SUGAR-FREE, ANTIOXIDANT-RICH SANGRIA

On those special occasions when you want to enjoy a more healthy celebratory drink, sangria provides a fun and fruity alcoholic beverage based on red wine, which is rich in antioxidants. With homemade sangria you can also avoid added sugar, as the fresh orange juice and fruits are generally enough to provide sweetness.

Ingredients

1 bottle of organic, fruity red wine

Juice of one organic orange

5 organic strawberries, rinsed and sliced thinly

1/2 cup of fresh blueberries

Squeeze of lemon

1 cinnamon stick

6 ice cubes

Extra orange and lemon slices

1. Add all ingredients in a large glass jug and place in the fridge for one to two hours.

2. Give the jug a gentle stir, pour into wine glasses with a few pieces of fruit in each and enjoy!

GLUTEN-FREE, WHEAT-FREE, CARB-FREE SPAGHETTI BOLOGNESE

If you’re a spaghetti bolognese fan but not so keen on the idea of a bloated stomach full of pasta – you will love this recipe! By swapping spaghetti for zucchini spirals, you get to avoid the post-pasta bloat/fatigue AND nourish your body with nutrient-rich greens! It’s also great for paleo lovers, for those with gluten intolerance, for diabetics avoiding high-glycemic foods or for anyone wanting to steer clear of the harsh chemical herbicides commonly used in wheat farming. Best of all, this recipe is a win-win: your body will thank you and your taste buds will be pleasantly surprised!

Ingredients (serves 4)

5 large organic zucchini, rinsed

1 tbsp organic butter

Splash of extra virgin olive oil

1 brown onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

500g organic mince

4 tbsp tomato paste

1 red capsicum, chopped

½ tsp dried chilli

1 heaped tsp mixed dried herbs

700g passata

Splash of organic red wine

10 pitted olives

1 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Fresh basil for serving

For the spaghetti:

You have two options when making zucchini spaghetti:

  1. Use a spiral peeler for long thin spirals (which you can lightly fry in 1 tsp of butter or leave raw).

OR

  1. If you don’t have a peeler, slice the zucchini lengthways into very thin strips then pan-fry in 1 tsp of butter on high heat for 2-3 minutes until just softened.

(I made this recipe while staying with family and had no peeler with me so used the slicing option – it was still delicious!)

For the sauce:

  1. Fry onion in butter and oil until softened.
  2. Add mince and stir until cooked through and browned.
  3. Add tomato paste, garlic, capsicum, olives, chilli and dried herbs and stir through.
  4. Add passata, a splash of red wine and season with sea salt and pepper.
  5. Bring to the boil then simmer for half an hour. If mixture begins to dry out, add a little water.

Serving:

  1. Divide zucchini spirals evenly onto 4 serving plates.
  2. Top with sauce, parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
  3. Enjoy!

Note: zucchini pasta also lends itself very well to a pesto sauce, for all the vegetarians out there!

A SIMPLE, DELICIOUS WAY TO EAT SARDINES AND GET YOUR OMEGA-3S (MBG FEATURE)

As a naturopath and research nutritionist, I’m always searching for new and exciting ways to fuel up on nutrient-dense foods. Heavenly mouthfuls of buttery fish and creamy goat’s cheese wrapped in a refreshing romaine lettuce leaf not only creates a divine tasting dish, it’s also super nutritious and incredibly quick to make.

Unlike most fish, sardines are low in contaminants due to their position further down the food chain. They are also super high in omega-3 fats, which I recommend in my clinic for all sorts of conditions from skin problems to depression. Studies on the potential health benefits of omega-3 fats are endless.

Despite their unique health benefits, omega-3 fats are not consumed in sufficient amounts by most individuals in the Western world. So I’m making my contribution by encouraging more delicious sardine specialities!

Ingredients (serves 1)

  • 1 tablespoon organic butter or ghee
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 can of unflavoured sardines
  • 50g of goat’s cheese, cubed
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ cup of walnuts
  • 2-3 romaine lettuce leaves
  • squeeze of lemon/lime
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme

Method

1. Fry garlic in butter/ghee and oregano on medium heat. Place sardines gently in the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes.

2. Scatter goat’s cheese over the top and cook for another minute, being careful not to stir too much so the goat’s cheese melts but remains intact. Lightly season with sea salt and pepper.

3. To serve, lay 2-3 romaine lettuce leaves on top of each other on a plate. Top with sardines and goat’s cheese and a squeeze of lemon or lime. Scatter walnuts on top, plus a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of fresh thyme. To enjoy as a wrap, fold the bottom edges of the lettuce in, followed by the two sides.

food pic

As featured on MindBodyGreen: [http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-17687/a-simple-delicious-way-to-eat-sardines-get-your-omega-3s.html]

GLUTEN-FREE, SUGAR-FREE, DAIRY-FREE DIP FOR THE FESTIVE SEASON

Whenever I make this dip for family or friends it’s a big hit and everyone is always surprised to learn that the ingredients are actually healthy! Store-bought dips are usually littered with nasties like trans fats, sugar, preservatives, flavours and colouring. Making your own is ridiculously easy – throw all the ingredients in a food processor and it’s done! This dip is packed with protein, vitamin C, antioxidants, healthy fats and immune boosting nutrients.

