All year round healthy foods for everyone!
We are so often bombarded with contrasting information regarding foods and drinks we should or shouldn’t be consuming, however once things are made simpler and we get rid of some of the complicated ingredients and recipes, and take it back to basics with some simple ingredients and foods that are fairly easily accessible.
It’s no secret that coconut oil and well, everything coconut, is the what everyone is going mad for! There are so many brilliant uses for this lovely nut including coconut milk, cream, water, oil and the meat itself. Coconut holds many beauty properties, doing wonders for your skin in turn, and absolutely creates the most deliciously healthy flavour when used in cooking. Coconut cream is brilliant for baking, while coconut water is filled with electrolytes, hydrating you no end, and coconut milk is a wonderful alternative to cow’s milk. Try Chi coconut oil, 100% organic, raw and cold pressed!
OK, so we all know that including greens in our diet is good for us, however it’s not necessary for you to sit with a bowl of spinach and expect to thoroughly enjoy munching your way through it. There are so many ways you can include greens in your daily diet, in pasta sauces, casseroles, in a smoothie, or even just stripping things back to basics and enjoying them as part of a colourful salad, this is one of the most important ways for anyone who refrains from eating meat and fish to get in a good source of protein in their diet. Try Giving Tree broccoli crisps as toppings for salads and soups as well as a healthy and nutritious on the go snack!
Just as raw chocolate is brilliant for upping your antioxidant intake, so are the berry family. They are best when they are completely ripe and in season, however if you buy the frozen kind from any local supermarket, they make for a fantastic ingredient within a morning smoothie, on top of a breakfast bowl or even just on their own. Don't forget to try our Strawberry crisps from the Giving Tree which make amazing toppings for yoghurt, cereal, porridge and so much more! mmm!
Oats are a brilliant way of consuming something delicious that will give you an extremely slow release of energy, meaning that it will keep you going for hours. They are so versatile by nature within recipes too, going from being able to be ground into a flour, as the nation’s favourite brekkie, porridge or as a substitute in many baking recipes. They work really well with bananas in smoothies as well, and are guaranteed to keep you going right through until lunch.
Now for people who love a caffeine fix but want it without the sugary additions usually included in coffee shop concoctions, or for those who simply want something a little different, raw chocolate is a brilliant way to have this fix minus the nasties that come in normal chocolate bars. This form of chocolate is extremely high in antioxidants and is a brilliant way of getting your caffeine fix, totally naturally! There are so many different bars on the market that there will undoubtedly be a flavour that will take your fancy.
Nuts create much controversy for many due to their high calorie content, however when portion control comes into play, the most important thing to do is know when to eat them, how to eat them and to remember that when food is in its’ rawest form, like nuts generally are, they are full of protein and healthy fats, which are both essential for maintaining our energy levels and giving us a gorgeously envious glow. If having them on their own just isn’t on the agenda though, combining them with dates to create a raw bar, or using them in a flour are all ways of including them in your diet without having to sit down with a bag of almonds.
With all the latest health gadgets on the market, from the Spiralizer to the Nutribullet, some of the old favourites can be forgotten! The slow cooker is one of those staple pieces of equipment that can benefit you in so many ways - for the health conscious, busy mums and just those of you that love locking in flavour, everyone should invest in one (at such budget prices too!)
Why the slow cooker?
How the slow cooker can help: Cooking at home is a great first step in trying to get your health eating under control. Since slow–cooked food relies on long, moisture-rich cooking, you can use less oil than if you were cooking with dry heat in the oven or on the stove. Using your slow cooker to make dinner means that dinner is ready when you get in the door—no more hungrily snacking on other food while preparing dinner.
Using a slow cooker can save you major time preparing meals. By prepping ingredients and putting them in the pot before you leave for work in the morning, you know that when you come home dinner will be waiting. Bonus: Use the extra time you save and hit the gym after work.
Slow cookers lend themselves to stews and other one-pot meals that let you stretch more expensive ingredients, like meat, further. such as Pulled Pork with Caramelized Onions. Chances are a slow-cooked meal will yield leftovers ..Bring leftovers for lunch the next day and you’ll save on lunch money too! BONUS!
Recipes to Try:
1. Slow cooker Three bean & Barley soup
- 1 tablespoon chi coconut oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 large stalk celery, diced
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 1.4l water
- 1 vegetable or chicken stock cube
- 100g pearl barley
- 100g dried black beans
- 100g dried great northern beans
- 80g dried kidney beans
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- Heat oil in a slow cooker on a medium heat. Add onion, celery and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add water, broth, barley, black beans, great northern beans, kidney beans, chili powder, cumin and oregano. Bring to a lively simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, 1 3/4 to 2 1/2 hours (adding more water, 1/2 cup at a time, if necessary or desired). Season with salt.
