Blood Orange Sautéed Red Cabbage on Quinoa

Although the British spring has been somewhat of a disappointment so far, I’m optimistic that some great weather is on the way! And with hot weather we need light lunch and dinner dishes that are still as nourishing as bigger meals. That’s why this dish is going to feature on my menu at home as soon as the sun decides to come out and stay out! You can’t log on to a health food website at the moment without being presented with reasons why you should make an effort to eat quinoa frequently. However, the health benefits of red cabbage might not be so familiar to you. This variety of cabbage contains a great deal more phytonutrients than green cabbage and it is thought that the rich concentration of anthocyanin polyphenols plays a preventative role in many diseases. Add to this the massive boost of vitamin C provided by the blood oranges and you’ve got a meal that has an incredible amount of antioxidants and protein. Not to mention the abundance of essential vitamins and minerals amongst many other things!

blood_orange_sauteed_red_cabbage_quinoa1Unfortunately none of the blood oranges I found were as colourful as they usually are but they still taste fantastic! To make enough to feed four people, gather the following ingredients.

Half a red cabbage

Two onions

Four cloves of garlic

One table spoon of fennel seeds

Half a tablespoon of black mustard seeds

Half a tablespoon of white mustard seeds

400g of quinoa

Two bay leaves

Four blood oranges

A few stems of parsley

blood_orange_sauteed_red_cabbage_quinoa12The first thing you’ll need to do is get the quinoa cooking!  400g will equate to approximately two cups so you will need four cups of water to cook it in. So get the water and the quinoa into a pan and cook for approximately 20 minutes. If you can see that it needs additional water at any point then feel free to include!

blood_orange_sauteed_red_cabbage_quinoa15In a separate pan, fry the black and white mustard seeds with the fennel seeds in some coconut oil over a medium heat. As this is heating up, slice an onion and two cloves of garlic. After a few moments, add these into the pan and stir for a few moments. Next, slice half a head of cabbage and then place this in the pan too. Pour a splash of apple cider vinegar over the top and continue to fry.

blood_orange_sauteed_red_cabbage_quinoa9555Take your second onion and chop it into small pieces, fry this in a pan with two cloves of garlic and add 400g of quinoa. Give this a quick stir and then if 20 minutes is up since you started cooking the quinoa then chuck this into the pan too.

blood_orange_sauteed_red_cabbage_quinoa00While your two pans are simmering, juice three of your oranges and segment the other. Sieve the juice to ensure there are no rogue pieces and then pour it into the pan full of cabbage. Stir the contents of this pan for a few moments and then remove the bay leaves from the other. You can then serve the quinoa onto a plate, top with the red cabbage and garnish with a couple of leaves of parsley. You can also add a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste if you desire although this is not essential to make this dish delicious!

Cashew Corn Soup with Broccoli Puree

This soup is a particular favourite of mine as it is perfect for both lunch and dinner. Making a big batch of it is enough to refuel my husband and I at lunch time and also to fill all four kids up in the evening! The combination of vegetables, nuts, herbs and spices means that it’s not just satisfying the hunger pangs but also really nourishing the body in the process!

Cashew nuts contain an incredible amount of goodness and are especially great for heart health, muscle growth and fighting infection. Add to that the turmeric, which from my previous post, we already know is a health god of spices, and cumin which boasts a massive array of health boosting properties!

cashew_corn_soup_theflexifoodie3The absolute first thing you need to do when making this soup is soak the cashew nuts for at least four or five hours and it’s better if you do it overnight! So before you go to bed put your cashew nuts in a cup and pour in enough water to cover. Leave the cup in the fridge and they will be ready to use in the morning.

cashew_corn_soup_theflexiefoodieWith these ingredients you will make enough for four servings:

Half a cup of cashew nuts
A bunch of broccoli
Six and a half cloves of garlic
One and a half onions
Almond milk
Dairy-free butter
Pink Himalayan salt
Paprika
Cumin
Turmeric
One and a half cups of sweetcorn
One cube of veg stock
Four cups of water

cashew_corn_soup_theflexifoodie5So for the puree, cut one bunch of broccoli into florets; half will be used for the puree and half for the garnish. Boil the florets in water with the cloves of garlic and half an onion. After a few minutes, remove half of the florets and place them in cold water to cool them down until they are cold. Boil the remaining broccoli for a further ten minutes.

cashew_corn_soup_theflexifoodie6Once the broccoli, garlic and onions are boiled, blend them together with a splash of almond milk and a tablespoon of dairy-free butter. Chuck in a dash of salt, a pinch of paprika and half a clove of raw garlic.

