Slutty Noodles- Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca

This dish is famous the world over. Jamie does it, Nigella does it, and the Italians do it. Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca is an Italian pasta dish that became popular in the 1960s, and literally means “Spaghetti of the whore”. It is a tangy and salty dish that consists of tomatoes, garlic, capers, anchovies, and capers.

This is the healthier and lighter version, using zoodles (Zucchini Noodles). It is guilt-free, sugar-free, carb-free, but nutrient-full. It is perfect for a light Summer dinner when all you want is not much at all. It is so simple to make, requires near to no washing up, and is a real store-cupboard hit; you will probably already have all of the ingredients in the fridge and pantry.

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You will need:

(Serves 2)

  • 3-4 zucchinis, depending on size
  • 3-4 anchovies
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • dried chilli flakes
  • handful of pitted black olives
  • small handful of capers
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • handful of chopped mushrooms (optional)
  • parmesan (optional)
  • olive oil

Put a pan on high heat, and add a good glug of olive oil. Turn down to about medium, adding crushed garlic and anchovies.

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As the garlic browns in the oil, the anchovies will start to break up. When this happens, add a sprinkle of chilli flakes to the sizzling pan.

Then add the chopped olives and capers. Stir, and fry for a minute or two.

Add the canned tomatoes. I also added some chopped tomatoes at this stage as my can was a little lacking in the tomato department, and overflowing in juice (It really does pay to buy the more expensive can!!).

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Bring down the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes while you get the zoodles ready. I added my sliced mushroom at this stage, but the original recipe does not call for them.

To make the zoodles, I use a spiralizer. It is a cool contraption that turns your veggies into noodles! You can get them HERE or HERE. Alternatively, you can use a vegetable peeler to make ribbons.

Toss the sauce through your zoodles, and top with a sprinkling of grated parmesan (if you are not doing the Paleo thing…!)

xxx

Lemon & Garlic Chicken: Aeroplane food style

A lot of the girls (and guys) at my work often ask me about tips on healthy eating while at work. I am always trying new things to take away with me on trips, or meals to cook up in the back galley that will leave me bloat free. Aeroplane food may be yummy (at times), but it is also FULL of preservatives, numbers, and additives. Not to mention all the extra salt, fat and sugar (and MSG) they pump into it to make it tastier as up at altitude our taste buds apparently do not work as well as on the ground!! You really do notice a dive in energy levels and general well-being if you live off the stuff.
For the first few years of flying, I just thought that a bloated and sore tummy at the end of a flight was just part of flying and that I better get used to it. Then I stopped eating the hot meals, which I discovered helped beat the bloat! Then when I discovered the ‘Paleo’ diet, I found that I could do a 12 hour shift up in the air and still have a flat tum by the end of it!!!! -Not to mention all the extra energy and not needing to rely on insane amounts of instant coffee throughout the day.

So, whenever I can (and a lot of the time it is not possible, as we often stay in hotels without close access to supermarkets) I try to get my ‘inventive cook on’ and whip up tasty and healthy creations in the back galley. The passengers waiting for the loos always ask me why their meals are’t as yummy as what I’m eating, and the pilots think I should start a side business cooking for them; they all hate the crew food and have to watch their cholesterol etc for niggly medical certificates, so eating plane food is not ideal for any of us!

Here is one of the easiest and tastiest meals that I often whip up at work. (It is also fab at home for you ground folk…)

I got the general idea while browsing a favourite blog of mine http://www.thelondoner.me. Rosie, the blog’s founder often puts up delicious recipes.

