Healthy Beetroot dip – two ways!

On Wednesdays we wear pink…

ummmmm actually, most days I wear grey and black much to my mums disapproval, “you’ve got your whole life to wear black” she used to say. I’m not entirely sure what she meant by this, so I’m going to eat pink and colourful food instead…does that count?!beetroot dip 1.JPG

Whenever we buy cooked beetroot in the vacuum packs I always end up with a few leftover, I put them in the fridge with every intention of using them and in a blink of an eye they’ve gone off. I’m trying to consciously reduce the amount of food we throw away so I thought I would create some simple recipes to use up the rest, so no excuses!

I’m also a massive fan of dips; hummus, tzatziki, guac, tahini, salsa, you name it. They’re such an easy way to make a meal taste amazing! They’re also great for when you’ve run out of ideas, especially for things like salads, just add a dollop of dip and it totally changes the dynamic of the dish.

Beetroot is an amazing source of antioxidants and vitamins such as potassium which is important for muscle contraction and it’s very high in folic acid which the body requires on a daily basis. Folate is used in the body to produce DNA and to help with cell division which is essential for you to heal and grow.

Cooked beetroot is really cheap too, I think the pack I bought to make both of these dips was around 80p. They are easy to juice or chop up in salads but one of my favourite ways to eat them is to cut them into chunks and mix with warm goats cheese  🤤

Beetroot mint and yogurt dip

Ingredients

  • 3 medium sized cooked beetroot
  • A small bunch of fresh mint
  • 200g Greek yogurt – you could use a plant based yogurt to make this suitable for vegans/dairy free.
  • 1/3 of a cucumber
  • 1 clove of Garlic

Method

Grate the beetroot into a bowl.

Slice the cucumber in half lengthways and with a teaspoon remove the watery flesh to leave 2 long “C shaped” sections. Grate these too and add to the same bowl.

Finely slice the mint and the garlic (if you have a garlic crusher use this) and add to the bowl along with the greek yoghurt. Mix really well, season with salt and pepper and enjoy!

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Beetroot Hummus

Ingredients

  • 1 can of Chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp of Tahini
  • 2 cloves of Garlic crushed or finely chopped
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 3 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 3 medium sized cooked beetroots

Method

Roughly chop the cooked beetroot into quarters and add to the food processor.

Drain the chickpeas and add in along with all of the other ingredients and blitz. If it’s still very thick add in small amounts of olive oil until it’s the right consistency.  Season to taste and serve!

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Both of these dips are really easy and quick to make and can be made vegan too. They go well with crackers, bread, pittas, crudités or just dolloped ontop of your meal 🙂

 

 

Roasted Parsnip, Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup

Homemade soup is the epitome of heart warming  food and when it’s cold outside on a dreary Monday morning there is nothing better than knowing you’ve got a nice hot bowl of goodness to look forward to at lunchtime. If you’re anything like me and think about lunch as you are finishing breakfast then this is an important factor in your day!

I tend to alternate my lunches at work between salads, leftovers from the night before and soup but at the moment salads just haven’t been cutting it for me. It’s too cold and I want a hug in a mug. Does anyone remember those adverts? With the big purple hairy arms?

Anyway, this sunday as part of our now almost weekly baking/food prepping session, we decided to make some lovely homemade soup.

Soup is really easy to make, I think a lot of people are put off at the thought of whipping up their own but you can make it as easy or as complicated as you like. With this recipe you can do it one of two ways. The first is by roasting the carrots, parsnips and sweet potato in the oven with some olive oil, thyme, honey and mild curry powder. The other and notably easier option is to throw all of that into one big pot with the rest of the ingredients and let it bubble to it’s hearts content. The flavours will be stronger if you roast the veg but if you don’t have loads of thyme on your hands (excuse the pun) then go for the latter.

Soup - Homemade Health“Souping” is said to be the new trendy foodie thing in 2016 (personally I’ve always thought it was great!) and with a variety of different diets and lifestyles, making soup to suit your dietary requirements such as  gluten/dairy free, vegetarian/vegan/paleo couldn’t be easier. Or if you are wanting to adopt a healthier eating style or trying to lose weight then soup is a good choice for lunch as it’s really filling and satisfying.

Using complex carbs in your soup such as sweet potato will help to slowly release the energy too.

Not only is making your own soup much tastier than tinned versions, it’s so much better for your health! You can alter the seasoning and consistency to suit your taste and avoid all the preservatives, salt, sugar and fat  that is often added into the processed kinds.  It’s also freezes well too so if you make a larger than expected batch as I always do then just put the excess into some airtight Tupperware and pop into the freezer.

This recipe makes 8 portions.

