spinach

Classic Green Smoothie Ice Lollies

I love a good smoothie and with the current ‘heatwave’ i’m taking an all time fave and making a refreshing lolly.

green smoothie ice lolly

To me this is a classic green smoothie recipe and often I find that many green smoothies are full or a myriad of random ingredients. Don’t get me wrong I love spirulina and almond butter or whatever else every now and then, but at the end of the day there’s something very tasty and simple about this. This is a smoothie I would drink daily just as a snack and I really don’t want to be over complicating things. It’s not good on time, mess or my waistline! But we’re making ice lollies here and this is also perfect as a solid, creamy, banana-packed iced treat. These are naturally way healthier than your average ice treat but definitely not losing out on flavour. They take absolutely no effort whatsoever (aside for waiting for them to freeze!) and can be adapted very easily.

green smoothie ice lolly

If I haven’t convinced you to make your own asap then this will: these are….

packed full of bananas
contain zero refined sugars
dairy free
low in fat
just sweet enough
cheap as chips

Of course the variations are endless, so have lots of fun mixing it up and trying something new. I’m thinking peach pie flavour next……..:-)

green smoothie ice lolly

Classic green smoothie ice lollies

(makes 6)

4 frozen bananas
1 cup almond milk
handful spinach
3 tablespoons maple syrup or sweetener of your choice.

Blitz away until smooth + creamy. Transfer to a popsicle maker + freeze.

Artichoke Spinach Spelt Crust Pizza + 5 ways to make your Pizza Healthier

In my mind pizza is a full on hassle laden thing to make, hence I rarely make it but what’s up with me? This is quicker than most evening meals I make! Oh and delicious too, really delicious. Plus there’s something therapeutic about making your own dough from scratch and flinging it around like a pro. I’ll definitely be having homemade pizza more as it is EASY! Plus we all know pizza is good. So good that no one should ever have to do without, whether you’re gluten free, dairy free or full on raw, there’s a pizza for everyone!

vegan pizza

I never did buy into the thick doughy bases with more cheese than veggies but that’s just me.

Vegan pizza
The thing is pizza can be really quite a healthy meal depending on the crust and toppings so here’s a couple of suggestions on how to lighten up your favourite pizza:

– Use half the cheese you normally would or ditch it all together. With a focus on tasty quality ingredients and a well made dough, the cheese is secondary anyhow.
– Ditch white refined bases and swap to wholewheat, spelt or wholegrain gluten free varieties.
– Make a thinner crust for a less dense and calorific pizza.
– Load it with colourful veggies and lots of fresh greens.
– Or if you really wanna lighten up the load and ditch the carbs altogether use a cauliflower crust.

vegan pizza

Just make the pizza of your dreams ūüôā This is the pizza of my cravings. Artichokes, spinach, red onion, a little dairy free ‘parmesan’ + chili. That’s it.

vegan pizza

Artichoke + spinach spelt crust pizza

(makes 2 small pizzas or 1 big one- 2 people tops)

spelt crust:
2 cups spelt flour
1 1/2 teaspoons quick-rising yeast
1/2 teaspoon himalayan sea salt
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon xylitol or sugar
2/3 cup warm water

tomato sauce (shop bought or this one is nice)
toppings: cooked artichokes, spinach, red onion, olives, chili, dairy free cheese.

1. Preheat oven to 200 ¬ļC (if using a pizza stone, preheat this too).¬†Combine warm water + yeast + sit for 10 minutes. Add to the remaining ingredients, stir well, knead for 10 minutes + allow to sit for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, prep your pizza topping ingredients, stretch the dough out onto a pizza stone or baking tray. I sprinkle a little cornmeal on the pizza stone to prevent sticking or if using a baking tray just a little oil.

3. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Enjoy your masterpiece!

Acai Berry Detox Bowl

acai berry detox bowl

Ah acai, acai. Or rather ah-sigh-EE, ah-sigh-EE! I first met acai when I was in Brazil where they sell it on the streets everywhere, usually in the form of acai bowls or cups. You cannot miss them, they really are everywhere. Lovely piercing purple dollops on every street corner. The thing is, it’s damn cheap in South America and you pay a pretty penny here for it but the desire to get reunited with acai was too strong and I really HAD to have some. Yeah when I think of Brazil these bright purple cups are high up there on my list of Brazil memories, funny the things that stick with us!