 

Image courtesy of thelondoner.me

Image courtesy of thelondoner.me

 

Lemon & Garlic Chicken

You Will Need:

  • 1-2 free range or organic chicken thighs (skin on works best) per person
  • 1-2 lemons (cut into wedges)
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • Butter (I use the tiny butter they give us in our crew meals for bread rolls)
  • Dried Oregano (or Mixed Italian Herbs)
  • Salt & Pepper

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How To:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F
  2. Break the garlic apart, and don’t worry about peeling it.
  3. Place the garlic into a baking tray.
  4. Put chicken on top of garlic.
  5. Place lemon wedges around the chicken.
  6. Sprinkle with a generous amount of oregano, salt & pepper.
  7. Place a few knobs of butter onto the chicken (or you can pour Olive Oil over instead if you prefer at home, but I’m thinking international air travel here, which annoyingly has LAGS restrictions).
  8. Place into the preheated oven and cook for around 45-60 mins (just keep a close eye on it).
  9. When it is done, there should be a fair amount of lemony chicken saucy goodness at the bottom of the pan. If you are making this at home, you can add a dollop of cream to it that makes a super delicious gravy.
  10. Serve with a side salad of greens and avocado for a super healthy, nutritious meal in the air on back on earth.

Enjoy

Xx

Gluten Free Muesli With Buckwheat

Buckwheat is technically not a grain, but is the seed of a herb related to rhubarb. It is very popular in Russia and is their staple carb. It is also starting to gain popularity in other parts of the world due to the fact that is is gluten free, which means that it can be eaten by those with coeliac disease, or gluten allergies and intolerances.

Buckwheat contains more fibre than oatmeal, and also has a GI of 54, which is lower than actual grains (whole oats are 58GI and instant oats are 83GI). This makes it a better choice for people with diabetes and those suffering from blood glucose issues. Buckwheat may even be helpful in the management of diabetes (studies were conducted on Type 1 diabetes) as studies have shown that it can lower blood glucose levels.

Eating buckwheat may also mean a healthier heart. This is due to research that found buckwheat consumption was linked to lower total serum cholesterol, lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL, the bad kind that is related to cardiovascular disease), and a high ratio of HDL (the healthy type) to total cholesterol. It is also a good source of magnesium; a mineral that relaxes blood vessels, improving blood flow and nutrient delivery, whilst also helping to lower blood pressure.

Buckwheat also contains high levels of Vitamin B17 (nitriloside), a vitamin that plays an important part in the body’s defences against cancer. It also contains high levels of calcium and lysine, as well as Vitamin E, and the Vitamin B complex.

Sound good? Well it tastes good too, with it’s earthy and nutty flavours.

If you enjoy muesli or granola for breakfast (or any meal) then you may want to try making your own at home using this health promoting ingredient. Especially if you cannot eat gluten (oats contain gluten), or are just sick and tired of oats.

Making your own muesli is fun, cheap, and this way you also know exactly what is in your breakfast. If you take a few minutes to have a look at the ingredients list on muesli packets next time you are at the supermarket you will be surprised. Even on the muesli’s that claim to be ‘fat free’ or ‘natural’, you will find a whole swag of numbers, additives, preservatives, fancy-named sugars, and canola oil etc. just to name a few….

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Ingredients

  • 5-6 cups of raw buckwheat groats (not kasha, which is already roasted)* (If you prefer, you can just use rolled oats in the place of buckwheat, or do a half/half mixture of the two)
  • 1 cup of raw almonds (chopped), or nuts of your choice
  • 1 cup of thread or desiccated coconut
  • 1/4 cup each of pumpkin and sunflower seeds
  • small handful each of raw sesame seeds and linseeds (flaxseed)
  • 2 Tbsp of extra virgin coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp of honey
  • zest of one orange and also half of the orange juiced
  • 2 Tbsp (or more) ground cinnamon
  • 1.5-2 cups of dried fruit such as apricots (chopped), and raisins

* Buckwheat groats are usually readily available at organic grocers (such as Liberty Market and Piko’s here in Christchurch), and some well stocked supermarkets also supply the Cere’s brand which you will find in packets in the baking aisle, or the organic’s aisle.

