This week we are changing things up a little! I’m delighted to introduce you to the lovely Shanna Jade who runs the blog Sprouting an Old Soul. Her beautiful recipes coupled with insight and wisdom makes for an excellent read.
To allow you to get to know Shanna Jade a little better, I will allow her to take the lead.
Tell me about you, how did you get into wholefoods & healthy living? Where does your blog fit in?
Well my name is Shanna Jade, I live in fairly small country town just east of the Rocky Mountains in Canada. I was born and raised not far from where I am now. I am fortunate enough to have traveled throughout my life, while being still very content to call this lovely place home.
I am fairly nutty about healthy foods, a health state of mind and living an all around eco lifestyle. I was raised primarily vegetarian, spending next to zero time in the kitchen. My mom has always mean very health conscious, when I was in high school she started her own educational journey to become a Master Herbalist, going on to teach nutrition through a local college. I have memories of her in the kitchen making things like warm gooey from scratch Mac ‘n’ Cheese or baking up a dish full of lentils with tomatoes, however I have far more memories of my dad in the kitchen. He makes the most amazing meals, whipping them up like nothing.
Helping my mother with her schooling was a ridiculously easy way for me to learn as well. I picked things up while helping her study, by reading her textbooks and by general osmosis – none of which was how to cook. Taking from where her classes left off I took it upon myself to continue my learning, digging deeper into specific ingredients and nutrients which I found enjoyable to work with or fascinating to read about. Thus I would call myself self taught. The nutritional knowledge I hold comes from a large number of sources, the culinary flare comes from my heart. I didn’t always cook with healthy ingredients, I didn’t always read labels. For a few years of my life I was completely blissfully ignorant to the trash that I was taking into my body. I knew I wasn’t eating healthy or promoting the things I had learned but I was young and it was easy to eat empty calories.
I started Sprouting an Old Soul as a way to reach out and share with other people in the community, people who wanted to learn about healthy foods and how to live a well rounded lifestyle. I started the blog as a way to keep myself focused and remind myself that in order to never stop learning I needed to apply the skills and knowledge in which I already possessed. That meant cutting out the crap and filling myself up with the most wholesome ingredients and outrageous nutrition.
Do you have any non-negotiables when it comes to what you eat or the products you use?
Absolutely. I make a huge go of using fully BPA free everything. Product wise – I try as much as I can to limit all chemical and synthetics in the house, especially anything that can be inhaled or absorbed. I use fully organic skin care, hair care and as green of cleaning products as possible. Food wise, I do my best to keep things as whole as possible. I don’t eat or drink anything with artificial coloring, I have never had red meat, I don’t do sodas and I strongly dislike green peppers. I am not a purist and I don’t believe in labels. I think that if something makes your cells sing, you should darn well eat it. I think that being in tune and having the ability to notice what makes you feel great vs what makes your belly hurt is a must. Once that’s mastered then everything falls into place because really, KD and McDonalds are not things that make anyone feel good. Being ready to face that is the biggest step. ( I couldn’t agree more!)
What is hands down your favorite thing to eat?
Ooh. Well, I eat mushrooms almost every day, I love love love them. I have always really loved eggs, even when I was following a strict vegan lifestyle (I have genetically high cholesterol so I try to stay away from animal fats) I would dream of going for breakfast and having some sort of scramble.
What sort of things do you do for yourself to get or to stay grounded?
Most importantly I have a very solid morning routine, I feel completely out of whack when I don’t follow with that. Primarily hydration, if I don’t have at least a liter of water before I leave the house in the morning I am simply not myself. I am very liberal when it comes to white sage, I have a smudge stick beside my bed and burn it regularly. I cleanse my room and my self almost nightly before bed. I find myself needing an attitude adjustment when I haven’t had a chance to go outdoors – I am basically a grump and the only cure is forest. People I work with have been known to suggest I take some “tree time”.
Care to share any routines, rituals must do’s that you stick with to keep yourself on track?
Well as I said, I have a solid morning routine. I set my alarm for at least 10 minutes earlier than needed and spend those extra minutes focusing on two words that are written on the ceiling above my bed. Love and Service. I sit with them and allow them to fill me for the whole 10 minutes. I have a giant jar of room temperature water either spiked with liquid chlorophyll or a pinch of high quality grey sea salt. Gentle mind and body cleansing.
