Lentil Beetroot + Goats Cheese Salad

lentil beetroot + goats cheese salad

I’m sitting in one of my favourite local cafe’s with little Mikaela Mae strapped to my chest in a Moby wrap (it’s a genious invention this wrap!). This place is my favourite spot to sit and work from and I’m excited that I get to squeeze in another morning here being a little productive on the blog.

During these first two weeks with our baby I have managed to be surprisingly productive in the kitchen. I find that being organised and having pre prepped salads and other meals ready in the fridge is key to making healthy meals – quickly and sometimes one handedly.

A good friend of mine recently came to visit and brought some salads from one of the local Chelsea cafés. That salad is what inspired this particular blog post… It was amazing and I instantly fell in love with the combination of beets, soft goats cheese & roasted hazelnuts. I have since successfully replicated my own version and love serving this as either a small appetiser or as a main dish on a big bed of greens with grilled chicken or other protein.

Lentil Beetroot + Goats Cheese Salad
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Recipe type: Salad
Author:
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Salad
  • 300 gm cooked beets (about 3 medium sized beets), diced
  • 2 cups cooked black lentils (puy or beluga lentils)
  • 60 gm (2 oz) soft goats cheese
  • 2 handfuls rocket leaves
  • 60 gm (2 oz) roasted hazelnuts, halved
  • balsamic glaze
Vinaigrette
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp sun dried tomato paste
Instructions
  1. Combine all the ingredients for the vinaigrette in a bowl and whisk together until smooth.
  2. Add cooked lentils and diced beets and stir with a spoon until the vinaigrette dressing is well distributed.
  3. Distribute a bed of rocket leaves on four plates and add a couple of spoonfuls of lentil + beet salad on top.
  4. Add goats cheese and roasted hazelnuts and drizzle a little balsamic glaze over the salad before serving.

About the ingredients…

I picked up some fresh beets at our local farmers market last weekend and roasted them in the oven with a bit of salt until they were tender (you can steam them as well). Beets are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fibre, and essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas). Beets also have natural anti-inflammatory properties and help aid the body’s natural detoxification processes.

When cooking with lentils, I always go for puy or beluga lentils cooked al dente (about 20 mins) to avoid them getting mushy. I simply cook the lentils in boiling water with a 1/2 tsp of salt added to give them a bit of flavour. Nutritionally black lentils are great as they are rich in anthocyanins – the same powerful antioxidants found in red wine and dark berries, such as blue­berries & blackberries. Anthocyanins help protect against free-radical cell damage and protect the body from diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Black lentils pack an impressive amount of vitamins, minerals and plant protein (1/2 cup contains 24 gm protein!) and are also high in fibre with all of 18 grams per 1/2 cup - over half the daily recommended fibre intake.  

lentil beetroot + goats cheese salad

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Coconut + Cinnamon Raisin Bread

coconut bread 2

This coconut + cinnamon raisin bread is absolutely incredible and I’m so excited to share this healthy treat with you all. But first, let me introduce my new little babe. Exactly a week ago, tuesday July 8th, we welcomed our little daughter, Mikaela Mae, into the world. She is an absolute dream and I just can’t get enough of her. The experience of having a healthy little babe and being with her from the moment she was born has been incredible and something we never experienced with our son, who was born with a pneumothorax (hole in the lung), which put him in the intensive care unit for the entire first week. Thankfully this hole healed within 36 hours and he’s been healthy ever since (praise God!).

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Since returning home I have had my hands full… literally! Two kids is no joke.. especially when one of them is a 2 year old toddler who is totally rad and full of energy all. day. long! But when they both sleep… (ah, that moment) I love by getting busy in the kitchen – and this coconut + cinnamon raisin bread is one of my new favourite things.

I wanted something grain free with plenty of healthy fats (coconut oil is great for breastfeeding), fibre and flavour to keep me full during the busy morning hours where I have little time to prep meals for myself. This loaf is sweetened naturally with bananas and is rich in soluble fibre from the coconut flour and omega rich chia seeds, which add great moisture and improve digestion & overall wellbeing.

