BLOG: Juicing

Even as a vegetarian I find it hard to get all of those portions of fruit and veg into my daily eating life. There are so many alternative foods that at times I find myself not only avoiding meat, but also avoiding anything green as well! 

I recently decided to try juicing to help me get some more of those vitamins and minerals into my life so I thought I’d blog about it. 

I avoid fruit juices as a rule as there is some scientific thing about the breakdown of sugar when you blitz it… somehow the fruit is actually not good for you when it’s not in it’s original state – I don’t know, I’m no scientist, but ever since I was told this I’ve stopped drinking the stuff.

Instead I’ve decided to try juicing vegetables. I’m assuming that it probably is healthier to actually eat the stuff, but sometimes I just don’t have time to cook lots of veg, so I’ve just started making a green juice that’s jam packed with iron and what not. 

I’ve been using water, spinach, cucumber, the juice of a lime, a few grapes and agave nectar to make a sweet green shake that makes me feel healthy, but isn’t totally hardcore on a veg juice scale, but I will be trying more. 

Do you juice? What are your favourites? I’d love some helpful hints and tips! 🙂

 

Sam

RECIPE: Soba Noodle & Edamame salad with grilled Halloumi

If you’re into green eating, you’ll love this one. As you’ll be able to see from my picture, the majority of this salad is green, green, green, but don’t be put off by that – you could add any vegetable you want to this and it would look and taste delicious!

 

This recipe is low fat, super healthy and contains a vegetable I’ve been wanting to use for a while now – edameme. 

For this recipe I bought a pack of lightly salted beans, which I had to de-shell myself (it doesn’t take long, and it’s quite therapeutic!), but I’m pretty sure you can buy them pre-shelled. 

Ingredients (serves 2):

140g soba noodles

1 pack of edamame beans – you can use a handful up to the whole pack, totally depends on how much you love them!

4 spring onions, finely diced

broccoli – again, however much you want. I used 5 stalks and it was enough.

half a cucumber, peeled, deseeded and thinly sliced.

1 avocado, sliced

2 medium tomatoes, sliced

1 pack of halloumi – if you can stop at half a packet, do, but I actually can’t resist so for 2 people I’d use the whole thing!

Soy sauce

 

Method:

Start by slicing and dicing all your vegetables (and deshelling your edamame if you need to).Image

Boil the noodles for 7 minutes with the broccoli. Once done rinse well under cold water to stop the cooking. You want the noodles cool and the broccoli still firm.

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and stir in some soy sauce to you liking – not too much, as this should be a salad, not a soup!

 Grill your halloumi for around 3 minutes on each side. Depending on how you like it is key. I both don’t mind it just-warmed, and can’t wait for it to grill properly so I only end up doing it for a few minutes!

Share the salad out onto plates, slice the halloumi and divide – you can do cubes or long strips, it doesn’t matter so much 😉 

Serve! Image

It doesn’t take too long, it’s so quick to put together on plates and it’s so healthy you’ll feel like you cheated the world somehow – my only warning is once you taste the halloumi and edamame beans you’ll never go back – one of the best combo’s ever!

Let me know what you think – if you have any halloumi or edamame recipes let me know, I’m always looking for good recipes to try with them!

BON APPÉTIT!

Sam

RECIPE: Tomato & spinach Penne Pasta Bake

Yes, my obsession with pasta is back!

I’d say I was sorry, but I’m not! I saw this recipe on Pinterest and decided to make it for dinner and boy, was it yummy!! Really simple and EXTREMELY tasty… so there’s cheese on it, it’s still kind of healthy!! 

 

Ingredients (serves 3-4)

400g penne pasta

2 tins chopped tomatoes

1 small white onion, diced

handful of fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

handful of spinach leaves, roughly chopped

splash of red wine

splash of balsamic vinegar

1 tsp dried oregano

grated mozzarella (enough to cover the top, so probably half a bag)

tub of small mozzarella balls

Handful of pre-made packet breadcrumbs (enough to create a slight crunch on top)

salt and pepper to taste (as well as 1 sweetener tablet*)

 

Method:

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and throw in your penne pasta, set the oven to pre-heat at gas mark 5.