5 a day Vegetarian Ratatouille and cous cous - (we added a mozzarella stuffed chicken breast on the side too!)
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ½ tsp dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp chipotle paste (we used Discovery)
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- 1 small red onion, sliced into rings
- 1 pack of button mushrooms chopped roughly
- 1 can of chickpeas
- a few coriander leaves
- 1 chicken or vegetable stock cube
- splash of water
- 150g wholegrain cos cous
1. roughly chop both onions, garlic, courgettes, mushrooms and peppers into medium sized chunks
2. In your slow cooker add the coconut oil and all the chopped ingredients, stir once to coat all vegetables.
3. Leave for 10 minutes then add the chopped tomatoes, brown sugar, chickpeas and chicken stock cube and a splash of water
4. Leave to simmer for an hour.
5. Now add the cous cous to the pot and cover.
6. Meanwhile, make a fairly deep incision into the side of each chicken breast, but be sure not to cut through to the other side completely!
7. Stuff with mozzarella, add salt and pepper to the top of the breasts and roast for 30 mins in oven.
8. Serve with the cous cous medley and any other veg!
Coconut Milk rice pudding with Giving Tree Strawberries
Combine the rice, sugar and coconut milk in a large bowl. Stir well, then transfer to the slow cooker with a teaspoon of coconut oil and add the vanilla pod. Leave on a low heat in the cooker for an hour and three-quarters, stirring three or four times during cooking, until the rice is tender. There should be no golden skin on top. To keep the pudding relatively light and also dairy-free, leave it as it is. To make it a little richer and more indulgent, stir in some more coconut milk.
Serve in glasses or bowls with Giving Tree fruit crisps and extra fresh fruit too seasoned with a squirt of lime juice.
It’s Friday and the weekend is here!
I’m sure most of us will be honest enough to admit the inevitable craving for a takeaway, and the guilt that follows. Why not have a guilt free takeaway or as people are calling it a ‘Fakeaway’. This trend may well revolutionise your weekend eating, with recipes being quicker to make than a delivery, without compromising on taste, and oh yeah they’re actually healthy!
Here a just a couple of fantastic recipes to replace those devious takeaways.
One of my personal favourites! Low carb cauliflower pizza. Before you completely disregard this hold on and look at the picture………
Looks delicious right? You’ll never guess the main ingredient (hints in the name).
So what do you need to make it...... Answer - Not much!
The base includes
- 1 head of a medium cauliflower
- 60g grated mozzarella cheese
- 60g Parmesan cheese
- 1 medium egg
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- CHI Coconut oil
And for the toppings
100g of marinara sauce
100-200g of mozzarella depending how cheesy your feeling!
And whatever else you fancy really!
Pre heat the oven to 225 degrees C.
Trim stems from cauliflower, cut into chunks and throw it all in a food processer, whizz until its texture is fine (rice like).
Microwave for 4 minutes, leave to stand for 1min until cool. Ring excess water out by putting it all in a kitchen towel and squeezing (don’t hold back on this step remove as much as you can).
Add the cauliflower to the rest of the base ingredients and mix until it is of dough consistency. Evenly spread into a pizza base and place onto a pizza tray or baking tray lines with some coconut oil as not to stick. Bake the base for 10-15 minutes until the crust looks golden. Remove from the oven and add toppings baking for a further 3-5 minutes keeping an eye on it you don’t want to ruin it now!
Guilt free fries.
4 medium sweet potatoes (600g)
CHI coconut oil
1 tablespoon Garlic powder
Salt and cracked black pepper
½ tablespoon cayenne or paprika (optional)
Pre heat the oven to 225 degrees C. Wash and dry sweet potatoes, aim to cut into ¼ inch thick. (If thicker fries are preferred increase cooking time). Place cut slices into a bowl and add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil until evenly coated, add all seasoning apart from the salt to the bowl and toss again. Line a baking tray with parchment and evenly spread out avoiding overlapping place in oven for 20-25 minutes until deliciously crisp.
For an even crispier coat place the cut sweet potato in cold water for 20-30 minutes pat dry then add the coconut oil and seasonings
Last but certainly not least..........
Coconut, honey and raspberry crêpes.
Although not strictly a takeaway recipe this is for those of you with the sweet tooth craving.
4 medium eggs
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1 tablespoon melted CHI coconut oil
½ tsp of vanilla extract
18 g The giving tree freeze dried strawberries
18g the giving tree freeze dried strawberries
- for crumbling over the top
Honey as desired for topping
Add together the coconut flour and add a pinch of salt in a mixing bowl. Using a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, water, coconut oil, and vanilla extract, once mixed add bit by bit to the flour mixture whilst whisking. Once the lumps are gone leave to stand for 10 minutes.