  1. 5 Carrots
  2. 500g Parsnips
  3. 3 Medium Sweet Potato’s – peeled
  4. 2 Onions
  5. 2 Garlic Cloves
  6. 2 tbsp Medium Curry Powder
  7. 1 tbsp Honey
  8. 2 tbsp Fresh/Dried Thyme
  9. 2 sticks Celery
  10. 1 litre Vegetable Stock
  11. 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Turn the oven to 220°C
  • Roughly chop the parsnips, carrots and sweet potato and season with salt, pepper, olive oil, honey, 1 tbsp fresh or dried thyme and 1 tbsp medium curry power. Roast in the oven for around 30-40 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes of them being in the oven, finely chop the garlic, onion and celery and fry in a large pot over a medium heat with olive oil until soft. If you like some extra heat, you could throw in a chopped chilli or some dried chilli flakes.
  • Once the roasted vegetables are done, add them to the pot with the onions and stock with the remaining curry powder, thyme and a bay leaf (can be dried) if you have any.
  • Leave on a medium-high heat for 20-30 minutes.
  • Finally blend using a hand blender or a food processor to your desired consistency and season to taste!

 

I hope you enjoy this soup as much as I did and that it gives you a bit of confidence to make your own if you never have before!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creamy coconut and fennel curry

Its getting to that time of year again where everyone is coughing and sneezing and all you want to do is snuggle up and eat delicious comfort food…but who says it has to be unhealthy?

nanny's curry

As I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, I love a one pot meal and this curry is very easy to make and you can put whatever you want in to bulk it out such as chickpeas, broad beans, peppers and frozen peas.

The main ingredient, Fennel,  is a funny little thing… I have never been a fan of aniseed or liquorish but when you gently cook it, the flavour changes completely and it’s so tasty, you just have to try it!

Fennel is full of Vitamin C which is great for boosting your immune system, especially if you are fighting off a cold! It’s also required for your body to produce the protein collagen, which is essential for cell growth and regeneration, keeping your bones and teeth strong and ensuring that your wounds will heal and blood will clot. It’s also  said to help reduce the risk of bowel and colon cancers due to it’s high fiber content that helps to remove any nasty toxins that could remain in your colon.

The other superfood in this dish is spinach! If you aren’t a huge fan then this curry is a good way of increasing your intake of vitamin K, and B vitamins such as folic acid without the strong flavour. Folic acid can’t be stored within the body so it must be consumed through every day diet and is especially important for pregnant women as it is required to develop a healthy baby and keep blood sugar levels stable.It helps keep your brain active and alert and the dark green colour means it contains a higher level of chlorophyll that’s anti-inflammatory and promotes good eyesight. Spinach can be used as a base for salads or lightly wilted into a warm dish just before serving as over cooking will reduce the amount of nutrients you absorb. However, I wouldn’t worry about that in this dish, as you are likely to eat a lot more spinach this way than you would in a salad!

Serves 2 main meals (with two lunch sized portions for left overs the next day!)

  • 2 Leeks finely sliced
  • 2 Onions finely sliced
  • 2 Fennel bulbs, feathery top removed and thinly sliced length ways
  • 1 courgette sliced into discs and then halved
  • 1 Pack of spinach – (If you don’t have fresh spinach in or don’t buy it very often, frozen spinach is just as good and is usually compacted into little blocks, so use 4-5)
  • 1 Tin of coconut milk
  • 1 Vegetable stock cube
  • 1 Can black-eyed beans drained (you could substitute any sort of legumes you have in such as butter beans/chickpeas)
  • Half a bunch of fresh coriander
  • 2 Limes
  1. Over a medium heat, gently sauté the leek, fennel, courgette and onion in a little olive oil until soft
  2. Add the coconut milk, black eyed beans and chopped coriander and season to taste with salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  3. Crumble in the stock cube
  4. Leave to simmer for 10 minutes – If using frozen spinach add the blocks in with the coconut milk but if you are using fresh, add once it’s simmered.
  5. Squeeze in the juice of 2 limes and serve with brown rice or quinoa

If you wanted to make this even more substantial, double up on fennel, coconut milk and vegetables. Quorn chicken pieces complement this dish really well too or you could try tofu if you want to keep it vegan ðŸ˜‰

 

 

Overnight Oats

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With this being my first post I thought I should start with something I love and have pretty much everyday which is oats! One of the reasons I love oats is they are so versatile and can be kept simple with some berries and a drizzle of honey or you can load it up with nuts, seeds, dried and raw fruit, nut butters… the list is endless! I have a few regulars that find their way in each morning such as ground flax seeds, sultanas, blueberries and raw cacao powder.
If the first and last ingredients are something you are unfamiliar with, don’t worry, I will be writing a more in-depth post about these very soon!
Oats are an excellent choice for breakfast as they provide you will slow release energy which means you won’t be starving by 10 am and eyeing up the vending machine at work. Also, they are cheap! 1kg bag of oats is under £1 in most supermarkets, which will last you a lot longer than a box of cereal and can be used for a number of different recipes.

Overnight oats are usually made the night before (secrets in the name) and means you can have it on the go or take it to work but best of all it gives you that extra ten minute snooze.

