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?
Finally Summer has arrived in Ireland! Yay! We’ve been a long time waiting for this and now we have finally have some real heat and sunshine to enjoy. Trust me, when you live in a country where blue skies and temperatures in the 20s are a rarity, you savour every single minute of it you get! The thing is, feeling positive, happy and content is so much easier when the sun is out. Perhaps it has to do with the increase of Vitamin D from the sun? Some recent studies seems to suggest so. This post on the Huff Post refers to a recent study where improvement in symptoms of depression where linked to an increase in Vitamin D. Even though we can take Vitamin D supplements, the best source is the one which is synthesized naturally by our skin. So if the sun is shining where ever you are right now, get out there!
Another great thing about warmer temperatures is that it feels more natural to increase the intake of fresh fruit and vegetables. Of course it does, this is the season of abundant fresh green leaves, bright berries and edible flowers! If you are thinking of taking your healthy eating habits to the next level, now is your chance. Perhaps you are even growing a few things in your garden already? Raw fruits and vegetables are bursting with nutrition and health benefits and they are naturally low in calories. This basically means you get more bang for your buck.
I often feel people have this idea that a salad is something you eat when you are on a diet. It is often a sad, uninspiring kind of affair, which you eat purely because “you are being good” and on “a diet”. To top it off, it is probably a pretty small portion too, so an hour later that ice cream you where trying to restrain your self from having earlier is now just irresistible…
This way of thinking makes me so sad, because when you view salads like this you are missing out some fantastic opportunities to do something amazing for your body. Making a salad full of life giving components is actually a great way to reward your body with goodness, so it can keep doing all the things you want it to do. Often if we have spent a long time dieting we can be stuck in what I call “the Dieting Mindset”, where eating healthy foods, some how is seen as “being good” and eating processed foods seen as “being bad”. How about a mindset shift? What if eating nourishing, colourful, fresh foods, from nature is instead viewed as “doing good”? All of a sudden you are treating your body with things which is doing good, making you feel good. No punishment in sight. Makes sense? You know that fussy, warm happy feeling we get when we do something nice for others? Rewarding ourselves with good food is kinda the same thing. So go on, do something good for your body today. And celebrate that summer is here at the same time 🙂
This salad is super simple and I didn’t even bother with a proper salad dressing. It’s a kinda assembly meal and the key to make it taste really good is to use the best and freshest ingredients you can find.
Celebration of Summer Salad
Serves 1 hungry person or 2 people as a side
1 cup mixed green salad leaves, washed
6-7 strawberries, washed, hulled & halved
1 pear, washed & sliced
50g feta cheese (because everything just tastes better with feta!)
10 walnuts, roughly chopped
a handful of sprouted mungbeans – optional
some sage flowers – alternatively add a few fresh leaves of sage, finely chopped &/or other types of edible flowers for an extra kick of colour
a drizzle of balsamic vinegar
Place the leaves in a large bowl. Scatter some balsamic vinegar over the leaves to taste. Add in your pear and strawberries. Scatter the mungbean sprouts, walnuts, flowers and crumble the feta over the whole lot. Serve immediately.
* I’ve also made this salad using a ripe peach instead of the pear and switching the walnuts for pecan nuts. It was almost nicer…*
Isn’t it funny how your tastebuds changes? A few years ago there was no way I would have eaten beetroot and cumin was never one of my favourite spices either. Now I simply love it. Isn’t it just amazing how we can grow to love new flavours and foods? Our taste is like life itself, ever growing and evolving. The biggest hurdle may just being brave enough to try some new stuff out, in the first place. So even if you are not sure you will like this pink hummus, based on previous beetroot and/or hummus experiences, go ahead, take the plunge and try something new. Surprise your tastebuds by stepping out of your comfort zone. You might actually like it!
Beetroot is your everyday superfood. They are a pretty pink nutritional powerhouse and an excellent example of how food can work as medicine. They are rich in folic acid, iron, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus. The purple-red colour comes from betacyanin which is considered an important cancer fighting compound. Beetroots, particularly in its raw state is a very strong detoxifier due to its high content of the antioxidant glutathione. They taste great raw, grated into a salad or in a juice. Or you can cook them by boiling them or roasting them. Pickled beets are also popular. Personally I prefer the raw or roasted. I find it is quicker to roast them than boil them, plus the roasting seems to bring out the sweet flavour too.
Cumin is a typical Middle Eastern flavour and works really well with pulses. It is the main spice in your usual hummus and its earthy flavour marries really well with the earthiness of the beetroot. It is considered as a carminative herb meaning it has digestive health benefits and can reduce flatulence. No wonder it is suited to use with pulses…
Tahini is the other staple ingredient of hummus and it works very well in this recipe too. Tahini is sesame seeds ground into a paste. It is quiet bitter on its own but gives a creaminess to the hummus. I find it also pulls all the different flavours together beautiful. Seasame seeds are a great source of calcium, so an important addition to any diet, but particularly to keep them bones healthy.
