Grass, Roots & Grains Veggie Burgers

So the snow has fallen in abundance in London causing the schools to close and all four of my children to be at home! My kids are so active and into every sport imaginable, therefore chaos is the norm in our house. For this reason it’s not very often that the six of us are all together at the same time so what a treat it was to be snowed in! I relished the opportunity to get them all cooking together in the kitchen and that’s where this week’s recipe was born.

My kids are definitely lovers of veggie burgers. They’re the kids who order them at burger restaurants, at pool side cafes or even birthday parties and I’m so proud of them for it! Eating a wholesome veggie burger is like getting an injection of so many nutrients rather than cholesterol and saturated fat. So it was a unanimous decision – we would make their favourite and my speciality, Grass, Roots & Grains Veggie Burger….served, of course, with a side of sweet potato chips and green peas!

If you’re getting ready to make this dish at home yourself then first you’ll need to raid the supermarket for the following ingredients:

125g or 3/4 cup of whole-wheat couscous
100g or 1/2 cup red lentils
1 tbsp. whole meal flour
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1/2 a bunch of coriander
1 courgette, diced
1 large tomato, diced
1 tablespoon, tahini
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Sea salt and black pepper

Once you have gathered the necessary ingredients you can begin by putting all of the couscous into a bowl and pouring 200ml of seasoned boiling water over it. A simple bouillon is perfect for this and will really flavour the couscous. Quickly mix together before covering and placing to one side.P1050292

You can then rinse your half a cup of lentils and place in a pan with 300ml of water and bring to the boil. After about twenty minutes in the pan, the lentils should have become soft so it’s now time to drain and chuck them into your food processor. Now is also the time to include the diced onion, carrot, courgette and tomato along with all of the spices and herbs, flour and tahini.

Once all of your ingredients are blended together you can remove the mixture from the blender and add it to the bowl of couscous that you prepared earlier. You must now mix the two concoctions together vigorously with your hands. As soon as your couscous combination is ready, you can wet your hands and have some fun moulding the mixture into burger shapes. With the amount of ingredients used you will have enough burger mix to make four burgers, or alternatively you could make more slightly smaller burgers.P1050299

Your burger patties can now be added to a frying pan with a tablespoon of coconut oil and cooked for three or four minutes on each side. As soon as they’re ready you can pop them out of the pan and into wholemeal baps. Garnish in any which way you like and enjoy!

The combination of vegetables inside these burgers is a great mix and provides a generous amount of nutrition in each portion. Tomatoes are an amazing source of antioxidants, especially lycopene which protects the body from those nasty free radicals. Courgettes are also prized for their antioxidant values as well as their high potassium count which is great for your blood pressure. Similarly onions and carrots are rich sources of vitamins and nutrients, especially beta-carotene for the latter which helps maintain your vision.

Although the burgers are technically cooked, the amount of time they are heated for will allow for lots of nutrients that are normally lost through cooking at high temperatures to remain.

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Beetroot, Celeriac & Orange Salad

When you’re craving something that’s healthy and light to satisfy your taste buds as well as filling you up, sometimes a simple salad just doesn’t cut it. Keeping things interesting in the kitchen is the key to sticking to a healthy diet and this Beetroot, Celeriac & Orange Salad will help you do just that. It will take you less than 40 minutes to create and will keep you full for much longer afterwards. To get going, first you need to make sure you have got the following ingredients:

2 french candy beetroots
1/2 a celeriac
1 big handful fresh parsley
1 big handful coriander
Juice and zest of 1 orange
1 inch of ginger, peeled and minced
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. orange blossom water
A pinch of sea salt and black pepper

To begin, take your two beetroots and firstly peel and then cube them. For extra variety in your meal you can use one yellow beetroot and one red one. Repeat this peeling and cubing with the celeriac and then you can start cooking the beetroot in a very small amount of water. When necessary you should continue to add water in moderation to ensure that it does not dry out. Approximately 20 minutes after the beetroot has begun cooking, you can then add the peeled and cubed celeriac to the pan and continue heating in the water.

Allow the beetroot and the celeriac to cook together for another 15 minutes before you remove from the heat, drain and leave to cool in a separate container. If you do choose to use two different coloured beetroots then you may find that the colours blend together, but don’t worry – it will still have the same great taste!

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Once the contents of your container have cooled, you can then add the generous handful of fresh parsley and the same amount of coriander. You can now take the juice and zest of the orange and whisk it together with the ginger, cumin, cinnamon, olive oil and apple cider vinegar as well as the orange blossom water. All of these ingredients combined together will create a delicious dressing which you can then drizzle over the vegetables.

