Posts Tagged ‘beverages’

My 99p shake

I am always divided when people dispute whether it is cheaper to eat wholesome healthy food, or junk food. On the one hand berries will always be more expensive than biscuits, and buying the raw ingredients of a dish are often dearer than buying the same dish in a “ready meal” form. On the other,beans are cheaper than bacon, and they go a long way.

 In my heart, on balance, I know it is usually cheaper (in money) to buy unhealthy food, but long term, more expensive (in many other ways) And believe me, I am watching my shopping budget like the best of us.

As I was making our breakfast smoothie I costed it up out of curiosity. It turned out to be less than £1 for an adult portion (400mls) These prices are based on what I bought in my local store (Tesco)  this week. My not-even-99p shake was:

  • 1/2 a pineapple 50p
  • 1/2 a honeydew melon  50p
  • 2 big handfuls of babyleaf spinach (abt 75grams) 40p
  • 2 BIG handfuls of frozen raspberries (100g) 45p
  • 125 mls water

This made 1.2 Litres of smoothie, which is what we make most days in our house, and is adequate for 2 adult portions of  400mls and 3 x small childs portions of about 125mls.

So there you have it. A 99p breakfast shake! If you are lucky and/or clever with your shopping (especially in summer) you can prepare some delicious smoothies for very little money every day, especially if you happen upon marked down fruit which can be frozen, or just special offers, the lifeblood of UK supermarkets.

I am not saying cheap is everything but let’s face it, when you need to make the numbers add up but you want a healthy drink, it sure helps.

Happy Wednesday friends. Love yourselves in body and spirit  🙂

PS My maths is poor, And happily so, because an adult portion of this costs even less than I thought……about 60p. Even better!

Oat Milk

When I spent my Spanish degree gap year in Ecuador, I livd with a family; they used to make this drink called, as I thought, kwack-air. It was a fruity drink, often made with passion fruit, you could drink it warm, freshly made, but generally (seeing as we were in such a hot climate) it was enjoyed ice-cold. It was soooo good! I couldn’t work out why it was kind of fruity and creamy at the same time. I asked the abuela (grandma) what was in it, apart from fruit. Kwack-air, she said. Me: kwack-air???  Abuela: Si, Kwack-air…here, let me show you. And she produced from the cupboard….a bag of Quaker Porridge Oats!

I have never made passion fruit quack-air since then (mental note- I should! I shall! And I shall post about it here!) but below is a (non-fruity) white-drink-that-is-not-milk,using the wonderful creaminess of oats.

 I LOVE oats.Samuel Johnson’s 1755 dictionary defined oats as “A grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland appears to support the people.” The Scotsman’s retort to this was, “That’s why England has such good horses, and Scotland has such fine men!”

This is something really cool about oats; when they are hulled, it does not strip away their bran and germ, as in the case of processed wheat, thus allowing it to retain plenty of fibre and nutrients.  It has this particulat type of fibre called beta-glucan, which is totally amazing- I strongly encourage- nay, urge, you to read about the wonders of beta-glucan here, and (re)kindle your wonder for plant foods, in this case, the humble (yummy) oat grain!

 Read the whole thing- about how it helps stabilise cholesterol level, enhances immune responses after operations, and stabilises blood sugar, to name a few. (It probably won’t help your blood sugar if you eat them in sugar-laden flapjacks; I’m just saying.)

Okay, possibly the best way ever to eat oats would be to buy unheated oat groats and sprout them and eat them as a chewey living breakfast cereal. (Note: Unheated oat groats for sprouting can be bought online; they need to be kept in the fridge, and are quite quick to go rancid otherwise)

However, here is another way. Oat milk. It’s so easy, so delicious, and very filling and nutritious for a breakfast drink. It combines really well with a very ripe banana or two.

Overnight, soak 1 cup of rolled oats in 2 cups of water with 4 dried pitted dates. (Alternatively add honey to taste)

In the morning, blend well until very creamy, and add a pinch of salt, if you consume too much salt, like me  🙂  Enjoy with a ripe banana or two for a very filling breakfast shake. Add vanilla* for a shake fit for a health-conscious king, quite frankly.

