Mung Bean & Sweet Potato Casserole

I haven’t really done a proper bean post before and one of my favourite beans are…. mung beans.  I actually think they’re really sweet and cute, and they do taste amazing too.  A wonderful trait about mung beans is that they are easier to digest compared to larger beans and you don’t need to soak them for hours.  You can just pop them in and let them cook for about 45 minutes.  Hurray!

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Some people have difficulty digesting beans and legumes. They may develop gas, intestinal problems, irritability, or unclear thinking. Here are a few techniques for preparing and eating legumes that will alleviate most problems.

  • Soak beans for several days, changing the water twice daily, until a small tail forms on the beans.
  • Chew beans thoroughly and know that even small amounts have high nutritional and healing value.

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  • Avoid giving legumes to children under 18 months because they have not developed the gastric enzymes to digest them properly.
  • Experiment with your ability to digest beans. Smaller beans like adzuki, lentils, mung beans and peas digest most easily. Pinto, kidney, navy, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, lima and black beans are harder to digest. Soybeans and black soybeans are the most difficult beans to digest.
  • Experiment with combinations, ingredients and seasonings. Legumes combine best with green or non-starchy vegetables and seaweeds.
  • Season with unrefined sea salt, miso or soy sauce near the end of cooking. If salt is added at the beginning, the beans will not cook completely. Salt is a digestive aid when used correctly.

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So what’s the scoop on mung beans, you ask?  Well, for starters, ancient China used mung beans for detoxifying the body, so a high five to the Chinese on that one.  Mung beans are high in soluble dietary fibre.  What’s soluble dietary fibre  you say?  Read after the pic of the green chilies!

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Here’s Soluble Fibre 101: Dietary fibre refers to certain food particles that cannot be digested. Dietary fibre comes in two forms: soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fibre aids in normalizing bowl movements, but it does not do much for lowering blood pressure. Soluble fibre when mixed with water in the digestive tract will form a gel-like material, which in turn aids in supporting essential bodily functions. And foods rich in soluble dietary fibres have been show to help lower the bad cholesterol (LDL).   So, another high five there.

Let’s get started on creating this delicious dish!

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Grab these goods and you are ready to go!  Serves 6 – great for a dinner party!

1 Tbsp. coconut oil

1 tsp. fenugreek seeds

1 tsp. cumin seeds

1 tsp. turmeric

3 garlic cloves

1 inch ginger, grated

4 green chilies, sliced

2 small onions, diced

2 red bell peppers, chopped

2 sweet potatoes, 1 1 /2 chunks

350g mung beans

1 litre vegetable stock

400g spinach

3 large tomatoes, chunked

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Heat the coconut oil in a large pan.  Once the oil has melted, stir in the fenugreek seeds and cumin for about 2 minutes until you smell the lovely frangrance of the spices.  Add in the garlic, ginger, chillies, onion and red peppers, sauté until the onion is soft.

Toss in your chunked sweet potatoes and top with the turmeric for about 2 minutes.  Then you’re ready to stir in the mung beans and the vegetable stock.  Bring to the boil and then let simmer for about 45 minutes or until the beans are cooked.  Lastly, add in the spinach and the tomatoes until both are soft but not over cooked – again, about 7-10 minutes.  Season with your limes, sea salt and black pepper.  This dish is incredibly filling so you probably won’t need any grain to go with it!

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Mint CocoChip Ice Cream

I truly love mint anything!  Mint tea, mint on potatoes, mint in smoothies and now mint in my ice cream.  And this ice cream is not only dairy free and refined sugar free….. but utterly delicious.  I concocted this recipe because my 12 year old is a mint-a-holic just like his mom. 🙂  And we were gagging for something minty and cold over the weekend.  But not only is mint uber refreshing and delicious it’s nutritious too!

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Mint is amazing at aiding in:

Skin Care and Pimples: While mint oil is a good antiseptic, mint juice (yes, the juice!) is an excellent skin cleanser. It soothes skin, and helps to cure infections and itchiness, as well as being a good way to reduce pimples.

Nausea & Headache: The very strong and refreshing fragrance of mint is a quick and effective remedy for nausea. Even just the smell of freshly crushed mint leaves or eating with mint, and your stomach issues will be alleviated.

Respiratory Disorders and Coughs: The strong fragrance of mint is very effective in clearing up congestion of the nose, throat, and lungs, which in turn relieves respiratory disorders that often result from asthma and the common cold.

Weight Loss: Mint stimulates the digestion of fat! You can chop the mint leaves and add them to any dish!

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So, dust off your blenders and grab the following which serves 2!  Or ONE if you’re greedy.

1 frozen banana

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 avocado

4 drops peppermint essential oil

1/4 cup cacao nibs

1/2 cup spinach

4 mint large mint leaves

2 dates

3 ice cubes (optional)

Blend together and then fold in nibs….

