SUPER FOODS

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There is a big hype about super foods at the moment, well I am lying there has always been! But the market is growing, brands are competing and people are on an endless mission to uncovering that big fat secret of eternal HEALTH.

I am going to guide you through the properties and benefits of the hyped super-foods on the market today, along with a user-friendly yummy recipe to go along. But I also want to take you on a journey on my personal favorites that are readily available and wont break the bank. My big belief is that health should not cost much, be easy and quick. So with those three selling points lets start this series of the hyped up Super-foods and work our way down to my favorites!

Lets start off with Chia Seeds. 

Chia seeds are tiny black seeds from the plant salvia hispanica which is related to the mint. This plant grows natively in South America. Chia seeds were an important food for the Aztecs and Mayans back in the day. They prized them for their ability to provide sustainable energy in fact, “chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength. Despite their ancient history as a dietary staple, only recently did chia seeds become recognised as a modern day superfood. In the past few years, they have exploded in popularity and are now consumed by health conscious people all over the world.

To sum it up, despite their tiny size, chia seeds are among the most nutritious foods on the planet. They are loaded with fiber, protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and various micronutrients.

At the Olive Retreat we have a little hidden away station that we like to call “the poop station” this is where we serve little aids that help your body along to get rid of nasties. Chia seeds are particularly good and are amongst the ingredients!

Enough about that, here is a super easy, tasty, Chia recipe.

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Overnight CHIA Pudding Makes 1-2 portions

  • 2 tbs of Chia seeds
  • 200 grams of almond milk (click my version)
  • Pinch of vanilla bean (I like to use the powder, the real powder its supposed to be brown – the seeds themselves NOT THE WHITE STUFF)
  • Pinch of Morning spice mix (recipe)
  • 1 tbs Organic Raisins – non-sweetened

 

Topping

Chop up fruits of the season OR I love raspberries or blueberries

 Method

  1. In a small mixing bowl add all of your ingredients and mix well. Let it stand for 10-15 minutes and mix again. By this stage you will see that the seeds have started jellifying. That’s when you can put them in a jar or glass and stick in the fridge over night. The reason I ask that you pre-mix in a bowl is so that they jellify evenly and don’t just end up in the bottom of your jar/glass.
  2. In the morning you will see that those tiny seeds have soaked up all of that almond goodness are plump and ready to eat.
  3. Top off with your favorite fruit, arrange nicely, you deserve to have a beautiful breakfast. Remember we eat with our eyes first.

Enjoy xx

Pulses, Beans, Chickpeas and Lentils…

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When going on to a more plant-based diet you enter a world of ingredients that to many are unknown or known to be tasteless and boring. Take pulses for example. They don’t have a great reputation on taste, are known to give gas and take a long time to cook. Hopefully you will find some inspiration to make your beans taste good!

First of all you have to choose weather you want to sprout or cook your pulses. Personally I prefer cooking mine but we have realized when sprouting they don’t seem to make you as gassy (more on this here) and HERE.

I like to soak all pulses over night, even if I am using easy-to-cook lentils. I put them in a visible place in the kitchen and whenever I pass by I check on them. If water is dirty, wash, rinse and add new water.

Next day just boil your BEANS! I use a pressure cooker. It is easy and only takes 10 minutes to cook a large amount! Yes a large amount. When doing this I choose 3-4 types of pulses, so say chickpeas, butterbeans, lentils and brown beans. I soak, pre-cook them, portion them (one portion enough for 4 people so say 200-300 grams) and then I freeze them. This way I always have pulses available and I know that they are not filled with nasty’s which most of the pre-cooked packaged stuff is. They are a great source of protein and when used/cooked well a great addition to any meal.

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Butter Bean Paste with a caramelised LEEK topping (our clients favourite)

  • 300 grams of Pre-cooked butter beans
  • 1 Squeezed Lemon
  • 1 tbs of Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Splash of hot water

 

Topping

  • 1 big leek (with green tops and all)
  • Olive oil
  • 1tsp Sweet paprika powder
  • Pinch of Chilli
  • Splash of agave
  • Salt & pepper

 

Method:

  1. Whizz beans, lemon juice, olive oil altogether. If it is not blending smoothly add a little bit of hot water until it blend into a fine paste. Add salt & pepper to taste.
  2. In a hot pan add a good glug of Olive oil (be generous) and your chopped leek. Its important you use the whole leek (all of the green) that is where all the nutrients are hiding. Cook until the leeks are softened and golden brown. Then add salt/pepper/paprika/chili and a splash of agave. The leek will naturally caramelize, when it does its done.
  3. Put bean paste in a nice bowl and top it off with the leek topping.
  4. Keeps really well in the fridge is a great “pate” topping or as an accompaniment to a meal.

Enjoy xx

Wake up your NUTS!

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Hi everyone! Yes I was supposed to blog along with my travels but guess what? Life happened! My computer decided to take a holiday at the  airport security check-in right at the start of our trip. You know what? in a way that was the best thing that could happen because it meant that I REALLY REALLY got to have a holiday! Fear not I took lots of pictures and will be posting inspired recipes and Healthy places that I think everyone should visit.

When I got home I had to start off with filling up an empty pantry and making some of the basics we use allot at the Retreats and personally at home. One of those things is soaking nuts/grains/pulses.

Why soak nuts, grains and seeds?

  • To remove or reduce phytic acid.
  •  To remove or reduce tannins.
  •  To neutralize the enzyme inhibitors.
  • To encourage the production of beneficial enzymes.
  • To increase the amounts of vitamins, especially B vitamins.
  • To break down gluten and make digestion easier.
  •  To make the proteins more readily available for absorption.
  •  To prevent mineral deficiencies and bone loss.
  • To help neutralize toxins in the colon and keep the colon clean.
  •  To prevent many health diseases and conditions.