I think that having a workout routine, a yoga class, any sort of movement is crazy important. Leading a healthy lifestyle isn’t just about eating fruits and veggies. It’s about your body, your own personal temple that needs tending and worship. Getting your groove on and respecting that your body is incredible and it craves movement is something that I find incredibly important.
I am so happy to have been able to share this recipe with the Straightforward Nutrition community, to introduce myself and to be able to broadcast the lovely Linn on my own site.
I created this recipe as a way for folks to get other types of greens into their diets. Sure, kale is all the rage, spinach is pretty great and well chard too. What about the garnish on the side of your plate? The parsley, the cilantro, the herbs that are so lovingly placed to add a touch of color only to be discarded by the consumer. This recipe is about variety and the amazing flavor profile of the sometimes overlooked greens available to us.
Freekeh is a very low gluten form of green wheat, it’s picked early on in the cycle and has amazing flavor & texture! If you are sensitive to wheat, or you can’t locate this amazing grain – substitute quinoa, barley or whatever you have handy. (Whole Spelt or Kamut grains would work too)
Green Freekhe Salad
1 Cup Loose Packed Lemon Balm
1/2 Cup Mint
1 Cup Curly Parsley
1 Cup Cilantro
1/3 Cup + 1 Tablespoon Pumpkin Seed Oil
1 Clove of Garlic
1 Tablespoon of Dill
1.5 Cups of Freekeh
4 Cups of Water
1/2 Cup Toasted Pine nuts
1/2 Large Yellow Onion
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
1 Green Chili
1/4 of a Preserved Lemon
Add the freekeh + water to a pot and cook for about 45-50 minutes, until the grain has grown and the water has been absorbed. While it’s cooking, make the herb paste. Add all herb paste ingredients to a blender or food processor and whirl until it’s a pesto like consistency. Set aside. Dice the onion then caramelize it in the coconut oil. Once the freekeh is cooked, transfer it to a large bowl along with the onion and the toasted pine nuts. Rough chop the preserved lemon and the chili – toss it in the bowl, then add the herb paste and mix well. Serve at room temperature.
Thanks a mill Shanna for sharing your lovely recipe here on Straightforward Nutrition! Much appreciated 🙂
If you want to see what I shared with Shanna’s readers over on Sprouting an Old Soul, then head over there for a visit.
We’re turning one! A little over a year ago this food blog was born. It all started with an idea that it would be so much more fun to cook, photograph and blog about the food I cook in my own kitchen and the type of food I recommend to my clients. Getting a brand new website built last year brought it’s own challenges but has it been worth it? Oh yes. And I hope you think so too.
I’m delighted to have so many people stopping by here each month, a few 1000 of yous now (!) And even more people over on Instagram. Heading for 10K now. This time there was about 500. How things change. So many things has happen this year. So many opportunities opening up. Guest blogging, cooking demos, online programmes (in the pipeline) and new friends. I’m so grateful.
Anyway. To celebrate Straightforward Nutrition’s blog first blogiversary I have teamed up with Waifair.co.uk to give one lucky reader here the opportunity participate in a Giveaway on the blog.
If you want to be in the draw to be given a £150 voucher to spend on kitchen appliances over on their site, this is what you need to do:
I believe sharing is caring and that we can all learn from each other to lead healthier and happier lives, so to be in the draw Leave a comment below, on this post, about the ONE Change you have made to help you live a healthier life. This could be anything from a change in habit or mindset to making shopping lists /menu plans or what ever it is that you have changed in order to live a healthier life and that you found made a profound difference.
I can’t wait to hear what brilliant changes you have all made! Please note the draw will close on Nov 20th. So do drop us a line before then.
**N.B Unfortunately this competition is only open to Irish & UK residents. I hope I will get an opportunity to run another giveaway in the future for the rest of you.**
I was tossing with the idea of making something savory as to celebrate with but somehow I just felt it would look a little weird sticking a small flag on a slice of pizza… Maybe next year!
These little lemony paleo muffins were actually featured as the recipe of the month on my old website, a long way back. And there wasn’t a pretty picture to go with it then either so what better excuse to make them again. If you like lemons, poppy seeds and want to bake something Paleo and gluten free, chances are you will like these muffins.
As far as gluten free go and baking with almond flour these are very easy and does not have an ingredients list the length of your arm, which is so often the case with gluten free baking. Gluten free baking is an art in itself, and I with confidence, hold my hand up, declaring it’s one I have yet to master. You really need to know what you are doing and, cooks like me which often just “add a little of this” and “a little of that” do better when strictly adhering to someone elses tried and tested recipe.
