Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad

This salad looks fantastic as a side dish to a main meal at a dinner party but can also make an indulgent meal for one! Not only does it look amazing but it will also do great things for your body due to the wealth of goodness found within! Brussels sprouts are cruciferous vegetables that contain a unique range of antioxidants. They are super low in calories at just 28 calories for half a cooked cup! Brussels sprouts are also full of fibre which makes them perfect for digestive health as well as preventing constipation and keeping your colon healthy.

The addition of raisins to this salad not only helps to make it look more interesting but also gives the flavour a nice twist. Raisins are known to improve eye health and the health of your bones so double bonus!

To make a huge portion of this for yourself, you will need the following ingredients:

For the salad:

450g of uncooked Brussels sprouts
2 large handfuls of rocket
A large handful of parsley
100g of toasted pine nuts
A large handful of raisins
A large handful of dried cranberries
1 avocado, sliced or cut into cubes

For the dressing:

Juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp. of apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. of honey
1 Tbsp. of olive oil

Using a hand grater or mandoline, grate the Brussels sprouts and then add the shaved Brussels sprouts to a large salad bowl. You can then add the rocket, parsley, toasted pine nuts, raisins and cranberries into the bowl too. And, of course, the avocado. Next, in a small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together and pour them over the salad. 

This is wonderful and delicious salad where you and your guests will be surprised that Brussels sprouts make such a wonderful meal!  I also find that it is perfect for American Thanksgiving too!

For more healthy recipes like this one plus some great nutrition advice, head over to The Flexi Foodie Academy!

Banoffee Pudding

This pudding is my healthy twist on the traditional Banoffe Pudding. It is easy to make but seriously good too! If you need cheering up or you need to cheer someone else up, then I absolutely suggest that you make this as there is no way a smile won’t appear after just one bite!

The addition of the pecans is great for the texture of this dessert but they also pack a powerful punch of nutrition! These nuts, which are native to North America and Mexico, contain a range of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. This impressive selection of health boosting compounds contribute to cardiovascular and digestive health as well as aiding in weight loss and reducing the risk of breast cancer. When eaten regularly pecans also provide a range of anti-inflammatory benefits and work to lower blood pressure.

To make enough for two servings you will need the following ingredients:

1 large ripe banana
1/2 an avocado
2 Tbsp. of raw cacao powder
8 pitted dates
2 ice cubes
2 Tbsp of cashew butter
400ml of coconut milk
60g of pecans, save a few to use to garnish

As I said, making this dish is incredibly easy! To get started all you need to do is blitz all of the ingredients together in your blender or food processor until they are smooth. You can then spoon this mixture into two separate bowls before you place these bowls in the freezer for just ten minutes. Once the ten minutes are up, remove the bowls from the freezer and garnish with the remaining pecans which you can chop into smaller pieces if you prefer!

This dish is then ready to serve and should have taken less than 20 minutes from preparation until you serve!

Burnt Corn, Kale and Lime Salad

Creating delicious variations on the traditional side salad is something that I love to do in the kitchen! This recipe requires minimal preperation and can be put together in the ten minutes before you serve your main meal. Kale is an ingredient that I tend to use a lot at home because of its amazing nutritious value. For those of you who don’t know, kale is among the healthiest foods in the world! With over 45 different flavonoids contained within, it provides a range of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. It is also great for lowering LDL cholesterol levels and lowering risk factors for cancer development.

Adding the juice of one lime to the salad dressing not only helps to bring out the flavour of the other ingredients but also brings a healthy boost to this side dish. They are a fantastic source of vitamin C and folic acid, the latter of which is important for cell growth and metabolism.

To make enough of this salad to serve six people, you will need the following ingredients:

2 x corns on the cob
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. cumin
250g kale, shredded
Sea salt
1 avocado, cut into small chunks
A squeeze of honey

For the dressing:
The juice of 1 lime
A handful of coriander, torn

Burnt Corn, Kale and Lime Salad2Firstly, using a sharp knife, cut the corn away from the cobs and separate the corn into kernels. In a frying pan, dry fry the corn with the paprika and the cumin for about 10 minutes until the corn starts to blacken! Next, remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool.