Acai cup

Having this again made me remember why I love it so much! Memories of Copacabana beach and the beach vendors selling bright vibrant purple acai bowls topped with all sorts of things. This is super refreshing and truly feel good food. It’s more filling than it looks as it contains a hefty amount of fruit which adds to the thick consistency and more importantly the turbo charged vitamin and mineral antioxidant content. This is truly good mood food.Acai cup in the blender!

Acai is more than just a pretty face and a hard to pronounce berry. It’s wonderful stuff, the superfood of superfoods and is one of the planet’s highest sources of antioxidants. As such this acai berry detox bowl is packed with mega health benefits, here’s just 5 of so many:

high in a particular antioxidant (called anthocyanins but you don’t care about the name right?)¬†that lowers cholesterol
aids weight loss and reduces negative effect of high fat diets
high in fibre and detoxifying
anti-ageing
energy boost, combats fatigue and exhaustion.Beautiful acai + the toppings!

It’s not a smoothie, it’s not ice cream, it’s not frozen yoghurt, it’s a cleansing acai bowl for any time. A thick, sweet, berry infused superfood soft serve.Pretty acai cup

Make it thick or thin, dark or light, acai will never let you down. My new favourite snack!Acai cup

Acai berry detox bowl

(serves 1)

1 frozen banana
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup raspberries
1/2 cup blackberries
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon almond butter
handful spinach leaves
1 heaped tablespoon acai powder
berries, seeds, sliced banana + coconut for topping

Blend all the ingredients on high speed until smooth + creamy. A thick frozen yoghurt consistency is best. Top with delicious things and enjoy.

Beet, Apple, Lemon + Spinach Smoothie

Fresh fruits & vegetablesMy Mum donated some beets to yours truly that a friend had gifted her from their veggie garden – that’s the nicest, I need these friends! Anyway, I just love making things with produce grown in someones garden and then passed along for others to enjoy. Whenever this happens I always end up cooking something really random, it definitely gets the creativity flowing! Take marrows, although I like them I wouldn’t usually buy them but if someone gave me a marrow from their garden, well firstly I’d be honoured but mainly I’d have fun making something tasty out of it…albeit random!Delicious red smoothie

Growing vegetables full stop is too impressive to me but I did actually have my own patch in our garden as a kid – potatoes, onions, carrots and strawberries, funny the things we remember. I’m totally feeling inspired to start a little growing myself but I need to get Russ to build me a few planting boxes first. I’ll start small, maybe simple salad leaves, onions etc, this isn’t a random list but what people tell me are the easy growers. I know I’m going to love it purely gaged on the weirdly high level of enjoyment I get from cutting parsley I grow myself. It’s true, I hope I don’t sound too weird!

I’m right bang in the middle of a juicing phase so of course I was going to make a red smoothie. All I needed was a small¬†leap of faith and I’d be there! Yes, I put beetroot in the Vitamix, hoping and praying that it wouldn’t stain. It didn’t, phew! Now I’m safe in the knowledge that I can pulse my beets without fear of stainage! That’s good news, because beets combined with the right ingredients are gooood juiced up.¬†I shared it with Russ because sharing is caring and this is his favourite so far. It was pretty delicious but I still prefer the meaner greener smoothies.Red smoothies process

Sweet, smooth, earthy and zingy – it definitely perked me up after! This is an energising and cleansing beverage for any time of the day, with three servings of freshness and a good protein boost from the chia seeds. A smoothie juice with a winning edge.

Do you grow your own veggies? What’s the easiest to grow?Delicious red smoothie

Beet, apple + spinach smoothie

(serves 2)

1 beet, peeled & chopped
! apple, chopped
2 large handfuls spinach
1/2 frozen banana
juice of 1 lemon
4 ice cubes
1 cup water
1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)

Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Spinach, Butternut Squash + Lentil Curry (GF + Vegan)

Lentil, squash & spinach curryI’m convinced I was Indian in a former life, seriously! I should have been born Indian though because I love all things Indian and of course it’s my favourite food ever. This particular dish is my number one. Everyone has a certain dish they love and are pretty proud of, this is mine. My beloved spice tray is one of my most prized possessions ‘cos without it there is no curry! I’m going back to India this Christmas and I plan to get fully involved with some Indian cookery classes to brush up my curry skills and make me feel like a pro! To me, this curry is too delicious, it’s my curry and of course in my head it’s the best but still, I’d be nervous to give this to my Indian friend! I hope they’d rate my favourite curry creation. Roll on December, I’m excited and eager to learn some fabulous recipes to bring home and use for years to come.Simple & quick process