Almonds are a great source of potassium, magnesium, calcium, zinc and vitamin E. They are also a good source of unsaturated fatty acids as well as protein. If you make your own almond meal from whole almonds, leaving the skin on, you will get plenty of fibre too.
Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
Makes 8 small muffins (they are seriously filling so no need to stuff yourself)
1/4 cup of oil of your choice – I normally use a nice fruity olive oil but I’d imagine melted coconut oil would work well too.
3 tbsp of clear runny honey – Local & Organic preferably
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 tbsp of lemon juice
2 1/2 cups of almond flour – 250g of whole almonds will yield this amount when ground
2 tsp poppyseeds
1/2 tsp of baking powder
A pinch of salt
Lemon zest of one lemon, finely grated
Preheat your oven to 180C. Place eight small muffin cases in a muffin tray. Or use an ordinary baking tray if you don’t have one.
Start by separating the egg yolks from the egg whites. Leave the yolks in one bowl and the egg whites in another one. In the bowl with the egg yolks, add honey, lemon juice, oil and vanilla extract and mix together well. Add in your dry ingredients and mix until you have a stiff batter.
Now proceed to whisk your egg whites until stiff peaks are formed. I normally do this by hand as it is such a small amount. Try using a large bowl so you can get plenty of air in . Or use electric whisks and spare yourself a work out. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter. Taking care to make sure it gets well blended but try not to be too heavy handed as the air from the egg whites is what will make your muffins nice and fluffy.
Spoon the batter into the muffin cases, filling them to about 2/3. Bake for about 20 min in the oven. After 10 min place a sheet of tinfoil loosely on top to prevent the muffins from burning while they finish baking. They are ready once a scewer comes out clean. Keep a close eye as they get too dry very easily if left in for too long.
Place the muffins on a wire rack and allow too cool completely before tucking in. Any leftover muffins will keep for up to a week if kept in a cool dry place in an airtight container.
Don’t forget to leave a comment below about The One Change you have made to make it easier to live a healthier life, to be in the draw for £150 to spend on some useful kitchen appliances to make you cooking easier!
And thank you for stopping by over the past 12 months 🙂
Have you ever tried raw chocolate or even better still, tried to make our own? It isn’t half as difficult as you may think.
I can still remember a few years ago when I ordered my first ever bag of raw cacao powder from the internet. I was soooo excited! Because I have a seriously sweet tooth and I love chocolate. I couldn’t wait to open the bag and taste this amazing, super nutritious stuff.
And then… Disappointment. It was so bitter. Of course it was. It was raw cacao powder, on its own. Not paired up with a whole load of sugar, cacao butter and other stuff. I don’t really know what I was expecting. Seriously. It kind of shows how hardwired our taste expectations are too, doesn’t it? Have you ever had a similar experience? Our taste buds seems to so be closely connected to our sense of smell, and any previous taste experiences are safely stored for future reference in out memory.
Perhaps this was once a form of protection, essential to survival? I do remember reading somewhere that taste is strongly linked to an innate recognition of the safety of eating plants growing wild in nature. If something doesn’t taste pleasant we are less likely to swallow it. We are much more likely to spit it out instead. Which comes in very handy if the food is actually a poisonous one!
I often hear people say “I don’t like this”. ” I don’t like that, it’s too bitter (or not sweet enough!)”. The thing is, our taste buds are a bit like the rest of our body, they can change and develop with practice. There’s lots of foods I didn’t like a few years ago but which are now clear favourites. Things like ginger, beetroot and tahini where not exactly love at first sight for me. Instead the flavor-relationship with these foods have gradually evolved and deepened over time. You really need to persist and keep trying things for a good few times before you completely dismiss a new food. Practice. Patience. Persistence. Like with so many other things in life.
This recipe is a creation I came up with after a little conversation and inspiration on Instagram. I have experimented with raw chocolate for a few months and some experiments has been less than successful. Others a little better. I came across the stunning feed of Ditte Ingemann (@ditsen) and she has by far one of my favourite Instagram accounts. She also has a lovely website, in Danish. Anyway, one day Ditte posted this gorgeous picture of some raw chocolate which she had adapted from another recipe. She kindly gave me the bones of the recipe and her ingredients and I took it from there, using what I happened to have to hand.