In a large bowl, massage the kale with sea salt for ten minutes or until it becomes soft. Add the burnt corn, the avocado, the lime and the coriander. Toss well and serve!

Follow me on Twitter so you never miss another recipe!

Spiced Coconut Kale with Avocado

The key to making a proper kale salad taste good is to not cook the kale!  You just need to give it some love and soften it with an acidic ingredient or dressing. In my view this side is perfect for any main dish! Eating this dish regularly alongside your main meals also brings a nutrition boost to any meal. Kale is one of the healthiest leaves on the planet and can really help to reduce your LDL cholesterol levels. It has also been explored extensively for its potential cancer preventing abilities. It is believed to reduce the risk of developing at least five different cancers (bladder, colon, breast, ovary and prostate). With over 45 different flavonoids contained within, with both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, kale is an absolute winner for your the health of your body.

The addition of avocado and almonds to this recipe also ensures you are getting a good dose of good fat that is essential for many functions in the body. Getting an adequate amount of good fat through your foods can also help towards your weight loss goals. Both of these ingredients will also help to keep your cholesterol levels at an optimum level, and will also help to protect against heart disease!

 

kale avocado saladTo make a big bowl to divide between everyone at the dinner table, find the following ingredients:

For the salad:

 

A bunch of kale, torn into pieces and chunky stems removed

40g of coconut flakes
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
A large handful of almonds, toasted
 

For the dressing:

 

1 shallot, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. of olive oil
1 Tbsp. of apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. of dried chilli flakes
1 tsp. of maple syrup
 

This is a really quick and easy one to make! First you have to do whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Once it is combined, put the kale in a large serving bowl and pour half the dressing over the top.  You can then use your hands to massage the dressing into the kale for a few minutes in order to soften it.  Next, add the coconut flakes, avocado and toasted almonds and mix together well. Finally, pour in the rest of the dressing and serve.  YUM!

 

For more recipes like this, head over to Amazon to buy my cookbook now!
kale avocado salad3

Fennel and Pear Salad with Chilli Cashews and Avocado

Okay, so this is one literally one of those recipes where I looked in the fridge and was like….Oh my, we don’t have any food in the house except for fennel!  And so….. this recipe was created out of love for the fennel that was staring me back in the face, saying ‘Eat Me, I’m good for you!’  And yes, fennels are very very good for you as they help with indigestion, anaemia, constipation, heart disease, cancer, blood pressure and even brain function and bad breath!  However, I’ve learned that fennel is something you either love or hate.  It’s a super strong aniseed flavour, so quite bold in taste!  However, I’ve found that by mixing fennel with something sweet, like pear and then a bit spicy like the chilli flakes makes this salad not only deliciously nutritious but worth eating!

Serves 4 as a side and 2 for a main dish
1 Fennel
1 avocado
1 pear
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. coconut oil
1 tsp. chili flakes
large handful of cashews
1 lime, juiced
handful of fresh mint
Pre-heat the oven to 180C.  Once heated, coat the cashews in some coconut oil, sprinkle with chilli flakes and place in a baking tray and toast for 10 minutes until lightly browned.  Using a mandoline slicer, slice the fennel into thin slices.   De-seed the avocado and cut the avocado into thick chunks.   Place the fennel and avocado in a medium bowl or large plate.  Peel the pear and grate the pear over the fennel and avocado.  Add the lime juice over the salad to keep the pear from browning.  In the meantime, in a pan over medium heat, melt the coconut oil.  Once melted, toast the fennel and cumin seeds for about 3-5 minutes.  Toss the toasted seeds, cashews and fresh mint over the salad and enjoy!
IMG_2555
Would love to hear your comments below so please post away!  And remember to head to www.juliemontagu.com for more healthy eating tips, inspiration, online nutrition courses and of course, my new cookbook SUPERFOODS!

