grated large cooking apple)

4 tablespoons of organic coconut oil

(50-100 g of sultanas can be an additional ingredient to the mixture)

Method

1.Heat your oven to 180/160 degrees Celsius ( fan/gas4).In a large bowl mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon.
2.In another bowl, mix the eggs, milk, coconut oil ( if quite hard at room temperature, you may melt the coconut oil and allow it to cool down before adding it to the mixture), agave nectar. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well whilst raising the mixture with a wooden spoon and keeping it light. Then stir in the grated apples
3.Divide the mixture between 12 muffin cases and bake for 25 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack and they are ready to eat

IMG_0204

As a note : Dried fruits like sultanas or prunes have high levels of sugar by volume not by piece.They also contain sulphites which can trigger asthmatic reactions so be careful. If you are watching the amount of sugar you are consuming, then avoid the sultanas in this recipe.

Cinnamon is a wonderful spice that contains Chromium, a mineral that plays a role in how insulin helps the body to regulate blood sugar levels.Insulin is a hormone that your body uses to change sugar, starches, and other food into energy needed for daily requirements. Chromium has been found to be a great tool in reducing your sugar cravings and research has shown that it can help pre-diabetic and diabetic type 2 patients. Always get in touch with a health professional before supplementing !

Hoisin baked salmon with a vegetable stir fry and brown rice noodles

Special dinner on a tuesday night. I wanted to have a healthy dish that would be bursting with flavours, very quick to make, and had an asian influence to it. I spotted a jar of hoisin sauce that i forgot about. Hence this choice for my glaze. I very rarely used processed ingredients but sometimes it is what is accessible to us and it is still mostly made from scratch for a cleaner approach to eating 🙂 I also wanted to make the most of my freshly delivered Abel and Cole delivery!

Serves 2
2 pieces of salmon (Abel and Cole, sustainably sourced)
1/2 a pack of king soba, organic brown rice noodles ( gluten free and wheat free)
a bunch of spring onions
3 to 4 cloves of garlic
1/2 a lemon
a piece of ginger (peeled and chopped)
1 broccoli
other vegetables to include for your stir fry (oyster mushrooms/mange tout/carrots)
soy sauce or tamari sauce
honey
hoisin sauce (you won’t use much)
coconut oil to cook with .
sesame oil to drizzle on the noodles (I had none left, but did miss this added flavour)

For the hoisin glaze :

2 tablespoons of hoisin sauce, 2 teaspoons of soy sauce/tamari sauce, juice of half a lemon or more. a teaspoon of honey or agave nectar. 2 cloves of crushed and fresh garlic. I also added a tiny teaspoon of coconut oil for some creaminess .(I use Tiana organic coconut oil, but there so many other brands available)

Method for the salmon
I marinated my salmon with the glaze for about 15 minutes, but the longer you do so, the more flavour it would have. Place it on some parchment paper or foil. Cook when ready, in a pre- heated ventilated oven (190 degrees) for 15-20 minutes.

For the stir fry:
1 small pack of random stir fry vegetables from Sainsburys, which had shredded red cabbage, mange tout and strips of carrots. I quickly steamed those with the broccoli. Heat some garlic and ginger in a teaspoon or less of coconut oil, and add your vegetables.Spice it up with chilli flakes or red chillies, soy sauce/tamari sauce/pepper to taste.I soaked about 5 dried oyster mushrooms I had, in boiling water, chopped them  into pieces and added them to the mix of vegetables. If you have got these at hand, do add them. But if not, don’t worry. You can also add fresh oyster mushrooms which are beautiful and nutritious ,add them to your stir fry at the end without soaking.

Noodles were cooked in boiling water only for few minutes so make sure not to overcook them. I left them in the water until ready to serve as they do stick very easily.

Serve sprinkled with spring onions (and a drizzle of sesame oil). Eat as soon as the salmon is ready and enjoy your dinner!

I recently discovered those Organic Brown Rice Noodles (King SOBA) that are both wheat free and gluten free.You may wonder why you would use those instead of the egg or plain rice noodles you may find from the supermarket. Well I absolutely love my Asian food, but often felt very uncomfortable after a meal and had always put it down to refined flours. I usually avoid refined flours anyway since i know that their nutritional value or fibre content is low in comparison to  other flours (be it spelt, wholewheat, buckwheat)
I recently did an IgG food intolerance test after registering as a practitioner with one of the labs I use. It  showed that i had an intolerance to wheat amongst other things, which explains the digestive symptoms I  have experienced after the consumption of particular meals. You may find that doing an intolerance test, clarifies a lot of uncertainties you may have. The other option can be an elimination diet, but requires determination and definitely support from your entourage.

