Pepper season is almost upon us and soon gardeners and markets will be awash with these veggies which are certainly a staple in my home. There’s a special place in my heart for the long pointed variety which have a thinner skin and flesh, making […]
It’s always so helpful to have a quick and easy recipe up your sleeve which uses store cupboard ingredients and tastes delicious too. Even better if it’s accessible to as many people as possible. These healthy flapjacks are great for those who might not […]
Pumpkins and squashes are still bringing a burst of colour to our tables as we slip into winter. But aside from soups a lot of people ask me how they should use these cheap and plentiful veggies. They are certainly underrated as a side dish […]
Are these a cookie or are they a cake? With these Soft Pumpkin Cookies you can have your cake – and your biscuit – and eat it! The flavours in these really sum up autumn to me and the spices and sweetness of the vegetable means you don’t need loads of refined sugar. The agave nectar makes these sweet enough and the oats mean these can be enjoyed by anyone avoiding gluten (just chose the specified oats) and they are vegan too. If you want to, leave out the chocolate chips and you have a fab toddler breakfast or snack.
These are not a traditional cookie texture in that they are soft, almost cake like. I love that they are so different and a nice change in that respect but don’t think you have done something wrong if they aren’t crunchy!
A word on the puree. I make mine with butternut squash as its cheap, plentiful and tasty where I live. I simply cut one in half and roast it on a baking tray until it’s soft, then blitz it to a puree. You can use canned pumpkin puree if you would like too. If you are making your puree from pumpkin make sure you use eating pumpkins rather than those grow for carving which can be tasteless.
Soft Pumpkin Cookies
- 125g oats, ground into a flour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 25g coconut oil (or butter), melted
- 180g butternut squash or pumpkin puree
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 100g agave nectar (or honey)
- 40g dark (or milk) chocolate drops
- Step 1 Blitz your oats to create a flour. Add all the dry ingredients and mix well.
- Step 2 In a separate bowl, mix the oil or butter, puree, agave nectar and vanilla.
- Step 3 Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir until all mixed. Add the chocolate chips.
- Step 4 Chill the cookie dough for 30 minutes or longer.
- Step 5 Preheat the oven to 150°C Fan/ 180°C / 325°F, and line a baking sheet with baking paper or a silicone mat.
- Step 6 Scoop 12 spoonfuls of the mixture onto the tray (they don’t spread too much) and shape them into circles, flatten the tops.
- Step 7 Bake for 15-20 minutes.
- Step 8 Cool on the baking sheet for 15mins or more before picking up.
There are so many reasons to love this Spinach, Carrot and Coconut Salad. Firstly, it’s actually really easy to throw together with things that you probably already have in your fridge. Secondly, coconut in a salad? I know it sounds weird but trust me it […]
The humble sandwich can also be a fabulously healthy meal – if you make it correctly. It’s possible to combine the perfect blend of protein, veggies and slow-release wholegrain carbs to make a nutritious and filling meal which is quick to throw together or take as a packed lunch or dinner. Here are the swaps you need to make the pep up the goodness and take the taste levels to dizzy new heights!
Swap: white bread for wholegrain
Not only is white sliced bread pretty boring, it’s also a nutritional wasteland. Packed with fast release carbs which will send you running for the biscuit tin a couple of hours later, switching your bread will not only leave you feeling satisfied, it can also add taste and texture to your sandwich too.
Choosing a wholemeal granary variety will increase the B vitamin, fibre and mineral levels of your sandwich and those malty granary bits will also add texture and flavour too. Likewise rye and spelt breads which are digested more slowly but also more easily by your body.
If you hate a soggy sarnie then sourdough is your friend. Sourdough is also more digestible than processed packaged bread as the gluten in the flour has been broken down more than usual in the longer, natural rising process. It’s more nutritious too as the lactic acids make the vitamins and minerals in the flour more available to the body. It’s much lower on the glycemic index (GI), so it doesn’t cause spikes in insulin.
Swap: margarine for butter
Years ago we were encouraged to ditch butter for marg as it was lower in fat – now we realise that heavily processed trans-fats are just not good for us. In contrast butter, especially if you chose an organic butter which is made from milk from grass fed cows not only prevents your sandwich going soggy but also contains vitamin A, D, E and K as well as manganese, zinc and chromium. The fat is actually helpful as it will allow your body to absorb the fat soluble vitamins in the rest of your filling.
