Chia Porridge with Spicy Pineapple Topping

If you tried my Chocolate Chai Chai Pudding then you’ll already know how easy it is to include chia seeds in a delicious dish. Packed with nutrients and full of goodness, chia seeds are a fantastic addition to your morning meal and will give you the boost you may need to get going! Porridge is an amazing choice for breakfast, for so many reasons, and will help you feel fuller throughout the day. If you like to experiment with different toppings for your porridge and are ready to try something a little bit different, then my Chia Porridge with Spicy Pineapple Topping is just what you’re looking for!

chia-porridge-with-spicy-pineapple-topping-grassrootsandgrains (4)To make a bowl for yourself, you’ll need the following ingredients:

2/3 of a cup of porridge oats
1 cup of milk of your choice (I like hazelnut, almond, oat) or water
A dash of freshly squeezed lemon juice (½ a tsp.)
2 tbsp. of chia seeds

chia-porridge-with-spicy-pineapple-topping-grassrootsandgrains (3)Then for the pineapple topping you’ll need:

1/3 of a pineapple (1 pound)
The zest of 1/2 a lime
1/2 a vanilla pod, scraped
1 star anise
2 cardamom pods, crushed in a mortar and pestle
A pinch of Himalayan sea salt (optional)
1/4 of a tsp. of ground ginger
1/4 of a tsp. of ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. of raw honey

chia-porridge-with-spicy-pineapple-topping-grassrootsandgrains (2)To make this dish for breakfast, you have to prepare it the night before! But don’t worry, it’s not a long process and it means you simply have to serve yourself in the morning – no fuss!

chia-porridge-with-spicy-pineapple-topping-grassrootsandgrains (10)So to begin, take your porridge oats, milk, chia seeds and combine together in a jar or a bowl with the dash of lime. Place in the fridge and leave overnight.

chia-porridge-with-spicy-pineapple-topping-grassrootsandgrains (6)Next you can turn your attention to creating the spicy pineapple topping. Begin by cutting your pineapple into chunks which you can then place in a large jar or container.

chia-porridge-with-spicy-pineapple-topping-grassrootsandgrains (5)Then, using your pestle and mortar, crush the whole spices and leave to one side.

chia-porridge-with-spicy-pineapple-topping-grassrootsandgrains (8)Next, add the remaining ingredients into the same container and mash together with the pineapple with a large spoon. This will release the juices of the pineapple but be sure to leave a few good chunks intact! You can then add in the crushed spices from your pestle and mortar.

chia-porridge-with-spicy-pineapple-topping-grassrootsandgrains (7)Cover your container with an airtight lid and then place in the fridge, alongside your porridge, to marinate. This only has to be left for an hour so you can make it fresh before your meal or do it the night before with the porridge. The pineapple mix will last for approximately one week, so totally up to you!

Pineapples are low in calories but contain high amounts of essential minerals and vitamins. Also, there is no saturated fat or cholesterol in the flesh, so it is great for restoring the natural balance of your body. Pineapples are a great source of bromelain which is an enzyme that aids digestion by breaking down protein. Bromelain has anti-clotting, anti-inflammatory and ant-cancer properties and getting a generous amount of it into your diet will help your body keep things like arthritis at bay.

chia-porridge-with-spicy-pineapple-topping-grassrootsandgrainsCardamom pods have many health promoting properties and have a high antioxidant count as well as containing many essential oils for the body. It is also a fantastic source of calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron and manganese, making it great for overall heart health as well as your blood pressure.

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Chocolate and Salt

There aren’t many foods that I would say I absolutely could not live without, but these two might just make the cut! I try to include both of these amazingly nutritious ingredients in both mine and my kids diets every day and with a bit of imagination, it’s not a difficult task at all!

Himalayan Sea Salt

Making the decision to use Himalayan sea salt in your cooking, as opposed to regular table salt, is a great decision for your overall well-being. As we already know, consuming too much salt means bad things for the body. It can easily cause high blood pressure and place strain on your organs which can then lead to a stroke, a heart attack or even kidney disease. Eating less salt is generally a great idea but using an alternative that provides all the minerals and nutrients that regular salt is lacking is an even better one!

Himalayan sea salt contains the full spectrum of 84 minerals and is totally unprocessed and unrefined. It comes from salt caves that came to be over 250 million years ago when salt from the ocean was deposited on land.

