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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Parsley – The Healthy, Healing Herb!

Parsley is a great tasting herb that can easily be grown by even the most non-green fingered person in the home. It not only tastes good but also has a very high nutritious content and is revered for its healing properties. Native to the Mediterranean region, parsley can be used in all sorts of recipes and bought fresh all year round. Although it may just look like an ordinary plant, parsley has a selection of unusual components that provide unique nutritious benefits.

There are several different types of parsley, some more fragrant then others, all of them contain amazing amounts of health boosting properties. Having been grown and cultivated for more than 2000 years, parsley was first used for its medicinal properties and only later in cooking. In ancient times, the Greeks even used it to decorate the grave areas of their dead as they considered it to be sacred.

Packed full of antioxidants, parsley has been studied at great length and has been proven to combat the existence of free radicals in the body whilst also increasing the oxygen capacity in blood cells. The high concentration of vitamin C and vitamin A in this herb means that it is incredibly useful for preventing disease and generally keeping the body healthy. Vitamin C is especially useful in keeping the immune system operating at an optimum function. This means that it’s not only good for keeping serious illness at bay but also protecting you against things like colds and infections.

Parsley - The Healthy, Healing Herb! grassrootsandgrains (2)

Beta-carotene is one of the most useful antioxidants that can be found in parsley and is particularly productive in slowing the development of several ailments. It is also great for reducing symptoms of certain diseases, making existing problems easier to live with. If you’re looking for a way to compliment exercise and improve your cardiovascular health, then a diet rich in parsley and other similar foods is a fantastic place to start. With a good concentration of folic acid, it will assist in keeping blood vessels healthy and reduce the risk of heart related diseases.

Including parsley more in your diet can easily be done without really changing your eating habits much at all. Whenever you can, always use fresh parsley instead of the dried kind, growing your own is the best way to have a constant supply. Storing it in the fridge is the favoured way to keep it better for longer unless you are picking it off the plant as and when you need it. If you’re cooking any kind of soup or curry, then parsley can be blended in for added flavour and nutrition. It can also be added to any sauce mix for dishes such as pasta or pizza. Salads are also a great meal to add this herb too and can add flavour to even the dullest leafy dish!

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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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