In keeping with the yellow theme from last month’s blog post on the FIRE Aspect, I give you another yellow combination. And yes, it’s still a liquid one(!) *Note to self, make the next recipe something that you’ll chew*
But as I’m getting myself geared up for Whole Detox™ in about 10 days I’m enjoying a few smoothies here and there. Though I’m not really one for cold food in cold weather, (and boy is the warm winter we had turning cold and struggling to move out of the way) it can be hard to look past the convenience of smoothies when it comes to simple ways to increase the amount of fresh produce you eat. Eating enough can be such a challenge at times, and who would have thought, since the message that’s mostly thrown around it the one “eat less, move more”.
I’ve even had people on some of my programmes freaking out because of the volume of food on their plate. The beauty is though that when we increase the amount of colourful plant based foods we eat, we get to eat MORE, not less.
I remember doing this simple math’s exercise with a group I had on a weightloss programme a few years ago. Though, as you know I’m not a huge fan of counting calories but for this simple visual experiment they do serve a purpose.
So visualise this; One 500 ml bottle of soft drink (minerals / soda / fizzy drink – pick your name) contains roughly 500 kcal. Without having a label in front of me it will give you a fair amount of sugar, probably 10-14 teaspoons (remember this is a completely man-made product so any carbohydrate content will be pure sugar and count as your “added sugar intake”). There will also be some colourings and additives, more or less depending on the type and brand you choose.
Now let’s take those same 500 kcal and see how that translate into vegetables. So (from memory) 500 kcal worth of vegetable is about two full shopping bags worth! Lots of vital nutrients, fibre and volume. I would honestly think you’d struggle to chomp it all down in the course of a day.
That’s why the very handy, yet simple strategy of filling half your plate with vegetables is such a powerful way to reduce the total amount of calories yet maximise the amount of quality nutrition you get. There’s a lot to be said for keeping it simple.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends 7-10 servings of fruit and vegetable a day for any diet to be disease preventable. 5-a-day is actually a minimum. And I see people who are only getting 2-3 at times.
How many portions are you eating daily?
I even know for myself when we did food diaries as project back in college, that upping it to 7-10 actually takes a conscious effort. Perhaps that’s one reason I’m so drawn to smoothies?
Anyway, another thing that I realised the other day is this; What if we look at the food we eat in a symbolic way?The majority of us want to have more energy so we can do more (and even BE more) and if we have a constant feeling of lack luster and even low mood holds this may hold us back from doing all that we want. It’s seriously frustrating. I can still remember what it felt like some years ago when my energy levels where down on 3-4, out of 10. A lot of the time I just functioned and got through the day, doing what had to be done. I was constantly tired.
So what if we focus on eating more foods that are vibrant and alive? What about adding more colour to the plate? My whole food philosophy is about feasting your eyes as much as feeding your body. In case you hadn’t noticed…
So without a degree in nutrition and if you want to keep it simple, yet knowing that you are getting lots of essential nutrients to fuel your body and mind, think colour! Think rainbow and aim to eat a rainbow of colours every day.
So with colour in mind, here is a yellow zingy smoothie that is sure to put some zest and brightness into your day.
If you are feeling brave and have a strong blender, like a Nutribullet, then go ahead and blend the whole lemon! It sure makes for some serious digestive power! Otherwise just use the juice.
And since the sun is still shining with it’s absence I am trying to brighten my days in other ways. This is one such way. Enjoy 🙂
Zingy Smoothie for Grey Spring Days
1 cup fresh pineapple – peeled, cored and diced
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled
Juice of one whole lemon – or peel (if you have an organic one you can blend the whole one) and use the whole fruit!
1 small fresh root of turmeric or 1 tsp of turmeric powder
1 tbsp of hulled hempseeds
1 tbsp of pea, rice or hemp protein (I like the Pulsin brand)
200-250ml plant milk of choice
Place all the ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth. Drink immediately.