Swap: lettuce for spinach
If you love lettuce in your sandwich just swapping it for spinach will make your sarnie more flavoursome and also bump up its nutritional content. The darker the vegetable, the more nutrients you’re going to get, spinach will give you more folic acid and iron than lettuce. Also try watercress which is very high in vitamin K as well as vitamins C, A and potassium.
Swap: processed meats for roasted meat, fish, eggs or Quorn
Ham and salami are certainly go-to sandwich fillings for many but these nitrate rich processed meats have been linked to early death from heart disease and cancer, particularly bowel cancer. Better to use home cooked meats which are leftover or a meat substitute like Quorn or tofu. Fish, prawns and eggs are also great to sub in for ham.
Swap: mayonnaise for cream cheese
Yes mayo is delicious in a sandwich but contain those dreaded trans-fats and one tablespoon can contain a whopping 90calores with not a huge amount else to add to the sarnie party. In contrast a tablespoon of low fat cream cheese contains 30 calories and also calcium, potassium and protein. If you love tuna mayo make a much healthier version by combining the drained tinned tuna with cream cheese, a squeeze of lemon and some ground black pepper – delicious! Or try this easy but yummy Smoked Salmon Pate.
Swap: chutney for vegetables or houmous
Chutney brings moisture and flavour to a sandwich, but it’s also high in sugar. If you are looking for a similar tang try using sliced balsamic pickled onions or roasted red peppers from a jar. Humous is also will give you moisture of chutney and a great shot of flavour too and also boasts the nutritional benefits of chickpeas and tahini. Houmous is a great source of protein to make you feel fuller for longer and also has been linked to lower cholesterol, improved bone health and is packed with antioxidants which can help prevent damage throughout our bodies. You could also try this White Bean Pate if you want a change from houmous
Condiments like mustard also pack a flavour punch without as much sugar. Adding fresh salad vegetables like radish, grated carrot, tomatoes and even some fresh apple adds flavour and texture as well as a wealth of health benefits, also helping you achieve your five-a-day easily. Beetroot looks and tastes delicious in a sarnie, try this Creamy Beetroot Pate.
Some people are just not breakfast people. No matter how hard they try the idea of food in the morning does not work for them. While this isn’t true of me – I get it. But there’s no reason why they should lose out on […]
Okay, now brace yourself, these chocolate muffins are (deep breath) egg-free, fat-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, nut-free, but definitely NOT flavour free! There is a good reason they are called Free From Everything Healthy Chocolate Brownie Muffins you see! I know what you’re thinking, what do […]
Curries are my go-to when I have random veggies to use up, lots of friends to visit or need to meal-prep some lunches in the freezer. I know a lot of people are scared of making their own curies from scratch and the list of ingredients can look daunting, but once you have bought a few basic spices you are good to go. It’s such a cheap and easy way of making flavourful food and best of all it tastes better the next day!
I’m not the world’s biggest cauliflower fan so this is a great way of making it tasty. The lentils add some oomph and also protein to keep you feeling fuller for longer and the spinach ups the iron content too. By making the spices and onions into a sauce the flavour is really concentrated into the veggies and it makes it more palatable for kids too.
Whether you serve it with rice or an Indian style bread, in a wrap or even on a baked sweet potato, it’s a fab way to get more veggies on your plate.
Cauliflower, Spinach and Lentil Curry
- 1 tbsp ghee or coconut oil
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 15 dried curry leaves
- 400g tin of chopped tomatoes in juice
- 250g uncooked red lentils
- 600g cauliflower, broken into florets
- 250g spinach
- Salt and pepper
- Step 1 Melt the oil and when hot add the onions. Soften with the lid on for around 5mins until cooked.
- Step 2 Add all the spices and fry off for a minute or so, if you need to add a tiny bit more fat to do this. Remove from the heat.
- Step 3 Pour in the chopped tomatoes and their juice then blend together until you get a sloppy paste. Return to the pan and fill the tomato tin with water to rinse and add this to the pan too so you have a sauce.
- Step 4 Add the lentils and cauliflower, cover and cook together on a medium heat for 20mins.
- Step 5 Add the rinsed spinach and stir through the lentils and cauliflower. Cover again and cook for 5-10mins until all everything is soft.
- Step 6 Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Having a naturally sweet energy ball at the ready in your fridge is brilliant if you are trying to cut down on your chocolate and candy intake – by filling up on the good stuff you won’t crave the rubbish! And the great thing about […]