Whilst this is cooking make your sauce. All you need to do is soften your onions in a lightly oiled pan. I like to add a spoonful of water from the pasta pan, this way the onions don’t actually fry but boil so they just soften. 

Throw in your 2 tins of tomatoes and stir. Next you want to add all of your other 

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ingredients – it doesn’t matter what order. Just splash in a little red wine (however much you want, I like about 3 tablespoons) and then a splash of balsamic (again, 

however much you like, but I use around 2 tablespoons). Add your salt, pepper, 

sweetener and oregano and stir. Finally add the basil and spinach and stir. You’ll 

only want to cook this 

for about 5 minutes once you’re at this stage. Once the sauce starts to boil take it off the heat. 

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Drain the pasta and mix the sauce in. Once the pasta is well covered pour it into a 

baking dish. Here comes the fun part! 

distribute the mozzarella balls on top of the pasta, sprinkle the grated mozzarella onto until the pasta is covered – it’s up to you how much you want to use really – and then sprinkle on breadcrumbs. Again – it’s totally up to you. I just sprinkled about a handful over the top as I only wanted a light crust.  

 

Pop this into the pre heated oven for 20 minutes and serve. The cheese will be all melty and gooey and amazing and it will be delish! Trust me! Here is a photo of the finished thing:

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Let me know if you make this or have any great pasta bake recipes that are easy and healthy. I really want to use more kale in my pasta recipes so watch this space! 

 

As usual, thanks for reading and liking! 

BON APPÉTIT!

Sam

*when making tomato sauces you normally have to put sugar in to bring the flavour out, but I don’t use sugar in anything I make so I use small sweetener tablets)

Graze Boxes

Hi there!

 

So, I don’t know if any of you have ever heard about Graze boxes. They are these little boxes of healthy snacks you can have delivered to your door one or two times a week (UK based, I’m not sure if there is a US version), and what it basically means is you have perfectly sized snacks for that time of the day when you might normally grab a cookie, or a packet of crisps.

 

I didn’t want to buy into them at all when I first heard about them because I had this crazy idea that it would be too expensive, or it wasn’t really that healthy. However, neither of these things are true. 

A box costs £3.89 – to me, that’s nothing. You get 4 separately packed snacks which can be anything from some dried fruit, some nuts, popcorn, a little bit of cake, or something like dried bread and a dip, and they are actually pretty darn good at keeping the munchies at bay. Some of them even count towards your 5 a day, which is a bonus. 

 

Anyway – to cut a long story short, I figured I’d share this with you. If you want a FREE box with no obligation to subscribe to them or anything just go to GRAZE and enter this code for a free sample : NVV721Z

I’m not going to lie – yes, I do get something out of this (money off my next box, or something), but that’s not why I’m blogging about it. I really do think it’s a great idea. If I had the money I’d have every meal delivered to my door, but I don’t. So for now I’m enjoying snacking luxury and I wanted to let you in on it.

Let me know if you’ve already signed up – do you like it, don’t you like it?

Until next time,

 

Sam 

BLOG: Not Vegetarian?

I’ve been a vegetarian for about 6 years now and for the longest time I thought I had a handle on all things vegetarian and all things NOT vegetarian. 

Let me show you an example:

Vegetables = Vegetarian friendly 

Meat = Not vegetarian

Simple as a pimple, right? Right. Except for the fact that in the past year or so I’ve had a few bombshells dropped on me regarding food I deemed ‘safe’, which have then turned out to be… well, not so much! 

I look at labels as much as the next person (ok, ok, probably a little less because I’m lazy), but due to these aforementioned bombshells I’m now having to re-check a lot of things I thought we OK, just to be on the safe side. 