***Note, personally I don’t like really cold drinks (unless the weather is really hot) but if you want a colder drink feel free to add some ice too***
I feel like it’s been ages since I’ve posted something here. And in a sense it has. There’s not all that much left to January so it’s about time I got going with the blogging for 2016! I really enjoy the creative process of it all. From thinking up recipes, playing in the kitchen, taking the photos and doing the writing. And I’m so grateful to all of you who check in here, take the time to read my ramblings and try out my recipes. So thank you 🙂
Though time seems to fly, it always does(!) this is going to be the year I really practice on being more present and living in the here and now. With an emphasis on practice, be cause that’s just what it is. Some days it works better and seem easier, than others, but in the end all we can do is practice. And when we do, practice that is, regardless of what it is you are practicing – meditation, mindfulness, cooking, weightlifting, running, yoga – we all get better, little by little through the dedication to practice.
I think if we are looking to change anything, whether is something about ourselves, add in a daily selfcare ritual to our lives or learning a new skill, the secret to success goes as follows: Acknowledgement (you want something different to what you have / where you are), Awareness (you need to know where you currently are at, what your patterns are and what it is you need to do different in order to change), Trust (put faith in the process, that if you consistently follow through you will, get there, even when it doesn’t feel like you will) and finally Devotion (because what you want to change and become matters more to you than staying the same).
I suppose one can see Devotion and Discipline as almost synonyms, however I don’t know about you but discipline too me feel a lot harsher and more rigid than devotion. So I stick with the former… So from here on in, for this year I’m going to honour my devotion to staying present in my life (and to blog regularly.) These are my intentions for 2016.
What are your intentions for this New Year? If you need some help to get clarity around where you need to focus, feel free to download this practical sheet I’ve created HERE. It’s yours to play around with.
“Where attention goes, energy flows and result show”.
And what about being more present? Have you ever noticed how how perceptive time can be? Like when you actually slow down, it almost feels like you’ve got more time, because in that moment you have more time to experience everything that’s going on around you as well as what’s going on inside you… Sounds counter intuitive, I know, but let’s try it. The opposite is certainly true when you surf the internet or scroll through Facebook…
So what about cooking and eating? Excellent times to practice awareness, mindfulness and being present I think. Perhaps easier said that done, but if you are going to make the effort of cooking from scratch, using all the colourful foods you bought you might as well actively engage in the process. It is so much more rewarding that way!
Last week I had the opportunity to play in the kitchen, as well as with my camera. To make it even better one of my lovely friends came over and was my handmodel for the day. So that made it extra fun!
This is a true, yellow, fiery soup to warm you on cold winter days. Even the bright yellow colour brightens my mood, especially as there still seems to be no end in sight to this current Irish wet winter weather… So as “sunny looking” bowl of hearty goodness has to make up for the lack of the sunlight.
This soup is also highly antiinflammatory as it is full of antiinflammatory foods like, onion, garlic, turmeric and ginger. The main star of the soup is the butternut squash which is a type of pumpkin, readily available in most supermarkets these day. This pumpkin is a great source of carbohydrates, fiber, vitamin C and the yellow coloured phyto-nutrient beta carotene.
It is a really wholesome, wholefood soup made from just a couple of basic ingredients + stock. Of you are battling a cold, need some warming up or are looking for some antiinflammatory support then here’s one way to do it! You’ll have this colourful beauty whipped up in no time.
This is the third recipe in the Winter Soup Series, and I have at least one more lined up before the winter is over…
Fiery Anti inflammatory Soup
1 yellow onion, peeled & finely chopped
1 buttenut squash, roasted (whole), deseeded and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled & finely chopped
2 fresh roots of turmeric, chopped or 1 tbsp dried powder
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled & finely chopped
A pinch of dried chilli flakes
Sea Salt & Black pepper, to season
Vegetable stock, about 1 litre– I never really measure out my stock but use enough to cover my veggies and then add more as necessary to thin the soup when blending it
For the toasted seeds as topping:
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
3 tbsp tamari, wheat free soy sauce
Start by heating your oven to 200°C. Place the butternut squash on a oven tray and then leave it to roast in the hot oven for about 30 min or until the skin is lightly burnt and the squash is soft. This is by far the easiest way to deal with butternut squash as it is a complete pain to try to peel or chop it when fresh! You can even roast it the day before if you have the oven on anyway.
Whilst the butternut squash is roasting, prepare the rest of the vegetables. Then gently heat some olive oil in a heavy based saucepan. Once the oil is warm, add in the onion, garlic and ginger and saute until soft.
