Reimagining toast (& my new site!)

I’m sharing my confessions over at The Quirky Princess now. I don’t want you to miss out on what has been happening so will send you a reminder every now and again. All my recipes are now categorised in The Quirky Kitchen. Which means you can find recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and treats much easier. Click here to see what I mean!

In the past I’ve worked as crew, and in production for film, television and news channels, peanut butter and jam on whole wheat toast used to get me through gruelling days. Understanding what I do now about alkaline bodies, looking back, it probably wasn’t the best breakfast, but I did have the right idea. Switching up your grains, butters and jam for fruit could actually turn this into a superfood breakfast that is refined sugar free.

Blueberries & Chia Seeds on Toast

Cashew Butter, Blueberry & Chia Seed

(Serves 1)

Two slices of bread, toasted (kamut, spelt, rye, etc. etc.)
1tbsp cashew butter (or almond)
A handful or two of blueberries
2tsp chia seeds

Spread your toast with the cashew butter.

Arrange the blueberries on top of the toast, you can smash one or two into the butter as well.

Sprinkle each toast with a teaspoon of chia seeds.

For the rest of the post, head over to The Quirky Princess.

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Gesundheit

I haven’t been as active on the blog this week, because I am not feeling so great. My throat feels like carpet and I have a head that feels like there are woodpeckers hammering against my third-eye.

When I used to get sick back in the day, I used to eat instant noodles, Farley’s rusks, drink Ribena and take over-the-counter drugs. I’d lose weight, but feel weak and terrible and with my autoimmunity it would take me the longest time to recover.

Since then I’ve learnt other alternatives to nourish myself whilst sneezing away, at some point I will create my own version of Ribena (it can’t be hard, I’m thinking beetroot juice and berries). Given that it is “cold season” I wanted to write a quick note to you sharing some of my fixes, which help me to feel a lot better without reaching for the pills. You can try these out even if you don’t have cold and flu symptoms to boost your immunity and keep sniffles at bay throughout winter.

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Ways I Try To Banish Cold & Flu

  • I start by adding ginger and star anise to my morning cup of hot water and lemon.
  • Shots! I love shots of wheatgrass, with filtered water and a few drops of chlorophyll (1tbsp wheatgrass powder, with a shot glass of filtered water and a tincture of chlorophyll as well as ginger shots. Just blend a a chunk of ginger with the fruit and juice of a lemon, add some cinnamon, cayenne pepper, turmeric and raw honey (or maple syrup) to it!
  • Green juices and green smoothies.
  • I eat poached or boiled eggs, or my avocados on toast and have grapefruit and my other favourite cold busting foods are are Khow Suey, the mushroom soup I posted last week and dhal/dal/daal.
  • I drink lots of herbal teas, especially green tea.
  • Exercise such as gentle Pilates and restorative yoga.
  • Taking hot baths with Epsom salts and soothing bath oils.

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Shine for you

The third installment of glowing recipes. In the winter, I often try to get immunity boosts from soups and hydrate myself with all things coconut. I need warm and hearty food to make me feel better because it is cold outside!

Day Three: Mindful eating is easier than dieting or counting calories. Sure, it means avoiding processed food and not overloading yourself with sugar, alcohol and salt but imagine the food you eat giving you vitality. You don’t need to miss out on pizza or brownies, you just need to make a few changes to the ingredients and instead of empty calories it becomes nourishing.

Processed with Rookie

Breakfast – Chia Seed Pudding

When it is cold outside, try heating chia pudding up a little before topping it with berries and nuts. If you are familiar with my blog, you will have seen this recipe recently, but I wanted to show you different ways to kick-start your day with chia seeds, nuts and berries.

(Serves 2)

1 cup of dairy free milk of your choice
3tbsp chia seeds
2tsp coconut palm sugar
1 cup of raspberries
1/4 cup of raw almonds

Mix the chia seeds with half of the milk, 1tsp of sugar and set aside.

Mash the raspberries with a 1tsp of sugar.

Roughly chop up the almonds by hand.

The chia seeds will have absorbed some of the liquid and started to swell, mix well and add the rest of the milk and leave in the fridge to set for about thirty to forty minutes.

Once the chia seeds have set in the milk you can assemble your pudding. Spoon some raspberries into your jar or bowl and then top with some nuts and then the chia seeds. Repeat layers in this manner until you have two even portions.

Mid-Morning: Green Hydrating Smoothie

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Green, milky and super refreshing, this is one to beat those winter blues.

(Serves 2)

300g watermelon chunks, without seeds
1/2 cup coconut water
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 handfuls spinach
A squeeze of lemon

Blitz all the ingredients in the blender until really smooth.

Lunch: Immunity Boosting Thai Mushroom Soup

Fragrant flavours always make soup a bit more exciting. More importantly the star anise, ginger and mushrooms are delicious but they also have incredible properties that have a number of benefits on the body’s immune system and have been used for centuries in medicine. I would encourage the use of organic mushrooms.