Because Himalayan sea salt is millions of years old, it doesn’t contain many of the present day impurities and toxins that the ordinary kind can be polluted with. The many health benefits of incorporating this type of salt into your diet include controlling your water levels, providing your cells with a consistent pH balance, maintaining optimum blood sugar levels and even slowing down the visible aspects of the ageing process. It is also thought that it is great for your respiratory and vascular health and can reduce your chance of suffering with sinus problems. On top of all of these fantastic factors it could also help to ease muscle cramps, increase the strength of your bones and encourage a normal sleeping pattern.

Eating Himalayan sea salt isn’t the only way to take advantage of its many health benefits. Adding a couple of hundred grams to a bath is also said to aid detoxification and will not only relax your muscles but will also rejuvenate your skin. This is a very calming way to eradicate toxins from your body and will leave you feeling refreshed.

Many doctors and health food professionals suggest that this kind of salt is the best option and it’s a great idea to use it in place of the regular brands that you’re used to. You’ll soon see the difference for yourself!

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Raw Cacao

Cacao beans come from a tree that is native to the West Indies and South America. The taste of raw cacao is typically described as nutty and slightly bitter, causing some people to include a natural sweetener, like agave nectar, when they consume it. There is absolutely no cholesterol or trans-fats in the beans but there is an impressive amount of fibre and protein.

Raw cacao does several things to the body to truly earn its title as a super-food. The high antioxidant count is great for eliminating rogue free radicals in the body which are known to cause certain types of cancer and age the skin. Cacao also improves blood flow which in turn helps stimulate the process of healing cells and reducing stress inducing hormones.

Cacao is a rich source of magnesium and sulphur, making it great for improved focus and for combating fatigue. It also contains phenylethylamine, which chocolate fanatics may already know is the compound that is often referred to as ‘the love drug’. Phenylethylamine is thought to be useful in treating depression as it aids the release of endorphins. Similarly, cacao encourages extended anandamide presence in the brain which can also create feelings of happiness.

Raw cacao is excellent for including in a wide range of recipes and will increase the nutritional value of any dish. It’s not just great for food but can also be used in powder form in drinks like hot chocolate and smoothies. Mixing even a small amount into a smoothie will increase the nutritional value and compliment the existing flavour!

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Green Bean and Tahini Salad

People always ask me where I get my protein from since I don’t eat meat. Well, here’s a salad that is jam packed full of it. Yes, if you weren’t already aware then legumes have protein and lots of it! I’m also going to show you how you can make a seriously delicious dressing that you can use in other recipes too!

greenbeanandtahinisalad grassrootsandgrains5Protein is essential for the body for repair and growth and it also regulates processes in the body such as transporting nutrients and water balancing. If you don’t get enough protein in your diet then the possibility of becoming ill is higher, especially if you are getting a seriously low amount. So to stay healthy, especially on a plant-based diet, it’s important that you make the effort to incorporate protein into your meals each day!

greenbeanandtahinisalad grassrootsandgrains2This salad is a tasty way to do just that and all you’ll need is the following ingredients:

400g of cooked mixed beans
100g of green beans
2 handfuls of shaved almonds, lightly toasted
1/2 a head of Bavarian lettuce (romaine good too!), chopped
1 large avocado
2 clementines
1 yellow pepper, chopped
A handful fresh coriander

Then to make the Tahini Dressing which is also super nutritious, you’ll need:

2 tbsp. of tahini
2 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. of tamari
2 tbsp. of lemon juice
1 tbsp. of raw honey

greenbeanandtahinisalad grassrootsandgrains6To make the Green Bean Salad, you simply have to combine all of the ingredients together in a large bowl and then serve into separate dishes. The Tahini Dressing is similarly easy to make and just has to be whisked together in a mixing bowl before being poured over the top of your salad.

greenbeanandtahinisalad grassrootsandgrains7The legumes in this salad aren’t the only reason your bodies going to love it. Including clementines in the recipe is an effortless way to improve your well-being.  Clementines are zero cholesterol, zero fat and zero sodium but on the flip-side they contain an impressive amount of dietary fibre and vitamin C.

greenbeanandtahinisalad grassrootsandgrains4Adding shaved almonds into your salad is a delicious way to up the protein of your salad whilst also getting some healthy fats into your meal. Coriander is also full of a range of vitamins, minerals and other goodness as well as adding its distinctive flavour to the recipe.

greenbeanandtahinisalad grassrootsandgrains3As mentioned before, the dressing doesn’t have to be used specifically with this dish. It can make a great addition to practically any recipe and can be made fresh quickly in each instance. Tahini is a paste that is light in colour and made from crushed sesame seeds. It is crammed with good, essential fats and also contains vitamin B1, magnesium, copper, phosphorous and manganese.