Heat the pan brushing on more coconut oil so not to stick and add a thin layer of batter to the pan turning every few minutes until cooked to desired taste. (Once cooked crumble the freeze dried strawberries over the top with honey. Repeat this for each crepe.)
Who would have thought these drool-worthy desserts are in fact actually made up of the majority being vegetables, whole grains and tons of nutrient rich foods.
Our nation has such a sweet tooth, which is constantly growing with everywhere you go finding sugar loaded, baked goods. You can buy flapjacks, muffins, chocolate bars and so many more tasty snacks but they're generally all full of refined sugars.
Why not try DIY vegetable desserts.. Yes they sound a tad scary, but don't be put off!
They're packed full of fresh vegetables, fruit and nutrients and would pass as your favourite sweet treat, if not better! The vegetables add moisture, colour, texture and flavour to your favourite sweet treats making them irresistible.
Don't take our word for it—whip up one of these sweet treats and see for yourself!
Courgette and apple muffins - If you haven't yet tried courgette in sweet recipes, you're in for an absolute treat. Deliciously moist and packed full of wonderful nutrients!
- 12 thin strips of courgette peel
- 320g plain flour
- 3tsp baking powder
- 50g walnuts, finely chopped
- 50g raisins
- 2tsp cinnamon
- 1tsp salt
- 150g caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 150ml chi coconut oil
- 150g peeled, cored and grated apples
- 150g grated courgettes
You can't taste the courgettes in the cake, they just produce a deliciously moist sponge
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.
- Sieve the flour and baking powder together then mix with the other dry ingredients, saving a little of the sugar to sprinkle on top of the muffins.
- Mix the eggs and oil together. Add the grated apples and courgettes.
- Mix the dry and wet ingredients together without overworking them.
- Divide the mixture between the muffin moulds. Decorate each with a strip of courgette peel and a pinch of sugar.
- Cook the muffins for 20−25 minutes until they are firm and golden. Check they are cooked through with a skewer; if it comes out clean, they are done.
Chocolate Beetroot Cake - super moist, the addition of the beetroot deepens the flavour of the chocolate and makes this cake absolutely scrumptious
For the filling:
- 3 medium beetroot (approx. 300g)
- 300g caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 250ml chi coconut oil
- 75g cocoa powder
- 250g self-raising flour
- 1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 100g unsalted butter, softened
- 200g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting
- 1tbsp cocoa powder, sifted with 2 tbsp icing sugar
- 2tbsp cold milk
- 2 generous tbsp cherry jam
This cake should keep for up to a week in an air-tight container
- Boil the beetroot in water until it’s tender to the point of a knife, probably about 30 minutes. Drain and allow it to cool for 30 minutes or so, then remove the skin and coarsely grate the beetroot.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4, and prepare two cake tins (20cm in diameter) by lightly buttering them and lining with baking parchment.
- Beat the sugar, eggs and oil together, either by hand or in a food processor. Add the grated beetroot and cocoa and blend well. Finally, sift in the flour and bicarbonate of soda and mix again. Divide the mixture between the cake tins, smoothing down flat.
- Bake for about 35 minutes, until the cakes feel springy to the touch. Remove from the oven, let them stand for 15 minutes and then gently turn out on to a wire rack.
- While the cakes cool, make the butter-cream filling. Beat the butter, sugar and cocoa together, then drizzle in the milk and beat some more. Add a little more milk if you think it’s needed: you want the filling to be very smooth and to hold its shape.
- When the cakes are completely cold, lay each one flat side up. Spread one with the butter cream and the other with cherry jam, then sandwich the two together. It’s always a bonus when the cream and jam ooze out of the sides a little. Finally, generously dust the top with icing sugar. (recipe courtesy of good to know)
Avacado Choco Brownies - super creamy, deliciously moist and extra healthy decadent brownies!
Makes 20 brownies
225g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
4 medium eggs
125g light brown muscovado sugar
25g cocoa powder (make sure this is gluten free!)
50g ground almonds
2tsp vanilla extract
2 very ripe avocados, thoroughly mashed
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees C/ Gas mark 6/ 400F (180 degrees C for fan). Line a 25 x 30 cm tin with greaseproof paper.
- Melt the chocolate in a medium bowl over a pan of simmering water- making sure that the bowl doesn't touch the water. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Using an electric beater, whisk the eggs and sugar together for about 5 mins until light and fluffy.
- Mix the cocoa, almonds, vanilla and avocados into the melted chocolate. Add the chocolate mixture to the eggs and whisk together until combined. Pour mixture into the prepared tin and level. Bake for 25-30min until set.
- Allow to cool completely in the tin before cutting in to 20 squares.
(recipe courtesy of the urban kitchen)
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