Bananas are a great energy food and packed with the mineral potassium which helps maintain normal blood pressure and heart function. I love baking with bananas as they addd great moisture and sweetness, which means you can reduce the amount of oil and sweetener considerably without compromising on taste and texture.

coconut bread 3

 

Coconut + Cinnamon Raisin Bread
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Recipe type: Bread
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: makes 12 slices
Ingredients
  • 300 gm (about 3 medium sized bananas) ripe bananas (weight is without peel)
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) virgin coconut oil
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) coconut or almond milk
  • 4 large organic free range eggs
  • ½ cup (120 ml) coconut flour
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 45 gm (1½ oz) raisins
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 150°C (300° F).
  2. Combine bananas, coconut oil, milk and eggs in a blender and mix until smooth (alternative you can do this by hand).
  3. In a separate bowl combine all the dry ingredients - coconut flour, chia seeds, cinnamon, baking powder, raisins and salt and mix together with a spoon.
  4. Combine the wet mixture into the dry slowly and combine well with a spoon until smooth.
  5. Leave for 5 mins to allow the chia seeds and coconut flour to absorb some of the moisture.
  6. Lightly oil a loaf tin and then line with non stick parchment paper - (the size of my tin was 24cm x 12cm).
  7. Spoon bread batter into the loaf tin and decorate with coconut flakes or other nuts (optional)
  8. Bake for 50-60 minutes - until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. (If over browning you can cover the top with foil).
  9. Remove the loaf from oven and allow to cool before removing from loaf tin.
  10. Serve warm topped with ricotta and jam, nut butter, honey or simply on its own.
  11. Keeps well for up to a week in an air tight container in the fridge. Freezes well.

coconut bread

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Kale Salad With Mango Vinaigrette

kale salad with mango vinaigrette

I’m having a good moment of feeling thankful as I’m sitting with my computer outside a local little cafe on a sunny afternoon. Just soaking in the busyness of the city while brainstorming new ideas to share here on the blog.

One of my favourite things of late has been this summery kale salad with mango. Particularly the mango vinaigrette it is dressed with, which has me excited about salads all day long. As my belly have expanded to something like its max capacity during these final weeks of my pregnancy, I am not one for big meals. So this salad has been amazing and just hits the spot every time.

The vinaigrette is super fresh and perfect for any light salad. I’ve had it mostly with kale but you can use it to dress any type of leafy greens of your preference. It is a simple combination of fresh mango, apple cider vinegar, garlic and a little olive oil and it is seriously delicious. The entire salad is quick and easy to throw together and is great served with some protein such as feta cheese or grilled fish or chicken.

Kale Health Benefits

Kale is super filling and contains an amazing variety of antioxidants, including a potent dose of the antioxidant vitamins: C, A & E. All these fight the damaging effects of free radicals and help prevent oxidative damage and ageing to our cells – including our skin cells. Kale is also high in calcium, magnesium, vitamin K and vitamin B6 and contains more iron than beef when comparing kcalorie to kcalorie!

Kale is also a powerful detox food and effectively supports the functioning of our liver and its ability to transport toxins and other chemicals out of the body. The reason kale helps promote detox activity is attributed to its high levels of sulphur and fiber as well as substances called isothiocyanates. These isothiocyanates regulate and boost detoxification activity in our cells, supporting both phase I & phase II detoxification processes.

