Sweet Potato Falafel Cabbage Wrap

I can’t get enough of the sun we’ve been having in London! I’m like, ‘Vitamin D feed me now!’ And with these light days, I need some light meals. My kids adore sweet potatoes, especially sweet potato fries – so this recipe gives that yummy sweet potato taste for my kids, with a great ‘Soured’ Cream topping and for the adults, an additional ‘kick up the backside’ spicy salsa. We used a Chinese Leaf Cabbage to wrap it all up, but use what you have in the fridge – even a big Romaine Lettuce leaf works too! And then top it all off with some Vitamin D, by sitting in the SUN while you happily munch away!

For the falafels you will need:

400g of sweet potatoes
A large handful of parsley
A large handful of coriander
1 and a 1/2 cups of walnuts
2 garlic cloves
1/2 an onion
3 tbsp. of coconut oil
1 tsp. of cumin
1 tbsp. of Buckwheat flour (really any flour of your choice works, I just wanted to use a gluten-free one)

sweet_potato_falafal_cabbage_wrap_grassrootsandgrains2Prick and bake the sweet potatoes on 200C for approximately 30 minutes or until soft. Allow them to cool and then scoop out the flesh. Next you must blend the parsley, coriander and walnuts in your food processor until well combined. Then, start to add the rest of the ingredients, including the sweet potatoes until the mixture becomes ‘paste’ like. Using your hands, create 20 – 24 small falafels and place them on a baking tray with parchment paper. Bake these for 20 minutes, turning them every 5 minutes or so until they are all a lovely brown colour.

sweet_potato_falafal_cabbage_wrap_grassrootsandgrains8Then for the ‘Soured’ Cream….

250ml of coconut yogurt (Co Yo is a GREAT brand to try for this)
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and shredded
A large handful of mint, leaves only and finely chopped
1/2 a red chilli pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 tsp. of cumin seeds

sweet_potato_falafal_cabbage_wrap_grassrootsandgrains4Place all the ingredients in a bowl, mix well and stick in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Simple as that!

sweet_potato_falafal_cabbage_wrap_grassrootsandgrains6Finally, for the ‘Spicy’ Salsa

250g of cherry tomatoes, diced
1/2 ared chilli, seeded and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
A small handful of coriander, chopped
1 tbsp. of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

sweet_potato_falafal_cabbage_wrap_grassrootsandgrains3Place all the ingredients in a bowl, mix well and stick in the fridge for 30 minutes.

To assemble:

sweet_potato_falafal_cabbage_wrap_grassrootsandgrains7Take the cabbage or lettuce of your choice (must have large leaves) – I used Chinese Leaf cabbage. First you should rinse it then dry it and separate the leaves. Top the cabbage leaf with a few falafels and cover with the Cream and the Salsa. Wrap it all up and take a BIG bite. YUM!

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Julie’s SUPERnut Butter Cups

Okay, so when I was younger, my hands down favourite treat was Reese’s peanut butter cup! If you’re not American, you may not know about these treats! But trust me, they are SOOOOOO good! Back then we didn’t know about the ‘badness’ of high fructose corn syrup, however as an American we did know how yummy the combination of peanut butter and chocolate is! I want my four kids to taste a seriously yummy butter nut cup too but perhaps not a Reese’s one……..So, I came up with a healthy, but to me, even MORE delicious alternative and I can tell you that these were a hit with all of them. My youngest is already asking if I can make them for his birthday party (which isn’t until October but I’ll keep it in mind)!