Again for any recipe, tailor it to your taste buds and what you feel most comfortable eating. Just always try to include lots of green vegetables, a form of healthy protein, cook from scratch and make it fun. Cook with coconut oil as at high temperature, it does not oxidise into harmful molecules to the body (called free radicals) which are a consequence of several chronic health conditions. Asian cooking does involve cooking with groundnut oil, but try to deviate from it as soon as you can.

I did treat myself with the occasional  glass of red wine after a productive day and an intense workout at the gym.tuesday night treat

Homemade Nutty and Coconut Granola

FullSizeRender (5)My first attempt at making granola was not bad at all ! I ‘ve been asked to share my recipe so here it is. So looking forward to trying it with different ingredients.Swap the granola you get from supermarkets, often laden with added sugars and unhealthy fats which are pro-inflammatory and unfortunately contribute to several chronic health conditions.

This recipe is packed with oats, which stabilise your blood sugar levels so great when on a Low GI diet. If you are intolerant to gluten you can select the gluten free oats and voila this recipe is then also Gluten free in addition to it being dairy free.

The coconut oil, nuts, seeds including the chia seeds are lovely for your skin, hair and nails and giving you the glow you want and deserve .You get the sweetness from the cinnamon (great for hormone balancing and stabilising the sugar cravings you may have occasionally) and from dried dates. For those who follow a plant based diet, you get great amounts of healthy protein but also plenty of amounts of protein. Yes we use coconut oil , and once you invest in one of those  pots ( lucybee coconut oil, tiana , or higher nature for example), it will last for a while and you”ll find yourself baking and cooking with it all the time. This recipe is delicious !

Ingredients

2 cups of oats

1/2 cup of chopped almonds (when toasted in a pan for a few minutes, or in the oven, they add more crunch to the granola. you may do so before chopping them)

1.5 cup of coconut (flakes or shredded)

1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds

1/4 sunflower seeds

1/4 chopped dried dates

1/4 cup of pecans

wet ingredients

1/4 melted coconut oil

2-3 tablespoons of agave syrup or honey or maple syrup

2 tablespoons of cinnamon

1tsp of vanilla extract

Method : Melt your coconut oil in a saucepan and add in the other wet ingredients. In a large bowl, combine the wet ingredients to the dry ones. Substitute your ingredients for those that you prefer. Be it walnuts, cranberries, brazil nuts, walnuts,  raisins, ground flax…

Preheat your oven at 180 degrees Celsius.

Spread the mixture onto a pan lined with parchment paper or a non-stick mat and bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes. Do check very 15 minutes or so and give the granola a good stir

Allow to cool for 20-25 minutes before serving. You may keep the granola in the fridge or in an air-tight glass container for about a month..

Serving suggestion, with homemade apple compote ( cooked apples and water- wonderful source of pectin, anti-oxidants, fibre , low in sugar) and a sprinkle of chia seeds ( for more healthy protein and omega’s.)

or as a top up to your porridge, yoghurt or fruits.

 

 

 

 

Banana oat and coconut loaf

Dig into a slice of this moist, slightly nutty, hearty loaf for breakfast on the go or an afternoon snack to prevent dips in energy levels. It is also perfect post workout and it packed with fibre Here is my very easy Gluten free and Dairy free recipe. Adapt it as you like and let me know of the outcome.

Ingredients :

3ripe bananas, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1 egg, 3tbsp grape seed oil or coconut oil( melted), 1/4  cup of organic cane sugar , 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, 2-3 tbsp. of honey, (depending on the ripeness of the bananas), 3.5 tsp of baking powder, 3/4 tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon, 3/4 cup of almond milk or other milk of your choice, 1 and 1/4 cup of  dry shredded coconut, 1 and 1/4 of gluten free flour (again you may swap for wholemeal flour or self-raising flour of your choice, but do adjust the amount of baking powder is using a self-raising flour), 1 and 1/4 of organic gluten free oats.

1.Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius ( 350 F), Line a loaf pan with greaseproof paper

2.Mash banana in a large bowl and add all your ingredients through almond milk, and whisk vigorously to combine. Lastly add shredded coconut (you may swap this for almond meal ).Add the flour and oats and stir

.3. Bake for about an hour, when it is ready it should feel firm and be crackly with a golden brown tint.

