Archive for December, 2011

Twelve downloadable gifts. Everybody loves late presents, right?

Just passing through briefly……enjoying plenty of family time.

Here is a late gift for anyone who is interested….not just one, but twelve free downloadable gifts, which are available for download until the 31st of December.

It may be just what you want or need to prepare you for a New year detox!

This delicious giveaway was organised by Karen Knowler, lover of raw foods, and each day there is a gift of a PDF ebook from different people who have trained under her. There are literally dozens of recipes and tips on how to incorporate more raw plant foods into your diet, from juices and smoothies for “detox”, to amazing chocolate recipes made from healthy fats, natural sugars and unprocessed cacao powder (alternatively use unsweetened cocoa powder) and tons of other stuff. It is the coolest ever giveaway and there are no strings attached at all.

 I, for one was inspired to dig out the juicer!

Only available for download until the 31st of December! Sign up on the page below, and you will be emailed access to all of the “doors” on the gift calendar, even though the event has finished. You can open each one, and save the ones that appeal to you to your PC.

Follow the link, and get ready to treat yourself to a rejuvenating new years flush-out!

www.12DaysofRawChristmas.com

Merry Christmas one and all!

Warming Juice

I have stomach pains.

Perhaps it’s the anxiety of feeding a family on nothing but 90 satsumas.

Seriously, it’s just the leftovers of an operation I had to have once. For all the TLC I try to give my organism, sometimes my insides hate me. And when that happens, as I am sure we have all experienced, I don’t want to eat anything. So despite the cold, today I decided to haul out the old juicer again and just have a juice.

This is carrot-rich, which happens to be the other thing we have a ridiculous excess an abundance  of, and this seems like a perfect way to use some. I say perfect, but I prefer to use them as they are, it always makes me pretty sad to see all that pulp (fibre) come out. I don’t juice all the time, and I know there are things you can do with that pulp, but normally I end up putting it in food waste. I guess that’s okay too, as it’s going to become compost. Back to Mother earth.

It is warming because of the root ginger it has in it. Root ginger is not expensive at all (at least, not in Tesco) and you can freeze it in chunks if you have too much. (The textures goes a bit funny, but it still tastes great) I might save a bit for zinging up  the amazing 3 ingredient sauce, as we are having stir fry tomorrow. (Satsuma-free.)

So: Warming Juice  (proportions are an example,only)

  • 3-4 carrots
  • 1-2 apples
  • piece of root ginger (size of a thumb)
  • cinnamon (2-3 pinches)
  • 1 orange, peeled (satsumas may also work…)

(Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory root, as well having anti-viral properties. 

Insert into juicer, sit back, and enjoy that warmth!

‘Tis also the season to eat Satsumas, but this is ridiculous!!

I am running down the fridge for a trip away. Moreover, the wind has had such a bite in it, that I cannot bear a supermarket trip, since Isaac repeatedly pulls off his hat and gloves, and within minutes he is holding up his blue little hands and whimpering “Cold”. These two things, coupled with Alfredo returning very late with the car, so late that all I can contemplate is talking with him under a blanket while eating roast chestnuts,do not bode well for my meal planning.

Fortunately, I have satties. I did not blog about my bargain satsuma haul, as I have in times past, but they were selling off massive “Christmas” bags (about 30 per bag) for 10p one evening. 10 pence! Of course, I had to buy several, (okay, four) and planned to give one at least, to my friend, but I keep forgetting. When I have deposited my shivering daughters into a warm school, all I can think of is getting home to put the fire on and read “The Monster at the End of This Book” to Isaac.Repeatedly.

100 satsumas (even delicious ones) are taxing  my creativity. It began with “If you are hungry waiting for dinner, there are satsumas”….to….”Dessert is satsumas” to me wondering “Could I incorporate satsumas into a wrap in any way , do you think?” to…….”Would they work on top of pasta?”

It is definitely time to hit the supermarket.

But it’s sooo cold!! They have forecasted snow around here too.