So! What am I harping on about? Well, here is the list of things I assumed were Veggie, but have turned out not to be. 

French Fancies (of the Mr Kipling variety)

Nutella (I know… heartbreaking… but it gets worse…)

Oreo’s (However, only in the Uk, the US ones are vegan)

Ferrero Rocher 

Apparently ANY Kinder chocolate (though I still have to look into this…)

some Tic Tacs (again…unsure and will be looking into it!)

Apparently most sweets that are RED!

 

So there you have it – I’m sure there are a million more, but they are some of the ones I’ve only recently been confronted by and shed a tear for. I mean… French Fancies and Nutella? Am I being punished? 

 

Let me know if you’ve found something you thought was fine but turned out not to be!

 

Until next time,

Sam

Recipe: Mint yoghurt

My last recipe had a suggested dollop of mint yoghurt, and yes, you can buy it ready made, but where’s the fun in that?

 

For an easy mint yoghurt I suggest getting some natural yoghurt (Yeo Valley is always good) and a sprig of fresh mint.

Diced up the leaves and stir into the yoghurt and voila! It really is that simple. Sure there are more complex recipes out there, but why do complex when you can do simple with maximum results?

 

Just a suggestion – let me know if you have any good mint yoghurt ideas!

 

Sam

RECIPE: Quinoa, red pepper & cucumber salad with avocado and lime

This is a great recipe to try if you’re entertaining friends, because it makes a lot of food and it’s easy to make, so you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen. It’s also one of those ones where you can make it in advance – which is always great! 

Ingredients:

(serves 4-6, easily)

salt 

Not my photo – I didn’t take one of my meal, but I will do and replace this ASAP.

1 cup quinoa 

1 garlic clove

1 large shallot – finely diced

1 jalepinio , deseeded and finely sliced

2 limes, juiced

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 medium red pepper, diced

1 medium cucumber, diced

2 ripe avocados, sliced

Method:

Bring a large pan of water to the boil with a pinch of salt. 

Rinse your quinoa under cold water and then add to the pan – you’ll want to cook this until tender. How do you know when it’s ready? I still have trouble being able to tell, because the grain is so small, so I’d just say after 10-15 minutes you should be good to go!

drain the quinoa and spread it out onto a baking sheet to cool – this will help it dry out (you don’t want a soggy salad!) and also cool quite quickly. 

Whilst that’s cooling, take a pinch of salt and your garlic clove and pop into a bowl. If you have a pestle and mortar you can crush these together to make a grainy paste – if you don’t you can do what I do and just use the back of a table spoon to grind it together. 

Next, add this paste, the diced shallots, jalepino and lime juice into a small bowl – season with salt and pepper to taste, and stir. You’ll want to let this sit for about 10 minutes. This will be your dressing. After it’s rested add your table spoon of oil into the bowl and stir. It may not seem like a lot, but you can always add oil later, you can’t take it out if you put too much in!

Next, take your quinoa, the red peppers and cucumber and put them into your serving bowl (I like to use a large glass bowl so you can see it all) and stir in 3/4 of your dressing. You can season to taste again, depending on how salty/peppery you like it. 

When serving, pop your sliced avocado onto the plates, spoon out the quinoa salad and drizzle with the remaining dressing. If you feel you’d like more oil, add it, but I find that it’s not needed. 

This sounds like it will take a long time, but it really doesn’t. It’s all in the prep. 

Serve this with warmed pitta bread (yes, I love pitta!). 

I’d also suggest serving this with olives, humous, and mint yoghurt – it’s great food to pass around in a party and it’s really healthy. For someone who loves eating, I can say I was truly full from this meal, and there was plenty of left overs, even with 5 of us eating it. 

BON APPÉTIT!

