Cranberry and orange crushes

These brilliant little bites are made with good stuff and packed with flavour.  Fruity crushes feature cranberries, orange juice and orange zest, making them a refreshing alternative to some of the previous raw food bars and balls I’ve posted.

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Let’s be honest, if you are in the mood for a four-finger Kit Kat or a bag of M&M’s, these are not going to do it for you.

However if you’re on a roll with healthy eating and want a brighter, more interesting snack, they are perfect. They’re quick to make and because they use store cupboard ingredients, you can make them as and when you fancy.

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To make 10 balls (each containing around 110 calories) you will need:

  • 100 grams of cashew nuts
  • 50 grams of brazil nuts
  • 80 grams of dried cranberries
  • 40 grams of dates
  • A squeeze of orange
  • Zest from half a medium orange
  • Cinnamon for dusting at the end

To make:

  1. Blitz up all the dry ingredients.
  2. Then blitz up the fruity ingredients.
  3. Work the two sets of ingredients together by hand before adding a squeeze of orange and the zest. The amount of orange juice will probably depend on the consistency of the mixture. It needs to be firm and hold together. If crumbly add a little more juice, but not so much that the mixture becomes wet.
  4. Divide and roll in to 10 balls.
  5. At the end dust lightly with cinnamon before putting in the fridge for an hour or so to firm up.
  6. Store in a jar in the fridge and enjoy as and when you fancy a little something sweet.

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Enjoy x

 

 

Saintly cinnamon and carrot muffins

If at first you don’t succeed…

…Then get obsessed. Give up a kilogram of oats, 8 eggs and 4 hours. Bake 43 muffins and force feed your loved ones. Over and over. Until you strike the jackpot.

And breathe.

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I saw a great recipe on the Glitter and Grey blog for spinach and chocolate chip muffins. The recipe really grabbed me, so I thought I’d have a bash. I decided to tweak it though, making it into a carrot equivalent. The result was ok, but it certainly wasn’t a crowd pleaser. My five year old squeezed honey all over his first one and said that was pretty good though.

I wanted to create something as tasty as carrot cake, but without the flour, sugar and frosted icing. Slightly ambitious I know.

However, with some patience and practice I have created a beautifully sweet, slightly spiced and moist fruity muffin. These saintly bakes also now feature extra honey, thank you Tobias.

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You will need:

  • 100 grams of greek yoghurt
  • 2 bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 grated carrots
  • Grated peel from 1 medium orange
  • 3 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 200 grams of oats (I used gluten free)
  • 100 grams of raisins

Thank fully the process is simple:

  1. Put everything except the oats and raisins into the blender for a few seconds
  2. Then mix in the oats and raisins in a separate bowl
  3. Spoon into muffin cases (Use silicone cases to avoid sticking, there’s not a lot of grease in these)
  4. Put into pre-heated oven (180C fan or 350 F) for 15 – 20 minutes until a rich brown
  5. Leave on wire racks to cool

You will get 12 muffins from this recipe, each containing around 130 calories.

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I also made a batch of buttercream. A reward to my husband and son. They were truly impressed with the less saintly alternative muffin served with a generous topping of buttercream.

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The end result here is ultimately just a really tasty plate of cakes. Somehow, the thought, love and attention to get them spot on has made them something more special to me this week. For me this is how you take good ingredients, then carefully find the best way to serve them up with  masses of affection.

Mackerel with Sunshine Slaw

I really like this one. It’s a super healthy plate of crunchy raw vegetables topped with a simple piece of fish.

I’ve playing around with various yoghurt dressings for the coleslaw. With the final version featuring freshly squeezed orange and lime, I can happily now call this a Sunshine Slaw. It’s bright colours and zesty taste, make it a perfect clean spring salad.

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For around 500g of coleslaw you will need:

  • 400/450g crunchy vegetables – made up of grated carrot, grated beetroot, finely chopped red onion and plenty of shredded red cabbage
  • 100ml natural yoghurt  – you may choose to add a little extra once you’ve tasted at the end
  • 1 tablespoon of oil – try safflower or olive oil
  • 1.5 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
  • juice from half a lime – just squeezed by hand
  • juice from half an orange – just squeezed by hand
  • Seasoning (be fairly generous – but taste to make sure it works for you)

The full batch contains around 300 calories – not a fraction of a regular mayonnaise coleslaw.

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To make the coleslaw:

  • Simply mix it all together and taste.
  • The seasoning and various elements of the dressing may need a little tweak at this stage because the vegetables, oil, yoghurt, vinegar we use are not all uniform. Just be guided by your palette and what tastes good to  you.