Garlic Peas and Kale with Smashed Avocado

This dish works well as a main meal for one or as a side dish for two or more. The combination of green vegetables with the healthy fats of the avocado mean that you are getting a dose of nutrition that’s difficult to rival! The four large handfuls of kale that you’ll use in this recipe are seriously beneficial for your body as kale is known to lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol. Not only that but it is also rammed full of vitamins and nutrients, such as vitamins A, C and K, manganese, copper and fiber among many others! The high antioxidant count of kale also makes it amazing for protecting your body against cancer – it is a leaf that truly deserves the superfood label!

The use of pumpkin seeds brings a massive serving of magnesium into this dish which is essential in keeping your heart, bones and teeth healthy, not to mention the proper function of your blood vessels and bowels. Pumpkin seeds are also a fantastic source of zinc which the body needs to keep your eyes and skin healthy, whilst also ensuring proper cell growth. The high omega-3 fatty acid count in avocados provides your body with the good kind of fat that it craves as well as a decent dose of protein. Fresh avocados contain a huge amount of antioxidants, most notably lycopene and beta-carotene which greatly help to reduce cell damage.

Sound like a meal that you want to enjoy?! Then make sure you have the following ingredients:

2 tbsp. of coconut oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 onion, thinly sliced
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
400g of frozen peas
4 large handfuls of kale, stems removed
1 avocado, roughly chopped
A handful of pumpkin seeds

garlic_peas

To begin, melt the coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil has started to get hot, you can add the garlic, onion and peas until the garlic and onion start to soften. After a few minutes the peas should start to soften and cook too. Next, add the lemon zest and juice, kale, avocado and pumpkin seeds. You should then season with sea salt and ground pepper. The next step is to take a potato masher and roughly mash the mixture. Be sure to add in a decent drizzle of olive oil while you are doing so. Your Garlic Peas with Smashed Avocado is now ready to enjoy as it is or to add on to the side of another meal! The creamy mixture is sure to go down a treat with guests as an original addition to the menu!

garlic_peas

If you enjoyed this dish and want to find others like it, then head over to Amazon to pre-order my very first cookbook!

The Best Natural Skin Masks

When you purchase face masks and skin products from the supermarket, it isn’t uncommon that they will have a long list of ingredients, some of which you may not be familiar with. Unfortunately, not all of these things are going to be as good for your skin as the manufacturer would have you believe. Avoiding toxic chemicals is very important when it comes to the health of your skin. Making skin masks yourself at home is the best way to know what you are using on your body and it’s also not at all difficult.

Lemon

Lemons are full of vitamin C which is great for your skin. Try mixing two tablespoons of lemon juice with a teaspoon of unrefined organic sugar. Then using your hand, rub the mixture into your face. This is amazing for exfoliating the skin and once you wash it off a few minutes later, you’ll notice that your face is brighter and smoother.

Raw Cacao

The caffeine that is present in raw cacao is great for your face as it tightens the skin, not to mention the mass of antioxidants that are present in raw cacao. It is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet and is revered for its cancer combating properties and ability to tackle signs of premature aging.  To get the best results from this miracle ingredient, mix two tablespoons of raw cacao powder with one mashed banana, two tablespoons of ground raw oats and two tablespoons of organic honey. Make sure you mix it together well and then apply evenly to your face. Wait for 20 – 30 minutes before washing off.

Avocado

Avocado is absolutely bursting with Omega fatty acids which work wonders at moisturizing your skin. Not only that, but avocados are full of many all important vitamins and minerals too.  If you have dry skin then the best way to treat it is to combine the flesh of an avocado with a dash of olive oil and leave on the face for 15 – 20 minutes. Be sure to use an organic olive oil or an Extra Virgin variety.

Spirulina

Spirulina is famous for its antibacterial properties which means great things for your pores. It is a member of the algae family and comparably has more antioxidants than blueberries! This is good news for your face if you are trying to reduce the impact of sun damage or are attempting to alleviate blemishes or fine wrinkles.

