Three Leafy Green Pesto

My Three Leafy Green Pesto recipe is something that you can easily throw together yourself in less than ten minutes from start to finish! It is also bursting with nutrients, meaning you can use it as your delicious go-to dip on those days when you feel you need an extra burst of goodness! Personally, I love making it for dinner parties! Continue reading Three Leafy Green Pesto

Eating for Younger Skin

The foods that we consume play a big part in how quickly we appear to age. This is due to a range of things, but the consumption of vitamins and minerals that protect the health of our skin is key. There are, of course, other ways that you can look after your skin. Always using sunscreen when you are going to be exposed to the sun, never smoking and being sure to moisturise frequently can help. However, it can be argued that there is no better way to protect your body and your skin then with a healthy diet!

If you are keen to embrace this concept but do not know where to start, then the following tips will help you on your journey to younger looker skin!

First of all, eating a variety of whole grain foods is a great way to increase the amount of nutrients that you consume. This does not have to be a difficult transition at all. Simply replace any refined grain products you eat, such as bread and pasta, with their whole grain counterparts. It always pays to really read the labels when you are choosing your whole grain foods. This is because some products are advertised as being whole grain even though they still contain a certain amount of refined grains.

Swapping your coffee for a green tea will boost the amount of skin-friendly antioxidants in your body. Peppermint tea is a particularly good choice and has been linked to younger looking skin. Including green juices is another fantastic way to go green. Shop around for a juicer and you can enjoy fresh green juices at home every day, even on a budget. Buying a variety of fruits and vegetables in bulk gives you the option to make up a huge batch of juice that can be stored in your freezer as individual portions. Simply take one from the freezer and place in your fridge each night and it will be ready for you in the morning!

Herbs and spices bring a burst of flavour to meals and they also contain their own range of vitamins and minerals. You can grow your own herbs at home in order to always have a supply to hand. Adding herbs and spices to your food is also a natural option for flavouring your food instead of adding salts and sauces, which can be detrimental to your health and your skin.

One of the best things you can do for the appearance of your skin when it comes to your diet, is to bin the processed, packaged foods. These foods are all too often crammed full of sugar and additives, neither of which are going to do your skin any favours. Fried foods are also big health offenders and could contain high levels of trans fats. Processed foods that are advertised as low calorie options are often high in sugar to compensate for the flavour. You are much better off sticking to a primarily plant-based diet that includes a selection of wholesome options. 

It is also important for the appearance of your skin that you stay hydrated throughout the day. The best indicator as to whether you are adequately hydrated is the colour of your urine – the lighter the better! Always drink water regularly throughout the day and keep a bottle with you when you go outside. 

To learn more about nutrition and how it can help you to look younger for longer, head to The Flexi Foodie Academy!

3 Bean Spicy Chilli

Being American, chilli is a big deal!  And growing up in the cold Chicago winters….well, chilli was an even bigger deal! Of course, chilli recipes ideally have meat in them which of course is fine if you’re not vegetarian or vegan. However, I’ve found that adding in a selection of beans (three in this recipe) definitely makes a great and hearty substitute for the meat.  So, on those cold, rainy days – let this heart warming chilli be your go to super easy supper.  Oh, and PS, chilli is super easy to freeze so feel free to double this recipe so that you’ll always have it on hand when the downpours arrive!

Eating a range of beans is great for your health as they are bursting with nutrients. This recipe uses white beans, which are high in potassium and calcium, black beans, which are great for protein and magnesium, and kidney beans, which are packed full of dietary fibre! What’s not to love!

To make this dish for four people, you will need the following ingredients:

1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 celery sticks, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 x 400g tin white beans, drained and rinsed
1 x 400g tin black beans, drained and rinsed
1 x 400g tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 x 400ml tin chopped tomatoes
1 tsp. chilli powder
A small handful of basil, chopped
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. cumin
A small handful of coriander, chopped
1 avocado, sliced
1 lime, quartered
1 Tbsp. coconut oil

FullSizeRender (1)To get started you will need to take a large pot and melt the coconut oil over a medium to high heat in it. You can then add the onion, crushed garlic, carrot and celery and then cook for five minutes. Next, add all of the beans, chopped tomatoes and the spices and then cook for ten minutes over a medium heat. Once this time is up, you can then stir in the fresh basil until soft, which should just take a minute. Finally, serve into bowls and top with sliced avocado, fresh lime juice and chopped coriander. You’ll soon agree that it is SOOOO good!

Remember, for more amazing recipes like this and nutrition information and advice, head over to The Flexi Foodie Academy!