  1. Preheat your oven to around 140-150 Celsius.
  2. In a large oven roasting pan, mix the buckwheat, nuts, coconut, seeds and cinnamon until combined.
  3. In a small saucepan melt coconut oil, honey and mix with the orange zest and juice.
  4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and mix until everything is combined. Don’t worry if some of the buckwheat mix isn’t covered.
  5. Place in your preheated oven for about 30-45 minutes, stirring every ten minutes. You will know when your muesli is ready because it was start to make the kitchen smell fragrant. Be careful not to burn it though….!
  6. Leave to cool on your bench top and then when cooled mix in the fruit
  7. Transfer to an airtight container.

About 1/2 a cup is a good serving size and can be served with any milk of your choice, or mixed in with yoghurt, kefir etc.

This should keep in an airtight container for 3 weeks or longer.

 

Happy Muesli Munching xxx

Soph

 

Carrot Cake Bliss Balls

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Bliss balls are a great and easy way to snack healthily. They keep for ages in the freezer and are an instant treat when you feel like something sweet, or just need a quick pick me up.

I like to have one before the gym, or before an early sign on at work when I cannot stomach a meal.

These taste divine and just like carrot cake (my fav!!). There are endless different flavours that you can create with bliss balls and these are probably my favourite so far (if I’m not craving chocolate). You can also check out my apricot-coco bliss balls HERE.

They are 100% raw and full of nourishing nutritious goodness. 

Carrots contain B-carotene, A-carotene, and Y-carotene. A & B carotenes are partly metabolised into vitamin-A in humans, which a lack of can impair vision, including night vision.

Carrots are also rich in anti-oxidants (B-carotene) and minerals. Studies have shown that the high levels of beta carotene found in carrots act as an anti-oxidant to cell damage that is done to the body through regular cell metabolism. This means that carrots can help to slow down the ageing process.

Carrots can also help you get your glow on. The vitamin A and antioxidants protect the skin from sun damage and can help to prevent premature wrinkling, acne, dry skin, pigmentation, blemishes, and uneven skin tone. 

The carotenoids found in carrots have also been associated with a lower risk of heart disease!!

These balls of bliss also contain fats in the form of coconut oil, coconut, and walnuts. By eating fats at the same time as B-carotene, you release more of these carotenoids into your system during digestion than if you just ate the carrots raw and by themselves, therefore you give your body the best chance to produce the important vitamin A.

 

  • 2-3 large carrots, grated
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut + extra for coating
  • 2/3 cup dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup raisins, soaked in boiling water for 15 minutes.
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1-2 tbsp honey (optional)
  • 2/3 cup walnuts 
  • 4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  1. In a food processor, chop together the grated carrot (reserving about 3 tbsp), desiccated coconut and the apricots. 
  2. Add the melted coconut oil, walnuts (reserving a handful), spices and honey.
  3. When the processor has mixed everything together, use a spoon to mix in the raisins and reserved grated carrot. Chop up the remaining walnuts and add to the mixture. 
  4. Using your hands, roll into tbsp sized balls, coat in extra desiccated coconut, and place on a tray or container lined with baking paper. 
  5. Place to set in the fridge or freezer. I store these in the freezer.

You can also coat them in chia seeds or chopped nuts in place of the coconut.

X

Sophie

 

CoYo Coconut Yoghurt in NZ!

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Just a quick post to let everyone know that CoYo Coconut yoghurt is now available in New Zealand (Okay it has been for a few months now so sorry about the delay!!)

In Christchurch I have seen it in the fridges at Piko’s on Stanmore Rd, Richmond and at Liberty Market on the corner of Fitzgerald Ave & Moorehouse Ave.

Coco is entirely vegan, and also ‘Paleo’ as it is made from coconut milk. There are a range of flavours such as mango, natural, strawberry etc. They are super delicious yoghurts and are sweetened naturally with stevia meaning that they are free of refined sugars.

I posted an article on a homemade coconut kefir (similar to CoYo) last year if you want to check it out HERE.

X

Soph

Okonomiyaki: Japanese Pancakes

It is the second day of winter here in New Zealand, and it is already FREEZING!! The countdown to Spring is already happening on my calendar.