Add in the turmeric just before the end and stir through but be careful not to burn it.
When your butternut squash is ready, take it out of the oven and let it cool before you cut in in half and remove the seeds. If you are feeling enthusiastic you can clean and save these for roasting later…
If you are using an organic squash you can leave the skin on, otherwise peel the soft skin off and add the pumpkin flesh to the saucepan.
Add enough stock to cover the vegetables and bring up to boil. Then reduce to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 15 min. Allow the soup to cool down a little before you blend it smooth. Add more stock as necessary to thin to your preferred consistency.
To make the toasted seeds;
Heat the oven to 150°C. Or toast the seeds once you are done with the squash.
Place the seeds on a lined baking tray. Add the tamari and toss until evenly coated.
Roast in the oven for 15 min, until they look just about dry. Give them a stir with a spoon every 5 min too. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool down.
Top each bowl of soup with a descent table spoon of toasted seeds and store any leftover ones in a glass jar in your store cupboard. The seeds are also delicious as a little snack on their own or as a salad sprinkle.
What are your favourite yellow foods? Please share below 🙂
I’m so delighted to have the opportunity to share this beautiful immune boosting and vibrant smoothie recipe. Just what is needed as we slowly transition into the next season. I’m sure we can all do with a little more colour and sunshine in our lives. And if the Sun prevails, you just have to get a little more inventive in the kitchen instead.
This week I have invited the beautifully talented lady Agnes who blogs about food and stuff over on Cashew-Kitchen. If you are not following Agnes on Instagram or reading her blog, you should. It’s worth it for the photos alone 🙂
But I’ll let you Agnes tell you all a little more about herself.
Hi Agnes! Can you tell us something about yourself and your work?
Sure! My name is Agnes and I live in a small apartment in central Stockholm (Sweden) which is also my hometown. I recently moved back here after spending a couple of years on the west coast studying. Since september last year I’m running the food & photography blog Cashew Kitchen, although I’ve been food blogging since the spring of 2013. I also do some photography and recipe development on a freelancing basis. But my main occupation is my studies in Human Ecology in which I’m currently writing my bachelor thesis. I started my studies in Human Ecology and my food blogging about the same time, so initially it was an interest in sustainable food and lifestyles that pushed me. I’ve been hanging out in the kitchen experimenting since I first became a vegetarian when I was 14, so the interest in wholesome, nourshing food has always been there I guess, I just never thought about blogging about it before 🙂
I have a background in Fine Arts, so when starting blogging about food I quickly noticed that working with the aesthetic aspects came pretty natural to me. Using colorful ingredients and spending a lot of effort on the styling and photography is very important to me, so when I launched Cashew Kitchen I simply decided to call it ”a foodie photography blog”. Although the sustainable aspects are still there: I only post vegetarian recipes and I mostly use seasonal, whole and organic ingredients.
No wonder you can great the most magical of images!
I’m curious about that education of your: what is Human Ecology? And how do you wish to use that education in the future?
Well, you could say it is environmental science from a social sciences’ perspective. In Human Ecology we study the relationship between social, ecological and economic factors and how those interact with for example issues of power, resource management, poverty, urban development, climate change, population growth and social dynamics. It’s everything from city planning and food production to eco philosophy or complex adaptive systems.
In my thesis I study possibilities and limitations for citizen participation and co-management in city planning to help build social resilience in society. When I decided on the topic I think I was a bit tired of food haha. It was in the aftermath of the Swedish election and the increased social unstability we see here in Sweden (and out in the world too) worried me. In the future I want to work with sustainable food in some way. It could be inspiring people to make sustainable food choices, which I kind of already do through my blog (I hope!) hehe. It could also be working for a food or agriculture company with sustainable development issues. The possibilities are endless, really! I just know my passion is food, happy people and a healthy planet 🙂
How would you describe your food philosophy?
I want it to be simple! My aim is to inspire as many people as I can to incorporate more vegetarian or vegan food into their diets and cook more from scratch using seasonal ingredients, and thereby bringing us one step closer to living environmentally friendly lifestyles. Therefore I don’t believe in using too many obscure and expensive ingredients, or create difficult or fancy recipes. My recipes often consist of just a few, simple ingredients and are usually quick to assemble. I want to show that it can be both wholesome, fun and easy to eat seasonal and vegetarian. Also fresh produce or a lovingly cooked meal can really make my heart melt! It’s everything I need to be happy. That simplicity and appreciation of food is something I want to share with others.