Let’s start with the chocolate sauce which frankly, can be used on pancakes, ice cream and strawberries! So keep this at hand.

julies_supernut_buttercups_grassrootsandgrainsIngredients:

200g of cacao butter
10 – 12 tbsp. of raw cacao powder
4 tbsp. of coconut nectar (or agave or raw honey)
4 tsp. of lucuma
1 and a 1/2 tbsp. of carob powder
1 tsp. of maca
1/4 tsp. of pink himalayan sea salt

Almond butter filling:

1/2 cup almond butter (I used white almond butter and it was delicious too!)
1 Tbsp. coconut nectar (or raw honey or agave)
1 Tbsp. lucuma powder
1/4 tsp. pink himalayan sea salt

julies_supernut_buttercups_grassrootsandgrains (2)In a saucepan, melt the cacao butter over low to medium heat or use a double boiler. Fold in the rest of the ingredients. Next, line your cupcake tray with paper cups and spoon in enough chocolate sauce to cover the bottom. Place in the fridge until the sauce is solidified; this should usually take about 15 minutes.

julies_supernut_buttercups_grassrootsandgrains (3)For the Almond butter filling, combine all of the ingredients together so that it eventually looks like cookie dough. Then, get a good heaped teaspoon of dough and roll it into a ball. Using your hands, flatten to just less than the diameter of the base of the cups. Now you can add these almond nut butter saucer shapes to the cups and spoon the remainder of the chocolate sauce over the top, covering them completely.

julies_supernut_buttercups_grassrootsandgrains (4)Finally, place in the fridge for a good hour and presto! You can then remove the paper cups and store in a sealed container in the fridge. Although, if you’re anything like me, they won’t be in the fridge for very long!

julies_supernut_buttercups_grassrootsandgrains (5)These tasty treats taste even better than the store bought alternatives and will provide your body with a wealth of goodness. For example, instead of being crammed with sugar, they are sweetened with lucuma and coconut nectar. As you may remember from previous recipes, lucuma is made from a Peruvian plant and is completely natural. As well as being great as a sweetener, it is a good source of fibre, beta-carotene, niacin, iron and a whole host of other vitamins and minerals. Similarly, coconut nectar is free from gluten and fat and is the perfect low glycemic sweetener!

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Bulgar Wheat Sushi with Wasabi Ginger

I just got back from visiting the sun in Arizona and wow did I miss it! But I was fortunate to come back to London just in time for the sun to finally visit us here too! While basking in the Arizona sunshine, I was craving light meals which go hand in hand with the very light and bright days, this is where this week’s recipe was born! Here I’m going to share the recipe with you to make four rolls for yourself.

You’ll have to start out by making the vinegar wasabi liquid, or as I refer to it, the ‘tincture’! This will pickle your ginger AND season and dress your bulgar wheat.

For the Tincture:

4 tbsp of brown rice vinegar
2 tsp of coconut nectar (or raw honey)
2 tbsp of water
2 tsp of himalayan pink salt
1/2 a tsp of wasabi
2-3 inch pieces of peeled fresh ginger root

Whisk all ingredients together, leaving out the pieces of fresh ginger root, and divide in half. Set aside one half to season the cooked bulgar wheat.

bulgar_wheat_sushi_with_wasabi_ginger_grassrootsandgrains (3)You can then slice the ginger very thinly or if you have a mandolin, use it as it’s fantastic for getting clean, thin slices. Coat the sliced ginger, both sides, with salt and let sit and sweat it out for 30 minutes. After 1/2 an hour, squeeze the ginger out and then rinse under cold water. Give it another good squeeze until it is as dry as you can get it. I used paper towels to help with this so feel free to do so to really get them dry. Then, submerge and soak the sliced ginger in the ‘tincture’ and let it marinate for 15-20 minutes.

The next stage is to make the actual Bulgar Wheat Sushi, for this you’ll need the following ingredients:

1 cup of bulgar wheat
2 cups of water
1 small cucumber, sliced into 2-3 inch matchsticks
2 baby gem lettuces
4 radishes, thinly sliced (mandolin good for this too)
1 carrot, grated
1 and a 1/2 avocados, thinly sliced
4 nori sheets
Toasted sesame seeds
Pink himalayan salt to taste

bulgar_wheat_sushi_with_wasabi_ginger_grassrootsandgrainsSo to begin, place the bulgar wheat into a pot and add the two cups of water. Bring to the boil, reduce to simmer and then cover with a lid and cook for 15-20 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. Once cooked, transfer to a bowl and allow the bulgar wheat to cool down. When this has been achieved, add half of the ‘tincture’ that you set aside and fold into the bulgar wheat. You can then add some pink himalayan salt to taste.

