Mixed Roasted Beets

Mixed Roast Beets

Excuse the quality of this picture. I made these at night so it was quite dark but they still look delicious – and they tasted delicious! This is such a simple side dish to make and so nutritious.

Beetroot are great antioxidants and help detox the liver and the blood, they are also high in many vitamins, including folate, so a great vegetable to eat when pregnant.

Ingredients

2 red beets
2 golden beets
2 chioggia beets
Drizzle of olive oil
Handful of thyme
Salt & pepper

Method

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and prepare an oven tray with baking paper or silver foil.

Peel your beets and slice them thinly. Put them all in a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients and mix until covered.

Place on the baking tray and roast for around half an hour.

Enjoy!

Love,
Lauren

Vitamin Packed Berry Smoothie Bowl

Berry Smoothie Bowl

Ice cream for breakfast?? Who says you can’t be healthy and have fun! Smoothie bowls are one of my favourite breakfasts. You can literally put anything you want in or on them and you can pack them with vitamins and nutrients which is what I’ve done here. Once again, vitamins C & K and antioxidants are what I’m looking to increase right now as well as omega 3, as I approach the last few weeks of pregnancy, so I took this all into account by using blueberries (vitamins c and antioxidants), mulberries (vitamin k), acai berries (antioxidants) and flax seeds (omega 3), when making this simple, quick, delicious breakfast.

Ingredients

1 frozen banana
A large handful of frozen blueberries
2 dates
1 tbsp almond butter
2 acai berry capsules (sprinkled in)
A splash of almond milk

Toppings:
1 tbsp flax seeds
Handful organic dried white mulberries
Tbsp sunflower seeds
Handful fresh blueberries

Method

Simply put all the ingredients (except the toppings) into a high-speed blender and blend until a smooth, ice cream forms. The blueberries and banana being frozen will cause the blender to turn it to ice cream.

Spoon into a bowl and add the toppings.

Enjoy!

Love,
Lauren

Carrot & Coriander Soup

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Autumn is now upon us in London, and I’m feeling the drop in temperature instantly. I tend to make heaps of soups during the winter months. They are great for lunch as they fill you up but are super nutritious also, if you use the right ingredients. Carrots are a great source of fibre and are also high in vitamins C & K, and once again, here I am trying to increase my vitamin K levels in the lead up to my birth. They are also a good natural source of iron and folate, important not just during pregnancy.

Ingredients

Drizzle of coconut oil
About 8 large carrots
2 potatoes
1 onion
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp organic vegetable stock in 1.5 Litres boiling water
Salt & Pepper
Large handful fresh coriander

Method

Peel and chop all the veg then heat the oil in a large saucepan. Once hot, add the onion and cook for a minute, then add the potato, cook for a further minute, stirring a lot. Finally add the carrots, followed by the ground coriander, then add your stock and mix well.

Add a little pepper, wait until it just starts to boil then turn down, put the lid on and leave it to simmer for about half an hour.

Once all the veg is soft, either use a handheld blender if you have one, or put it all in a food processor, along with the fresh coriander, and blend. Taste to see if it needs any salt and as add required.

Enjoy!

Love,
Lauren

Fig & Plum Smoothie

Fig & Plum Smoothie

Figs are one of my favourite fruits, with their sweet, luscious flesh which is more desert-like than fruit-like! Figs and plums are both high in dietary fibre, antioxidants, as well as potassium, which helps to lower blood pressure. Plums also increase your body’s ability to absorb iron, due to its high vitamin C content.

The combination of fig, plum and vanilla makes for a delicious smoothie.

Ingredients

200ml almond or coconut milk
2 plums, cut up and frozen
3 figs, cut up and frozen
1/4 tsp organic vanilla powder or the seeds scraped from a vanilla pod
10ml organic virgin coconut oil
10ml raw pumpkin seeds
2 fresh medjool dates

Method

Blend all the ingredients until the desired texture is achieved. Serves 1

Health & happiness!

Love,
Raine

Butternut & Sage Pasta

Butternut & Sage Pasta

This is a quick and easy family dinner – I literally only had 35 minutes to get food on the table, and that included writing the recipe and taking a photo!

I am in love with sage… it’s such a versatile herb and the tangy, lemony flavour really comes out with roasting. It pairs beautifully with butternut, which is high in beta-carotene and vitamin C.