Beans, Beats and Herbs

This colourful dish can either be used as a very light lunch option or alternatively as a fantastic side dish to go with a healthy dinner. Beets are amongst the healthiest foods in the world and they contain a unique type of phytonutrients known as betalains. Research has shown that betalains are amazing for providing antioxidant, detoxification and anti-inflammatory support in the body. The combination of these benefits means great things for the health of the cardiovascular system in particular. Add to this that they are also known to be effective in combatting cancer growth and contain high amounts of manganese, potassium, copper and fibre and you are eating an all-round winner!

If you are a fequent follower of my blog then you will know that coconut oil is a favourite of mine – but you might not know why! Well, it is my opinion (and one widely shared) that it is one of the healthiest oils to cook with. It can help with a whole range of things, from aiding weight loss to improving digestion, as well as boosting your immune system and your metabolism.

To make this dish to serve six people, you will need the following ingredients:

8 x beets
Coconut oil
1 x 400g tin of white beans

For the dressing:

2 Tbsp. capers
1 garlic clove
A handful of mint, parsley and basil
1 tomato
The juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper

To get started making this dish, you will first need to preheat your oven to 180C. You must then coat the beets with coconut oil, a splash of water and a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper. You can then cover the beets with tin foil and roast in the oven for one hour or until the beetroots are cooked through. Once you are sure they are cooked, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool. Next, combine the beets and the white beans in a large salad bowl.

Now it is time to move on to make the dressing! All you have to do is combine all of the ingredients in a food processor. You must then take this mixture and coat the beets and beans with it. Before you serve, you can top with extra mint, parsley and basil as desired – enjoy!

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Smoked Paprika, Black Beans and Sprouting Broccoli Salad

Purple sprouting broccoli is generally at its best in the spring months so now is a great time to make the most of it in your cooking! This kind of broccoli brings an amazing combination of colour and crunch to a dish and is also, of course, rammed full of nutrients. The high vitamin and mineral count of broccoli, coupled with its exciting antioxidant count, make it an all round winner for your health.

Paprika is amongst my favourite spices but not one that I use all that often! Including paprika in a dish is such a great way to boost the flavour of that meal and it packs a subtle spicy punch without completely dominating the existing taste. As well as containing a range of vitamins, paprika also has a healthy dose of iron which is essential for carrying oxygen around the body.

To quickly whip up this salad for four to six people, gather the following ingredients:

250g of purple sprouting broccoli
1 x 400g of tinned black beans, drained and rinsed
2 spring onions, thinly diced
1 avocado, cut into small chunks
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. honey

For the dressing:

A handful of coriander
A small handful of almonds, ideally soaked for a few hours but don’t worry if not!
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp. almond milk

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So the first thing you need to do is bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook the broccoli for five minutes. Be careful not to over cook the broccoli so that you don’t lose any of the nutrients. After these five minutes are up, you should drain and rinse. Next, in a frying pan over a medium heat, combine the drained and rinsed black beans and then add in the smoked paprika, cumin and honey. You can then stir this together well and cook for five minutes.

In a large bowl, you can then combine the sprouting broccoli, seasoned black beans, spring onions and avocado. And finally, combine the dressing ingredients in your food processor and blend. It will be a lovely, chunky dressing (tastes great too!) that you can coat the broccoli and bean salad well with. This is one of my favourite salads of all time!

Mung Bean Dahl

This dish has a lovely long list of fresh, wholesome ingredients which come together to create a traditionally Indian dish with my personal variations. Dahl is typically made with a combination of lentils and other pulses added together with a range of spices to enhance the flavour and the nutrition! When cooking a dahl, it’s advisable to leave it to do so for a long time to allow the consistency to become just right, so making this dish will take approximately one hour.

Mung beans are one of the most nutrient dense legumes and are also remarkably low in calories. Mung beans are high in dietary fibre and a relatively small serving can quickly leave you feeling full! They are a great choice to include in your diet if you are looking for a food that is high in protein without all that nasty cholesterol! The herbs and spices which are used also pack a healthy punch and bring a unique taste to this dish.

To make enough of my dahl to feed four to six people, find the following ingredients:

200g of mung beans
Coconut oil for frying
2 small onions, finely chopped
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. black mustard seeds
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. chilli powder
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
2 Tbsp. tomato puree
1 tin x 400g chopped tomatoes
1 litre veggie stock
Coriander, to garnish
Sea salt and pepper, to taste

mung_bean_dahl_the_flexi_foodie2In a large pan, over a medium to high heat, melt a tablespoon of coconut oil. Once this has melted, add the onions, garlic, ginger and all of the spices and saute for approximately five minutes until the onion is soft. Next, add the tomato puree, tinned tomatoes, mung beans and veggie stock.

Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer for 45 minutes. After this amount of time the mung beans should be soft. With a potato masher, begin to mash the mung beans so that roughly half have been mashed. You can then serve into dishes, season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped coriander.