While the bulgar wheat is cooking, start your slicing and dicing of the veggies so that they are ready to be rolled!

bulgar_wheat_sushi_with_wasabi_ginger_grassrootsandgrains (2)To roll the sushi, place a nori sheet, matte side up onto your sushi mat. Using wet hands, spread a thin layer of bulgar wheat evenly around the the nori sheet. Make sure to leave a two inch border at the top. Next, arrange all of the vegetables, starting with the baby gem lettuce, across the centre of the bulgar wheat and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

bulgar_wheat_sushi_with_wasabi_ginger_grassrootsandgrains (4)Pick up the edge of the mat closest to you and start to roll it away from you while holding the filling in. Pull the mat gently while rolling in order to get a nice firm roll. Keep rolling until you have a nice, neat and tight roll and then use a wet and very sharp knife to neatly cut the nori roll into pieces. Arrange on a pretty platter and serve with your ginger and some tamari, which is also wheat & gluten free!

The combination of vegetables in this recipe provide a massive variety of nutrients, vitamins and minerals that’ll keep you healthy while you’re filling up! The sesame seeds in particular are a great source of niacin which you may not get in abundance from many of your other food sources. Niacin helps reduce bad cholesterol levels in the blood and can also enhance certain brain functions which work to reduce anxiety and neurosis.

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Green Tea

Tea is unarguably one of the most popular hot beverages enjoyed around the world. If you’re making the choice to drink green tea for the health benefits, then, with so many varieties, flavours and ways of making it, it’s often difficult to know what the best options are. All green tea is derived from a plant and is a fantastic source of antioxidants, not to mention many other nutritious properties.

green-tea-grassrootsandgrains8There is such a massive selection of green tea brands to choose from and different companies often place emphasis on various health benefits. The most popular beliefs of drinking this kind of tea are firstly, that the high levels of antioxidants will help protect the body against many different forms of cancer. In addition to this, it is also suggested that green tea can reduce the risk of suffering a heart attack and improve cardiovascular health in general. Also, research has suggested that regularly drinking green tea will help keep many degenerative diseases at bay.

green-tea-grassrootsandgrains10It has also been suggested that green tea can improve your body’s capabilities of burning fat for fuel during exercise which inevitably leads to increased endurance. To some extent, it is also possible that green tea can also help protect against ultraviolet rays by aiding your body’s natural protection.

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Different versions of the drink obviously vary in nutritional value depending on the ingredients they contain. Here are a few of the best to look out for!

Lotus Root

Lotus root is traditionally used more in tea in Eastern countries and in fact is also used in many meals as well. It is an herbaceous, perennial plant that grows in special ponds and is rich in multiple minerals, vitamins and phyto-nutrients. It is also a great source of fibre which, as you may already know, can help reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels as well as relieving constipation. Drinking green tea with lotus in it is an excellent idea if you’re looking for a simple way to boost your vitamin C levels. Just 100g of lotus root contains over 70% of your recommended daily allowance of this vitamin! Iron, magnesium, zinc, copper and manganese can also be found in lotus and including this type of green tea in your daily diet will be of great benefit to your body.

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Sencha

Sencha is the favourite hot beverage of green tea drinkers in Japan. Sencha tea is made with young leaves from the Camellia Sinesis plant, those of which are steamed prior to use to reduce the bitter flavour and retain the green colour. Sencha tea has a sweet aroma and can often have a grassy or seaweed-like taste. As with other types of green tea, sencha has high antioxidant properties and is generally thought to lower bad cholesterol levels whilst aiding the production of good cholesterol.