cashew_corn_soup_theflexifoodie4Moving on to the soup, fry a chopped onion in some oil over a medium heat with four cloves of garlic. After a few moments, add in a teaspoon of cumin and a teaspoon of garlic and continue to fry. After another minute add in half a cup of the soaked cashew nuts and the one and a half cups of sweetcorn. Now is the time to pour in four cups of water, bring it to the boil and then let it simmer for one hour.

cashew_corn_soup_theflexifoodieAfter this hour has passed, add a cube of veg stock into the pan and continue to simmer for another half an hour. You can now blend it to a fine consistency and add more salt if necessary. Your soup is now ready to be served into bowls. Once you have done so, pour as much puree as you like over the top and also position a couple of pieces of the previously blanched broccoli in the centre of each bowl to decorate. Enjoy!

Green Acai Berry Bowl

Green Smoothies were all the rage last year but for 2014, there’s a new Superhero in town called the BOWL!  Yup, the bowl is prettier and can be decorated easier than a boring glass.  So, here’s a twist on the smoothie:  The Green Acai Berry Bowl.  And trust me, it’s much easier to get your kids to eat this when it’s in a bowl and decorated with pure goodness.

IMG_1314It’s so quick and easy to make so grab yourself these ingredients:

1 banana (frozen is good if you want it nice and cold!)

1/2 cup coconut water

3 dates (pitted)

1 pear

large handful of spinach

1 teaspoon of acai powder (or more if you fancy!)

For the topping:

Well, you can add just about anything you like.  For this post, I added blueberries, coconut flakes and bee pollen!  Yum!

The acai berry is one of the healthiest berries you will ever find!  This antioxidant-rich fruit has been tooted for centuries as a healing, immune-stimulating, energy-boosting fruit.  Hurray!  A foreign relative of the blueberry and cranberry, studies have shown that this antioxidant-rich berry may be able to help in the prevention of diseases associated with oxidative damage, not to mention many other health benefits like digestion and weight loss!  I’m all over this berry……Enjoy!

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Tenderstem Broccoli, Sundried Tomato and Walnut Salad

I am all about dark, green, leafy vegetables these days.  I want to somehow always try to incorporate them into my day and if I can at every single meal!  This salad came to me as I was staring at my broccoli in the fridge wondering what I would do with it rather than the same ol’ boring steaming and without having to make a dressing as well.  I wanted something quick for lunch but then realised that this recipe makes a great side salad for supper too!

IMG_1279But seriously, where do I even begin with the health benefits of eating broccoli.  There are SO many!  So, I’ll hone in on a few to truly convince you that broccoli truly is a SUPERFOOD! Broccoli contains a high amount of potassium, which helps maintain a healthy nervous system and optimal brain function, as well as promotes regular muscle growth.  Along with a high amount of potassium, Broccoli also contains magnesium and calcium that help regulate blood pressure.  Broccoli also contains high amounts of Vitamin C and Calcium (YAY!)  and thanks to the glucoraphanin it contains as it helps the skin to detoxify and repair itself.

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But I also want to zoom in quickly on the sun-dried tomatoes which are so unbelievably yummy that I had a hard time not eating all of them before the salad was finished……oops!  Did you know that a half-cup of sun-dried tomatoes counts as a full cup or raw or cooked vegetables according to the USDA.  And the drying of the sun-dried tomatoes brings out the sweetness…. no wonder I couldn’t stop eating them!

IMG_1276So to make this salad that serves 2-3 as a side dish grab yourself these ingredients.

2-3 Tbsp. Coconut Oil

large bunch of tenderstem broccoli

4 large cloves of garlic

1 cup of sun-dried tomatoes

1/2 cup of walnuts

sea salt (preferable pink himalayan – see my other blog post on this incredible mineral!)

freshly ground black pepper

chilli flakes

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IMG_1282Make sure you wash your broccoli before you begin cooking.  Slice the garlic cloves into thin slices and you’re ready to get cooking.  Turn your stove on a moderately high heat and heat 2-3 Tbsp. of coconut oil into your pan.  As it begins to get hot, add the slices of garlic and fry for 30 seconds, making sure the garlic doesn’t begin to go brown.  Next, add all of the broccoli and sauté for a couple of minutes before emptying the cup of sun-dried tomatoes into the pan.  Sprinkle the chilli flakes on top as much as desired, lower the heat slightly and continue to sauté.

IMG_1287In a separate pan, warm the walnuts for one to two minutes so that you can see that they begin to brown ever so slightly.  As soon as the nuts are ready, you can serves the broccoli and sun-dried tomato mix onto a dish, sprinkle with the walnuts and enjoy!

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