If you are trying to cut down on sugar but not on flavour, then this chocolate might be for you. I have found maple syrup to work best when you make raw chocolate like this. It gives the cacao a lovely sweetness without being overpowering and integrates quiet easily with the fats. The ingredients for making raw chocolate at home, may not be the cheapest but on the upside, you’ll get something that is so jam-packed with flavour that a little goes a long way really.
We are using a combination of coconut oil and cacao butter here. This will give you a less snappy chocolate than if you are using cacao butter alone. For a cheaper alternative you can of course use coconut oil on its own. However you will end up with a very soft end product and since it will melt rather fast you will need to store it in the freezer rather than the fridge. This chocolate will be way too soft if you leave the it hanging around for too long at room temperature. Somehow, I doubt this will be a problem though…
Easy Peasy Peanut Butter Chocolate
Makes about 30 squares
50g cacao butter
2 heaped tbsp coconut oil – raw & cold pressed
1 heaped tbsp crunchy peanut butter – swap for any other nut butter if you want
2 heaped tbsp raw cacao powder
2-3 tbsp maple syrup – depending on desired sweetness
A tiny pinch of sea salt or Himalayan pink salt
Melt the coconut oil, peanut butter and cacao butter in a bowl over a pan hot water. Once the fats are fully melted and liquid add in the maple syrup and the raw cacao powder. Stir for a minute or two until you have a really smooth cacao mix. Taste and add a little more maple syrup if you still think it is too bitter. Add in the pinch of salt. Remove the bowl from the stove and pour it all on to a tray lined with parchment paper. Let the mix cool slightly before transferring it to the fridge to set. After a few hours take the tray out and cut your chocolate into small-ish squares.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Your raw chocolate will keep for a few days in the fridge. Probably longer in the freezer.
*NB. This chocolate has a very short list of ingredients. Check how many your usual bar has next time you are temped to buy one…
P.S Our firs Blogiversary is coming up next month so there is sure to be more chocolate involved then 🙂 Oh and there will be a great give away too!! I can’t wait to celebrate with you all.
Holidays are over and it’s time to get back to normality… If you have kids I am guessing you are in the midst of preparing for the return to school. Even though it is years (many years in fact) since I went to school, this time of year always reminds me of just that. The sense of that first light chill in the air, the sweet smell of grain ready for harvest and just the beginning of a hint of red on the leaves. Then you know that change is in the air and that we are slowly moving towards darker times. Summer is drawing to a close… Both with a little sadness, yet with a light exciting anticipation of what may lay ahead.
I came back from my long awaited holidays earlier this week. And boy am I feeling the change in the air! When you live abroad, “going home” is almost a necessity. Kind of a given way to spend some of your hard earned time off. This is my 13th year abroad and every summer I return faithfully to my roots. Luckily I have a loving home to return to every year and since my beloved mother lives in one of the most beautiful places on earth it makes the endeavor an even sweeter one. About ten years ago she moved to the most southernly area of Sweden, Österlen. It is so close to the sea and one of those special places with special light.
This area of Sweden has been home to painters and artists for centuries. If you have ever visited, it is obvious why. You will find art galleries, vintage stores and artisan cafés dotted all over the place. This is not where I grew up though. My “real home” is smack bang in the middle of Skåne, with a slightly different landscape. Different but still beautiful. My dad and his family come from this particular countryside and my darling brother is set to carry on the tradition, having built his house here and having started his own family earlier this year.
This post is slightly different to my usual ones as I would like to share some pictures I took whilst I was home, in Sweden. I sincerely hope you won’t mind. If you have never visited this corner of the earth, hopefully a few images will inspire you to do so!
The little town of Kivik, located right on the coast is world famous for all things apple. You will find an almost unimaginable amount of rows up on rows of apple trees growing in the area. Imagine the beauty of Spring there! All those flowers…
Most of the coastline is scattered with small sandy beaches and the Baltic can be very warm with water temperatures reaching the mid 20s if the summer is a hot one. I manged just one dip while I was home but I doubt it was still mid 20s kinda warm. It didn’t really feel like it was! It truly is a summer paradise around here and judging from the amount of tourists still around, a lot of people seem to think so. The area is actually equally beautiful in the winter, but much much colder so hardly any visitors to be seen anywhere then. I’m sure the locals don’t mind the peace and quiet over the winter months, though. They must be worn out after the summer.
When I first moved overseas, there was a whole heap of foods and dishes I missed. Since then, my dietary habits have changed, a lot. Much for the better, I suppose. So now I miss cooking when I’m away instead. There are still a few foods which find their way back to Ireland every time though. Things like REAL traditional Swedish rye crispbread and “Kalles Kaviar”, a caviar in a tube. Might sound rather awful to some… But not if you are a true Swede 😉 Anyone with me? Have you tried it?