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Matcha

The health benefits of matcha are thought to be comparatively much greater than many other green teas. It is revered by many as a fat-burning, cancer combatant that is jam packed full of essential minerals and antioxidants. To feel the full fantastic effects of matcha, you can also eat the entire leaf! When you make a cup of any kind of green tea, only a fraction of the nutrition is infused into the water; with so much goodness in a cup already, imagine the benefits of consuming the whole thing! Studies suggest that drinking one cup of matcha tea is approximately ten times better nutritionally than drinking any other type of green tea so, for a real health kick, this is the hot drink for you! With such an impressive amount of naturally occurring health boosters, your immune system, brain function and overall general health could soon start to experience the positive effects.

As well as these amazing specialised types of tea, there are also the more commercially available types that are flavoured with things like nettle, lemongrass and violet. These kinds of hot beverages are still great for your body and the effects of consuming the added flavourings will still be apparent. For example, nettle tea has diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties as well as being a brilliant source of calcium, phosphates and several vitamins. Sufferers of arthritis may find relief in drinking nettle tea and it can also be useful in treating allergies.

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Similarly, lemongrass has mild sedative effects when used in tea and can therefore be very relaxing. There has been extensive testing into the cancer fighting properties of lemongrass and it is proposed that the component within it that creates the aroma actually kills cancerous cells. Lemongrass green tea is frequently used as a remedy for digestion problems and to relieve the symptoms of a cold.

Hopefully by now you can see why green tea should be regularly guzzled! Experiment with different flavours and brands to find your favourites and try not to limit yourself to just one or two! Remember though, drinking hot beverages can occasionally encourage the occurrence of esophageal cancer, so give your tea a few minutes to cool down before you enjoy both the taste and health benefits.

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Papaya and Coconut Milk Shake

Making a shake can be a great thing to do anytime of the day, whether you want one in place of breakfast or even after a workout, it’s an invigorating way to boost your body. Milk shakes aren’t famous for their nutritional content and, are more of than not, synonymous with fat and unhealthy ingredients. This Papaya and Coconut Milk Shake is the complete opposite of what the name suggests and is a great way to start, continue or end the day.

papaya-and-coconut-shake grassrootsandgrains5To make enough of this milk shake for two glasses you’ll need:

1 banana
1/2 a papaya
1 cup of coconut water
1/2 a cup of fresh coconut meat
1 cup of ice cubes

Take your high speed blender and mix all of the ingredients together, then you’re ready to serve! It’s as simple as that. You can either pour a glass for yourself and save half for later or you can be super generous and make the other glass for someone else!

papaya-and-coconut-shake grassrootsandgrains4The flesh of the papaya is a rich orange colour with round black seeds inside. The seeds are edible, just as the flesh is, however the seeds have a slightly more bitter taste. The papaya fruit contains an enzyme called papain which is essential for the bodies process of digesting proteins. Papain is more relevant in the fruit when it is less ripe, however in any quantity it is great for your system.

papaya-and-coconut-shake grassrootsandgrains3The papaya fruit is rich in vitamins C, A, E and K as well as potassium and fibre. Its many nutritional benefits and antioxidant properties are fantastic for keeping your cardiovascular system in check whilst also helping to keep some cancers at bay. Eating papaya will also help to promote healthy levels of cholesterol in the body as well as encouraging optimum digestive health.

papaya-and-coconut-shake grassrootsandgrains2Coconuts are frequently over-looked as a health food, especially in some parts of America, however in the right quantity, they can be a great addition to your diet. The nutritional value of your coconut may vary depending on its age and level of ripeness, generally, the younger coconut is better for carbs whilst the more mature ones have a greater protein count. Regardless of its age, a coconut will have a generous amount of dietary fibre, iron, calcium and vitamin A. They are also packed with potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and manganese – just to name a few!As well as being incredibly flavoursome, coconuts contain an impressive amount of lauric acid which is antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral; making it an all-round amazing addition to your body. It is also thought that coconuts will help you maintain and even lose weight whilst also reducing your risk of heart disease!

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