This is an absolutely stunning salad, both in terms of appearance and flavour. It is also great for your body as all of the ingredients have health boosting properties. Beetroot is fantastic for increasing your stamina and helping your muscles work harder for longer. It is therefore something that you should seriously think about including in your diet frequently if you enjoy any kind of sport.

Beetroot is jam-packed full of potassium, iron, magnesium, folic acid and a selection of vitamins, carbohydrates and proteins. Also, as well as improving your energy, beetroot will help lower your cholesterol and stabilise your blood sugar levels. The best thing is, as it has so much goodness in such a little portion, you don’t have to try too hard to include an adequate amount in your diet.

Low in calories and high in fibre, celeriac is also a vegetable that your body will thank you for. Several studies have suggested that some compounds found in celeriac provide protection against certain forms of cancer. Additionally, if you have been looking for a simple way to increase your vitamin K intake, then this is the ingredient you’ve been searching for!

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Why Turmeric is the New Kale!

Turmeric is a spice that is most commonly associated with curry dishes, beyond this it is also a very versatile ingredient that has a huge range of health benefits. The spice itself is a derivative of the root of the Curcuma longa plant, which has an orange flesh and a rough brown skin.

As well as being used in cooking, turmeric also has other useful properties, most commonly being hailed as an anti-inflammatory in some Eastern medicine practices. The conditions that it is believed to treat are wide and varied from flatulence to jaundice and toothache to chest pain. Studies suggest that turmeric prevents cholesterol oxidising in the body which contributes greatly to the protection of your cardiovascular system. Due to turmeric being able to encourage the liver to increase the amount of messenger proteins that are being produced, it is in turn able to reduce cholesterol in the body. Many studies also now suggest that turmeric is a a great defender against certain neurodegenerative problems, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Less commonly it has also proved useful as a dye for textiles.

Getting more turmeric into your diet doesn’t have to be a difficult process. If you love curry then you can happily slip a teaspoon or two into your recipe; this will work well regardless of the type of curry you are making, be it meat, fish or vegetable. You can also use turmeric in many other recipes such as to sautée vegetables or even in soups.

When it comes to vitamins, turmeric is a fantastic source of vitamin B6, this is essential for maintaining your blood vessels and preventing heart disease. This spice is also a great source of iron, manganese, potassium and fibre. Iron has so many amazing benefits, especially for muscle and brain function. Similarly, manganese and potassium ensure healthy bones as well as blood pressure and blood sugar levels respectively.

As you can observe, turmeric is an all round excellent spice for both its medicinal properties and flavour qualities; one  that should be included in your everyday diet!

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Green Pea Hummus

Green Pea Hummus is a simple to make dip that is bursting with nutrients. If you’re having a party or just a few people over then this is a great dish to make, especially served with some toasted pitta bread. It’s so quick to make that you can put it together fresh every time with absolutely minimal fuss. To create this recipe you will only need a handful of ingredients and most of you will already have a bag of frozen peas in the freezer ready to be used. So, what you will need is:

500g or 1lb 2oz frozen peas
2 tablespoons of tahini
Juice of 1-2 lemons
1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1/2 bunch fresh coriander
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
A pinch of cayenne pepper, to serve

Firstly take the 500 grams of frozen peas and boil them in a pan of water for approximately five minutes. Once they have boiled you should drain them and give them a quick rinse under some cold water. You can then place all of them in your vitamix or food processor whilst also adding the tahini, the juice of the lemons, a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil, the peeled garlic cloves and the cumin and coriander.

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Once you’ve blended everything together you may find that you have to add two or three tablespoons of cold water to thin it out slightly, however this isn’t always the case so if it already looks great, then leave it! Now you can mix in some sea salt and black pepper to taste and serve in a bowl. The final touch to this tasty dish is to sprinkle cayenne pepper over the top and it’s then ready to be eaten! The colour and appearance of this dip is much more appealing then a normal hummus dip and is sure to get any guests asking for the recipe.

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Green peas are amongst the most nutritious vegetables and are full of a huge variety of anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals. They are also low in calories and contain absolutely no cholesterol. Peas are an especially great source of vitamin C which is essential for helping your body fight infections and illness. Vitamin K is also found in abundance in green peas which is necessary for maintaining healthy bones and ensuring your blood clots as it should.

