Monday, 22 August 2011

Sunshiny quinoa stuffed peppers on a sunshiny day :)

The girls and I have spent most of the day outside colouring and playing ball barefoot which has been a delightful change from all the recent rain! The rays of the sun, the fresh air and the connection to the earth are also a marvelous combination to give yourself a physical and mental boost  ('I'm actually going outside to get my vitamin D and earth myself' says Fia; that girl is going places!)

On days like this it is super easy to eat mainly raw foods, the fresh, bright and vibrant food suits the weather perfectly. So we did a pretty simple, minimum cook lunch that was also very tasty! If you're planning this in advance, be sure to soak your quinoa overnight to help it digest more easily, but if you're in a  rush, soak it for as long as you can spare, at the least a very thorough rinse will suffice!

Interestingly both my girls prefer their peppers raw to cooked which is great as it is quicker to prepare and richer in nutrients! If you prefer your peppers roasted, by all means roast them first before filling with the quinoa mixture, they will still be delicious.

Sunshiny quinoa peppers served with green bean salad (serves 2)

2 bell peppers, halved  with seeds removed (we like yellow or red peppers)
1/2 cup quinoa, soaked and drained
1/4 tsp bouillon powder (I use marigold reduced salt)
A large handful of raisins or goji berries
handful of fresh chopped parsley or coriander
1/2 fresh chili, de-seeded and finely chopped (optional)
2 spring onions, finely chopped
2 plum tomatoes chopped
Handful of black olives, diced
10 runner beans, de-stringed and chopped finely or chopped french beans

Juice of a lemon
1-2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
ground black pepper
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and pepper to taste

 Put the quinoa in a saucepan and cover with water until it comes about half a centimetre above the quinoa. Add the bouillon and give it a good stir. Bring this to the boil, and as soon as it is boiling, put a lid on the pan and reduce to lowest heat setting. Leave it to very gently for about 15 mins, there is no need to stir and avoid checking it too often, as you want to keep the steam in to help it cook. When ready all the liquid should be absorbed and the seeds separated. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and tip it into a bowl to cool.
 Whisk together the oil, lemon, garlic, salt and pepper to make a dressing. Place the runner beans in a bowl and pour half the dressing over the beans, coat well and set them aside.
Divide the bell pepper halves between two plates, ready to fill with the quinoa mixture.
When the quinoa has cooled down a little, pour over the other half of the dressing and combine. Mix through the spring onions, raisins, tomatoes, olives, parsley (or coriander) and chili. Spoon the mixture evenly between the bell pepper halves and add the beans on the side, drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil or hemp seed oil on everything and you have a colourful, pretty and healthy dish!

PS we would like to thank Clare and Kieron for the delicious beans which were fresh from their garden :)

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Breakfast smoothies and shakes

Mmmmmmmmm green smoothies. Still my best breakfast ever. Except maybe celery, coriander and ginger juice which really wakes me up.......!

Anyways, we've been pretty experimental with our breakfast smoothies this last week, I have been feeling more inspired to vary things up a bit more, so thought I'd share with you the latest two creations. Obviously the chocolate one is particularly popular with the girls!

Green smoothies can be as simple as only fruit and greens or much more complex, including superfoods and protein powders like this one. This green smoothie is packed full of nutrients, and while it certainly wasn't the girls favourite breakfast smoothie, they did at least drink it! 
I really liked it though, so for adults I think it is a great way to start the day.......

Green protein smoothie (serves 2)
Big bunch of chard
1 large banana
2-3 handfuls of blueberries
1 tbsp hemp seed oil
1 tbsp wheat grass powder
1 tbsp pea protein powder
about 1/4- 1/2 cup of filtered water

Blitz everything together until you have a beautiful smoooooooth green drink!

Chocolate Vanilla breakfast shake (serves 2)
So, so popular with the girls, especially Fia, this is another really simple and quick breakfast which is not only very good for you, but you actually get to eat chocolate for breakfast! :)

2 bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup of coconut yoghurt
2 tbsp cocoa powder
3 tbsp grated chocolate (we use 100% pure cacao)
1-2 tbsp hemp protein powder
2 cups of Kara coconut milk (or dairy/non dairy milk of your choice)
1-2 tbsp maple syrup
4 ice cubes (optional)

As before, blitz away in a blender until smooth and creamy! You can adjust the yogurt and milk proportions to your own tastes.

Hope this has given you some ideas for some quick and easy breakfasts!

*Updated and Veganized December 2014

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Nicey spicey popcorn :)

This is a really simple and delicious snack recipe that we all adore at home. It looks beautiful with its vibrant yellow colour and the spices are warming and comforting.

I think that it makes such a nice change from sweet popcorn and has the added health benefits of coconut oil, turmeric (of course) and cayenne pepper; a fast food snack that is really pretty healthy. I have taken to making a big batch of this, as it will keep a few days (if you can stop munching on it that is) and it comes in super handy to pop (no pun intended) in a paper bag to take when out and about...

Nicey spicey popcorn
About 200g of popcorn kernels, (you basically want enough to cover a large pan).
2 tbsp coconut oil, or vegan butter
1/2 tsp fine Himalayan pink salt or sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground turmeric

In a large lidded pan, heat the oil or vegan butter till quite hot (if using butter take care not to burn).
Pour in the popcorn kernels and quickly pop the lid on.
Cook, shaking occasionally, you will hear the kernels popping.
When the popping slows down, remove the popcorn from the heat.
Mix the salt and spices together.
Pour the popcorn into a large bowl and coat with the lovely spices!

The great thing about this recipe is that it is quick and easy and very adjustable to your own tastes. If you like it a bit more spicey you could up the amount of cayenne to a teaspoon, also if you like less turmeric feel free to halve the amount.