People are dropping like flies with the flu and all the bugs going around. Winter is a time when it is really important to eat well and make sure that you get all the vitamins, nutrients, and minerals that your body and immune system need to stay healthy and strong. This helps to ensure that you won’t get too sick if you do catch a nasty bug, but more importantly, that you have less chance of developing a secondary infection after your sickness (and need to go on antibiotics).

Winter veges such as cabbage, kale, broccoli, carrots and brussel sprouts are full of goodies that will help to keep you heathy during this trying time of year.

Tonight I made a healthy and nourishing version of the super delicious Japanese pancakes Okonomiyaki. I try to have a vegetarian dinner at least once a week. This helps to give my digestive system a rest from all the meat and also means that I’m filling up on vegetables.

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This recipe is awesome!! I found the original on The Whole Pantry app (I highly recommend it!!) and have made it quite a few times. Each time I use sightly different veges, but the result is pretty much the same. It is packed full of amazing winter greens, nutritious eggs, healthy carbs and ginger that will help to keep you warm from the inside in.

Japanese Pancakes with sweet n salty mushrooms

Serves 4. GF, Paleo, Vegetarian.

Pancakes:

  • 180 grams sweet potato, peeled and grated
  • 1/4 cabbage, or a few handfuls of kale, sliced finely
  • 2 spring onions, sliced finely (scallions)
  • 1 bunch bok choy (or other asian style cabbage), sliced finely with stalks removed
  • 50 grams coriander, chopped
  • 1 tbs fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 6 eggs (original recipe calls for 3 eggs. I personally think that it need more, maybe because I add a lot of veges. You want the egg to coat the veges plus some), whisked

Sticky Mushrooms:

  • 2 big handfuls of sliced mushrooms
  • 3 tbs tamari (Gluten Free soy sauce)
  • 1 1/2 tbs honey
  • 1 1/2 tbs hot water

Directions:

Pancakes…

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C.
  2. In a large bowl, add all of the pancake ingredients except the eggs. Mix together well.
  3. Add eggs and coat the veges evenly.
  4. In a non-stick pan, add about 1/2 tsp of coconut oil, and then add about 1/2 cup of the mixture and press down lightly. Cook on each side for about 3 minutes, or until brown. Transfer to an oven proof dish or pan and place in the oven.
  5. Repeat with remaining batter.

Mushrooms…

  1. In a pan, add the honey and water. Boil for 1 minute.
  2. Add the tamari and mushrooms, and coat evenly.
  3. Turn down to a medium heat and cook until the mushrooms have softened and reduced in size.
  4. Turn off heat.

To Serve…

Serve the pancakes topped with some of the mushroom mixture, and some sesame seeds. Mung bean sprouts go nicely on top too.

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Enjoy xxx

The Dirty Dozen & The Clean Fifteen 2014

Many of you have probably heard these terms rolling around the internet and in social media lately.

What do they mean by the “DIRTY DOZEN” and the “CLEAN FIFTEEN”? These are two lists of un-organically grown veges and fruit that contain the most (dirty) and the least (clean) levels of pesticides once they hit the shop shelves. The list comes out every year once all the science-y stuff has been done in the labs and these lists are based on US agriculture but they are a good indicator for us all. Even though these are not strictly speaking 12 & 15… you get the picture!

Of course, it is preferable to eat all organic, but that can get quite pricey so here are some fresh foods that are OK to eat if they are not organic, and some that maybe you should just buy at your local organic farmers market or organic grocer.

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Images from: healthimpactnews.com

NOTE: Although sweet corn is number 2 on the ‘clean food’ list, it doesn’t mean that it is clean as A LOT of corn is genetically modified. You can only be sure that it is not, if you buy organically certified corn and its products. The same can be said of papayas in the states, as papayas grown in Hawaii apparently have traces of being GM!

If you want to know more regarding these lists in NZ HERE is an article published by ORGANIC NZ.

For those of you in Christchurch who want to find great places to get good priced and fresh organic produce go down to your local produce market. The Riccarton Farmers market on a Saturday morning is the King of all markets, the Lyttleton market also on a Saturday is great too, and if you would prefer to venture out on a Sunday morning then the Opawa market is super! Remember to get there early as the good stuff sells out fast. Alternatively, you can go and check out what Liberty Market on the corner of Fitzgerald & Moorehouse has to offer, or Pikos on Stanmore Rd.