Ingredients (serves 4)

850g butternut (weighed without the skin or seeds)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus some extra
1 tsp himalayan salt
15 cloves of garlic, cut into quarters
big handful of fresh sage
250g gluten-free organic pasta (I used amaranth, but you could use buckwheat or quinoa)
1/2 lemon
2 heaped tbsp raw pumpkin seeds

Method

Cut the butternut into cubes. On a roasting tray, toss together the butternut, olive oil, salt, garlic and sage. Roast at 200 C for about 30 minutes, until tender.

Cook the pasta according to packet instructions.

Toss the butternut and pumpkin seeds through the cooked pasta. Add some more olive oil if it looks too dry. Season to taste with lemon juice, himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper. That’s it!

Health & happiness 🙂

Love,
Raine

Tri-colour Roasted Pepper Salad

roast pepper salad

My mom used to make something similar to this when I was growing up and it was one of my favourite salads. Roasting the peppers and then removing the skin gives them a lovely silky texture. This makes a great accompaniment to a big family Sunday lunch, or is filling enough as a meal on its own.

Ingredients (enough for a table salad, or serves 2 as a meal)

2 red bell peppers
2 yellow bell peppers
1 green bell pepper
1 tin organic chickpeas, rinsed well
about 20 olives (I used Blue Sky Organics chilli-stuffed olives for an extra kick, available at Organic Emporium)
2 tbsp of the liquid from the olives
2 tbsp capers
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
a small handful of fresh basil, torn
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp himalayan salt
juice of 1/2 a lemon (about 2 tbsp)
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

Preheat the grill in your oven and then place the peppers about 10 – 15cm under the grill. Allow the skin to bubble and blacken (takes about 10 minutes) and then turn them to do the next side. Continue until the all the peppers have been blackened on all sides. If the skin has not at least bubbled and browned you will not be able to remove it. It needs to look like this:

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Place the cooked peppers in a glass bowl and cover tightly with clingfilm. Leave them to sweat (which separates the skin from the flesh) and cool down enough for you to work with them. Once cooled, peel all the skin off. You just want to remove the very thin outer layer, not any of the flesh.

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Remove the seeds and stem and cut the peppers into strips about 5 cm wide. Cut the olives in half. Combine all the ingredients and taste for seasoning. You can either eat immediately, or leave to marinate for a few hours. Best served at room temperature, not cold from the fridge, so I would suggest taking it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes prior to serving. I ate this as an easy dinner with some gluten-free flat bread. I’m still working on the recipe but will share it as soon as I’m happy with it 😉

Health & happiness!

Love,
Raine

Chocolate Kale Chips

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Technically I cannot take credit for these delicious little miracles… it was my son’s idea! The last time I made a batch of Kale Chips I added a bit of cayenne. He was not very impressed and asked why I put fire in them 🙂 So I asked him what flavour he would like next time and he said chocolate! At first I laughed, and then I started thinking it might actually work. The end result surprised even me… they are so moreish, and you just happen to be eating greens!

Ingredients

150 – 200g kale, weighed after removing the tough centre stem (I’ve used curly kale but you can use any variety)
90g natural peanut butter (I like Jozi’s Nut Butters which you can buy at The Organic Emporium)
2 tbsp organic maple syrup
1/2 tsp organic stevia leaf powder (or double up on the maple syrup)
60ml raw cacao powder
1/4 tsp himalayan salt
60ml water

Method

After removing the tough centre stem, tear the kale into pieces about 5cm square.

Combine the rest of the ingredients with a whisk and pour over the kale. Use your hands and “massage” the chocolate sauce into the kale, making sure to cover each piece with that chocolatey goodness.

Spread the leaves out on dehydrator sheets, and dehydrate at 45 C overnight.
Alternatively, spread out on a large baking tray (you might need 2) lined with baking paper. Set your oven to 100 C and prop the door open with a wooden spoon. This allows moisture to escape so that you’re drying the kale, rather than just baking it. They’re ready when they are completely dry with a light, crispy texture. Done in the oven these won’t be raw, but still healthy and delicious!

Store in an airtight container and consume within 2 weeks. If you have high humidity you should use them faster, before they go limp. These are so good though, I’m willing to bet that they won’t last very long! 😉

Health & happiness!

Love,
Raine

Raw Kale Chips

Kale Chips

This might not sound so appealing but trust me, they’re delicious! Even my 3 year old son loves them 🙂 Things like this always excite me – you get to eat something salty and delicious, and yet you’re getting in all the wonderful nutrients of kale.

Kale is among the most nutrient dense foods of the world. It is loaded with powerful anti-oxidants, is a good source of vitamins A, C and K and beta-carotene, lowers cholesterol and fights cancer. All this for very few calories, so it can help you to lose weight too!