For a face mask that will leave you looking rejuvenated, add just ½ a teaspoon of spirulina with a mashed banana. You can also add a squirt of lemon juice in for good measure but it’s not essential. After 15 – 20 minutes on the face, rinse away and dry.

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Oils?

Oil can be a big problem to dieters and it is something that I recommend all of my clients try to use less off if they are trying to lose those last 5 – 10 pounds. The harsh reality is that cooking oils are highly processed using manufacturing methods that are highly destructive to oil molecules.

According to Udo Erasmus, author of the book Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill, oils are typically pressed or solvent extracted from seeds and nuts, using a process where they are de-gummed, refined, bleached, and deodorized. The thing about this process that many people don’t realize is that valuable ‘minor ingredients’ including antioxidants, phytosterols, chlorophyll, flavor molecules, color molecules, lecithin, and other oil-soluble beneficial molecules are removed too.

how_do_you_solve_a_problem_like_oils_theflexifoodieWhat we just discussed applies to the cooking oils you may purchase in a store, or find in packaged food, or consume in French fries from a fast food restaurant. But what about when you cook at home with something like olive oil? Unfortunately, olive oil has a fatty acid composition (largely Omega-9) that’s NOT highly resistant to high heat. Meaning, its structure gets damaged and becomes partially toxic when cooked at high heat. It is also not a whole food anymore. Olives are whole foods found in nature, but olive oil is processed, with the oil separated from the fiber and rest of the whole food that it came from. While it may not be as bad as common cooking oil, olive oil is far from the ideal solution to cooking with oil. So what’s the answer?

While this fat trigger is everywhere – from cooking oil, to packaged foods, used at restaurants and more – there are some simple steps you can take to avoid it.

First, stop cooking with oil. I know that may seem radical, but it’s possible to steam your vegetables or cook grains without using oil. You can even stir fry your vegetables lightly with water or vegetable broth in a “non-toxic” non-stick pan to avoid using oil. Then, if you want a little oil with your food, you can add it later. This way, you’re enjoying the food you want, without denaturing and making the oil toxic in the process.how_do_you_solve_a_problem_like_oils_theflexifoodie2

Another option is to ONLY cook with coconut oil, which is composed largely of medium-chain fatty acids that don’t denature the same way polyunsaturated oils do. This is especially important if you must fry something or cook at high heat. It’s unarguably better to use coconut oil than cooking at high heat with a less stable vegetable oil that will break down more readily.

The third and final option is perhaps the most radical, but worth considering. It is simply to give up oils all together if you really want to lose those last 5-10 pounds. For instance, I watch the amount of oils I consume – I find that it’s too easy to overdo fat when using them, and I don’t think they’re fundamentally necessary. When I do cook with oil, it’s always coconut oil.

how_do_you_solve_a_problem_like_oils_theflexifoodie4When I want some healthy fats in my diet, I”ll have a small avocado, or some whole nuts and seeds. Or perhaps a little coconut meat. Even the dressings I make and recommend to clients are oil-free.

Whatever option you choose here, the most important thing is that you reduce this fat trigger to the best of your ability and when you do cook, use small amounts of coconut oil instead or water. You’ll automatically reduce your intake of empty calories, detox faster, feel lighter, improve your digestion, reduce acne or skin blemishes, shed weight, and just plain feel better.

Black Bean Guacamole

Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that are the easiest, right?  Well, here’s a recipe that the statement certainly applies to!  I am seriously obsessed with guacamole.  I could probably live on it for the rest of my life… and to be honest, no one makes better guac than they do in the States.  There are so many things I love about living in London but this foodie misses her GUACAMOLE!  And here’s the thing – it is so easy to whip up in seconds and have it on rye bread in the morning or with some corn chips for a mid-afternoon snack.  In this recipe, I wanted to add a twist to it and make it VERY Tex-Mex and thus the black beans have been added!

P1040602

For a good portion of black bean guacamole dip, grab yourself these ingredients:

2 large avocados, peeled and pitted

1 cup of black beans, cooked (from a tin is fine too, just make sure to drain and rinse)

1 small red onion

A large handful of coriander

1/2 a lime, juiced

1 garlic clove

Pinch of pink himalayan sea salt

P1040633

Let’s quickly zoom in on black beans and their mighty nutritional profile.

