Smoothies never gets old, do they? I know I’ve already shared a good few inventions here and here’s another one! Plus there’s more recipe ideas in the pipeline. I also recently bought Green Kitchen Stories’ latest recipe book, on yes you guessed it – Smoothies!
It is a beautiful book with lots of great tips and ideas for creating the tastiest and satisfying combinations you can imagine. I picked it up because it was on special offer and one can simply never have to many cookbooks for inspiration. Plus David Frenkiel’s food photography is just so stunning. I never tire of just looking at all the beautiful images on their blog or in their books. It was actually when I bought their app about four years ago that I got really inspired to take my then website and redesign it so that I could get more into food blogging. And here we are some 3 years later, having seen that idea into fruition.
I tend to eat with my eyes a lot of the time, hence why having plenty of colour on my plate is both aesthetically important as well as pleasing to me. But colourful plant foods are also full of important phyto-nutrients, (plant compounds) that are vital for our optimal health. Some of them we do know what they do and how they work in the body, yet others are there still to be discovered.
Sometimes the discussion of which “diet” is the best one gets tiring, though when it really comes down to it nobody can argue with the fact that eating a large quantity of fruit and vegetables daily is vital for our overall health and wellbeing.
It’s not only the physiological benefits, in this recent review study where they looked at sampled food diaries over three years, from over 12 000 Australians the researches concluded that;
“Increased fruit and vegetable consumption was predictive of increased happiness, life satisfaction, and well-being. Citizens could be shown evidence that “happiness” gains from healthy eating can occur quickly and many years before enhanced physical health.”
So regardless what “dietary style” camp or community one belongs to, it is pretty clear that vegetables and plants should form the baselineof ones diet, if health and even happiness is where you want to be!
Before we get to the recipe I would like to give you a couple of my smoothie making strategies that I’ve picked up over the years. At this point, I’ve made countless combinations and tried things that worked and things that didn’t so to short cut you on your own exploratory journey here’s some insights!
Try adding some kind of healthy fats + protein source to make sure that you have a smoothie that will keep you fueled for awhile. My personal favourites are avocado or full fat coconut milk + pea / rice / hemp protein
Don’t blend green and red fruit and vegetables together, unless you don’t mind eating brown looking sludge… of course. Keeping it within the same colour theme makes a much more appealing looking concoction. Though of course there’s nothing to say that your brown slurry mix will taste better than it looks, however if you plan on Instagramming it, I would certainly keep the colour on point!
Use a variety of liquids as blending options. Most “old” and traditional smoothie recipes are a blend of natural yoghurt and fruit, but for everybody who’s limiting dairy intake, or anyone else who wants to increase their variety in general, there’s actually a whole host of different liquids that you can use! My standard one is usually (shop bought) almond milk or diluted coconut milk. But I’ve also experimented with cold herbal teas (raspberry leaf and hibiscus in particular) or coconut water and they all make a really smoothie. Since finally investing in a nutmilk bag, I’ve been making a lots of different types of “milks”. From almond, to sesame to flax seed milk. It’s so easy! I tend to make two portions with my Nutribullet at the time.
So why calling this a Rainbow Smoothie then? Well because it has all the colours of the rainbow of course!
1/2 cantaloupe melon, cut into chunks
3 fresh mint leaves
1 small banana
1/2 small avocado
1/4 tsp spirulina powder – optional
1/2 inch of fresh ginger, peeled
a handful of fresh green leaves like kale or spinach, washed
1 tbsp plant protein of choice
200 ml coconut water
blueberries, raspberries & bee pollen for toppings
Place all the ingredients, except for the toppings in your blender and blend until smooth. Serve your smoothie in a glass or a bowl and add the blueberries, raspberries and bee pollen for sensual delights!
While we are patiently waiting for Summer to arrive, I though I would share this warming and nourishing superfood porridge with you all. This simple yet delicious breakfast has kept me going for the past couple of months as my go-to morning ritual. Whilst I was hoping to transition into a more raw-food based start to the day, it will have to wait until it get’s a little warmer…
Are you like me, craving warmer, spicier food when it’s cold? And as soon as it’s warm, looking for some raw cooling foods instead? Even though I like smoothies all year round, for me they are more an exception to the rule. You won’t find me guzzling on large bowls of raw veggies during the autumn and winter months, unless I also have some cooked, warm food accompanying the plate. Cold food in cold weather makes me feel even colder. Funny how in tune we can become uh?
Have you ever noted how warming spices like, cloves, cardamom and chilli lends themselves to winter dishes? And in the summer it is more naturally to add and eat crispy salads, fresh fruit and raw veggie sticks?
I’m going to give you my “cold weather version” of this superfood porridge, but I have also included some topping ideas to give you some more “summer friendly” ideas for when it eventually arrives!
I firmly believe porridge is THE most popular breakfast in Ireland. Perhaps elsewhere too… Porridge (or Oatmeal) is such a great way to enjoy true whole grains. You know that it hasn’t had all that much tampering with as it still looks pretty much the same as it does when growing in the field. However it’s debatable if some other breakfast cereals can truly call themselves, whole grains upon closer inspection…
If you can tolerate oats then porridge is a nice healthy way to start the day. *Note that oats are the only cereal grain, which is gluten free. The problem is cross contamination from other cereal grains. If you are highly gluten sensitive, yet can handle oat, take care to by certified gluten free oats.*
Before I started to add some coconut oil or coconut milk to my porridge I used to find it would keep me going for about 2h and then I would end up seriously ravenous! For most people though, porridge is one of the best ways to keep any cravings at bay and energy on an even keel right up till lunch time. To make this breakfast an even more slow-releasing carbohydrate breakfast, I have paired it with full fat coconut milk, plus some seeds. You will get all the sweetness you need from the dried berries, so hold off on the sugar.
