Red Coconut Cakes

Beets are incredibly sweet and that is why they work so well in cake recipes. These cakes are sort of like red velvet cupcakes, but they filled with all things good. Also, these cakes are soft, moist and just perfectly delicious.

The nutritious make-up of beets is also a great reason to use them in your baking. They are high in potassium, magnesium, fiber, iron and phosphorous. Additionally, they contain high levels of vitamins A, B & C as well as folic acid. They are great as an inclusion in every diet but they are especially great for pregnant people because of the vitamin B, iron and folic acid. Because of the presence of betaine and tryptophan in beets, they are also beneficial for your mental health. They can also help to lower your blood pressure and boost your energy.

To make 12 of these tasty cakes, you will need the following ingredients:

1¼ cups / 6 ¼ oz / 190g of whole wheat (all-purpose) flour
¼ cup /1 ¾ oz / 50g of coconut sugar
2 tbsp of raw cacao
2 – 3 large beets, steamed and pureed until smooth
½ cup / 6oz / 175g of organic runny honey
2 tbsp of coconut oil
1 tsp of lemon juice
1 tsp of vanilla extract

Before you get started, preheat the oven to 425F / 220C / gas mark 7 and line a 12-cup muffin tray.

You can then sift the flour, coconut sugar, raw cacao, and baking powder into a large bowl. Mix until well combined, and then set aside.

Place the pureed beet, honey, coconut oil, lemon juice, and vanilla extract in a blender or food processor and blitz for one to two minutes until it is smooth. Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients and mix well to combine.

Next, spoon the mixture into the muffin tray before placing in a preheated oven. You can then bake for approximately 20 minutes. After this time, check the muffins have cooked all the way through. If they are not quite ready yet then return to the oven for another five minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to cool before serving.

The cakes will store for three days in an airtight container. Serve with your favourite cup of herbal or green tea and enjoy.

This is one of the recipes from my soon to be released book – Eat Real Foods! You can pre-order your copy in the UK by clicking here and pre-order your copy in the U.S by clicking here!

Mushroom Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

My cabbage rolls not only look great when served at a party but they taste fantastic too! They are the perfect snack or appetiser when you have guests over. Also, these rolls are stuffed with all good things, so they are bursting with nutrition, and they are so easy to make!

Cabbage isn’t often thought of as an exciting food and is most popularly used in soups and stews. However, there are so many ways that you can be original with it. The fact that cabbage is so good for your body is an additional reason to find ways to work it into your diet regularly. Cabbage contains high levels of antioxidants and is known to stimulate detoxifying enzymes in the body. It is also incredibly rich in vitamin K and vitamin C as well as other vital nutrients.

To make 8 – 10 rolls, you will need the following ingredients:

For the rolls:

1 small white cabbage

For the filling:

1 tbsp of coconut oil
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
2 cups / 5 1/2 oz / 150g of button mushrooms, washed & finely chopped
Pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt

For the sauce:

1 tbsp of coconut oil
1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced
3 large tomatoes
2 cups / 16fl oz / 450ml of cold water
1 cup /2 1/2 oz / 70g of spinach

Mushroom Stuffed Cabbage Rolls3The first step is to remove 10 outer leaves from the cabbage—being careful not to damage the leaves as you do so. Next, bring a large pan of water to the boil on a high heat before adding the cabbage leaves. Allow to cook for a few moments then reduce the heat. Leave the leaves in the pan on a low heat for a few more minutes or until they have softened. Remove the cabbage leaves and set aside on paper towel to cool and dry.

To make the filling, heat the coconut oil in a skillet (frying pan) set on a medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and cook for 2–3 minutes, stirring gently. Next add the mushrooms and sprinkle over the salt. Cook for a further 3–5 minutes. Remove from the heat and blitz with a handheld blender, or in a food processor, for a few moments or until smooth.

To make the sauce, heat the coconut oil in a large skillet or wide-bottomed saucepan set on a medium heat. Add the garlic and gently fry it on a medium heat for 3–5 minutes. While the garlic is cooking, place the tomatoes and spinach in a food processor and blitz for a few moments or until smooth, before adding to the pan with the water. Leave to simmer on a medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for 8–10 minutes.