4.allow it to cool completely before cutting or it will be too tender to hold form

5.Serve as it is, or add some nut butter or a thin layer of honey. But I loved it just as it was

You can slice and freeze for longer storage. But if you have children or men to feed in the house with packed snacks, it will go away very quickly, I promise. 🙂

So overall the loaf, has the right amounts of protein, fibre, is anti-inflammatory, full of flavour, Beta-glucans from the oats make it good for the heart and reduces the bad type of cholesterol, it will help to balance blood sugar levels and keep you full, limiting sugar cravings. It has omega 3 fats from the coconut oil and shredded coconut ! and these do not oxidise into harming molecules  ( we call free radicals) for the body , upon high heat ( like sunflower, vegetable oil, peanut oil amongst others) Omega 3 are also wonderful for the brain (development and concentration !) and beautiful skin.

If you do not eat EGGS, swap it with chia seeds, 1 tbsp of chia seeds with 2 and 1/2 tbsps of water which you mix and let it soak for a 5 mins.

You may also reduce the sugar content of the loaf as you wish, which I did.it really depends on who you are making it for.

happy snacking

x isabelle

Salmon, Lentils and Celeriac mash

I prepack my lunch on most days and made this last week in no time. I have missed a good green lentil dish and thought it would remind me of the flavours from home, since they form part of  traditional Mauritian cuisine.

Ingredients :

Green Lentils, 2 gloves of garlic, 1 medium onion,fresh thyme, 1 Celeriac, herbes de provence or other herbs of your choice, salmon, olive oil, salt and pepper, cayenne pepper

Method

Rinse your green Lentils and   boil them with just enough water to cover them. Once cooked, remove the excess water. Add coconut oil or olive oil to a pan, 2 cloves of garlic, an onion, and fresh thyme .I usually prefer adding my herbs last as this is how they retain the most nutrients. Season to taste. In Mauritius, they occasionally cook the lentils with bacon, and if that’s your wish to do so, then add a few pieces of good quality bacon with the herbs/onions/garlic combination after stripping off the fat.Keep those additions as a reward for eating well and leading a healthy lifestyle at least 80 % of your time and allowing yourself to have treats 15-20% of the time

While the lentils cook, strip the skin off the celeriac with a sharp knife) and cut into pieces, and steam or boil them until soft.Mash the celeriac and set aside. Cook the garlic for a few seconds in  a teaspoon of olive oil and toss the mashed celeriac with the garlic, herbes de provence and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper.

The salmon was simply roasted in the oven with salt and pepper.

 

Nutritional INFO

Lentils are wonderful, free from gluten, full of dietary fibre, high in protein (26% of lentils calories are attributed to protein). Being free from gluten they give a break to your digestion especially if you eat them as part of a vegetarian meal, or accompanied with fish instead of animal based protein (since those require longer to be processed by the body). They help keep your blood sugar levels at bay, and therefore are ideal if you are diabetic or suffer from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome  (PCOS) for example. The Fibre content helps to relieve constipation of course, but also other digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome.

Lentils for lunch are great since they sustain your hunger until the evening, giving your pancreas a rest since you won’t be snacking for a change. Good source of iron, hence help in  transporting oxygen throughout the body and is key to energy production and metabolism.

Low in calories with no fat, they can be used to manage your weight.

Celeriac root is my chosen vegetable as a side dish and gives it body and depth.It is far more nutritious and tasty than the standard potatoes and I have mostly enjoyed it  in  the past at restaurants. Be adventurous and use it in your dishes. It has a nutty, creamy and sweet flavour and is a lovely seasonal vegetable !Eating seasonally allows you to benefit from the nutrients to the maximum !Wonderful alternative to use as a mash for children but you can also opt for sweet potato instead. What else can it bring you ? manganese, vitamin K, phosphorous, vitamin B complex, dietary fibre, calcium, potassium , sodium and magnesium. It high in anti-oxidants and research has shown it may have beneficial effects against colon cancer and acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It is a diuretic ! just like it’s related vegetable, celery, and helps you to get rid of the excess water and can relieve muscle stiffness.Vitamin K,  helps to increase bone mass whereas the copper and phosphorus help in bone metabolism.

We can often be deficient in minerals because of the quality of the soil in which our vegetables grow, the medications that we take, or how we cook or combine our foods. Obtaining these minerals through organic/home grown/ or fresh vegetables definitely helps.. Celeriac has been found to be good for mental health, increasing blood flow to the brain and can be of use in conditions like Alzheimer’s, insomnia or stress.

The dish is complemented with  Salmon giving you a good dose of protein, omega 3, and brain boosting nutrients to keep our mind clear and focussed !

enjoy xxx