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Butternut Squash and Brown Rice Soup with Coriander

Here’s a great recipe if you’re looking for a meal to warm you up this winter that’s also packed full of goodness – Butternut Squash and Brown Rice Soup with Coriander. This is a fairly easy to make dish that doesn’t require too many ingredients; you’ll likely find that you have most of them in the cupboards already!

To get started creating this gorgeous meal, which will easily be enough to feed four people, this is what you’ll need:

Approximately 1 kg (2lb 4 oz) butternut squash
Coconut oil for frying or  a splash of vegetable stock
2 medium onions
2-3 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 litre (4 cups) vegetable stock
175g (6oz) brown rice
Fresh coriander (cilantro)

To start, take your butternut squash and cut it up into manageable chunks. Make sure you save all of the seeds as they will come in useful later! You then need to chop up the two onions and decide whether you are using coconut oil or veg stock to fry them in. Once you have made your choice, you can heat some in the pan and chuck the onions in. As the onions are frying you can then add the garlic, the spices and the chilli to the pan. Stir it all together for a few seconds and then add the butternut squash.

Make sure that you stir the contents of the pan well before you pour in your vegetable stock, then bring it to the boil. Once you’ve reached this point you can add half of the rice and set the pan to simmer.

You should now pop the seeds you’ve saved into the oven to toast! There are two things that you can do with these seeds later on, depending on your preferences. Either add them into the first pan which is to be blended later; alternatively you can use them on top of your soup with the coriander garnish. If you are going to add the seeds into the first pan then you will need a high performance blender, such as a Vitamix, to do this properly.

Whilst your first pan is simmering you can then boil the rest of the rice in water for approximately 15 minutes. Alternatively you can just use your rice cooker. If you decide to do the rice in a pan then make sure you set the rice to drain as soon as it’s ready.

After 30 or so minutes, the butternut squash should be soft and cooked through. This means it’s time to take it off the heat. You can now blend it before returning it to the pan and adding the other batch of drained, cooked rice. Now that everything is cooking together you can set the pan to simmer and season to your desired taste.

Your soup can now be garnished with coriander and served!IMG_0292

Whilst you’re enjoying your delicious meal it will also please you to know that what you’re eating is just as good for your body as it is for your taste buds! Butternut squash is full of antioxidants and vitamins, and is also a very low calorie vegetable. It contains absolutely no cholesterol or saturated fat but it is a fantastic source of fibre.

The most prevalent vitamin in butternut squash is vitamin A which is a powerful weapon for keeping your skin healthy. It is also a great vitamin for maintaining good eyesight and it has even been suggested that it can help the body in the fight against some cancers.

Whenever you use butternut squash, it’s a great idea to keep and use the seeds. These seeds are an amazing source of fibre and have many benefits for the health of your heart. They are full of minerals, proteins and vitamins that will do your body wonders.  Enjoy!

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Vegan Christmas Meal – Chickpeas with Mushrooms, Chicory and Tomatoes

mushroomsOkay, so this is it – the start of my new Blog on Recipes!  Starting today, Christmas, I will be posting 3 recipes per week – from starters to mains to puddings!  And not only will you find out why these recipes are good for you (I’ll list all the nutritional benefits) but my cooking refrains from using Oils!  All oils are just 100% saturated fat and most of them shouldn’t even be heated!  So, did you know it is SO easy to cook with just a bit of water or if you want to flavour the water – add some Bouillon (Vegan).

After having my yummy Green Christmas Smoothie this morning and watching all 4 kids open their gifts (and yes, our youngest finally got his real live Tarantula – some of you who’ve come to my yoga classes recently probably remember the mentioning of Nestor’s tarantula (while you were all in tree :)) And by Joe, he got it!

So my inspiration for my Christmas meal comes from the new cookbook Veggistan that my sister-in-law gave to me for Christmas.  I’ve definitely jazzed it up.  In fact, the only 3 ingredients we have in common are the chickpeas, tomatoes and garlic.  But I always like looking at yummy cookbooks and then deviating from there.  It’s very satisfying!

On Christmas Eve, I went to Whole Foods and got a good mix of various mushrooms.  Portobello, Enokitake and Oyster.  Get yourself a good selection  as the health benefits of mushrooms are out of this world! Here’s a snippet: They may be small but they pack it in when it comes to vitamins and minerals. One cup of mushrooms includes vitamins C, D, B6 and B12, plus large doses of riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid. These vitamins along with minerals like calcium, iron, potassium and selenium help to keep you healthy!  And, hey – it doesn’t hurt that a major health benefit of mushrooms is weight loss – which might be a good thing after the overindulgence of the holidays!  3 cheers for mushrooms!