While the sauce is cooking, assemble the rolls by placing a tablespoon of the mushroom mixture onto each cabbage leaf, making sure to leave about 1in (2.5cm) around the edge. Then roll each of leaves around the filling to create rolls.

Once all the rolls are ready, use a pair of tongs or a slotted spoon to carefully place the rolls into the pan of sauce, taking care to ensure that the seam of each roll is facing downwards to keep the rolls closed.

Leave to cook in the sauce on a medium heat, occasionally drizzling with sauce. After 10 minutes, reduce the heat and allow the rolls to simmer for a further 10 minutes.

Place the rolls on a plate, drizzle over with the remaining sauce, and serve immediately. To make this dish more of a main meal, serve the cabbage rolls on a bed of brown rice.

This is one of the recipes from my soon to be released book – Eat Real Foods! You can pre-order your copy in the UK by clicking here and pre-order your copy in the U.S by clicking here!

Mushroom Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Simple Steps to Striking a Balance

Finding balance in life can be a complicated process. This can relate to several different parts of your day, such as your diet, your sleep, your work etc. Creating a balance between all of the things that you have to do, and all of the things you want to do, will help to keep your mind focused and your mood stable. When things become out of balance then your mood is likely to fluctuate and you can experience increased stress levels.

Although it may seem impossible to achieve complete balance in all that you do, there are certain techniques that I suggest you implement to work towards this concept. The following suggestions will not only help to restore some peace in your day, but will also help you to feel more in control.

First of all, I can not stress enough the importance of taking the time to breathe. Although we are all obviously breathing during every minute of every day, not many actually take the time to pay attention to this process. Taking a moment to focus on your breathing, and to breathe deeply and consciously, can really help to calm your mind and re-focus your energy. This promotes mindfulness and will keep those stress levels down.

Secondly, ensure that you always make time to adequately hydrate during the day. This will help to keep your energy up. This will also help to keep fatigue at bay, which is a great way to maintain balance. When you become worn out by your day, it can often be an attractive prospect to slow down and not accomplish your goals for the day. A combination of water, fresh juices and herbal teas will keep you on track!

Stretching is a great way to energise yourself and to promote balance. Stretching regularly throughout the day also helps you to avoid injury and promotes optimal muscle health. Stretching can range from a few simple movements to going to a regular yoga practice. If you work a desk job then it is particularly important to stretch. In this case, getting up to walk around often will help you to maintain balance in your day as you won’t become demotivated by the constant inactivity.

Finally, paying attention to your diet is one of the most important ways to keep balance in your life. Optimal nutrition is essential to keep your body healthy and only a healthy body can achieve balance in life. Aim to include an adequate amount of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as including whole grains in your diet!

To learn more about nutrition and how it can help you with many aspects of your life, head to The Flexi Foodie Academy!

Spicy Kale Chips

Kale has boomed in popularity in the last few years – and for good reason! It is not only incredibly nutritious but also super versatile and can be included in countless dishes. Chuck it in your morning smoothie, add it to your lunch time salad or top your dinner with it. However you choose to eat it, doing so is great for your health! It has such an amazing nutritional profile, with Vitamins A, C and K being present in extremely beneficial amounts! It is also a fantastic source of calcium, magnesium, iron and those all important antioxidants!

Almond Butter Kale Chips Julie Montagu4So, munch out on this super-healthy snack that has all the crunch of potato chips (that’s crisps for those outside of the U.S!) but with all the good stuff and none of the bad!

To make a dish of my spicy kale chips that will serve two to three people, find the following ingredients:

1 big bunch of kale
1½ tbsp of almond butter
1 tbsp of olive oil
½ tsp of ground cumin
½ tsp of chilli flakes
½ tsp of pink Himalayan sea salt

Almond Butter Kale Chips Julie MontaguGet started by first preheating the oven to 350F/180C/gas mark 4. You can then wash and dry the kale. Make sure you dry it completely and then tear it into large pieces. As you do so, make sure to remove the thick stalks and set them aside.

Almond Butter Kale Chips Julie Montagu5Next, in a large bowl, mix together the almond butter, olive oil, cumin, chilli flakes and sea salt until well combined. You can then place the kale leaves into the bowl and toss in the almond butter mixture. Mix this together well until all of the kale leaves are evenly coated.