*If you are reading this in the UK- AMAZING DISCOVERY, I found this Ebay seller called Madagasca Vanilla who sells vanilla pods at very affordable prices; about 30p per bean when I bought them recently. Follow this link, and treat yourself to the real deal. They are such good quality, really plump, and aromatic.  Yes, I DID say 30p a bean!

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.


  • 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….

“Green is the new black”













Shocking though the colour may be to you, more shocking to me, is how shocked people are by the colour. It’s totally beautiful! I just feel happier and healthier looking at it! The best thing is, it is delicious. No, really. It is KID tested, and those are the toughest tests. It is a blend of water, fruits, and leafy greens. It is known commonly as…a green smoothie. Nothing like a good, solid, descriptive name.

I am not sure why people are surprised at the idea of blending raw greens and fruit. We do, after all, chew raw greens and fruit, in the form of salads. I was once given a really delicious strawberry and spinach salad. (see it here) My sister once made a beautiful salad of green leaves and oranges,among other things my favourite ever autumn/winter salad is crispy winter lettuce with pomegranate seeds and vinaigrette …so that’s three examples off the top of my head…

So if we eat greens and fruit in salads, why not drink greens and fruit in smoothies?  I absolutely love these things,they are refreshing, delicious nothing makes you feel quite as clean inside as huge glass of this delight in the mornings, and honestly, as you begin to consume these on a daily basis, you begin to lose your desire for junk. Lest you wonder whether there is sufficient energy in high-water fruit and greens, I will mention that I do a hefty hill bike-ride towing two children in a trailer, just on this smoothie.

All you have to do is grab yourself a blender, and ensure that your fruit:leaves ratio is relatively high until you get used to it. In any case, if you begin with mild green leaves, like babyleaf spinach, or lambs lettuce (aka corn salad), you can pack in that chlorophyll without making it taste very “green”. Not forgetting, that if you continue to drink them, over time you will actually enjoy the taste of stronger greens, and will be tossing in curly kale with gay abandon.

Here is one to try, which even children love. It is so good! Others will follow. Definitely, definitely think outside the (cereal) box…and if anyone tries this, post feedback here if they feel so inclined. These are packed with iron, calcium, mineral, vitamins, chlorophyll, enzymes and hard-core raw goodness. And they are delicious.

So……..  while my favourite may involve tropical fruits,this particular one is a random blend of leftover fuit in the fridge.

  • 250 mls water
  • 1 banana, nice and speckled and sweet
  • 1 apple
  • 2 pears, very ripe
  • 2 clementines
  • 5 strawberries
  • A handful of grapes
  • 2 handfuls of babyleaf spinach
  • a handful of lambs lettuc
  • a handful of curly kale

Yes, I know that’s a lot of fruit. I have got smart at finding fruit bargains and stretching my food budget to buy more fresh produce. It makes a blender full, about 1.2 litres. Enough for 2 hungry adults and 3 little ones.

Try these:

  • 1 cup water, 1 mango, 1 apple, half a lemon (not just the juice) 3 handfuls of greens
  • 1 cup water, 3 very ripe pears, one juicy orange, 2 handfuls of kale or other greens
  • Half a pineapple, 5 strawberries, 2 apples, as many greens as you like!

Look around for bargains. At the moment, pineapples cost £1 each in most places. Have a few ripening on the side. Half a ripe pineapple, and some other less exotic fruit (english apples, a spanish orange or two) make a delicious base for a smoothie. When you see strawberries or other fruit on the reduced table, buy them all, and freeze them (I just bought 12 boxes or strawberries this very night. My fridge and freezer are berry happy. *cringe* Bad pun.)

Expect these to rear their heads again on this website. I hope somebody tries them, and feels the amazing difference they make to the start of your day. And remember ladies….”green is the new black!”  (Jenny Yemaya Cook)

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