The recipe here is a delicious purple smoothie bowl made with blackcurrants foraged from my mother’s tiny little kitchen garden. I simply adore blackcurrants, so enjoyed the opportunity to pick them straight from the bush as oppose to a freezer bag for a change. Blackcurrants are a true super food which we, who live in the northerly latitudes can enjoy locally. It has as much vitamin C as goji berries so a perfect berry to store for the winter months to stave off any colds and flu bugs. When I was in my late teens and still lived in Sweden I had never even heard of a dairy free smoothie bowl, like this recipe. Fast forward ten years or so and they have become a weekly staple. How things change, hey?
Smoothie bowls are so handy when you are looking for something which resemble that bowl of yoghurt with cereal you used to eat before you had to clean up your act. When I finally realised that my body felt so much better without dairy and had to give up my beloved natural yoghurt, having my smoothie in a bowl at times has made me feel a little less deprived. Now I can top it with with crunchy seeds or homemade granola just like I used to when I was 12! The fact that this kind of breakfast bowl will give you less sugar and more nutrition than traditional ones, makes it even more worthwhile.
The idea of using coconut milk comes from a summer holiday spent in Barcelona a few years ago. ( I still went “home” though, just had to cut it a little shorter than normal, that year. ) If you have ever visited the amazing food market there with all the gorgeous fresh fruit smoothies, you’ll know what I’m on about… For a smoothie to be eaten out of a bowl, you need a slightly thicker consistency than normal so go easy on the liquid. Otherwise all your lovely toppings will sink like stones to the bottom. No hope of any pretty styling then 😉
Purple Smoothie Bowl
100 ml coconut milk – fresh or use a good quality full fat coconut milk with little or no additives, organic if possible
1/4 cup fresh or frozen blackcurrant
Rinse and drain the berries if using freshly picked ones. Place berries, coconut milk and banana in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately in a bowl and top with your favourite muesli, granola or toasted seeds. Add more berries if you so wish.
I like the rather tart taste of the berries so for me the banana is enough to sweeten. You can of course add a little honey or maple syrup if you find it too tart. However I would recommend not to, if you wish to keep your sugar intake low.
If you wish to try another smoothie with coconut milk, check out this recipe which I made for this site a little while back. A seriously refreshing summer drink. If you can get hold of some water melon and strawberries, it’s worth trying. Promise.
Well, are you ready for autumn now? I don’t know if I can truly say I am. It will be here whether we want it or not though, so we might just embrace it… But until it is inevitable, I for one will savour what’s left of the summer and the lovely memories of the past few weeks spent with old friends and family. Grounding and reconnecting with my roots. How about you?
We are still enjoying some warm weather here in beautiful co. Cork, so this week I am going to treat you to a really simple yet healthy “ice cream” recipe. And not too many words, promise! I’m currently writing this from my temporary outdoor office. God bless the inventor of laptops, is all I can say. Yay to flexibility and working from home. I just love this warm weather and can’t get enough of it so even though I am working, I’m grateful I can do so much of it from my own computer, outside, at home. Life is good.
If you haven’t yet tried “Nana icecream”, you are seriously missing out. You will need to be a little ahead of yourself to make this recipe, since the bananas need to be frozen for a couple of hours, at least. But once you get into the swing of chopping up your very ripe bananas (instead of throwing them out) and putting them in the freezer, you’ll have this yummy treat/dessert/breakfast/snack/whatever you want to call it, whipped up in no time. For those non-banana lovers out there, fear not, you can hardly taste the banana flavour, especially if you blend the frozen banana with another fruit or something like cacao powder, for a chocolate hit. Perfect for anyone who needs to be dairy free and feel like their missing out.
You will need as food processor or a good blender for this recipe.
Strawberry Nana Icecream
3 medium sized bananas, peeled, chopped & frozen
6-7 fresh strawberries (depending on size), washed, hullled & halved
1-2 tbsp coconut milk
Fresh berries or edible flower to decorate with – optional
Place all ingredients into your food processor or blender. Note, a handblender won’t be strong enough for this job.
Blend until you have a smooth looking “ice cream”. Serve immediately in individual bowls. Savour a guilt free treat, while doing something good for your health.
This “ice cream” won’t refreeze so needs to be eaten straightaway. But, sure, where’s the harm in that?