Curry is comfort food. Lentils are comfort food. So you can only imagine how comforting this lentil curry is. It is very, don’t take my word for it ¬†though, just try it yourself!Pappadums & curry

I love how something so delicious can be so immensely healthy too. This dish is packed full of healing spices including turmeric, coriander and cinnamon. The lentils, squash and spinach provide an almighty helping of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants too. Lentils may be small but they pack a nutritional punch – full of B vitamins, cholesterol lowering fibre, protein and iron. Lentils have endless health benefits, are easy and quick to cook and fill you up, not out! These are perfect for those watching their weight as they satiate, regulate blood sugar and are very filling too. Lentils get a bad rap but I really don’t know why as they give a smooth creaminess to dishes and with a little less cooking time a harder texture to other dishes such as burgers. Lentils of any variety are a staple for me, definitely a veggies best friend.¬†Curry, pickles & India

I’ve been making my own curry for over ten years now and I usually just a play around with a pretty basic recipe. I used to try different recipes but over the years I’ve always come back to this for it’s simplicity, flavour and overall deliciousness. Indian is probably the simplest yet healthiest food to make – once you have couple of the basic spices you’re set to go. This particular dish uses only ground spices for ease with very few overall ingredients in comparison to other curries but feel free to add coconut milk, yoghurt or cashew cream for a creamier curry. I usually dollop the lentils with a heaping tablespoon of the creamiest cashew cream.

This is a dish I crave lots. It’s too too good served with basmati rice, pickles, salad, eggs, papadums and chapatis.¬†I must say though, after I’ve piled my plate sky high it doesn’t look the neatest dish out but it sure does taste delicious!Lentil and the rest!

Spinach, butternut squash+ lentil curry

1 tablespoon ghee (or coconut oil for vegan recipe)
1 small onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 heaped cup butternut squash, cubed
1 cup dried red lentils
1/2 can tomatoes + 1 can water
salt + pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric, coriander, paprika, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, chili + 3 teaspoons garam masala
6 nests frozen spinach (2 handfuls of fresh is fine)
handful coriander, chopped

Method:

1. Heat the ghee over a low heat in a non stick pan. Add the onion & fry gently for 5 minutes. Add the garlic & cook for a further 5 minutes.
2. Add the squash, lentils & tomatoes to the onions, stir through. Add the spices & simmer on low for 30 minutes. Be sure to add a little more liquid if required.
3. Add the spinach & chopped coriander & cook for a further 5 minutes.

Note: If adding coconut milk be sure to adjust water quantities.

Goodness Green Spinach, Kiwi + Spirulina Smoothie

Putting the green into a green smoothie!I cannot tell you how happy I am to be drinking green smoothies. Why oh why has it taken so long for me to start this habit? I am loving my Vitamix too, who knew such a simple thing could do so many amazing things. Anyway, this is the first (of many!) green smoothies I’ll be making in¬†this little darling. I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen the Thomas Crown Affair remake (the one with Pierce Brosnan), I think I was about 18 when I watched it. Anyway, there’s a scene with Renee Russo drinking one of these green smoothies and I remember wondering what the hell it was! Randomness, I know but I felt the urge to share that. It also goes to show how the US are space ages ahead when it comes to certain super foods and health crazes. Green juicing has become pretty mainstream now but I have to say the office were still a little taken back by my large glass jar crammed full of green stuff! It’s literally everywhere though, I watched ‘Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead’ the other night and was amazed by how juicing can actually transform lives. Of course these people were extreme cases and personally I couldn’t juice for¬†extended periods of time but it really opened my eyes to the health benefits of a time limited juice diet.Smoothie making

This particular smoothie contains spirulina which of course is entirely optional but gee whizz it gives a superb health boost and really puts the GREEN into a green smoothie. This amazing post on Mind Body Green is all the evidence I need to put a teaspoon into my greens. I buy this green algae from Holland & Barrett but there are good bargains to be had on Ebay too.DSC_6594

I’m the first to admit it isn’t exactly pretty but the taste is utterly delicious! The kiwi, banana and almond milk balance out the spinach and spirulina flavours perfectly, resulting in a silky, smooth, supercharged health tonic that has you feeling on top of the world! Of course, if the spirulina makes this green smoothie just a little too green for your taste, just leave it out.Spirulina smoothie

It’s near impossible to list the vitamin and mineral boost this drink provides but let’s just say there’s hefty amounts of vitamin A, B1, B2, C, E, K, magnesium, potassium, calcium and tryptophan. It’s high in fibre and protein and the perfect¬†health tonic¬†for a¬†pick me up late afternoon or as part of a power breakfast.Smoothie all gone!