For those of you who might struggle to enjoy kale, I dare you to try this salad! If you find the texture of kale too coarse, try massaging it with a bit of olive oil before serving it as this helps soften the texture a lot. Simply rub it with olive oil for a minute or two and then dress with the mango vinaigrette.

kale salad with mango vinaigrette

Kale Salad With Mango Vinaigrette
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Recipe type: Salad
Author:
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Salad
  • 4 cups curly kale, chopped
  • 1 Spanish onion, chopped
  • ½ cup mango, cubed
  • ¼ cup toasted sunflower seeds (optional)
Mango Vinaigrette
  • ½ cup mango
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove
Instructions
  1. Wash and chop the kale and place in a large bowl. Chop Spanish onion into thin strips and combine with the kale. Mix well.
  2. Place all the ingredients for the mango vinaigrette in a food processor or high speed blender and blend until completely smooth. Add more salt & pepper to taste if needed.
  3. Pour some of the mango vinaigrette over the kale salad and combine well with your hands.
  4. Top off the salad with fresh mango pieces and roasted sunflower seeds.
  5. Leave in fridge to chill for 10 and add a little cracked pepper before serving.

Since we will be having our baby any time now, I will be posting less frequently to enjoy my family and properly welcome our new little daughter into the world. I will do my best to respond to your comments and blog-related emails on a regular basis so don’t hesitate to reach out.

x Regina

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Nutty Paleo Granola

nutty paleo granola

We’ve been lapping up some pretty gorgeous summer weather here in London the past week or so. I mean, nothing beats waking up and opening the windows to a fresh sunny morning! With the change in weather I’ve been loving a veggie smoothie first thing in the morning, followed by a later breakfast consisting of this new grain free granola topped with Greek yogurt or coconut milk. I’m savouring these last weeks of relaxing mornings before baby girl arrives… I’m sure there will be a lot less time for making fresh smoothies and lounging around with a bowl of granola when she’s here. If my memory serves me right, it’ll look more like eating breakfast while taking a shower at the same time.

There are so many good, yet so bad-for-you varieties of granola out there. Many of them (including a lot of the marketed “healthy” ones) are pretty much sugar – or worse yet, high fructose corn syrup – with a side of oats, some dried fruit and maybe a couple of nuts – if you’re lucky.

This granola consists primarily of a mix of chopped nuts, seeds and coconut flakes and is completely free of sugar and grains. It is crunchy and a nourishing and filling alternative to store-bought granolas and is rich in healthy fats and plant-based protein, which will keep you satisfied all morning. I have already made a double batch to make sure I have a quick and healthy breakfast and/or snack option on hand for those first weeks with a new baby. If you’re one to travel a lot with work, this granola also makes a great on-the-go snack on its own or drizzled over one of those small yogurt tubs you can get anywhere.

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Ways To Serve…

  • Serve with unsweetened Organic Greek yogurt or coconut yogurt and fresh fruit
  • Serve with chilled coconut or almond milk
  • Enjoy it on its own as a healthy on-the-go snack
  • Sprinkle over blueberries or peaches and bake for a simple & healthy crumble
  • Use as topping for baked apple. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve with a little yogurt or fresh cream

Nutty Paleo Granola
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Recipe type: Breakfast
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 1½ cups
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup chopped hazelnuts
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup almond flakes
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tsp extra virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 4-5 drops liquid stevia or 1 tbsp natural sweetener (honey, coconut sugar, xylitol etc.)
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean or extract
Instructions
  1. Set oven to 150 C (300 F).
  2. Combine all the nuts, seeds and coconut in a bowl and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs white, vanilla bean/extract, coconut oil, sea salt and stevia/honey until it becomes slightly fluffy.
  4. Pour egg white and coconut oil mixture over the dry ingredients and mix well (don't be afraid to use your hands to make sure all the nut mixture is covered.
  5. Spread out the granola mixture in a semi thin layer on a piece of non stick parchment (note: it is important that the mixture is somewhat even in thickness as this will prevent certain areas from burning while other parts coming out too soft).
  6. Place in the middle of the oven and bake at 150 C for 7-10 minutes until the granola is golden brown and fragrant.
  7. Remove from oven and turn the granola over to ensure all of it gets cooked.
  8. Bake for another 4-7 minutes until all the granola is golden brown in colour. Make sure to keep a close eye on it during the last minutes to prevent it from overcooking.
  9. Remove from oven again and leave to cool completely before breaking apart the larger pieces of granola to the size you want.
  10. Store in an airtight container.

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