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Either serve immediately or put into a container and pop in freezer for later… although once you’ve tasted it, I doubt you’ll be able to wait that long!
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Beetroot, Pear and Walnut Wrap

When I created this recipe, I did it entirely for my 14 year old who prefers to take her lunch to school since she recently proclaimed: ‘I’m Vegan!’  So school lunches at school, are rarely ever vegan…..(as much as I’d like them to be!)  I wanted to create something different for her that was also very portable too.  She does a lot of quinoa salads which is fantastic, but I wanted to surprise her with something truly different.  Being her mom, I knew she liked beetroot, wild rice, avocado, sultanas, pear and walnuts and she also likes her veggie burritos – so that’s why I incorporated a whole wheat tortilla as well.   Think of this a jam packed wrap of nutrients, vitamins and minerals.  Score, score, score.

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Let’s zoom in on Beetroot for a sec…..

These ruby red beets can definitely help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.  Research has shown that beets can help reduce blood pressure because of a gas that beets produce called nitric oxide which helps to lower blood pressure.  Hurray!  But there’s more…..

Beets are superior in antioxidants…I mean, just look at the colour! Betacyanin, the lovely pigment that gives beetroot its colour, is THE antioxidant.  And remember, antioxidants can help reduce the bad cholesterol (LDL), which in turn protect are amazing artery walls!

Pregnant or wanting to be?  Well, this beet is one of the best sources of folic acid.  And folic acid is essential to the development of the baby’s spinal cord especially during the first three months of pregnancy.  But not only are beets good for the developing baby, but they’re good for the mom-to-be as they contain iron which believe it or not is a fantastic fatigue fighter!

And for those of us worried about osteoporosis….well….beetroot contains the mineral silica which totally helps the body to utilise the calcium we consume.

Beetroot is low in calories and pretty much fat free.  Even though it has a Glycaemic Index of 64, it has an incredibly low Glycaemic Load of 2,9 which in layman’s terms means that it’s converted into sugars very slowly and in turn helps to keep our blood sugar levels at an even keel.

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And now to the creation which makes about 8 wonderful wraps.

For the Beetroot and Walnut paste:

4 – 5 cooked beetroots, roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

small handful of coriander

small handful of parsley

50g walnuts

1 tsp. coconut oil

2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

himalayan pink salt, to taste

Literally throw everything into your blender or food processor to create your amazing paste.  Transfer to a bowl for later.

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For the Wild Rice Filling:  (Also, you will need 8 whole wheat tortillas!)

200g wild rice

1 tsp. caraway seeds

finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime

75g sultanas

100g toasted, flaked almonds

4 large romain lettuce leaves (torn in half)

2 avocados

3 small pears, grated

pink salt, to taste

Bring app. 500 ml of water to a boil and add in the wild rice, caraway seeds and salt.  Simmer for about 15-20 minutes until tender and all of the liquid is absorbed.  Allow to cool.  Once cooled, add the lime zest and juice, sultanas and almonds – stir in well to combine!

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To Assemble:

Scoop 2 Tablespoons of the beetroot and walnut filling in the middle of each tortilla and cover with one of the torn romaine lettuce leaves.  On top of the lettuce leaf, place a couple of heaped spoonfuls of the wild rice filling.  Finish off with a couple slices of avocado and grated pear.

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Fold the top and bottom edges over the filling and roll the entire tortilla from left to right to wrap it all up.  Yum, Yum, Yum – you are Done, Done, Done!

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My Plenish Cleanse

When my lovely box of 6 juices for my ONE Day Cleanse last week arrived at the door…. my inner cheerleader came through and this is what I said in my head:  ‘Let’s Go, Let’s Fight, We’re Rockin’ the Gym Tonight!’  Because that is how excited and thrilled this giddy cheerleader was to start her cleanse.  First and Foremost, it must be said that the packaging is totally awesome and it comes chilled and ready to be put in your fridge.  And how cute are the straws?!?  During this cleanse day, I never felt hungry as I was spacing each juice by 2.5 hours.  So, I drank my first one at 8am (after my hot water and lemon tea!), next one at 10:30am, followed by 1pm, 3:30pm, 6pm and last one at 8:30pm.  I then headed to bed early…..9pm! And slept like a baby!

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I ordered the Plenish’s Pick of Green Dream Team which included 3 Mind Body Green and 3 Sweet Sexy Green.  Why is this their pick of the litter?  On their website www.plenishcleanse.com they say: ‘Supplement your regular diet with Plenish’s green juice. Drinking chlorophyll-packed green juice is one of the best things you can do to boost immunity, fight disease, lower acidity and balance pH’.  And after reading that, I was SOLD!