1 red capsicum (slice out the seeds)

½ cup almonds

1 clove garlic, peeled

1 tbsp organic apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp sugar-free tomato paste

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Pinch of sea salt and pepper

Optional: fresh herbs for serving

  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor and mix until smooth.
  2. Scoop into a serving bowl and sprinkle with fresh herbs.
  3. Serve with vegetable sticks, organic corn chips or spread it out to form a bed for meat, chicken or fish dishes.

Happy holidays!!!

GUILT-FREE CHOC CHIA XMAS PUDDING

If you’re looking for an easy, healthy, delicious dessert that you can whip up in seconds this holiday season, I’ve got the perfect recipe for you! With just four natural ingredients, this pudding avoids all the nasty artificial additives, sweeteners and preservatives in most store-bought desserts plus it’s sugar-free, gluten-free and dairy-free! Chia seeds are a fantastic source of fibre, protein, omega-3 fats, minerals and antioxidants. Why not get your nutrients AND an irresistible dessert all in one?

3/4 cup chia seeds

4 cups light coconut milk

3 tbsp cacao powder

Pinch of stevia extract or 1/2 cup rice malt syrup

Topping: cacao nibs, coconut yoghurt and/or berries

1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and stir thoroughly until mixture is smooth with no lumps.

2. Place bowl in the fridge for one hour then scoop into shallow glasses.

3. Decorate with topping of your choice (I use either cacao nibs, coconut yoghurt, fresh berries or I make a warm berry sauce) and enjoy!

SUCCULENT CHICKEN ON CREAMY PEA MASH

Fast, healthy and tasty are my non-negotiables when it comes to cooking mid-week dinners and this recipe is one of my absolute favourites. If you want melt-in-your-mouth chicken and the creamiest pea mash you’ve ever tasted, be sure to give this meal a try! It also has you covered nutritionally – with lean protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and no nasties whatsoever!

Succulent chicken on creamy pea mash (serves 2-4)

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp coconut oil

2 organic chicken breasts

2 tbsp organic tamari sauce

Sea salt and pepper

500g frozen peas, thawed

Lemon slices for serving

Handful of fresh chives

  1. Place peas in a deep pot on the stove at high heat, cover with water and boil for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Turn heat off, strain peas and set aside.
  3. With a sharp knife, slice each chicken breast through the midsection (lengthways) to create 4 thinner chicken breast pieces.
  4. Place baking paper over the chicken pieces and thump them softly with your fist to flatten them further.
  5. Throw baking paper away and sprinkle a pinch of sea salt, pepper and a drizzle of tamari sauce over each breast.
  6. Place a large flat pan on the stove at medium high heat and add coconut oil.
  7. Once oil is sizzling slightly, add chicken breasts and cook on each side for approximately 2-3 minutes or until browned.
  8. While waiting for the chicken to cook, place peas, garlic and olive oil in a food processor with a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper.
  9. Process until smooth then form a bed of pea mash on each serving plate.
  10. Top the pea mash with the chicken breasts and add a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of fresh chives over the top.
  11. Enjoy your super healthy, quick and tasty meal!

NOURISHING SEAFOOD BROTH

Whether you’re feeling rundown, over-worked, stressed out or just in need of some nutritional nourishment, this broth will satisfy all your needs. The term ‘broth’ may not sound overly appealing but it’s really more of a light soup/laksa that compels you to audibly sigh in satisfaction after your first sip. The ingredients are packed with nutrition but somehow it feels more like comfort food than ‘health food’.

Here are some more reasons to love this broth:

*It’s SUPER hydrating – not only due to the liquid itself but also from the celery (rich in potassium) and the natural salt (rich in hydrating minerals). A hydrated body means happy cells, more energy, no headaches and a general feeling of wellness.

*It contains the nutritional power of sardines – and before you run away in fear of their strong flavour, I can assure you the sardine taste is muted due to the other ingredients in the broth, so the end result is more seafood-y than sardine-y. Sardines are one of the richest sources of the anti-inflammatory and disease-fighting omega-3 fats, they’re packed with protein, they provide a valuable source of calcium and since sardines are a smaller fish they come without the risk of mercury contamination.

*It avoids artificial stock – take a look at the ingredients list in your stock cubes or liquid next time you’re cooking – it’s not a pretty site. Most stocks contain enough sugars and artificial additives to qualify as junk food. Often I will make my own stock but in this dish I’ve used ‘stock type’ ingredients and allowed them to simmer – with a super tasty result!

*The fennel seeds provide such warmth, sweetness and depth of flavour that complements the sardines perfectly!