The next step is to spread the kale leaves on a non-stick baking tray and place in your preheated oven for 10–15 minutes or until crisp. After this time, remove the tray from the oven and transfer the spicy kale chips into a bowl.

Almond Butter Kale Chips Julie Montagu3You can either eat them straight from the oven or, if you want to eat them later, then they will stay fresh stored in an airtight container for three days.

This is one of the recipes from my soon to be released book – Eat Real Foods! You can pre-order your copy in the UK by clicking here and pre-order your copy in the U.S by clicking here!

Simple Changes for Increased Energy

Having more energy is something that many of us dream of. With demanding work schedules and a long list of everyday pressures, finding the energy to keep going till bedtime can sometimes feel impossible. Not having enough energy to make it through the day can not only mean that certain things don’t get done, but it can also be detrimental to your mood. When you don’t have the motivation to do the things you want, this can quickly affect your happiness and leave you feeling low. Some people try to rely on caffeine and other stimulants to keep themselves going, but this will only lead to dependancy and other ill-health effects. In fact, they could leave you feeling worse than you did before.

So, how can you keep your energy levels up without resorting to non-natural options?

First of all, even it it seems like you just don’t have the time, try to always have a period of relaxation during each day. During this time you can do whatever it is that you consider to be relaxing. Go for a walk, read a book, have a nap etc. This is your time and it will help to refresh your mind and re-energise your body to continue with the day.

Secondly, exercise is important. You may think that exercise will drain your energy and therefore you avoid it. But exercising regularly will actually raise your energy levels as well as improve your mood and boost your stamina. Even as little as 30 minutes, three times a week could help to get you on track. Yoga is a great choice because it also promotes relaxation while you exercise.

In addition to the the things you have to do, try to make time for the things you like to do. Feeling in control of your day is essential to keep your energy and your mood on track. So if you need to take some time to have some fun then give yourself this treat.

Finally, it is essential to your continued good health and your energy levels that you aim to get eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. Give yourself a bedtime and do your best to stick to it. As you get into this routine your sleep cycle will improve and you will approach each day full of energy and motivation.

You may immediately think that you don’t have time to do any of the things I have suggested. If so, I want you to really evaluate how you spend your day. If you know that you spend time watching TV, surfing the internet, talking to your friends on the phone etc, then reallocate a portion of this time to the activities I have mentioned.

Incorporating these lifestyle tips with a nutrition plan will help to boost your efforts. Head to the Flexi Foodie Academy to find out how simple this can be!

French Green and White Bean Salad

Salads are among my favourite meals as they are so simple and quick to make whilst also being incredibly good for the body! By using a variety of ingredients in a salad you can quickly provide your body with the nutrients it needs to get through the day. This salad is perfect for lunch or dinner and will leave you feeling satisfied and nourished.

The crushed, toasted walnuts give this salad an interesting twist, both in terms of flavour and nutrition. As you may know, eating walnuts every day will help to protect your heart as well as work to lower your risk of developing certain cancers. This amazing nuts contain the plant-based omega-3 fat which is great for battling inflammation in the body. Omega-3 has also been linked with helping to prevent blood clots from forming. Studies have also shown that walnuts can aid weight loss efforts as well as boost the reproductive health of men.

Ready to make this healthy salad? It will serve two people as a main or four as a side! You will need the following ingredients:

250g of french white beans, rinsed and drained
150g of french green beans
2 large handfuls of spinach
2 large handfuls of rocket (arugula)
1 large handful of coriander
1 large handful of flat-leaf parsley
4 medium tomatoes, quartered
A large handful of walnuts, toasted and then crushed
1 avocado, cut into small chunks
2 spring onions, thinly sliced

For the dressing:

The juice of 1 lemon
The zest of 1/2 a lemon
2 Tbsp. of apple cider vinegar
1 shallot, finely diced
1 tsp. of dijon mustard

French Green and White Bean Salad2The first thing you will need to do is cook the french green beans for five minutes in a pot with boiling water. After this time you must remove them from the pan and drain and rinse with cold water. Next, in a large bowl, combine all of the salad ingredients together and toss well. Finally, in a small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together and pour over the salad.

It is simply a stunning, green and ‘French’ salad that tastes fantastic! For more recipes like this one that will fill you with goodness, head over to The Flexi Foodie Academy!