This beetroot hummus is delicious as a dip with raw veggies, on top of oat cakes or as a side dish to a mixed salad, grilled fish or what ever else you can think of. Even though it contains several earthy ingredients it is surprisingly sweet. You will get the best texture if you use a food processor.
Enjoy this pretty pink powerhouse in anyway you see fit. If you make it, I would love to hear what you though of it. 🙂
Butter Bean & Beetroot Hummus
1 tin of butter beans, drained & rinsed
2 large beetroots, peeled
2 tsp dark tahini
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp ground cumin
sea salt & black pepper, to season
Start by roasting your beets. Peel and chop the beetroot into chunks. Place on an ovenproof tray and drizzle with olive oil. Season with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Roast in a preheated oven at 200°C, for about 40 min or until soft. Once the beetroot is done, let them cool completely before adding to your food processor. A smart idea is to roast a couple of extra beets when you are making your usual roast veggies and then make the hummus later or the following day.
Add the butter beans, tahini and lemon juice along with the beets to your food processor and blend until you have a smooth paste.
The hummus will keep for a few days in the fridge if stored in an airtight container. Enjoy as a dip, spread or as a side to your main meal.
Summer has arrived! Well almost. I’ve been told that 1st of May is officially the first day of Summer. But in reality I think 1st of June is more like it… This past week(s) has been pretty crazy with lots of things to do, places to be and many exciting opportunities and projects coming my way. There is so much excitement and anticipation in the air right now, I find it a little tough to stay grounded at times. Wise from previous life experience, I am mindful not to burn out, which can so easily happen. I’m sure we have all been there… Even when it is positive stress, it can still become to much. Not good.
So what to do? Well, eating well is certainly top priority since we need even more resources to draw from when life is extra busy. However, time is usually a factor, so eating well on the run is an art in itself, I think. OK, so by now you have probably figured out that I love breakfast, like to keep it simple, have a slightly sweet tooth and enjoy spending as long as possible in bed in the mornings. So as much as I like porridge, it’s takes a little too long for my liking. Smoothies are more in line with my time schedule, but not always suitable. Enter Overnight Oats. In a Kilner jar. This is the ultimate breakfast on the run. It takes no time at all to assemble the night before and is easily portable. Goodness in a jar. Extra time in bed. What more can you ask for when life is in full flight?
This recipe is the taste of Summer, with both strawberries and rhubarb in the same dish. I can still remember the big leafy rhubarbs we had growing at home in the garden at the back of the house. Me and my brother used to pick the tender stalks to chew on. Scrunching our faces from the tartness. I can still vividly recall those fond childhood memories every time I eat fresh rhubarb.
This dish has another Swedish element to it as the idea of adding Earl Grey tea to the compote came from a Swedish cookbook I got as a present this Christmas. Earl Grey is my favourite black tea. It has such a comforting feeling and the aromas of bergamot gives a depth which “normal” black tea lack. At least that’s what I think.
Originally I planned to pair this rhubarb compote with a different partner, to share with you. But after using some leftover compote I had made last weekend, with my breakfast earlier this week and loving it so much, I decided to this combination was worth sharing instead. And surely you don’t mind another breakfast recipe?
Have a taste of Summer. Make it portable. Take time to savour it. Visualize all the possibilities which lays ahead in the weeks and months to come. We are almost there. Spring has sprung. Get ready for the next season ahead 🙂
A little note about this recipe; The rhubarb compote will make about four servings. You can pair it anyway you like really. It’s equally nice hot or cold. The compote will keep in the fridge for a few days. Personally I like the addition of chia seeds to my overnight oats as they help soak up the liquid and create a nice creamy consistency. That they are little power houses of nutrition is an added bonus. Use a plant based milk if you wish to keep the dish dairy free and use gluten free oats for a gluten free breakfast option. There isn’t much sugar in this recipe. I have only used honey to stew the rhubarb which also gives them an amazing flavour. No sugar added for the strawberries. If you do find the whole thing a little tart then adjust to your own taste preferences.
Overnight Oats with Earl Grey Infused Rhubarb Compote
For Rhubarb Compote:
4 stalks of rhubarb, washed & roughly chopped
2 tbsp raw clear honey – preferably local
1 Earl Grey tea bag
4 cardamom pods
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste – or vanilla extract
1 tbsp arrow root powder
100 ml water
For Lime Marinated Strawberries:
200g strawberries, washed and halved
juice of 1/2 lime
For Overnight Oats:
Approx 1/2 cup rolled oats, preferably organic – use gluten free if necessary
1 tbsp chia seeds
Milk of choice – enough to cover the oat mixture
Start by marinating the strawberries. Add strawberries and lime juice to a bowl and toss until the berries are well coated in the juice. Place the bowl in the fridge, covered, until you want to use them.
To make the Rhubarb Compote: Add the chopped rhubarb to a large heavy based saucepan. Add in the honey and stir until the rhubarb is well coated. Stew them gently on a medium heat until yo have a creamy consistency of rhubarb deliciousness. It will take about 30min. Once your compote is almost smooth, remove from heat. In the meantime make your tea by putting the tea bag plus the cardamom pods in a mug. Add about 100ml of boiling water. Cover the mug with a small plate and let the whole thing infuse for about 5 min. Take out the tea bag and pods before adding the tea to the rhubarb compote.