While at Whole Foods, I stocked up on Organic Cherry Tomatoes, Chicory, Coriander and Chickpeas.  So here I went and here’s how it went!  Recipe below and enjoy the photos (that was my Christmas pressie from kiddies – a good camera just for this blog!) Merry Christmas everyone and keep coming back for at least 3 recipes per week!

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Serves 2

1 garlic clove (finely chopped)
good splash of water (optional to mix with Bouillon)
2 large handfuls of a variety of mushrooms 
1 head of chicory (roughly chopped)
200g cherry tomatoes
1 can (400g) chickpeas, drained
handful of coriander (roughly chopped)
1 teaspoon tumeric
Herbamare
 

Saute the garlic in some bouillon water – add more when needed.  As the garlic softens, add the mushrooms – again adding splashes of water when needed.  After a couple of minutes, add the tumeric and stir well.  Next, add the tomatoes, chicory and chickpeas.  Allow to cook through for a few more minutes and season with Herbamare to taste.  Tip into a bowl and top with the chopped coriander.

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Christmas Green Smoothie Challenge

Today marked the first day of my first Green Smoothie Challenge – to drink one green smoothie per day in the 12 days leading up to Christmas, and the 12 days after Christmas.

The festive period is more often than not, associated with indulgence. High up on that list is, for many people, food and drink. What with all the Christmas parties, home baking, and edible gifts, many people find that they gain quite a few pounds over the Christmas period. Not only this, but many people often then find it extremely hard to then shift those extra pounds in the new year – hence why I came up with the Christmas Green Smoothie Challenge. Not only does a Christmas challenge involve far less pressure than a January crash “detox”, but embarking on a green smoothie challenge in the days running up to Christmas which can be stress-filled – rushing around in the cold, shopping, cooking, attending drinks parties and having a little less sleep than usual, means that your body is given a generous dose of vital vitamins and minerals to help keep colds, and dare i say it, hangovers at bay.

This isn’t a diet, or detox, it is simply an encouragement to add all things green into your daily diet. You can still eat your regular foods, but drink one fresh green smoothie per day, preferably first thing in the morning. Drinking one green smoothie per day will help your immune system and may even keep those sugar cravings at bay – why you may even stop at just one mince pie!

Participants will be receiving a daily inspirational email from me with additional recipes, some great yoga poses and healthy eating and living tips.

I will be posting photos and messages throughout the challenge, and for anyone that is participating I would absolutely love to hear how you’re getting on. Feel free to email or leave a message or photo on my facebook page.

 Read more about the details of the challenge here.

Lots of smoothie love,

Julie

Autumn Nutrition and Yoga Retreat 2012

Last weekend I held the first of my weekend yoga and nutrition retreats at Symondsbury Manor in Dorset.

Spread over three days – Friday to Sunday, the retreat provided the perfect getaway from hectic London life (for both me and my guests!). I visit Dorset often and have absolutely fallen in love so the location was a no-brainer for me. Symondsbury Manor is a gorgeous tudor manor house owned by an artist, resulting an a mix of old English elegance and quirky paintings and decor.

We kicked off the retreat with a Yin Yoga session, the perfect wind-down after the drive to the retreat followed by a delicious meal of stuffed peppers and salads provided by my lovely caterers – completely vegan, gluten and oil free! The evening ended with Yoga Nidra – or “yogi sleep” which ensured we all slept peacefully and woke up refreshed for our 90 minute power yoga session the next morning.

After an amazing quinoa porridge breakfast we congregated around the fire with mugs of peppermint tea and began our first nutrition workshop, detailing the benefits of eating a plant-based diet and information on my favourite superfoods – chia, goji berries, bee pollen, spirulina and raw cacao to name just a few! This was followed by relaxation time in which my guests chose to take a walk, drive to the local beach or have a one-on-one nutrition session with me.

We met back again for a delicious lunch and our next nutrition session in which we focused on healthy grains and natural alternatives to refined sugar. Our evening comprised of lots of tea drinking, another yoga session followed by a delicious and nutritious meal of butternut squash risotto, black bean patties with mango salsa, potato, tofu and spinach bake and a variety of delicious salads, followed by a cinnamon chia pudding – we were stuffed! We ended the evening once again with Yoga Nidra to calm the body and mind for a deep and relaxing sleep.