Spinach, kiwi + spirulina smoothie

(serves 1)

2 handfuls fresh spinach
1 kiwi, skin removed
1/2 frozen banana
1 teaspoon spirulina (optional)
1 cup almond milk

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blitz on high for 45 seconds or until smooth. Enjoy the goodness.

“5 a day” Lentil & Spinach Stuffed Peppers- Vegan & GF

Stuffed peppers & salad

Lentil, spinach, butternut squash, tomato & onion = 5 a day in one delicious hit.

I’m itching with sheer impatience to go on holiday but there’s still 6 weeks to go so I gotta reign it in and slow down! We’re hitting Alaska and Canada in an RV and I literally cannot wait to get there, like now! It feels like forever (officially 3 months!) since we were last away and I’m too excited about hitting the Yukon national park and experiencing some of Alaska’s highlights. I’m actually thinking, ‘will I see a real bear?’! Oh and the supermarkets, I like those too. Yep, bears and supermarkets are the theme of this trip. What is it about supermarkets abroad anyway? I doubt it’s just me, they’re like a whole new world. I just love grocery shopping in the States, it’s so much better and there’s way more choice compared with the UK. I’m quite happy to idle down the supermarket aisles in any country but my own, it’s like a day trip in itself for me. Oh and the coffee, they do coffee so well and i’m not talking about frothy, chocolate dusted coffee but rather your straight up filter coffee, normal coffee. No frills coffee is good in the USA and it’s absolutely everywhere. This is a very good thing seeing as there will be a lot of driving happening. Russ is our designated driver and I’ll be busy navigating and not bear spotting! I’m a newbie to Canada but my Canadian buddy Amy has advised that the coffee chains will live up to my high standards, so ‘Tim Hortons’ and ‘Second Cup” here I come. I reckon we’ll be making an obscene amount of coffee stops on our Anchorage to Vancouver road trip so not only will I be taking in the amazing scenery (and bear watching, seriously!) but I’ll be on the lookout for coffee and big supermarkets!Stuffed peppers

Talking of supermarkets (an English one this time), I got a good deal on bell peppers yesterday and this recipe is a super way of putting them to use. ¬†These lentil and spinach beauties contain all 5 of your ‘5 a day’, so serious bonus points here. However, sorry to disappoint but I reckon just forget ‘5 a day’, let’s all aim for 7 or more! Roasting whole veggies like bell peppers, courgette, aubergine and whole squash is one of my favourite ways to cook veggies, an oldie but a goodie! Slow baking brings out the sweet flavours of the vegetable whilst creating a soft gooey texture to the flesh. And they’re pretty accepting of most fillings. And, if prepared in advance they’re a nice and easy evening meal or a delicious cold lunch the next day. Let’s face it, these are just a good idea.Stuffed peppers process

So, why don’t you get stuffed?! Not you, the vegetables. Why don’t you stuff some veg for tea tonight? Really nice served with garlic bread, rice or cous cous and lot’s of salad. A Russ salad is preferable.Stuffing peppers

We’re planning our Christmas holiday NOW, well you gotta have something to look forward to! Where’s your next trip?

Russ' salads are actually amazing. i am a lucky girl.
Russ’ salads are actually amazing. i am a lucky girl.

‘5 a day’ lentil & spinach stuffed peppers

(serves 2)

4 whole bell peppers, tops/lids & seeds removed
1 small onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, peel and minced
1/2 can tomatoes
salt & pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano, thyme & nutmeg
1/2 cup red lentils
1 large handful spinach, chopped
1 cup cubed butternut squash
oil for frying

Method:

1. Slice the tops off 4 whole peppers, cleaning the seeds out with running water. Arrange in a baking dish and roast for 20 minutes at 180¬†¬ļC.
2. Heat the olive oil in a pan and saute the onion & garlic for 5 minutes. Add the seasonings, tomatoes, lentils, spinach and butternut squash, mixing to combine. Let the lentils simmer for 10-15 minutes.Remove from the heat when cooked.
3. Remove the peppers from the oven & spoon in the lentil mixture, pushing down to compact. Replace the lids and return to the oven for 15-2o minutes. Careful not to over char.