Couldn’t agree with you more.
How did you come up with the name Cashew Kitchen?
Um, I was just playing around with different names that sounded ”catchy” haha. I always have cashew nuts at home and love to use them in raw desserts, granola, smoothies etc. so it felt suitable with a name steaming from one of my favorite ingredients 🙂
How does your process from idea to finished recipe and blog post look like?
Sometimes a get an idea from surfing around the food blogosphere or pinterest that I write down on my little list. It can be anything really that triggers the idea to a recipe – a combination of colors, a long forgotten ingredient, a memory. But more often I find myself standing in front of an half empty fridge trying to think of something I can make out of the little I have. Honestly that’s where the best recipes come from! If I just happened to create something utterly delicious I try to photograph it right away if I have the time, but mostly I plan to cook/prepare the night before and then style & shoot the next day. Quite often I have tried the recipe a couple of times by then. Editing photos I do on my spare time in the evenings. I never plan what I’m gonna write about on the blog, I just write what pops up in my head that particular day.
I love your creativity!!
Which 5 ingredients will one find in your pantry?
Hehe my pantry is smacked with stuff… In the back you’ll probably find some rarely used superfood powders, but what I always need to have at home (besides cashews) are almonds, rolled oats, coconut milk, tahini and bananas. And a thousand more things. Gosh I’m so spoiled with having good food around.
Do you have an all time favorite recipe you keep coming back to? 🙂
I have different favorite recipes in different periods of my life. Right now the only thing I wanna have for breakfast is my Coconut & Vanilla Oatmeal. During weekdays I eat similar salads every day, at the moment with a millet base, random veggies and a honey & dijon mustard dressing I’ve made countless times!
Tell us something about the recipe you are sharing today! Why this particular recipe?
This recipe is a perfect example of how I roll 😉 It happened the day before pay day and contains literally everything I had left in my fridge that day. I can tell you my expectations for this smoothie wasn’t that high, but oh how surprised I was when I tasted it!
I love the creativity that comes from restrictions. You don’t really need to have a perfectly stocked pantry to make delicious food. I hate to throw away food and always save the little bits and pieces left to use for something else. Smoothies is a great way to use up that last squeeze in the yoghurt package or half a frozen banana from the freezer.
I make smoothies almost every day to drink in between meals, and I especially like to add some seeds or grains and something fat like coconut milk or yoghurt to make it more filling and long lasting.
Despite citruses typically are winter ingredients, to me this is a recipe flirting with spring 🙂 I even added birch straws, see! As if the weather gods heard my plea when photographing this recipe, the sun came out from the clouds just long enough for me to catch it.
For this recipe I used yoghurt, but you can easily make a vegan version using coconut milk + a little extra lemon juice.
Sunny Buckwheat Smoothie
2 tbsp raw buckwheat groats
water to cover
***soak for minimum 1 hour***
1 large orange or 2 small
1 small banana
1 inch piece of fresh ginger
1/2 cup natural yoghurt
2 small pitted dates or 1 medjool date
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
water until desired consistency
+ the soaked and rinsed buckwheat
Prepare by soaking the buckwheat in lukewarm water for minimum one hour. This can be done the night before or in the morning. You soak the groats to get rid of harmful enzymes and start a sprouting process for optimal digestion and nutritional content.
Rinse buckwheat thoroughly. Drain and set aside.
Peel orange and lemon with a knife. Try to get rid of as much of the white parts as possible (it’s bitter). Remove any seeds. Peel ginger and coarsely chop.
Put orange, a quarter of the lemon, banana, ginger, buckwheat, yoghurt, dates and turmeric powder in a high speed blender and mix until completely smooth. Add water if nessecary. If you have a not so strong mixer or an immersion blender you might wanna squeeze out the juice of the orange and lemon beforehand, grate the ginger and perhaps soak the dates if they’re dried.
Serve right away with seeds, berries, granola or simply with a (birch) straw!