Well, if the worst comes to the worst, and we run out of carrots, we could have a satsuma nose on our snowman. It was good enough for Raymond Briggs….

‘Tis the season to eat rubies, fa-la-la-la-laa……

Because we are a half Spanish family, all Spanish seasonal produce totally counts as local produce to me 🙂  What a joy, in the dearth of winter (I know, I know, Tesco is full of berries….but it’s not the same…..) to have Spanish satsumas and Spanish pomegranates in abundance. 4 for £1.33 in Asda? Thank you, I think I shall bedeck my compact work surface with a dozen pomegranates! 

Some random pomegranate bullet points, you say? But of course!

  • Many years ago I had an American dinner guest for lunch, while living in Spain. Spotting a pomegranate in the fruit bowl, she excitedly asked to try it, as she had never eaten one. It was a beauty. She tried a couple of seeds, pulled a face, and said……”It tastes like milk.” I confess, I have never heard it compared to milk before.
  • I breastfeed my babies till a little later, and I weaned Amelia off when she was 2. I distinctly remember, she was approaching two (it was winter) and I distracted her every morning with a pomegranate. By the time we had de-seeded it, (it takes a while) she had forgotten about a feed. I love remembering these little things.
  • De-seeding a pomegranate is an altogether pleasant family activity which we are currently engaging in regularly.
  • The Buddhists believe it is a sacred fruit and use it often in their art.
  • The Ancient Romans used pomegranate rind as a form of leather. I believe that.
  • In Ancient Egypt it was a symbol of fertility. All those seeds, I guess 🙂
  • They really do look like little rubies, and if you don’t count the initial first cut, they are very clean little seeds.
  • Pomegranates are a rich source of a strong anti-oxidant class known as punicalagins. Punicalagins are thought to break down into ellagic acid, the potent anti-oxidant found in raspberries, cranberries, and strawberries which also have strong antioxidant activity.

Eat as it is, and feel decadent, or sprinkle on a Christmassy-coloured green salad. When time permits I will further investigate pomegranate recipes.

Meanwhile, embrace that Spanish ruby season.

I’ve just eaten all the pies

Oh.My.Pies! I had an inkling that Alfredo would need an amazing sweet treat free from sugar, and OH was I right, and Oh, these pies are just so…..RIGHT.

I was unsure whether to post this, as I like to post things which people can try if they so wish, and these are done in a dehydrator (You will see why) and I know most people don’t have such an appliance. But post I must, if only to showcase how you can create different things free from white flour, sugar and butter that still taste A-MAZING. I generally never liked pies that much, like I said, it was mainly for my husband, but it turns out that I ate quite a few aswell……. I even had one for breakfast this morning with impunity.

For the precise recipe I will refer you to Russell James website, because it is his recipe, so, out of courtesy. And I will say, that at Westfalia website you can buy dehydrators for about £30 which are useful for many things (kale chips,  drying out your glut of garden produce for future use, drying out foraged edible mushrooms for future use and intensifying flavour, making your own dried mango/pineapple/any fruit, free from sulphates, beetroot chips (YUM!), fruit leathers for kids or hiking,  and so on and so on.)

The crust is made from a mixture of ground oats and ground cashew nuts, a little water, lemon juice, and a little honey or maple syrup. If you are wondering why it has cashew nuts in, it provides sweetness and the fat, without using butter. You simply blitz the “flours” with the liquid, and press the gooey mixture into seperate silicone cases using a floured finger to make a little case. Dehydrate, first in the silicone case, and once quite dry, flip them out upside down to dry the bottom for a short while longer.

The filling is made by blitzing dates and orange juice, with allspice, finely diced apple and raisins. Oh my word, it tasted so good, especially with freshly squeezed orange juice. Aaaaah the cloves, the cinnamon, and nutmeg!

It is topped with a cashew cream icing, made with unroasted cashews, lemon juice, liquid sweetener (honey or maple) a pinch of salt etc Below you will find Russell James photo (with permission) but actually, mine looked just as amazing. Seriously, they did. And oh my word! This was the best mince pie I have ever eaten, in my humble opinion.