The basic ingredients are the same though which are:

½ cup of oats

1/3 cup of greek/natural yoghurt

¼ cup of milk of your choice

Dairy and non-dairy work just as well for both the milk and the yoghurt if you wanted to substitute either. If you want a more dense consistency then use less milk but if you want it runnier then use more. Mix all ingredients together and then you can add whatever you want to flavour… I’ve put some that I use in the list below, plus an optional sweetener and then put a lid on and leave in the fridge overnight for the oats to swell and soak up all the goodness. Due to their thick creamy consistency if you didn’t fancy the full portion, you can keep it in the fridge and have the rest of it as an afternoon snack!

You can put whatever you want in this to flavour it but I would advise that if you are wanting to add nuts/seeds you are better adding these in the morning otherwise they can go a bit soggy.

Dried Fruit Nuts, Seeds & Nut Butters Raw/frozen fruit Superfood’s Sweeteners
Sultanas Cranberries Figs
Dates Prunes Apricots (3 = 1 of your 5 a day!)
Goji Berries
Almond Peanut Cashew Hazelnuts Walnuts Macadamia Pecans Desiccated coconut Sunflower seeds Pumpkin seeds Blueberries Strawberries Raspberries Bananas Mango Cranberries Grapes Raw cacao powder Bee pollen
Chia seeds
Ground flaxseeds/Linseeds Coconut oil
Honey
Maple syrup
Date syrup Cinnamon (this satisfies a sweet tooth and also helps to regulate blood sugar levels whilst suppressing your sugar cravings).

Nuts & Dried Fruit

Nuts and dried fruit are a cheap and easy way to make oats interesting and delish! (A more in depth post is coming soon). Nuts are a great source of protein, healthy fat and contain loads of vitamins and minerals. There are so many to choose from which work with different flavour combinations but the main three, which I always have in, are almonds, brazils and walnuts.

Almonds are definitely my favourite and are an excellent source of antioxidants; they are also one of the highest sources of vitamin E, which is used to protect the fat that surrounds each of the cells on our bodies. Protecting cells in this way helps prevent them from being modified and reduces the risk of cancer.

Brazil nuts have high levels of selenium that fight against heart and liver disease as well as some cancers. You only need 2 a day to get your recommended daily allowance and to have a significant impact on your immune system and thyroid function.

Walnuts not only do these pair beautifully with honey and cinnamon but they are rich in omega 3 fatty acids which are so important for brain function and help cut the risk of stroke and a number of cancers such as breast and colon.

Another tip is to look in the baking isle of supermarkets for nuts as so many can be roasted and salted, you want to look for raw unprocessed nuts as these will still have all the goodness in them. Having nuts in your overnight oats adds a nice crunch but you can also have them in the form of nut butters. Be very cautious though and check the label when buying them as many have hidden sugars and additives, which nobody wants. Many health food stores and even some supermarkets now do nut butters that don’t have all the nasties and are 100% nuts! I always have peanut and almond butter in but cashew is something I want to try next and there are new ones being created all the time.

Now you might be thinking peanut butter is not the best way to start your day due to it being high in fat but the fat is good for you! Your body needs fat to function and it also signals to the brain when you are full so is great for breakfast! Many vitamins such as the ones in nuts are fat-soluble which means they need to be consumed along with the fat in order for them to be absorbed into the body. Dried fruit can be very cheap and easy to buy in bulk. I would say most supermarkets sell their own brand version of your everyday dried fruit such as sultanas, apricots, figs, prunes and dates. These are my go to’s which I use for so many different things, not just for breakfast, as they last ages so you have can them in your cupboards for weeks and they will still be fine to use… that is, if you can leave them for that long! The other brilliant thing is that eating three dates, apricots or prunes = 1 of your 5 a day, when chopped up into overnight oats you can easily have 2 of your 5 a day for breakfast!

If dried fruit isn’t your usual thing then don’t worry! It may sound boring at first but believe me putting sultanas into your overnight oats and allowing them to plump up with all the juicy flavour’s adds such a nice chewy element to breakfast and they really do satisfy a sweet tooth. Soon you will be using dried fruit in things you never thought of and they are a great alternative to a sugar laden cereal bar. The above list is a guide of some of the things I use for porridge and overnight oats, most of them are cheap and easy to find. The superfoods are more expensive and not as easy to find but you can get them all online and usually in health food stores such as Holland and Barrett. I will be writing about these in more detail soon but if you had to pick one I would definitely go with Raw Cacao Powder! It’s chocolate in its most natural form ground into a powder and turns your overnight oats into a chocolaty pudding!

One of my fave’s is ½ chopped banana in with the overnight oats plus a sprinkling of cinnamon and then topped with the remaining banana in the morning and a spoonful of peanut butter! It’s simple but so delicious. Honestly, once you have tried these and played around with different ingredients they really do taste like dessert!

I have absolutely fallen in love with overnight oats and think they are especially brilliant for anyone who doesn’t have much time in the morning so make, snooze and enjoy!