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Cristina has written a great blog about why we do this HERE but I am going to give you my basic recipe and fridge staple for almond milk and what you can do with the left over pulp.

Here we go:

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ALMOND MILK

1 part pre-soaked almonds

2 parts Water ( I like my almond milk milky, you can use more water if you like. 3 parts)

1 tsp of agave

1 pinch of salt

Half a vanilla pod (the leftover stalk I put in a jar of porridge oats or anything that can benefit from the delicious  smell of vanilla)

Method:

 

Blend all the ingredients together in a blender until you start getting a milky texture. Use a sieve to separate the pulp from the milk. I like using a glass jar or bottle to store the milk its better than plastic and keeps better in the fridge.

What do you do with the pulp? I dehydrate mine to make almond flour, use in a cake or make little chocolate balls covered in sesame seeds!

You can make so many different milks don’t limit yourself to almonds. There is hazelnut, sunflower and brazil nut to name a few of my favourites.

enjoy xx

 

Travelling adventures, recipes along the way and much more

I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you are going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you. – C JoyBell C

During the next month I will be posting from travels with recipes, inspirations and lots of FOOD! Starting off with the recipe of this mornings sweet smoothie.

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  • Hazelnut milk
  • Strawberries
  • Frozen banana – (I always keep peeled frozen bananas in the freezer, if over-ripe even better because they are so SWEET)
  • Vanilla – (i use half a pod)

Mix all ingredients in a blender & Sprinkle of Hemp seeds on top

Enjoy and have an amazing day

xx

Cherry Almond & Orange Cake – Gluten free

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Made this Cherry Almond & Orange cake the other day inspired by the lovely lagallette its lovely to have on its own or in combo with for example breakfast like I did! I made some changes to the original recipe to fit gluten-free peeps and also used cherries because they were in season.

Ingredients

1 dl almond flour

2 dl cup buckwheat flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cardamom

1 dl coconut oil, melted

2/3 dl almond milk

2/3 dl Agave syrop

1/3 dl orange juice

Zest of 1 orange

2 tbsp Orange Water

1 cup cherries – used them because they are in season, but you can use plums, raspberries, peaches – your imagination is the limit!

Method:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  • I use good durable silicone cake moulds – that way you don’t have to grease proof tins or worry about the cake sticking.
  • In a large bowl, combine the almond, buckwheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground cardamom and orange zest. Set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond milk, melted coconut oil, agave syrup, orange juice and orange water combine.
  • Mix the ‘wet’ mixture with the ‘dry’ mixture until smooth.
  • Pour the batter into the mould (20cm) smoothing all the way out to the edges before putting your cherrys on the batter and pressing into the cake.
  • Bake for 30-35 min or until the centre of the cake springs back to the touch.

Voila Done,

Let it cool and enjoy.

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x

Eating HEALTHY while Travelling

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I have just come back from a quick three day trip that all of sudden reminded me of how tricky it can be to eat healthy while travelling. Now the question is: Is it that tricky or do we just make the wrong choices and think ahhh just this once. I have made it a habit of mine to try and spot healthy options wherever I go (airports, supermarkets, restaurants, countries, cities 🙂 etc etc) So that if the question or argument ever arises I am loaded with options!

When I travel from home to somewhere I always prepare what I would like to call a “picnic”. This can consist of:

Bread (Olive Retreat Bread) with a nut butter, banana or apple slices.

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Porridge in a little container with a nut milk and whatever fruit I have at home. Yes it will be cold when I eat it BUT it tastes great with my delicious add-ons (nuts, seeds, dry fruit, cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins, plums) . I put it in a small container with a good  screw lid on.

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Or left overs – I have many times made something rice based for dinner the night before that can easily be eaten from a small container anywhere.

If this is all to complicated then just take nuts, seeds and fruit. You can eat it anywhere it doesn’t make a mess and it keeps you full until you get  to your destination.

Now if it is the other way around and you are not travelling from home then you have to make the right choices.

Choose the apple over the ham & cheese sandwich. The bag of mixed nuts over the donut. The herbal tea over the hot chocolate laced with cream & sugar, you get the point. At the end of the day its up to you to make the right choice of what to fuel your body with.

This might seem a bit boring to some but when you become healthy it is astonishing to see how important FOOD becomes.

To be honest the choices are getting bigger and wider. Most places (shops, airports, supermarkets, etc) have options available that are healthy. Many of the big chains have added on healthier additions to their menus and it seems that the world has gone Quinoa CRAZY!

Quick Eating tips while travelling (some of these are pretty self explanatory)

  • Bring your own food (see above). Bringing your own food means you are in control of what you are eating.  You can prepare something that you like, is healthy and also tasty.

 

  • Eat before you leave – yes plan ahead. Travel is usually stress-full so by the time you show up to the airport you are SUPER hungry and more likely to make the wrong choices.

 

  • Pack snacks – nuts, seeds, dried fruit &  fresh fruit.

 

  • Drink lots of water, it combats hunger and keeps you hydrated AND you can buy it from anywhere!

 

  • Be hungry – There is nothing wrong with being a bit hungry for a few hours. In our society we seldom feel real hunger or know what being hungry is all about. Save your appetite for when you reach your destination or somewhere you can get a descent meal and make it count. Instead of keeping hunger at bay by filling your body with rubbish.

 

  • Eat mindfully – Most often the wrong choices are made under stress. So in the case of travelling preparation is key. Being on time, packing  and general knowledge will make the journey a smooth operation. Trust me it makes a HUGE difference.

These are just my thoughts and experiences being a pretty rigid traveller myself and for the past few years a “healthy one”.

Malaga airport has now even got gluten free, healthy, organic vending machines. So it looks like things are slowly changing, question is now that there is a clear choice. What is yours?

xx