Let there be pies

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Whoever said eating plants is all about salads? Deck the halls with boughs of holly, quite frankly.

The Food Hospital

Alfredo and I love watching “The Food Hospital” on channel 4. It’s a clinic set up by a former GP, a consultant surgeon and an NHS dietician, and every single condition is treated purely by making dietary changes (very occasionally with supplements aswell) I am learning lots of interesting things from these knowledgeable people, and it confirms what I have believed for a long time about the power of a wholesome unprocessed diet to allow the body to heal so many many things.

Last night there was a lady with terrible hot flushes. Granted, it is not the most serious of conditions on the series, but some days she would have up to 30 and it was very bothersome. It is believed this has a lot to do with the drop off in oestrogen, and they gave her a diet rich in natural plant-oestrogens. Yes, there are naturally ocurring oestrogens in some plant foods, particularly in soy beans, and chickpeas.

So for 10 weeks she had this oestrogen rich diet, I don’t know what she ate from day to day, but they filmed her making a very large and wonderfully coloured vegetable stir-fry with marinated tofu. She was also instructed to drink less wine which can trigger them for some reason. She came back so excited; not only had her hot flushes all but disappeared but she also felt so much better in herself, with more energy and self confidence. (Interesting to note that she found it hard to stick to one glass of wine a day, and very often her hot flush would come after having one glass too many)

I once read a book called “The Phyto Factor” about this very topic of managing the menopause through plant foods. No reason. I was 30 at the time  🙂  I just love that kind of thing, tis all.

How wonderful.

If you are in the UK you can watch it on Tuesday evenings or on  4 on demand.

Alternatively wherever you are, you can share in the fun and make a little change in your diet today that your body will thank you for  🙂 

 

Experimenting with veggie burgers

You know that joke that some people like to crack around vegetarians, about the inhumanity of slaughtering poor little mushrooms or plucking up defenceless carrots from mother earth? My Mum is vegetarian and I have heard my Dad make similar wisecracks many times over the years. For the purposes of this recipe I slaughtered some mushrooms, which in my opinion, is preferable to slaughtering a cow or a pig. While I eat meat ever-so once in a while, I have never really liked red meat, so veggie burgers and falafel were my fast food of choice over beefburgers and doner kebabs when I did the university fast food thing.

These veggie burgers were delicious, but did not hold together perfectly as well I as I would have liked, hence, no recipe yet, but here are  some tips for creating your own veggie burgers, should you feel inclined to do away with a plant or two.

  • It is much easier with a food processor, but with a chopping board, knife  and grater and perhaps a grinder for nuts or seeds, it is not too difficult.
  • Bases: Your choice of vegetables, ground nuts, ground seeds, beans or chickpeas.
  • Season With: sundried tomatoes or tomato concentrate, fresh or dried herbs, spices such as cumin, curry powder, chilli, lemon or lime juice, soy sauce, and a long etctera
  • Binders:
  1. Egg and breadcrumbs (pref wholewheat)
  2. Ground linseed (flaxseed) mixed with liquid acts as an egg replacer (1Tablespoon ground flax to 3 Tablespoons water or stock)
  3. Cooked chickpeas or beans work well as a binder
  4. Cooked bulghur wheat, couscous or even cooked wholewheat pasta. Hear the gluten comes into it’s own, because basically gluten is ….a glue!
  • Coat with: Wholewheat breadcrumbs seasoned, or a roughly ground mix of pumpkin seeds and spices.

I gently sauteed red onion, garlic and mushrooms with soy sauce and tomato paste, and a small amount of wholewheat couscous, added sweetcorn, grated carrot, and a few condiments (nutritional yeast and a pinch of curry powder) Once the mixture has cooled, it held together quite well, but I think I will experiment a bit more another day. Luckily I have a very acquiescent 2 year old guinea pig who eats everything!

For more details do a search online (of course)  I always find using the word “amazing” or “best” in the search box kicks up better recipes 🙂

And please, always remember, mushrooms have feelings too.

 

 

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