The Mind Body Green has over 5lbs of organic greens (yes, in ONE bottle!) so it really packs a chlorophyll punch while alkalising your body.  What’s in this one, you ask?  Nothin’ but goodness:  Pear, Parsley, Kale, Spinach, Lemon, Ginger, Cucumber and Romaine.  Delicious.

Sweet, Sexy Green is chock a block of antioxidants and calcium and rids your body of toxins!  Hello?!?  How amazing is that!!!  This one is filled with:  Pear, Kale, Celery, Spinach, Broccoli, Cucumber and Romaine. Yummy.

But what’s so awesome about Plenish is that you can do a 1-Day, 3-Day or 5-Day Cleanse and choose from not only the two juices I had, but also Cashew Milk, Pineapple, Spicy Lemonade and Beet Box.  Summer is here, holidays and vacations are right around the corner – so get your body back by doing one of these awesome cleanses!

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Puy Lentils, Sweet Potato & Pomegranate Bake

Lentils have become a real staple in our house.  From red lentils to green lentils and now to puy lentils!  But what has been so amazing about these cute lookin’ discs, is that my 6 year old LOVES them!  In fact, he loves them so much that he practically asks for them every night.  So, we’ve had to get really creative in the ‘lentils’ department to make the dishes fun (and tasty) for all 6 of us!  And this is how and why this particular ‘bake’ was born.  For those of you who sometimes wonder or get asked – like I do – where you get your protein from other than the meat slogan that’s force fed to us, well – this little legume is your answer because…… Lentils have a higher protein content than beef! No joke.

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Lentils may be small but they are a huge player in the legume family.  They are an awesome source of cholesterol-lowering fibre but they also help manage blood-sugar disorders since their high fibre content prevents blood sugar levels from quickly rising after your meal.  But there’s more!  Lentils also provide amazing amounts of 6 important minerals, 2 B-vitamins, and like I mentioned above – the full monty: protein.  And can you believe it, all of that with virtually NO fat!  Just 230 calories for whole cup of cooked lentils.  This tiny nutritional giant fills you up – not out. ImageServes 6!

250g puy lentils

600g sweet potatoes

400ml (1 tin) coconut milk

1 pomegranate

1 red chilli

2-3 garlic cloves

2 Tbsp. coconut oil

1 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. turmeric

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)

handful of parsley, to garnish

ImagePre-heat your oven to 180C/350F.  Place the lentils in a small pot, cover with water and bring to the boil then reduce to simmer for 10-15 minutes or until al dente.  Drain and then just set aside.

Pierce the sweet potatoes, rub with coconut oil, place on a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes or until tender.  Once cooked through, leave to cool but keep the oven on!  Once completely cooled, dice into 1 1/2 inch chunks.

Heat the remaining of the coconut oil in a pan and saute the garlic until soft.  Stir in the lentils, chunked sweet potatoes and spices with the 400ml of coconut milk and leave to simmer for 5 minutes.  Pour this glorious mixture into an ovenproof baking dish and bake for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, de-seed and thinly slice the red chilli.  After the 15 minutes, place the sliced red chilli on top of the bake and bake for an additional 5 minutes until those red chillies are a bit charred!

Serve with lots of pomegranate seeds and chopped parsley.  YUM!

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Rose Chocolate Truffles

Let’s face it, the reality is that 3 out of my 4 kids are boys.  And boys are like dogs: they need to be walked at least three times a day!  2 of my boys are WAY into their sports – from rugby to football to cricket and then there’s our frosting on the cake, Nestor, who is 6 and the baby of the family.  When asked what he wants to be when he’s older…. he proudly replies:  ‘David Attenborough.’  So, in order to keep up with these active sportsmen and an explorer-to-be, I’ve got to fuel them with some REAL energy, some REAL foods, some NON-chemical, NON-pacakged, NON-processed foods.  So the gist of the recipe was created for my boys…. but then I do have ONE girl and I needed to include something a bit girlie, right?  And that’s where the Rose Water came in and so in all fairness, these power truffles are 3/4 boys and 1/4 girl.  I think I managed to please everyone in the family with this one……. now that’s a first!

ImageGrab yourself these cool ingredients: For 16 truffles (4 for each child if you have 4 kids!)

20 dates, de-stoned

2 Tbsp. coconut butter or oil

2 Tbsp. cacao powder

3/4 tsp. carob powder

2 tsp. lucuma

2 Tbsp. chia seeds

and the final ingredient:  1 tsp. rose water (so amazing)

You will also need Goji Berry powder, Blueberry powder and ground almonds for dusting.  The flowers in the photos are optional, but highly recommended if you have a girl!