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Basil, Parsley and Macadamia Nut Pesto

Pesto makes a great accompaniment to absolutely any pasta meal and can give the blandest of dishes a real kick. Many people assume that it’s difficult and time consuming to make but that couldn’t be further from the truth! Although traditionally prepared with a pestle and mortar you can get the same fantastic result from whizzing all the the ingredients together in a food processor! If you follow a plant-based diet then you may not have realised that you can enjoy pesto as much as everyone else due to the standard use of cheese in the recipe.basil, parsley and macadamia nut pesto grassrootsandgrains

With the following selection of ingredients this isn’t something you’ll have to worry about:

 

2 large handfuls of basil (stems removed)
100g of macadamian nuts
1 tbsp of nutritional yeast
1/2 of one clove of garlic
100g of olive oil
1 large handful of parsley (stems removed)

basil, parsley and macadamia nut pesto grassrootsandgrains (6)So as mentioned before, all you have to do is combine all of these ingredients together in your food processor and whizz together until you achieve the consistency of pesto! You can then either store in the fridge for later use or include it immediately in your cooking.

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Making your own pesto from home is the best way to really keep track of what you’re putting into your body. Many pesto sauces can be quite fattening so by making you’re own you know exactly what has gone into it! In this instance the high fat level comes from the olive oil however, this is mono-unsaturated fat which is much better for us then saturated or trans fats. Mono-unsaturated fats can actually help lower your blood cholesterol levels too.

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Macadamia nuts are also high in fat but again, it’s the healthy monounsaturated kind. They are also a fantastic source of protein and contain all of the essential amino acids. As you may already know, protein is essential for muscle growth as well as for keeping your immune system healthy. Because of their high antioxidant content, it’s important to include nuts in your diet and the Macadamia variety are a tasty choice!

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Including garlic in your pesto recipe will give it that extra little bit of flavour as well as boosting the nutritional profile. Garlic isn’t difficult to grow for yourself so you can easily have a fresh store at your fingertips. There is an abundance of vitamins and minerals in garlic, such as iron, potassium, magnesium, calcium, zinc and manganese. It also contains selenium which helps keep the heart in optimum condition.

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Avocado, Chocolate and Lucuma Mousse

This is GREAT for kids and for dinner guests!  In fact, your dinner guests will be shocked after they discover that this pudding is very nutrient dense and consists of NO refined sugar!  I started making this for my six year old as he’s addicted to chocolate, chocolate, chocolate!  But on the other hand my eight year old is addicted to avocados, avocados, avocados!

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To keep everybody happy, I decided to combine the two, with some lucuma for a little Peruvian Maple flavour, and voila! This mousse was born! To make enough to happily serve two, you’ll just need the following ingredients:

1 medium ripe avocado
1/3 of a cup of raw cacao powder, or more to taste
3 fresh dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1/3 of a cup of coconut milk, nut milk or filtered water
½ a teaspoon of natural vanilla extract (or you can use pure vanilla bean powder)
A pinch of unrefined sea salt
1 tablespoon of lucuma

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So all you need to do to create this dish is blend everything together and then leave to chill in the fridge for an hour. Then you can top it with your favourite super food and enjoy this awesome ‘avocacao’ treat!

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Raw cacao is a fantastic ingredient to use when trying to make a healthy dessert. It has been associated with several health claims ranging from improving the function of the heart to helping to reduce cataracts. Many studies have also suggested that theobromine, which is a non-addictive stimulant naturally found in raw cacao, can be used to combat depression. Additionally, it is high in antioxidants and essential fatty acids. If you want to increase your good cholesterol levels whilst decreasing bad cholesterol levels then raw cacao is the perfect thing to include in your diet.

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Using avocado in a dessert might not seem like a conventional idea but they are full of so much goodness that you really can’t go wrong! Be sure to pick a ripe one to make your mousse and always scrape it out well as the portion nearest the skin is where the most nutrients can be found! Avocados are crammed with good fats that help to protect the heart against disease.

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The Lucuma fruit, which is native to Peru, provides the perfect sweetener! The fruit is dried out at a low temperature and then turned into powder. It rates low on the glycemic scale and is full of nutrients like iron, zinc, beta-carotene and calcium. The maple-like taste makes it great for sweet dessert dishes whilst keeping you healthy at the same time!