To thicken the compote mix 1 tbsp arrow root powder with 1 tbsp water in a glass, into a thick paste. Add the arrow root paste to the rhubarb compote and stir until it has thickened up. It will take about a minute. Add the vanilla bean paste in last thing and give the whole thing another whirl. You can serve the compote as it is, warm with anything creamy or keep it plain. To use it with your overnight oats for the following day, let it cool completely before you add it to the Kilner jar.
I have found using a Kilner jar the very best for practicality, so getting one is well worth the investment. Start by adding the rhubarb compote as the bottom layer. The add your rolled oats, plus chia seeds. Pour your choice of milk on top of the oats until just covered. Give the whole thing a twist with a spoon to get the chia seeds to spread evenly amongst the oats. Close the lid and store your jar in the fridge overnight. In the morning, just take the jar from the fridge and top with your lime marinated strawberries. Indulge having a dessert for breakfast. If you are on the run – simply grab and go for a date with Summer later.
This raw cake is surprisingly easy to make, tastes amazing and is naturally gluten, dairy and refined sugar free. I kind of wish I could take credit for the recipe, but at least the pictures are all mine. Which of course means I had the pleasure of both cooking and eating it! Lucky me.
A while back I was contacted by two lovely ladies, who asked me if I (Straightforward Nutrition) would like to be part of their up coming giveaway competition, to win a fancy Ninja Blender, over on Instagram. I thought it sounded like lots of fun as well as a great opportunity to connect with other like-minded souls so I said, yes of course. Influxr is a website and an online community which is about connecting and inspiring each other to keep going on the journey to health, fitness and happiness. Inspiring, encouraging, motivating and empowering people to take control over their own health is very much part of what I do as a Nutritional Therapist, so being part of this competition was really a no-brainer. And the truth is we can not really achieve greatness all by ourselves. We need someone who got our back from time to time.
Who inspires you? Did you ever take some time and think about who YOUR everyday heroes are? There are so many things and people who inspires me every day to keep moving forward, to pick myself up when things are tough and who helps me grow and develop into an even better version of myself. I am blessed to have some amazing friends (you know who you are) but I have also found a lot of inspiration, particularly foodie and health related inspiration through various food blogs. You will find a selection of them here.
Having positive people in your life is another source of inspiration and something I am constantly consciously aspiring to be one of those. Why? Simply because positive people have more fun! It makes sense, doesn’t it? And the word to focus on here is consciously. You will at some point have to CONSCIOUSLY decide what it is you want (whatever that is). So go get it 🙂
Anyway, back to the recipe. If you have never tried a raw cake before, I urge you to give this one a try. They are incredible easy to make and taste great. No white sugar involved either. Or white flour for that matter, so this makes a perfect dessert for all your “free from” friends. Paleo friendly, coeliac approved and raw, vegan. Just don’t invite someone with a nut allergy though and you will be sorted.
This giveaway competition was run over on Instagram, over the course of a week. Each day the contestants where given one main ingredient to create a dish around. The winning recipe was based using lemons as the star of the show. The lovely @orsomethingsweet came up with this winning combination. It’s a super simple wholesome cake recipe, just as we like it here on Straightforward Nutrition. A perfect way to celebrate that Spring has finally sprung. I’ve made some slight alterations to the original recipe, but very modest ones.
When styling and shooting this blog post I really realised that I want a cake stand.It would make for a way better photo along with my vintage cake knife, which I currently have put in a safe place – Out of sight, out of mind kind of a place, it seams…
Raw Lemon ‘Cheese’ Cake with Summer Berries
Serves 6-8 comfortably
1 cup raw walnuts
1/4 cup dessicated coconut
6 medajool dates, pitted
2 cups (200g) raw cashew nuts, soaked overnight
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp vanilla extract
juice of two medium sized lemons + zest of 1 lemon
4 tbsp coconut oil, melted
Make the crust first by placing walnuts, dessicated coconut and dates in your food processor. Blend until you have a sticky dough. To make this process a little easier, give the walnuts a whirl first on their own so they are crumbly before you add in dates and coconut. Line your cake tin with some cling film at the bottom. Take out the dough and press it firmly into your spring form. Set aside.
To make the cashew nut filling, simply place all the ingredients in your food processor. If you have a strong blender, like a Vitamix, then use that instead for a smoother finish. But it will work OK in your food processor too. Blend and keep scraping down the sides as you go along. Once you have a smooth creamy mixture, it’s done. Add the cream to your base and then place the whole thing in the freezer for a few hours to set.
Remove the cake from the freezer about 30 min before serving and decorate with berries of your choice. I went for some carmelised lemons, strawberries and raspberries, but you can use anything you have to hand really. Serve with more berries if you wish. Store any leftovers in the freezer. That is if you have any left…
N.B. I used an 8″ spring form here. If you use a larger form or want a thicker cake, increase the quantities of the ingredients.