Thank you so much Agnes for sharing this beautiful recipe with us here at Straightforward Nutrition! I sure know what I’ll have for breakfast next week 🙂
It is the middle of January. Usually a grey time of the year. A long, sometimes rather depressing month. We are feeling the aftermaths of Christmas. Perhaps both in the form of tighter jeans and an emptier wallet. If this is you, then I’m positively confident that this warming, nourishing, golden liquid is just the thing to lift your spirits. If you could drink sunshine, then a cup of turmeric tea would be just that. You can feel how this tea invigorates your cells from the inside out, just as the first warming rays of sunshine awaken the seeds in the ground, nourishing and nudging them to grow and eventually flourish into beautiful flowers.
In the last couple of years I have begun to appreciate the different season more. I also have started to look at them as part of the cycle of life. Winter is the time for rest and recuperation. Spring is the time for growth and development. Summer is the time to flourish. Autumn is the time were we finally reap the rewards of the work we have done, before it is time to slow down again. The winter solstice has been and gone and the days are gradually getting longer. One of the good things about living in Ireland is that you notice “a stretch in the evenings” quiet quickly. I felt a whiff of Spring the other day. But, let’s not get carried away. It is still only the middle of January..
Turmeric is a super food. There is no two-ways about that. It is most commonly used in its powder form. Fresh turmeric is a root and grows freely in countries such as India and Indonesia. It is one of the main ingredients in curry blends. Turmeric is also often used as a natural food colouring. Be aware, it does tend to stain everything!
Turmeric is still used a lot in Indian cooking. But it also heavily used for its medicinal properties. The spice is one of the most researched natural compounds in modern time. Some studies has shown the most potent part of Turmeric, Curcumin, to be as potent as NSAID – drugs, when it comes to reducing pain and inflammation. Other studies has shown a marked effect on cancer due to its strong antioxidant capacity. As a spice it has many positive effects on our immune system, so we are doing ourselves a huge favour by including some more of its goldilicousness in our lives.
When I was studying nutritional therapy in college a few years ago, I remember my lecturer suggesting adding about a teaspoon to a little yoghurt and eating it, as a medicinal way of using the spice. Perhaps not the most palatable way as it turned out. Of course you can add it to all your curries and soups where the yellow colour will work. Turmeric has an earthy, slightly bitter flavour, that is quiet easily masked, but not by natural yoghurt! I came across the original version of this tea when researching on of my favourite blogs for a recipe for an entirely different ingredient. The headline caught my eye and of course I had to try it out. After testing out the original version, I made my own flavour combination. The use of honey to blend the spices is really clever as it makes them dissolve a lot better in the warm water. My mix with cinnamon and cardamom, seem to neutralise that earthiness form the turmeric so it will suit even those with a slightly sweeter palate. These spices have add their own health benefits. See more here. The cayenne pepper will help the body absorb the goodness from the turmeric better. Don’t leave out the lemon juice at the end. It is key for balancing the flavours and offers detoxing support for the liver. So go on, drink some sunshine! And beat those winter blues.
Immune Boosting Turmeric Tea
Makes enough for 7-8 cups of tea
4 tbsp quality honey, preferably local
2 tbsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1-2 tbsp of fresh lemon juice
Add the honey and all the spices to a small glass jar. Stir until well combined and a honey-spice paste is formed. To make the tea add a heaped tsp of paste to a cup. Add hot water (off the boil) and stir. Squeeze some lemon juice into your warm golden liquid. Keep stirring your tea in between your sips as the turmeric tends to sink to the bottom. Enjoy the nourishing feeling of doing something good for yourself.
This is the original recipe but using fresh turmeric root instead. You can of course add a slice of fresh ginger too.
Turmeric Tea – using fresh root
1/2 fresh turmeric root, sliced
1 tsp honey, preferably local
fresh lemon juice, about 1/2 lemon
freshly ground black pepper
Finely slice the fresh turmeric root and add to a mug. Add the honey. Pour some warm water over the fresh root and honey. N.B. it is important that the water is off the boil as otherwise it will destroy the nutrients. Add the lemon juice and some freshly ground black pepper. The black pepper will help with the absorption of nutrients. Cover your cup with a small plate and let the tea properly infuse for 4-5 min before you drink it.