Posts Tagged ‘almonds’

Banana “marzipan” shake

After a long break, I have returned. And I am kicking off 2012 with a delicious, filling nutritious breakfast shake. Perfect for after those cold winter morning runs.

Just kidding…I am enthused for a new year, but it hasn’t stretched that far.Not yet, anyway!

Required:

  • 1/4 cup almonds 
  • 2-4 dates, depending on the size
  • 1/4 cup organic oats
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 ripe,speckled banana
  • 1 teaspoon almond essence (optional)

Highly recommended– leave the nuts, oats and dates in soak overnight. (You mean you don’t plan your breakfast the night before?? 🙂 )

For interested parties:  1/4 cup of almonds = 24 almonds. This is equivalent to 170 calories (approximately), 15grams of wonderful nurturing heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, and 6 grams of protein. Plus, half of your RDA of the antioxidant Vitamin E, 25% of your recommended magnesium, and plenty of manganese, copper and vitamin B2.  I don’t necessarily advocate calorie counting in isolation, I think you have to look at the whole package…but I mention it nevertheless. PS  Unroasted almonds with the skins on have been shown to have greater nutritional benefits than blanched ones. Fancy that.

Blend your soaked almond-oat-date mixture with your ripe banana, and enjoy. 

Did you see that? 2 minutes planning the night before, and you get up to an almost- instant super-healthsome breakfast shake.

This is so creamy, sweet from the ripe banana and dates, has two kinds of fibre, vitamins, minerals, and so very filling…..Get your almonds in soak, quite frankly!

Autumnal Breakfast Bowl-sweet wholewheat couscous with pear compote

It’s all quite perplexing. My friends pears have been sitting here for weeks now with no sign of ripening. They seem to be going from iron-hard to…wrinkled,old-looking and iron-hard. So I gave in and decided to poach some. Seven in fact. Thankfully I have about 30 more (also bordering on wrinkled/ iron-hard) because this recipe was so delicious!! 

What a splendid way to start an autumn day, and what a “shame” that this autumn day was so warm and balmy, as this is kind of cosy-cold-morning food. A pear and mint smoothie would have been more appropriate. Or even a mango sorbet. Still……. it was a great way to begin October, on a scale of one to breakfasts. No excessively precise measurements here, as none are required.

Pear Compote    Chopping time- 2 minutes. Stewing time, 15 minutes.

  • 7 pears, roughly chopped.
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • pinch of salt
  • about 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon of honey (or sweeten as desired)

Stew the pears until soft, adding a little water as required.

Sweet Couscous    Chopping time- 5 minutes. Soaking time- 15 minutes. Cooking time- 5-7 minutes. You could have your fruit and nuts ready chopped/soaked for a super-quick breakfast.

  • A variety of dried fruits that have been roughly chopped and left to soak in very warm water for 15 minutes.

            I used: 10 small dates, 2 prunes, a handful of raisins, 4 dried apricots (unsulphured variety) Others- cranberries,sultanas,chopped dried figs etc

  • A small handful of chopped nuts. I used: 5 almonds, and 10-12 pistachios. Others-pecans/walnuts, hazelnuts, pumpkin or sunflower seeds.
  • A generous cup of water (use the soak water from your dried fruits)
  • 1 cup of wholewheat couscous
  • The other half of your lemon, juiced
  • a pinch or two of orange zest (I always keep some in the freezer- so handy!)
  • A generous teaspoon or two of honey
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon (if you are not making the pear compote)
  • Bring to the boil 1 generous cup of the soak water from your dried fruits, with the honey, lemon juice, salt, and orange zest.
  • Add your couscous, stir, remove from heat, and leave covered for 5 minutes.
  • Finally, fluff with a fork, stir in your splendid array of fruit and nuts, sweeten again to taste, and top with your pear compote.

 

The recipe made 3 big bowls like this. Doesn't the orange zest and the pistachios just cheer your heart??

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, they say the weather is going to break on Sunday.

I have loved this gorgeous week of sun…but if it gets as cold as they say it is going to get, have no fear;  I, and our 30 pears are ready for it!!

Almond Milk

White like cows milk…but that’s about it in terms of similarities.. This can be easily made at home with a blender, packed with nutrients, and all from plant sources, full of beneficial fats.  Perfect if you follow a dairy-free diet, a vegan diet, or, if you want to avoid saturated fats… drink this! You can make all kinds of milky resembling beverages using nuts, seeds, and even grains, like oats,and rice.

This one is almond milk. I love almonds. Almonds are amazing. They are high in monounsaturated fats, the same kinds of health-nurturing fats associated with olive oil. Several large studies showed that nut consumption results in a heart disease reduction risk. How great the reduction obviously depends on what it is substituted for- you cannot just eat rubbish and add 7 daily almonds and expect to enjoy a radical change. But according to one of these studies, the risk was reduced by up to 45% when the nuts were replacing saturated fats (found primarily found in meat and dairy products).

They have also been shown to reduce cholesterol, and contain large amounts of magnesium and potassium, and the antioxidant Vitamin E. Oh, and calcium; about 40-50mg in 12 almonds. So don’t delay, milk an almond today.

Or maybe tomorrow…because it’s better if you soak them first. They become softer, and it makes them easier to digest by all accounts. I have eaten plenty unsoaked and it’s never seemed to have any adverse affects, but they contain (in the skin) enzyme inhibitors which kind of protect the nut or seed until it has everything it needs to grow. Soaking in water is like the signal for the beginning of germination and those enzyme inhibitors are de-activated so to speak.

  • 1 cup almonds, soaked overnight and rinsed.
  • 4  cups water.  (Use 3 cups for richer milk)

Blend well. Strain through a nut-milk bag, (purchase online for a paltry few pounds) or a cheesecloth, or in the absence of these, a knee-high. A clean one please, or better still, new.

That’s it. It really does take minutes. To this you can of course, add a pinch of salt or a date, or a squeeze of honey; I personally like it as it is.

Uses……

  • Add one banana, some honey or 2 dates, and blend.
  • Eat on delicious sprouted wheat cereal, cinnamon or otherwise. Here
  • Blend in some fresh or frozen berries for a heart-friendly fruit shake
  • Add raw carob/cacao powder with some sweetener for a nutritious chocolatey shake. Add a handful of cashews or a ripe banana for extra thickness.
  • Pour over crunchy, nutritious home-made granola. Recipes to follow.

Now of course you have the left-over almond pulp, which can be used to make a delicious savoury dip/pate. This is actually my favourite part of this recipe. It is in a seperate post. Read on….

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