Serves 1 (Double the amounts if making for more)
1/2 cup rolled oats or pinhead oatmeal
1 cup cold water
2 tbsp full fat coconut milk – Chose a brand which is as pure as possible without any fillers & binders
1 tbsp raw or toasted pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp raw or toasted sunflower seeds
1 tbsp golden raisins – or use normal ones
1 tbsp dried Inca berries – Also called physallis
1/2 tbsp cacao nibs
Place oats and water in a small saucepan. Gently bring to boil while stirring. Cook for about 10 min until you have a thick porridge. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in the coconut milk.
Serve in a bowl with all the superfood toppings!
Fresh hulled, chopped strawberries with 1/2 tbsp of bee pollen
Sliced nectarine with chopped pecan nuts
Stoned and halved cherries with a tbsp almond butter.
Looking for more oatmeal / porridge inspiration? Check out these fabulous bloggers too 🙂
Before the summer is well and truly over, I would like to share this colourful raw salad with you. I’d love if I could literally share it with you, but if not I’ll give you the recipe at least, so you can easily throw it together at home! Beetroot and carrots are in prime season and if you are one of those GIY people who I admire, chances are you can pull most of these ingredients straight from the ground of your back yard!
This simple salad came together as an experiment a few years ago when I was cooking with a couple of friends and we decided to try making a chocolate beetroot cake for the first time. The cake came out well. (I used someone else’s recipe which made a successful outcome more likely) We were left with lots of shredded beetroot and had to come up with another plan to use it. After a few poor years I have adopted the basic mantra of “waste not -want not” and now hate food waste. So what can you do with some raw shredded beetroot? Well give it some raw shredded carrot as a companion, make a simple dressing of a few base ingredients. Then proceed to pull a few leaves of mint from your pot and voilá, a super food salad is born!
Cooking with in season ingredients ensures you’ll get maximum nutrition for your money as well as the freshest ones too. Naturally cooking in season makes it easier to buy local because this is what your small organic farmer is pulling out of the ground right now. Or it is what you can find in your own vegetable garden / allotment.
Cooking and eating this way may take some getting use to, as you might have to step out of your current comfort zone. Perhaps you need to try some new ingredients and learn some more recipes. Another thing I have found over the past year or so is that I’m so much more aware of what is in season and that my body seem to crave different types of food at different types of the year. Anyone else also experiencing that? This summer, with this lovely warm weather we’ve had, has seen me eating lots of raw foods. Probably more than I normally would. It seems to be reflected here on the blog too, judging from the posts of the past few months…
So before it’s time to wrap up for the coming months I would like to give you just another raw food recipe.
When we think about superfoods we often think of exotic, but now readily available foods like chia seeds, goji berries and raw cacao. Fact is, it cannot be overemphasized how much of a superfood beetroot is. I wrote about it here and here.Carrots are famous for their high content of betacarotene, a precursore to vitamin A, a vitamin really important for good eye health. As well as betacarotene, carrots are a good source of lutein and lycopene. Both good cancer fighting properties. In nutritional therapy we look at food not just as basic fuel but also as medicine. So here you have a seriously health promoting simple raw summer / autumn salad. No excuses needed.
The fact that both vegetables are served raw makes for maximum nutritional value. Just make sure your veggies are as fresh as possible. Most people don’t eat enough raw vegetables. Green smoothies or vegetable juices makes it easier to increase intake of raw foods, but sometimes you want something with a bit of a crunch and that’s when this salad deserves a prime place on the menu. It will work really well with meat too if that’s what takes your fancy. Personally I love it with white fish.
P.S I have taste tested this one on lots of people, on some of my cooking demos and even the most avid beetroot fans have been converted 🙂 It seems like the ginger-lemon dressing somehow neutralises the earthiness of the beetroot, which many people so dislike.
Beetroot & Carrot Salad with a Ginger Dressing
Serves 2 generously
2 medium sized carrots, washed & peeled
1 large or 2 small beetroots, washed & peeled
3 tbsp good quality cold pressed olive oil
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
zest of 1/2 organic lemon
1/2- 1 inch ginger, peeled and finely grated – adjust amount according to how much “kick” you want
A pinch of Himalayan pink salt – to season
A few fresh mint leaves, torn
Grate the carrot and beetroot finely. There are a few ways to do this. If you have a food processor and don’t mind a little extra washing, use it. I used my julienne slicer here. It is a really handy tool except for the fact that I almost always end up rubbing a poor unfortunate finger as well… If you can find a julienne peeler which looks almost like a normal peeler, then go for that one instead. Of course if you have impeccable knife skills, then go ahead and cut your own julienne sticks by all means. It’s just beyond the scope of my own skills.
In a small bowl mix together olive oil, lemon juice and ginger until smooth. Add a drop of water if you find it too thick. Season to taste with some pink salt. Place your finely grated carrot and beetroot in a large salad bowl. Add the dressing. Toss the whole thing gently with your hands. Add a few torn mint leaves to the mix.
This salad will work really well as a side to some grilled white fish or as part of a larger buffet. Or as a snack with a few toasted seeds on top. If you are a little odd like me!