For the final plate:

For a small lunchtime salad serve around 100g of the coleslaw with around 80g mackerel per person. Simply pan fry fresh mackerel or serve cold mackerel. I tried and loved both but the cold mackerel option is definitely a quicker prep. If you buy pre-cooked fish just check the packet for any added extras. Most will contain some salt, but there’s no need for extra preservatives. You can easily buy this fish without.

The sustainability debate

Mackerel has been both on and off the recommended ‘fish to avoid’ list due to concerns about over fishing in the North East Atlantic. However since 2013 this fish has been on the ‘fish to eat’ list managed by the Marine Conservation Society. Line caught mackerel is by far the best way to source mackerel. Read more about the eco information.

The positive virtues of mackerel

As for the health benefits, mackerel is a widely recommended oily fish. It is rich in essential vitamins and minerals with both omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. It also contains protein and the antioxidant Coenzyme Q10, which is associated to the elimination of cancerous elements from cells. Read more on the health benefits.

I hope you get time to try this sunny salad.

Date and Berry Frubars

God damn delicious.

Last week I posted the recipe for Apricot and Cashew raw food bars. They were really good, but I’m pretty sure that these ones are better.

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To make 5 bars you’ll need:
80g dates
55g cashew nuts
30g raisins
5g dried cranberries

Each bar contains around 125 calories (between 30 – 35g)

  1. Blend up the nuts in a processor until fine.
  2. Take them out and whizz up the fruit.
  3. Then mix them both together. You need to get your hands in and mix them up properly.
  4. Press into a loaf tin or just shape them on a board using a pallette knife. (I just shape them on a board).
  5. Refrigerate them for a couple of hours, then chop into 5 and wrap each individually in cling film. Pop back in the fridge.

Fab, I’ll get some more of these up next week.

Simple salmon – Clean lunch

Crisp and crunchy.

There’s no instruction required on this one really. I just wanted to post a fresh plate with the right mix of textures, that takes no time or effort, It is simply good in every way.

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The plate:

  • Half a fillet of salmon (try sprinkling a little paprika and a squeeze of lime before wrapping loosely in foil and baking at 150 degrees c for 20 minutes)
  • 1/5 – 1/4 avocado
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Some lettuce leaves
  • A few torn mint leaves
  • A squeeze of lime

The goodness?

Avocados offer nearly 20 vitamins and minerals in every serving, including potassium (which helps control blood pressure), lutein (which is good for your eyes), and folate (which is crucial for cell repair).

Avocados are a good source of B vitamins, which help you fight off disease and infection. They also give you vitamins C and E, they’re low in sugar and they contain fibre, which helps you feel full longer.

Salmon is full of nutrients. It is an excellent source of high-quality protein, vitamins and minerals (including potassium, selenium and vitamin B12) plus high density of omega-3 fatty acids. (Good for brain, joints, heart and general well-being).

Souper Greens

Soup glorious soup!

The beauty of soup is that you can use what you have. This soup was originally going to be a pea and mint one, but I ended up getting some gargantuan courgettes from the Spanish supermarket and needed to blitz them into something good.

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To create 3/4 servings, you will need:

  • 150 g onion
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic (we are garlic monsters and always add plenty)
  • 300g chopped courgette
  • 500g frozen peas
  • About 15 mint leaves
  • 400ml – 500ml vegetable stock (add around 300ml then add more at the end if you like a thick soup)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Simply soften the onions and garlic in the oil, then add the other vegetables and stock.
  2. Simmer for a good 15/20 minutes with the pan lid on until all the ingredients are soft.
  3. Blitz up with the handheld or food processor
  4. Season as you like it and enjoy really hot
  5. This one is great with some shaved parmesan and ripped mint leaves on top

A 300ml portion contains approximately 125 calories (before any parmesan or extras)

Apricot and Cashew Frubars

These clean-eat and gluten free bars are truly gorgeous. I eat these now instead of Nakd bars. The basic principle is to combine fruits and nuts that taste great together, meaning there are loads of variations you can try.

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I’ll make a weekly batch to share some of the combinations we like most. Today is Fruity Friday at school so my son has one in his packed lunch. Both the children love these. I’ll be honest, I’d probably have to smear in melted chocolate to convince Alex.

To make 5 bars you’ll need:
75g cashew nuts
3 large dates
45g unsulphered dried apricots
20g unsulphered raisins

Each bar contains around 130 calories (between 30 – 35g)

Just blend up the nuts in a processor until fine. Take them out and whizz up the fruit. Then mix them both together. You need to get your hands in and mix them up properly. Then press into a loaf tin or just shape them on a board using a pallette knife. Cut into 5 bars then cover with cling film and refirgerate them for a couple of hours.
I then wrap each individually in cling film and pop back in the fridge.

They’ll keep for a few days without any problem. Sounds cheesy – but we’ve never had to wait that long to find out.