 Nourishing seafood broth (serves 2)

2 tbsp coconut oil (you could also use organic butter or ghee)

5 brown onions, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup chopped celery

¼ cup fennel seeds

2 tbsp dried herbs

2 tbsp capers

350g canned sardines

1.5 litres of filtered water

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Juice of half a lemon

  1. Place a large stockpot or saucepan on medium-low heat and fry onions, garlic, celery, fennel seeds and herbs in coconut oil, adding a dash of water if pan becomes dry.
  2. Once onions have softened, add capers and sardines and stir gently.
  3. Add water, sea salt and pepper, then allow to bubble slightly and bring heat down to simmer with lid on for around 15-20 minutes.
  4. Taste test and add extra sea salt if required, then squeeze in lemon juice and enjoy!

NO FUSS CHOCOLATE QUINOA CAKE

There’s only one thing better than chocolate cake – that’s chocolate cake packed with nutrients and free from refined sugar, flour and inflammatory oils! Quinoa is rich in fibre, minerals and protein and adds a fluffy chewiness to this cake, while cacao provides a delicious chocolate flavour naturally.

I love quick and easy recipes and this choc quinoa cake is exactly that. Being the health nut that I am, I had all these ingredients on hand to experiment with, however if you don’t stock some of the more uncommon ingredients like coconut sugar or stevia you can easily find them at your local health food/wholefoods store. This cake takes 5 minutes to whip up – I generally have cooked quinoa in the fridge ready to play with but if you need to cook it up this only adds around 10 minutes to your prep time.

Ingredients:

4 organic eggs

½ cup almond milk

1/2 tsp stevia extract

½ cup coconut oil

½ cup rice malt syrup

2 cups cooked quinoa

½ cup coconut sugar

¾ cup cacao powder

Pinch of sea salt

1 flattened tsp baking soda, sifted

1 cup frozen blueberries (thawed and heated slightly) for serving

  1. Turn oven to 170 degrees celsius (340 fahrenheit)
  2. In a food processor, mix together the first 6 ingredients thoroughly.
  3. Add remaining ingredients (except blueberries) and pulse for just a few seconds.
  4. Line a cake tin with baking paper then pour in the cake batter.
  5. Cook for 40 minutes then serve with berries and their natural juice. Enjoy!

EASY LEEK AND GOAT’S CHEESE FRITTATA WITH ZUCCHINI FLOWERS

I’m now into my second week here on coast of Italy and with so much fresh produce at our fingertips we’ve been getting busy in the kitchen experimenting with ingredients for lunch and dinner. This is one of my favourite things to do on holiday – maybe it’s a sign that I’m getting old but I’m usually happiest when cooking (and eating!) beautiful organic ingredients in the comfort of my home, even if my ‘home’ is temporarily across the other side of the world! Of course we’ve also been enjoying eating out and being inspired by authentic local specialties, but for me there’s nothing more inspirational than freshly picked produce.

I’ve been a little obsessed with the zucchini that are in season at the moment and therefore vibrant and overflowing at the local grocery store. They come with their flowers still attached (something I miss out on back home) and I’ve been having fun experimenting with different ways to cook them. Usually they are stuffed and fried but I wanted to try something different (and avoid frying) so I decided to use the leeks (that were harvested the same day I bought them) and locally made goat’s cheese that I had bought to create the below recipe. I hope you like it!

Ingredients

  • Splash of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp organic butter
  • 1 tsp mixed dried herbs
  • 1-2 leeks, roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 4-5 zucchini flowers, rinsed
  • 4 organic eggs
  • 100g goat’s cheese, cubed
  • Fresh rocket for serving

 Method

1. In a flat fry pan cook all ingredients (except eggs and cheese) on medium heat in butter and a dash of olive oil until softened.

2. Sprinkle goat’s cheese evenly throughout the vegetables and allow to melt slightly.

3. Season with sea salt and pepper.

4. Whisk eggs gently in a bowl then pour into the pan, ensuring all vegetables are covered.

5. Turn heat down to medium-low then cover pan with a lid and leave to cook for roughly 10 minutes.

6. Cut into slices, add extra seasoning if required and a side of fresh rocket drizzled with olive oil. Enjoy!

HEALTHY HOT CHOCOLATE

This healthy, sugar-free hot chocolate recipe will have you wondering why you ever bought the artificial kind when homemade versions are so easy and taste so good! To give you an idea just how bad the commercial stuff is, take a look at the ingredients list of an instant hot chocolate mix from a leading chocolate brand:

If you’re fan of vegetable fat, vegetable oil, artificial flavours,anti-caking agents, dried glucose syrup, stabilisers and bucket-loads of sugar, then this is the one for you! OR if you’d prefer to sip on something that’s actually going to rejuvenate rather than pollute your body, then give my healthy hot chocolate recipe a go!

Ingredients: (serves 1)

1 cup organic, light coconut milk (or sugar-free milk of your choice)

1 tbsp raw cacao powder

Pinch of stevia powder (start small and add more if you prefer it sweeter)

Optional: pinch of sea salt (to bring out the chocolate flavour) and cinnamon (stabilises blood sugar)

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan over the stove until heated, pour into a mug and enjoy!

Note: for a more hydrating version, add half water and half milk