ImageTake all ingredients and either blend in your high speed blender or simply just use your food processor to create a gorgeous paste.  Scrape out as much paste as you can into a bowl and use about a heaped teaspoon per truffle – roll in your hands to create a lovely, round ball.

ImageNext, roll those amazing truffles in some goji berry powder, blueberry powder or ground almonds.

ImageAnd Voila!  Takes no time at all to appease everyone in the family, including yourself!  If you’re having a dinner party, these are great incredibly healthy ‘after-dinner’ treats with some fresh mint tea!  These deliciOSO treats have NO refined sugar.  I used my favourite sugar replacement…. Dates…. instead.  Here are my FOUR top facts about amazing dates.

  1. Dates are free from cholesterol and contain very low fat and are also rich in vitamins and minerals.
  1. They are a rich source of protein, dietary fiber and rich in vitamin B1, B2, B3 and B5 along with vitamin A1 and C.
  1. Dates help improve the digestive system as it contains soluble and insoluble fibers and different kinds of amino acids.
  1. Dates are great energy boosters as they contain natural sugars like glucose, sucrose and fructose.

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To learn more about my online programmes such as the Green Smoothie Challenge for Juice Cleanse, head to my WEBSITE HERE for more details.

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Wowsers Wheatgrass – a GIY (grow it yourself!) post

Okay, so I have been SO excited about this post for over a week now (10 days to be exact)!  Nearly freaking out! I just couldn’t wait to get started on writing about how to Grow Your OWN Wheatgrass!  It’s simple, fun, inexpensive and self-fullfilling!  Need I say more?  If you’ve got kids (I’m happy to hire one of mine out for the day :)), they will love watching this magical grass grow right before their BIG eyes!  And to be perfectly honest, I was excited to see the photos that my husband took of each cool stage of growth.  I hope you enjoy this post as much as I enjoyed posting it!

To start, make sure you get some good wheatgrass seeds – look online, they’re everywhere! Take 250g of the seeds and soak them overnight or a good 8-12 hours.

ImageOnce soaked, rinse and then allow the seeds to sprout first before planting.  To do this, put the seeds into a muslin pouch for 2 days,  a glass jar will do fine too!  Make sure you rinse the seeds 3 times a day during those 2 days of sprouting.  ImageOnce those cute seeds have formed their adorable tails, you are ready to plant them!  I used a 9×13 tray, filled it with soil (basic potting mix or top soil work great) and then gently placed the seeds on top of the soil, not in the soil.  To keep them wet, you gotta water them and cover them up for the next 3 days.  I used another tray to cover them but a tea towel is fine too.  During these 3 days, water them heavily in the morning.

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 When the grass has grown about 1-2 inches in length, you can then uncover those gorgeous blades and watch them grow even more.  Little hint:  I don’t advise having the grass in direct sunlight though.  Just find a good spot in your kitchen that doesn’t get too much of it.  Living in London, that’s not too hard! Over the next several days, watch your amazing creation grow to around 8- 10 inches and then it’s ready to be cut, juiced and gulped!
ImageIf you don’t know the SHAMAZING benefits of Wheatgrass, then keep on reading.  There are SOOOO many to list that I could write a novel about Wheatgrass!  But instead I’ve listed my top EIGHT favourite benefits!Image
1. Wheatgrass juice contains up to 70% chlorophyll, which is a huge blood builder.  YUP, these chlorophyll molecules so closely resemble our bloods haemoglobin. The only major difference is that the chlorophyll molecule contains magnesium as its central atom and our blood contains iron.  Other than that, these guys chlorophyll and haemoglobin are nearly identical.
2. The Chlorophyll in Wheatgrass contains awesome enzymes which helps to slow down the ageing process.  Am all over that one!
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3. Yucky bacteria and toxins are stopped and flushed out by our best friend Chlorophyll.
4. Chlorophyll, yes, can be extracted from a lot of plants, but wheatgrass is SUPERIOR because it has been found to have over 100 elements needed by us!
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5. Carrot juice and fresh fruit juices are great at detoxing the body, but once again Wheatgrass is superior in the detoxification department!
6. 1 ounce of Wheatgrass juice is equal to 2 pounds of dark, green leafy veg therefore, it naturally shuts off the appestat in the brain.
Image7. Wheatgrass is jam packed with vitamins and minerals, including 13 essential ones, dozens of trace elements and enzymes, rich in protein and contains 17 amino acids: the building blocks of protein.
8. And lastly, this juice aids in skin problems such as eczema or acne, can be gargled for a sore throat, improves digestion and keeps the hair from graying (OMG – love that!)
ImageSo, there you have it – Wheatgrass really packs a punch, right?!  And this is just a glimpse of the many benefits of Wheatgrass.  So, run out now, get your seeds and start your glorious growing!  Your body will LOVE you for it!
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