Sam

RECIPE: Chunky Tomato salsa

This recipe goes hand in hand with the recent Falafel pitta bread burger recipe I posted. It called for a good tomato salsa, which you can buy… if you’re a big cheat! But if you want a challenge, why not try out the below:

Ingredients:

1 garlic clove – chopped very finely

1 small onion – diced very finely (or roughly chopped if you like onions and want to avoid the tears as much as possible!)

4-5 medium sized tomato’s – chopped up roughly

1 lime, juiced

1 tablespoon of chopped coriander

1/2 tsp chilli powder

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp cumin

Method:

MIX!

It’s that simple. The longer you leave it the tastier it should get, as it will marinate and mature etc. But don’t leave it too long, you don’t want someone else to get their paws on it!

BON APPÉTIT!

Sam

RECIPE: Falafel pitta bread burgers

I first saw this recipe when I was looking for things to add into my recipe board on Pinterest (see HERE if you’re interested). I’ve been looking for healthy meals to learn for a while – you can’t live on pasta alone (said someone, who obviously didn’t love the stuff as much as me), and so I popped this recipe into my ‘to make’ list – eager to give it a go. And today I did.

The recipe is pretty simple and it’s fast to make. It calls for tomato salsa – which you can purchase, but if you’re looking for more of a messy challenge I’m also going to post a recipe for a good salsa which I’ll link HERE when it’s done.

So here goes:

Ingredients:

(Serves 4 – or two hungry people!)

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400g canned chickpea’s  – rinsed, drained and patted dry.

1 garlic clove

1 handful of flat/curly parsley

1tsp ground cumin

1tsp ground corriander

1/2 tsp harissa paste or chilli powder

2tbsp plain flour

2tbsp sunflower oil (or whatever oil you like to cook with, I used rapeseed)

toasted pitta breads (brown if you’re trying to be healthier)

200g tomato salsa (purchased or homemade – see HERE)

Salad leaves of your choice

Method:

Dump the dried chickpea’s into a food processor – it’s pretty imperative you use a food processor, as you want to make a paste.

Add the garlic, parsley, spices and flour and salt. The recipe calls for a ‘little’ salt, but when I cooked this it really could have done with more, so I’d add half a teaspoon and then more to taste.

Blend until fairly smooth and then scoop out and shape into 4-6 patties, depending on how big you want them.

Heat up your oil in a non stick frying pan and add the burgers – they take about 3-5 minutes per side, depending on the heat of your pan/ oil, so keep an eye on them! Once they are golden brown on each side remove from heat.

Serve with toasted pitta’s, tomato salsa and salad – I threw some light mayo onto mine as well and it was delish!!

And that’s pretty much it – it seems like a lot of work, but it actually was super quick, and

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the outcome was a great looking meal with minimal effort.

As you can see here, they didn’t last long!

Give them a whirl – let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions on how to make them extra tasty!

BON APPÉTIT!

Sam

RECIPE: Summer Sauce

I’m sure I’m not the only person who loves a healthy dose of pasta, whether it’s summer or winter! I practically live off the stuff and so I’ve become very skilled in the sauce making department. I don’t use jar sauces due to the oils and sugars they are filled with, so here is a simple sauce you can use in the summer – the good news is, this sauce  doesn’t need to be cooked! (in this weather, slaving over a sauce is the last thing I need!)

Ingredients:

(Serves 2-3 people)

4-5 large tomatoes – chopped roughly

a handful of rocket leaves

a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil

a good slosh of your favourite balsamic vinegar (I use quite a lot, as it’s the majority of the sauce and I just LOVE it)

salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon of dried oregano

Method:

Mix it all together in a bowl!

It’s that simple. Of course, you can tweak to how you like it. If you want to crush some garlic or chilli and throw it in, go for it. I’m actually allergic to garlic (I think), so I’ve not put it in, but if you fancy it, do it!

The recipe’s I use are all from experimenting, so I’d encourage you to do the same – you don’t need to cook a sauce to make it tasty – throw this on some pasta, grate a little cheese and EAT!

bon appétit!

Sam