The final morning began with our final power yoga session followed a pumpkin oatmeal breakfast. This was followed by a relaxation session in which we soaked up the sunshine and picturesque surroundings before our final nutrition workshop in which we discussed different metabolic rates, personality types and why to stay away from sugar and caffeine! This was followed by a delicious farewell lunch of a vegetable quinoa salad and warming soup.

A huge thank you to everyone that came to the retreat and made it such a special weekend!

I am pleased to announce that I will be holding a second retreat from the 22nd – 24th of  February 2013, the perfect post-christmas escape – Book now!

I will leave you with one of the (many) amazing dishes that was served up at the retreat:

Autumn Simmered Butternut Squash with Lentils and Savory Fruit 

1 large butternut squash

1/2 medium yellow onion (thin slices)

1/2 tsp ground cumin

2 1/2 cups of low-sodium vegetable broth or water

1/2 cup red lentils rinsed

handful fresh thyme (chopped)

1 medium apple (chopped)

Peel squash and cut into 1 inch chunks. Spray one heavy bottomed pay with cooking spray and heat on high. When hot add squash, onion and half of the cumin. When squash starts sticking add 1/2 cup of broth and simmer for 5 minutes with lid on. Add lentils, thyme, apple and remaining broth. Replace lid and simmer for 15 minutes. Enjoy! Delicious served with brown rice.

12 Days of (before & after) Christmas Green Smoothie Challenge!

Delicious green smoothie
Delicious green smoothie

Approximately 85% of all people who lose weight during ‘dieting’ – not only gain it all back but they gain more! What’s more….experts say that they 5-7 pounds people gain over the holidays is not the problem, it’s that they never take them off again once the new year comes!

12 Days of (before & after) Christmas Green Smoothie Challenge – How to keep the extra weight off!

Hi guys,

Well, IT’s nearly here…. that’s right, Christmas and THE Holiday Season is literally right around the corner!  With the endless holiday dinners, offices parties and parties in general – the weight gain and lethargy slowly start to creep in.  Ugh.  Medical journals say it’s not the fact that people gain 5-7 pounds over the holidays that’s the problem, it’s that they never take the weight back off again once the New Year comes!

But what if this year could be different?  What if you could make this your healthiest holiday season EVER?

Starting on the 13th of December and ending the 5th of January – for the 12 days( before & after Christmas), I am kicking off a 24-Day “Green Smoothie Challenge” that takes you up to Christmas (while all the parties are going on) and after Christmas (when we usually seem to over indulge even more!)  AND, you can still eat some of your favourite Chistimas puddings!  It’s been proven that when you start your day off with a healthy meal, you’re more likely to eat well throughout the rest of the day.  So, if you start the day off with a green smoothie, you’ll be much less likely to overindulge, pig out, and get totally stuffed when the office parties and holiday dinners start happening.

Julie Montagu’s 12 Days of (before & after) Christmas

While everyone else is having seconds and thirds of the mashed potatoes, sausage stuffing and gravy, you’ll be dropping the weight and feeling great!

During the 12 Days leading up to Christmas and after Christmas, I will send you a bit of healthy inspiration, recipes, yoga poses, and healthy eating and living tips!

Julie Montagu’s 12 Days of (before & after) Christmas

But we’ll kick it off with an awesome teleseminar on the 13th of December – that will explain why green smoothies work, how they work , and all the good stuff in them!

Eating your kale, spinach, swiss chard and romaine lettuce – to name a few- on a regular basis can provide anti-aging benefits, prevention of disease – especially cancers – and help with weight loss.  And it’s so easy to get these greens if you just use a bit of creativity and hide them in a delicious smoothie, so come and join in!

You’ll have lovely rosy cheeks this holiday season, not from your warm fire, but because you’re looking and feeling healthy and energised!

Registrations will be closing in just a few days! And I’ve kept this 12 Days of Christmas Green Smoothie program VERY affordable especially since the holidays are already a time of serious spending.   And if you’re already a Green Smoothie Addict and see and feel the benefits already, why not give this as a Holiday GIFT to someone you love!

For just a pound a day you can make this Holiday Season your best one yet! Investing a pound a day in your health and energy, developing some healthy eating habits will set yourself up for the New Year and a New You!

Julie Montagu’s 12 Days of (before & after) Christmas

Prove to yourself that this year will be different and choose to make your health the most important thing this holiday season.  Choose your health over the most chocolate-coated, sugar laden season of the year….. and I bet you’ll be able to do it all year long!

Here’s to a Healthy Holiday Season!

Julie x