Happy fruit n vege buying

xxx  Soph

SMOOTHIES: a how to guide

So you want to get in on some green goddess smoothie action? Here is an easy-peasy fool proof step by step formula on how to create that über yummy healthy snack each time! Smoothies are an easy way of adding fruit and vege to your diet and ensuring that you are getting the recommended 5+ a day. You can also make a huge amount and store in glass jars in the fridge for up to 2 days. Or take your smoothie to the gym or work in one of these super cool and handy eco jars.

 

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ONE: Choose your base

  • Coconut water
  • Almond milk (or any nut milk)
  • Kefir (want to know how to make this at home? My Kefir ARTICLE)
  • Whole milk
  • H2O
  • Green tea (Or other herbal tea)
  • Rice milk

TWO: Pick your greens

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Swiss Chard
  • Dandelion etc etc….

THREE: Fruity Tutti

  • Apple
  • Orange
  • Banana (TIP: got some browning bananas in the fruit bowl? Try slicing them up and freezing them for later use in smoothies and banana bread)
  • Kiwifruit
  • Feijoa
  • Berries (Frozen ones are just as good as fresh)
  • Mango (Try freezing this too)
  • Pear
  • Watermelon
  • Get creative! Any fruit is a winner

FOUR: SuperCharge it!

  • Vegan protein Powder
  • Maca
  • Spiralina
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Avocado
  • Acai Powder
  • Desiccated coconut
  • LSA (ground linseed, sunflower, almond mixture)
  • Chia seeds
  • a small handful of your favourite nuts
  • cinnamon
  • raw cacao
  • nut butter

FIVE: Make it sweet if not sweet enough

I wrote a blog on sugar & natural sweeteners HERE. These are some of the more healthy ones if you need to add sweetness. BUT try to wean yourself off added sugars as all sugars wreck havoc on your body in one way or another. We get enough natural sugars through fruit, vege and grains in our diet without added naughties🙂

  • Raw honey
  • Organic natural maple syrup
  • Coconut sugar
  • Stevia
  • 2-3 chopped dates

Happy Blending

xx Soph

What you probably don’t but should know about SOY!

So much controversy surrounds one of the worlds biggest crops; SOY! It is promoted and advertised as a wondrous health food and dairy alternative, but is also now being proven to be not so wondrous at all.

Anything and everything ‘soy’ comes from the soybean or soya bean, a species of legume native of Asia. Since ancient times soy has been considered as not okay for human consumption and ancient Chinese texts reveal that the soy bean was not originally grown as a food, but for its nitrogen-fixing qualities (Fallon). Traditional Asian cultures have since learnt to ferment soy beans to make them edible, however modern food processing has brought soy into our diets. The majority of soy products found on supermarket shelves and in our animal feed that we then eat is highly processed, not traditionally fermented and GE.

Why is soy so bad?

  • Soy contains the highest level of phytic acid of any grain or legume. (Consumption of phytic acid can lead to mineral deficiencies).
  • Soy contains enzyme inhibitors that can lead to protein assimilation problems.
  • During the processing of many soy foods, MSG is created. It is also commonly added to soy foods as well.
  • Soy products contain phytoestrogens. Although they are promoted as the panacea, they are also potent endocrine disrupters. They also have the ability to cause infertility and promote breast cancer (and other estrogen dependant cancers) in women. It is also known to alter menstrual cycle length.
  • These phytoestrogens can also depress the thyroid, causing hypothyroidism and may cause thyroid cancer.
  • Consuming soy foods can increase the bodies need for Vitamin D.
  • Food manufacturers have also been known to use hexane (a petrol additive!!!) to process soy products. The soy beans are soaked in the hexane to help extract the beans protein and oil.
  • Soy is also the single most genetically engineered crop on the planet (corn would probably come a close second).
  • Soy infant formula is also promoted as a health food. Nora T. Gedgaudas in her book “Primal Body, Primal Mind” says that “infants exclusively fed soy infant formula receive the estrogenic   equivalent of at least five birth control pills a day”. She goes on to explain that in male infants it may cause inhibition of male characteristics and sexual organs. In female infants it may speed the rate of maturation. Soy formula has also been linked to autoimmune thyroid disease.
  • Soy foods also contain aluminium which is toxic to the nervous system and the kidneys.
  • Vitamin B12 in soy is not absorbed by the body and increases the bodies need for Vitamin B12.