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(Serves 4)

2 cups organic mushroom broth (or vegetable)
1 star anise pod
1 piece cinnamon bark
A few black peppercorns
1tbsp coconut oil
5 green onions, finely sliced (reserved green part)
1tsp grated ginger
1tsp curry powder
1tsp Thai green curry paste
220g of mixed mushrooms
1 can coconut milk
2tbsp coconut sugar
1tbsp tamari
1 lime

Set the broth to heat up on a medium heat covered in small saucepan with star anise, cinnamon and peppercorns.

Meanwhile, in another pan, sauté the spring onions in coconut oil on a medium heat until sizzling. Add the ginger, curry powder, curry paste and mushrooms and fry for a few minutes. Once the mushrooms soften, stir in the coconut milk.

Discard the whole spices from the broth and add to the mushrooms. Add sugar, tamari and squeeze in the lime. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for ten minutes.

Take two cups of the soup, whizz in the blender and pour back into the pan. Stir in the chopped green part of the spring onions and serve.

Snack – Raw Cacao Protein Balls

A warm squishy sweet treat for the afternoon, this is another one of my favourite recipes from the past.

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Makes six

6 Medjool dates, pits removed
1/2 cup almond meal
3/4 scoop Vega chocolate protein
1/2 tbsp raw cacao (plus a little more for dusting)

Pulse the ingredients together in your blender.

Tip into a mixing bowl and form together into a dough.

Roll out into bite-sized balls and dust with some raw cacao.

Dinner – Quinoa and Kale Salad

I shared this in December, but it hasn’t lost it’s charm for me post-festive season! I am still enjoying it at least once a week. I have also been using Alter Eco Royal Black Quinoa, although this is an older picture, I love using their product to make this salad.

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(Serves one)

Couple of generous handfuls of kale
1tsp olive oil
Quarter lemon
Quarter avocado, sliced into pieces
10 grape tomatoes, cut in halves
1/2 cup cooked black quinoa
3 spring onions, chopped
1tbsp pumpkin seeds

Your favourite dressing to drizzle, or you can try my favourite one.

Arrange your kale in a salad bowl, spoon the olive oil and squeeze the lemon juice on it and massage into the kale for a few minutes.

Arrange the tomatoes and avocado amongst the kale. Next arrange the black quinoa and top with the spring onions and pumpkin seeds.

Add your dressing, toss through and serve.

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‘Tis The Season

There are many things I find tricky in life but balancing health with party season is not one of them. Let’s be honest though, unless you have the willpower of Gandhi, the weekends are going to be a bit of a challenge. Who wants to eat a salad every time they go out this time of year?

I am totally against that mindset of ‘let’s pile on the pounds in December, because from January I will be on a diet,’ and I also believe in not stressing about eating yummy holiday food. Follow the 70/30 rule of thumb and you won’t have to worry about it at all.

The only thing I’ve found since cutting down salt, sugar and wheat from my diet, is when indulging at the weekends, I really struggle with water retention and bloating on a Monday. I’ve been doing a few things every week for a while now to help combat those side effects and it leaves me feeling much better.

Now is a great time to make these tricks part of your weekly rituals to feel fabulous inside out during the festive season and all year round.

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Sunday Night

Psyllium husk. While this isn’t the easiest thing to consume, it is worth trying it out. Growing up in a Pakistani household I’ve known about the husks of the incredible Plantageo Ovato plant my whole life, as it is native to the region of Pakistan and India. I keep it in my pantry in a powder form.

It promotes intestinal health and I drink a tablespoon of it mixed with lots of water and follow it up with a cup of peppermint tea before I go to bed on a Sunday night. You could also take a bath with Epsom salts which can help to alleviate bloating and flush toxins from the body.

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Monday Morning

Oil pulling. You can read in detail about the numerous health benefits of oil pulling here, but in a nutshell, oil pulling is an ancient 5000 year old Ayurvedic method from India. Within weeks you will discover how wonderful this simple and priceless treatment can be for your general health and wellbeing as it aids with removing toxins.

It is a process of swilling oil around your mouth, thoroughly, as you would a mouthwash. It is best done in the morning on an empty stomach with a teaspoon or two of coconut oil for about fifteen to twenty minutes.

After this I have my usual cup of hot water and lemon and then proceed to dry body brushing. Which is an excellent way to get your circulation and lymphatic system going (encouraging the expulsion of toxins) and to energise your self on a Monday morning.

Don’t skip breakfast, have a green juice, some avocados or poached eggs on gluten free toast or how about this quick and easy chia seed pudding you can throw together the night before? Chia seeds are high in nutrients like manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium, so they are the perfect way to start the week after an indulgent weekend.

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Serves 2

1 cup of dairy free milk of your choice
3tbsp chia seeds
2tsp coconut palm sugar
1 cup of raspberries
1/4 cup of raw almonds

Mix the chia seeds with half of the milk, 1tsp of sugar and set aside.

Mash the raspberries with a 1tsp of sugar.

Roughly chop up the almonds by hand.

The chia seeds will have absorbed some of the liquid and started to swell, mix well and add the rest of the milk and leave in the fridge to set for about thirty to forty minutes.

Once the chia seeds have set in the milk you can assemble your pudding. Spoon some raspberries into your jar or bowl and then top with some nuts and then the chia seeds. Repeat layers in this manner until you have two even portions.