Toffee Caramel Popcorn

When it comes to making healthy snack decisions, popcorn is such a fantastic choice! One of the most amazing things about popcorn is that you can choose from so many different healthy toppings that it never has to get boring!

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Popcorn Nutrition

Popcorn generally only has around 30 calories per cup, making it a great snack for maintaining a healthy weight. As a wholegrain, popcorn also contains a beneficial amount of fibre as well as a dose of protein!

The problem with most ready made popcorn products is that they are usually covered in salt, butter or other unhealthy (but certainly tasty) ingredients.

My recipe for Toffee Caramel Popcorn is excitingly healthy AND a little bit sticky – perfect for those of you who enjoy a messy treat! With this recipe you will cook up a whole batch that you can either enjoy right away or store to eat on the go another time.

Ingredients:

1/2 a cup of popcorn kernels
1/2 a cup of maple syrup
1 tsp of almond extract
1/3 of a cup of almond butter (or any nut butter)
A dash of cinnamon
1 & 1/2 tbsp of coconut oil

Method:

First of all preheat your oven to 180C / 375F. Next, take a large pot and place it on the hob at a medium to high heat. Melt the coconut oil in the pan and then add your popcorn kernels. You can then put the lid on your pan and leave the kernels to do their thing! This will usually take around ten minutes but will vary so watch your pot closely. Once you start to hear more than five seconds between each pop then you will know that your popcorn is almost ready. As soon as it is ready you should remove the pan from the heat.

The next step is to make the caramel toffee sauce. To do this, take a mixing bowl and pour in the maple syrup, the almond butter, almond extract, and the cinnamon. Whisk the contents of your bowl until it becomes a smooth paste.

Next, pour your prepared popcorn onto a baking tray and pour the contents of the bowl over the popcorn. Try to drizzle it evenly but don’t worry too much as it will spread in the oven. Place the baking tray in the oven for seven minutes and your treat is then ready to enjoy!

Want to learn more about how eating more plant-based foods can enhance your health? Click here now to check out my starter guide!

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!

Aubergine and Cauliflower Curry

It isn’t difficult to find a recipe for the perfect curry but it is difficult to find a recipe that is as healthy as it is delicious! With this recipe I am confident that I have reached the best amounts of both! The combination of cauliflower and aubergine provide fantastic nutritional benefits, and that is not to mention the health kick provided by the added ginger and brown rice too.

As you will all know, I am a big lover of whole grain foods and serving this curry with brown rice will not only make it taste better but will also ensure you are nourishing your body at the same time! Whole grains contain a massive range of vitamins and minerals, many of which are lost when a grain is processed into a different product! So opting for the whole grain variety of any food will ensure that you are getting the best amount of health boosting properties in your meal as possible!

The following ingredients will serve two – three people:

1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 cup of uncooked brown rice
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh ginger
1 aubergine, chopped into 2cm chunks
1 small cauliflower, in small florets
1 yellow pepper, chopped into 2cm chunks
1 Tbsp. Curry Powder
4 Tbsp. tomato puree
A handful of coriander, chopped

aubergine_curry_cauliflowerSo to get started, the first thing you will need to do is cook the rice in a large pot of water over a high heat for 25 minutes until it is soft.  Then, remove it from heat and drain. Next, in a large frying pan, fry the onion, the ginger and the garlic for between three and five minutes.  Next, add the aubergine, cauliflower and yellow pepper with two tablespoons of olive oil.

The next step is to heat this pan over a high heat for between ten and twelve minutes. After this time these ingredients should all be cooked through.  You can then mix in the curry spice and tomato puree. Spend the next two minutes stirring the pan before you serve with the rice and then top with coriander.  Season with salt and pepper to taste if required.