If you are going to eat soy products, make sure that they are naturally fermented, and preferably unpasteurised. These foods are the traditional Asian soy foods and are the only safe ones to consume. During the fermentation process the trypsin inhibitors and phytic acid are neutralised, but the phytoestrogens and thyroid inhibitors are left intact.

Naturally fermented soy products include:

  • Miso (make sure is is organic and the real naturally fermented stuff as most version are just full of numbers and MSG and are not the real deal)
  • Natto
  • Tempeh
  • Soy Sauce (same with miso! Look for organic and naturally fermented versions. Tamari is a great one as it is usually also gluten free)

Soy foods to avoid are (just to name a few):

  • Soy milk (it has a very high phytate content, it is also full of additives and most brands are non-organic).
  • Cheap Soy Sauce (most varieties you find in your supermarket are cheap and made cheaply. They are not made in the traditional way and are full of msg and nasties and all the other stuff mentioned above.)
  • Tofu (yup! Tofu and soy bean curd is not fermented and contains a high phytate content. This makes it not such a good idea to rely on it for vegetarian protein. Try tempeh instead, it is fermented.
  • Soy/Soya Oil
  • Soy lecithin (go have a look in your pantry at home and pick out a few items. You will probably be able to find this on most packaged food ingredient lists)
  • Soy infant formula
  • Vegetarian Sausages/meatloaf etc that yu can buy in a packet. This will probably contain soy protein.

Also, when consuming any soy products unless it says ORGANIC, the chance that it is genetically modified is very real. Most soy grown in the US is genetically modified and the majority of soy additives found in our food come from the US or other countries. It can’t really be proven to be non-GM unless it is organically certified. The meat that we eat is also fed soy, so the same could be said about this but that is another issue altogether!!!

X Soph

References and Further Reading Material: (if you want to know some more..)

Mango Lassi

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This is one of my all-time favourite smoothies that I love for a quick breakfast or as a post-workout mini meal. It reminds me of summer and tastes delicious, not to mention it is full of nourishing ingredients. I normally freeze the fruit that I am using first so that the smoothie is cold and a bit more creamy in texture. You can also add fruits such as banana and papaya for an extra tropical hit.

Fermented foods such as kefir and yoghurt contain large amounts of good bacteria that help to keep our guts and immune systems in top shape (I wrote an article on the wondrous Kefir HERE). Probiotics literally mean ‘pro-life’. Prebiotics found in fruits and veges help to stimulate probiotic bacteria growth in your digestive system and therefore helping create a healthy atmosphere where the good bacteria can flourish and where the bad bacteria doesn’t stand a chance.

Turmeric is rich in manganese, zinc, B group vitamins and iron. It also contains an ingredient called curcumin that has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial and detoxifying properties.

Ginger helps to boost your immune system, it is a warming food, it contains antioxidants and and anti-inflammatory properties. It also stimulates digestion and bowel movements and can help with bloating, cramps and nausea – perfect if you have digestive issues!

MANGO LASSI

Serves 2. Use organic ingredients where possible.

  • 1 Mango
  • 2 cups of homemade kefir or unsweetened natural yoghurt (If you are strict lactose free then you can use coconut milk, almond milk etc.)
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric (you can use ground cardamon instead)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tsp chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • a handful of ice to blend

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. You can add a small amount of water if the consistency is too thick.  Garnish with a little extra turmeric if you wish and ENJOY!

x Soph

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