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Kale, Fig and Walnut Risotto

When I’ve had guests over for supper, and I’m making something plant-based, I usually go for the staple risotto – can’t go wrong there!  But I got bored of making the same ol’ mushroom risotto over and over again… and so did my dinner guests!   One time while visiting my in-laws down in Dorset, my father-in-law had this gorgeous fig in front of him that he meticulously sliced open and then slowly bit into it, savouring every juicy bite.  And that’s when it hit me, why can’t I do figs in my risotto?  So I started thinking, I wanted a ‘complete’ meal – the green leafy vegetable for my chlorophyll, the nuts for my protein and the fig for my anti-oxidants.  And bingo, this risotto was born!

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To make enough of my risotto to serve four people as a main course, you’ll need the following ingredients:

500g of Arborio Rice
1 onion
8 cups water of mixed with bouillon veggie stock (more if you need)
200g of Walnuts
2 large handfuls of kale (a good mix if you can find)
5 delicious figs – quartered
2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon of coconut oil to gently fry the onion

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The first thing you need to do is melt the tablespoon of coconut oil in a large pan and add the chopped onion. Fry the onion for between five and seven minutes, until it becomes translucent. You can then add the rice along with eight cups of vegetable stock. Bring the pan to the boil and then allow to simmer gently, giving it the occasional stir. If necessary then it’s okay to add more of the stock. Do this for about 25 to 30 minutes.

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Whilst you’re waiting for those 30 minutes to pass, you must dry roast the walnuts. You can either do this is a pan or in the oven. As soon as the stock has absorbed into the risotto, add the nutritional yeast, kale and walnuts then give it all a good stir. At this stage your risotto should be nice and creamy so it’s time to gently include the figs into your dish and stir slowly. Once all of your figs are in, your meal is ready to be served!

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Figs are a fruit and are uniquely nutritious. They have an amazing calcium count and are also a great source of fibre. Studies have suggested that fibre from fruit can lower the chances of a postmenopausal woman developing breast cancer. Additionally, they are a rich source of magnesium, potassium, iron, several B vitamins and vitamin K. If you are eating figs for the nutritional value then it’s best to choose those that are riper as there are more antioxidants present in ripe figs.

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Walnuts are a fantastic source of energy and health boosting properties. They are especially good for getting omega-3 into your diet and can help lower your bad cholesterol levels whilst increasing the amount of good cholesterol in your body. Eating walnuts regularly will help to prevent strokes and coronary artery disease!

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Kale is without a doubt, one of the healthiest vegetables you can find. Eating just one cup of it will provide you with a decent amount of fibre, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C. Eating kale is amazing for your body and your overall health, making it a much loved and much used ingredient for super food fans!

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Baked Sweet Potato Chips

Although traditionally made from standard potatoes, chips made from sweet potatoes are much healthier and are actually of great nutritional value. Just 7 ounces of this vegetable contains approximately 65% of your recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C! They are also rich in calcium, potassium and beta-carotene. As a rule, use one sweet potato per person you are feeding, I used six to feed all six of us! To make this simple recipe all you will need is the following ingredients:

Sweet potatoes (1 per person)
Olive oil
Herbamare (pure sea-salt infused with organic, garden-fresh herbs and vegetables)
A dash of turmeric or cumin

So to start, heat your oven to 180C then wash and peel your potatoes. Once they are peeled, slice each potato to 1cm thickness and then again to 1cm longways. Once they are all sliced into shape, coat them all generously in corn flour.

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You must then apply olive oil to each chip. I prefer to spray the oil on instead of pouring it, but either method is absolutely fine. Next, give your chips a good sprinkle of Herbamare and then add a dash of turmeric or cumin, completely up to you!

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Now that your chips have been prepared, align them on the baking tray side by side, making sure not to place them on top of each other as this will prevent them becoming crunchy. Place the tray in the oven for 15 minutes and then take them out, turn all of the chips over and put back in for an additional 15 minutes.  Your chips are now ready to eat so serve them with some decent ketchup, preferably made with Agave or Brown Rice Syrup, not sugar!!!

The high nutritional value of sweet potatoes isn’t the only reason you should be including them in your diet. They also score impressively low on the glycemic index which makes it great for your blood sugar levels. The rich content of Vitamin A and beta-carotene makes sweet potatoes fantastic for your skin and also work to combat the free radicals which cause visible ageing effects.

The high potassium content of this vegetable helps to alleviate muscle cramps, making them great to eat if you’re particularly tense! Sweet potatoes are easily grown in your garden and you don’t have to be especially green-fingered to be successful at it!

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