Black beans are packed with fiber and protein. That means they’ll satisfy even the most intense hunger, and will keep you feeling full and energetic for hours. Black beans help to regulate your body’s glucose level throughout the day, which means your metabolism will be chugging away at top speed, burning through any extra calories you’ve taken on so that you can stay slim and trim. Plus, the fiber content of black beans will help you beat cholesterol. The soluble fiber in black beans binds with the bile acids in your system and carries them out of your body, making it impossible for those acids to become cholesterol. This is great news for your heart health, and can dramatically reduce your risk of a stroke or heart attack. Black beans also pack a large amount of insoluble fiber, which is fuel for your digestive system, and helps keep your whole digestive tract in top shape. This prevents a wide range of ailments, including short-term bouts of constipation and chronic conditions like diverticulosis and irritable bowel syndrome. Plus, black beans are high in antioxidants called anthocyanins, which help fight the free radicals in your system, so black beans are a powerful nutritional weapon in the fight against cancer and the aging process. They are also high in iron and manganese, two important building blocks of a healthy overall diet.

P1040639

Place the red onion, coriander, lime and pressed garlic into your food processor until finely chopped.  Next, add the avocados and sea salt and PULSE unit you get a chunky texture.  Transfer this mixture to a bowl and fold in the black beans and seriously , that is it!  Your guest will be raving about this simple, nutritious and delicious dip!

P1040648

If you like this post then why not like my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter or Instagram!

Radish Avocado Salad with Chia Tahini Dressing

I’m always looking for quick, easy salads that I can just chop up and whip together and this is one of them.   But lately I’ve been reading about the MANY benefits of radishes and wanted to incorporate them into something yummy and thus this recipe was born.  I get it, radishes aren’t the tastiest of all veggies out there, but combined with a killer dressing or dip, you’re getting a delicious treat with SOOOOOOO many benefits!

P1040217

So let’s talk radishes! First of all, they’re kind of pretty to look at and the health benefits are unbelievable……Radishes are a serious Super Hero Food that come in a little package.  Researchers at India’s Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University found that radishes induce apoptosis – meaning they kill cancer cells. Compounds called isothiocyanates and anthocyanins are found in abundance in radishes and have been proven effective in the fight against cancer in several studies.  If you have chronic bronchial flare-ups, sinus infections or asthma, radishes can act as a natural decongestant.  They’ve been shown to lower cholesterol, manage diabetes and regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels.  The water and fiber content make radishes surprisingly filling, and the lack of calories (19 calories per cup!) puts them at the top of the “best diet” foods. The surprising number of nutrients found in these small vegetables means you aren’t skimping on nutrition while cutting back on fats, sugars and carbs.  So, let’s eat this Super Hero food, like now!

P1040249
so if you’re anything like me…. I always wanted to make them work in a recipe but it’s sort of hard, right?  Well, not anymore.  Here is a quick and delicious recipe to whip up for lunch or even for a dinner party!

Serves 3-4

2 cups radishes, diced

1 cup red pepper, diced

large handful of black olives

large handful of coriander, chopped

1 small avocado, diced

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

1 spring onion, chopped

Chia Tahini dressing

2 tablespoons chia seeds

2 tablespoons tahini

1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds

juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoons fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon tamari

1 tablespoon agave or honey

pinch of himalayan sea salt

pinch of chill powder

fresh coriander and spring onions for garnish

P1040270

In a large pretty bowl add all the ingredients for the salad.  Blend all the dressing ingredients in a food processor until smooth.  The dressing will be quite thick but when you mix it through the salad it will become thinner.  Toss until well combined and garnish with the coriander and spring onion.  Enjoy!

P1040286

Now this is what I call a truly Super Food, Super Hero Salad!  If you like this blog post then why not LIKE my Facebook page or check out my website at www.juliemontagu.com for more healthy lifestyle tips!

P1040289