Love this recipe? Then check out more in my first cookboook! SUPERFOODS: The Flexible Approach to Eating More Superfoods.

Win a Box of Teapigs Matcha Green Tea!

It’s competition time again and this month I’m excited to be giving away a box of teapigs Matcha Green Tea! As I’ve mentioned on my blog before, green tea is fantastic for health, especially when consumed on a regular basis! However Matcha green tea has many amazing benefits that other teas just can’t compete with! In fact, just one serving of matcha green tea has the equivalent benefits of 15 cups of standard green tea!

For starters it is incredibly high in antioxidants which are responsible for combating free radicals in the body. This battle against free radicals greatly helps to promote optimum health. Not only are antioxidants fantastic for our insides but they also keep our skin looking fresh and young! A cup of matcha green tea is one of the most effective ways to get a huge dose of these incredible enzymes into your system! In fact, matcha contains 70 times the amount of antioxidants as the same portion of orange juice as well as nine times the amount of a comparative portion of spinach! Add to that a whole host of Vitamins A, B and C!

In today’s hectic world, anything that encourages your body to relax can’t be a bad thing and enhancing feelings of calm is another great benefit of matcha. This type of green tea has been used throughout time by Buddhists and Daoists during meditation. The amino acid responsible for this sense of calm is called L-Theanine. This amino acid also helps to improve your memory, increase your concentration as well as boosting energy levels and endurance.

On top of all of these amazing advantages, research has also shown that matcha can increase your metabolic rate which in turn helps the body burn more fat than it usually would.

teapigs_matchaSounds amazing, right? So all you need to do to be in the running to get your hands on a free box is to follow me on Facebook,  Twitter & Instagram and also like this blog post! Make sure you do it before Thursday the 15th of May though because that’s when I’ll be choosing a winner. Sorry to anyone reading who lives outside of the UK but only UK residents are eligible to enter!

There are many other great types of tea available from teapigs so why not visit their homepage to sign up to their newsletter and receive their latest news and discounts straight to your inbox. You can also click here to connect with them on Facebook and Twitter!

Good luck!!

Green Goddess Salad Bowl

This is a dish that my husband and I have made nearly every day for lunch for almost a year now. It is so nutritious and so tasty that even after this much time, we still look forward to it! We attribute the fact this salad is so delicious to the yummy dressing that is drizzled over the top. All four of my children agree and are even happy to have it drizzled over any other meal, anytime! Because of the ingredients used to make the dressing, it is a perfectly effortless way to get your kids to eat their greens!

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This recipe will serve two for a main course or will even stretch to four if you’re using it as a meal accompaniment. To make the salad half of the meal you will need the following ingredients:

1 head of lettuce (the darker the better!)
1 small cucumber, chopped
A range of different tomatoes (even different colours too!), chopped
2 spring onions, chopped – use all of it!
A large handful of black kalamata olives
1 red onion, sliced
1/2 an avocado, diced
A large handful of toasted pinenuts

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Simply combine all of these ingredients in a dish and mix well together!

Next, acquire the following ingredients to create the dressing:

The juice of 1/2 of a blood orange
7 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. of tamari
1/2 an avocado
A fistful of coriander
A fistful of parsley
A fistful of mint
1 small garlic clove
1 tbsp. of agave nectar or 1 date, de-stoned
Sea salt and pepper to taste

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If you have a high-speed blender, such as a vitamix, then now is the time to get it out! Even if you don’t own a vitamix then a normal device will do the trick. Chuck all of the dressing ingredients into your blender and whizz together before pouring over your salad.

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This is such a gorgeous dish to make and takes next to no time to prepare once you have all of the ingredients. Salad is a lunch time favourite of many people and by including a healthy home-made dressing such as this one instead of heaps of pre-made supermarket stuff, you’re doing your body countless favours.

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The inclusion of an entire avocado in this meal, split between the salad and the dressing, is one aspect that is particularly good for you. Avacadoes are an amazing source of protein and carotenoids; despite often being associated with a high fat content, they are beneficial fats. These fats actually boost your HDL cholesterol count. As you may know, HDL is the good kind of cholesterol and is essential in the bodies fight against free radicals! The fat content is also good for the continued optimum health of your heart as it protects against a range of diseases.

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Blood oranges are fantastic for a variety of purposes, whether you’re eating them raw, squeezing the juice out of them or including in meals. They contain absolutely no cholesterol and an incredibly low amount of fat whilst also being rich in vitamin C, potassium and several other important vitamins and minerals. Consuming a portion of this fruit every day will do wonders for your health and they are also less acidic then usual types of orange.

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To see more nutrition & lifestyle inspiration, as well as recipe suggestions, click to check out my Facebook page!

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