I make my kale chips in a dehydrator, but you can still make them if you don’t have one. Simply lay them out on a baking tray lined with baking paper and put your oven on 100 C. Prop the door of the oven open with a wooden spoon. This allows moisture to escape, so that you’re drying the chips rather than just baking them. They won’t be raw, but it’s still a far cry from high-saturated fat, high-salt, processed potato chips.

Stay tuned for my Chocolate Kale Chips!

Ingredients

150 – 200g kale, weighed once you have removed the tough centre stem
70g raw nut butter (almond, cashew or macadamia – whatever your preference)
45ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
45ml water
1/2 tsp himalayan salt
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne (optional)

Method

After removing the tough stem, tear the leaves into pieces about 5cm square and place in a large mixing bowl. In this photo I have used dinosaur kale (cavalo nero) but you can use any variety.

Use a whisk to combine the rest of the ingredients and pour over the kale. I find it easiest to use my hands and “massage” the dressing into the leaves, making sure that each leaf is well coated.

kale chips 2

Spread the leaves out on your dehydrator sheets, making sure that none of them are clumped together, as these will dry into chewy lumps, not individual crispy pieces. Dehydrate on 45 C overnight. Store in an airtight container and consume within 2 weeks. If you have high humidity you may need to eat them faster before they become limp!

kale chips 3

Health & happiness!

Love,
Raine

Baobab & Melon Nice Cream (African Superfoods Part 1)

Baobab & Melon Ice Cream

There’s a lot of hype about Central and South American superfoods, but here in Africa we have some amazing plants too! I think it’s important to both be proud of your country & heritage, as well as to support locally grown and manufactured products. Over the next few weeks I want to do a series of posts on various African superfoods. For those of you in other parts of the world, I hope it will be interesting and informative (most of them are becoming more well known and popular in health circles so you should be able to get hold of them.) For fellow South Africans, I hope this will encourage you to make use of our beautiful continent’s bounty 🙂

baobab tree copy

According to African legend, long, long ago the first baobab tree sprouted beside a lake. As it grew, it surveyed the other trees and admired their colourful flowers, their tall, straight trunks and their beautiful green foliage. One day the little tree was tall enough to see its own reflection in the lake. It was dismayed at the sight! Its trunk was short and fat, its leaves were sparse and dull and its bark looked like the wrinkled hide of an elephant. The tree implored the Creator to change its appearance, but its request was ignored. Day after day, it watched the beautiful trees, compared them to its own reflection, and cried to the heavens. One day the Creator had had enough, reached down and unearthed the tree. Turning it upside down, the Creator replanted the tree with its branches in the earth, and its roots in the sky. From that day on the baobab tree was silenced, and as penance has served animals and humans with good deeds ever since.
Source: http://www.ecoproducts.co.za

These beautiful trees are grown in 32 African countries, and are revered by many tribes, even worshipped by some. The fruit is a highly nutritious food source, the seeds provide oil (I used baobab oil during and after my pregnancy to prevent stretch marks) and the fibre in the bark is used to make fishnets, cord and clothing. The trunks are a good source of timber and are often hollowed out and used for shelter, grain storage or as water reservoirs.

Baobab powder has recently become a very popular superfood, and for good reason. The powdered fruit contains 3 times more calcium than milk, 4 times more vitamin C then oranges, 6 times more potassium then bananas, 5 times more anti-oxidants than blueberries, a whopping 16 times more fibre than pears, and 5 times more magnesium than avocados. Its sweet-tart flavour makes the perfect addition to this quick and easy vegan “nice cream.”

Ingredients

350g melon, weighed without skin or seeds
2 bananas
3 tbsp baobab powder (I use EcoProducts)
1 – 2 tbsp raw honey
1/2 cup almond milk

Method

This requires some forethought, in that you have to freeze the melon and banana overnight (or you could freeze when you have it and use whenever!) I used canary melon, but you could also use spanspek (aka cantaloupe) or honeydew (aka musk melon.)

Place all the ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth and creamy, using your tamper to mix as you blend. The amount of honey required depends on the sweetness of the melon. I had a melon that was not very sweet, which is why I decided to freeze it and turn it into ice cream. You may have a melon so sweet that you won’t need any honey at all, so sweeten to taste.

This will serve 2 people as breakfast or 4 people as dessert. If you have any left over you can freeze it again. It won’t be quite as smooth and creamy, more like a sorbet, but still delicious.

Health & happiness!

Love,
Raine