Here is a recipe for something sweet and delicious and satisfying that doesn’t have any refined sugar, gluten or dairy.
I found it in one of the great cookbooks by the sisters Hemsley and Hemsley Good and Simple and I often bring it to parties and potlucks – so I know I can have a really delicious dessert as well 🙂
H&H call it Fridge Fudge but I think it tastes more like halva, but less sweet. Anyway, it has some good fiber, lots of minerals from the sesame seeds and good fats from the tahini and the coconut oil.
It’s a really simple procedure and there’s one important thing to remember: it needs to stay cooled. As soon as you leave it on the table for longer than say twenty minutes, it starts getting too soft and it loses it’s bite. Still great taste though.
You will need a simple food processor. Now you don’t need a big and expensive one; for this recipe I use the one that came with my stick blender. If you don’t have one of these, I think it worth considering. I use it almost every day: to blend soups and sauces, make energy balls and chop onions and garlic very finely.
Makes 12 – 15 small squares
85 gr dates: use the cheaper ones that are a bit harder and dryer, like these. So not the more expensive and squishy Medjool dates…
Golden or turmeric milk is a cow’s, nut or coconut milk, heated with a good amount of turmeric in it. I shouldn’t be saying this as a nutrition and herb expert because of it’s great properties, but… I didn’t like to drink it! The reason was that I used turmeric powder. That leaves you with quite a lot of bits in your milk and it has quite a strong bitter taste.
But now they’re selling fresh turmeric root in my local shop, so I decided to try again. Delicious! I loved it! Maybe you want to have a try as well.
Turmeric is well known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties. And this is not something woo woo to brush aside: there are currently over 10,000 peer-reviewed articles published proving turmeric benefits, especially one of its renowned healing compounds, curcumin.
In several of those papers the researchers compared turmeric to conventional medicine, and found out it worked equally well or even better than the pharmaceutical medication!
Recently turmeric has even been recognised for helping with depression!
Turmeric milk recipe
I like to use fresh ginger root in my turmeric milk as well, as it makes it nice and warming. And I do add a tiny bit of sweetener.
One warning: turmeric can stain your clothes yellow, so don’t wear your new white shirt and make sure you put on a apron!
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp grated fresh turmeric
Optional: a teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 mug of coconut milk from a can, full fat
1/2 mug of water
Or; 1 mug of home made nut or seed milk
A tiny bit of sweetener: 3 drops of liquid stevia or a teaspoon of raw honey or maple syrup, optional
Put all your ingredients except for the sweetener in a saucepan
Heat gently until hot but not boiling
Leave it on a very low heat for 5 minutes
Pour through a tea strainer and add the sweetener if you want
Hummus is such a versatile and easy to make dish! I make this hummus recipe nearly every week because it’s a great one to have in my fridge in case of a snack attack. Or when the lunch of dinner I made is a bit bland or low in protein and healthy fats. This one is great for blood sugar and hormone balance!
It’s lovely as a snack with carrot, cucumber or bell pepper cut in sticks. A great one to bring with you when traveling as well!
Dried chickpeas vs cans
I use dried chickpeas, as ‘they’ use hormone balance disrupting Bisphenol-A (BPA) for the lining of the cans. Even the organic ones. Yikes! And I can’t find any beans in glass near to me. Anyway, cooking your chickpeas is easy peasy and cheap.
I start with a cup of dried chickpeas and soak them overnight with two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. This makes them a lot easier to digest. In the morning I rinse them well and discard any dark ones. Then I gently cook them with some salt until they are firm and not mushy. It depends on their age how long it takes! If they are too firm, let them simmer for another half hour with the lid on.
This would give you enough to store some in the freezer so you’ll have enough for 3 or 4 batches of hummus!
Serves 4 Ingredients:
1 heaping cup of cooked chickpeas
1 tbsp of fresh lemon juice. You can add more after tasting.
1 big or two small garlic cloves
1 level teaspoon ground cumin
¼ tsp of salt
½ cup of tahini
4 tbsp of water
2 tbsp of olive oil
optional: smoked paprika powder
You can use a small or big a food processor or a hand held blender for this. Don’t have any of these? No problem. You can also use a fork. Make sure you cut the garlic very finely or use garlic powder (1/4 tsp) to avoid having a big clump of raw garlic…
How to do it:
Press or finely cut garlic
Put chickpeas, salt, tahini, garlic, 1 tbsp of olive oil, 2 tbsp of water, cumin in food processor or container for blender.
Blend and then taste! Make thinner with water and add salt, lemon, garlic or cumin to taste.
Put in a bowl, drizzle the rest of the olive oil over it and shake some (smoked) paprika powder on for taste and beauty.
During the cold and dark winter months I have been enjoying a warming and nourishing drink: my healthy hot chocolate! And I’m happy to share my recipe.
The inspiration came around at a time where I decided to stop drinking caffeinated coffee because I wasn’t sleeping well. At the same time I was looking for a mid morning snack with a good amount of protein to keep me going without an energy dip. The idea was it would prevent a snack attack later in the day.
So this is what I came up with. I make my healthy hot chocolate with my homemade cashew nut milk, raw cacao, collagen powder, maca powder, a pinch of sea salt and a bit of maple syrup.
In case you didn’t know yet, raw cacao powder is so much nicer that the regular stuff. It has a delicate chocolate taste. It is much less processed than cocoa powder or chocolate bars. Cacao is thought to be the highest source of antioxidants and of magnesium of all foods.
Collagen powder has many health benefits. It improves the health of your skin and hair, reduces joint pain and degeneration. And since it heals and seals the protective lining of your gut as well it helps to heal leaky gut.
One of the benefits of maca root is that it increases fertility in both men and women. It’s a hormone balancer,and a booster for the immune system.
Maca is considered an adaptogen, which means that it helps the body naturally adapt to stressors like a busy schedule, demanding job, or illness, for example.
I notice that when I consume maca it gives me energy, like coffee would do, but without the crash afterwards. It makes me feel more grounded and alive. It helps me with restoring my hormone balance and it elevates endorphins, the feel good hormone. On top of that maca is its relatively high in protein, fiber, calcium and magnesium!
Going gluten free meant we had to re-think our snacks. My husband Hugo works as a handyman and gets hungry very easily. If he doesn’t have a good snack on him he will grab something that doesn’t work for him and suffer later.
These bars are free from gluten, dairy and refined sugar and easy to make. We love them and usually make a double batch because they tend to disappear quickly.
We make them with bananas, but they work with steamed or roasted squash or sweet potato as well.
Here’s the recipe:
. 2 cups of (gluten free) oats
. 2 tbsp ground linseed
. 1½ tsp cinnamon
. ½ tsp ginger powder
. ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
. 1 tsp ground fennel
. ¼ tsp salt
. 2 mashed ripe bananas (or 1 cup of steamed or roasted and then pureed pumpkin or squash)
. ½ cup almond butter
. 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
. 8 pitted medjoul dates
. 1 tsp vanilla extract
. 10 drops liquid stevia or 2 tbsp coconut sugar or date syrup, optional
. ½ cup raisins
. ½ cup walnuts (optional but very nice)
How to do it:
. Cover the dates with hot water and let them soak for 10 minutes
. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl (oats, linseed, spices, salt, raisins, nuts)
. Blend the wet ingredients with a fork or use a stick blender: (dates, water, bananas, almond butter, vanilla extract, coconut oil)
. Line a 20-20 cm square tray with baking paper and spread evenly
. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes on 180 degrees C
. Cut and cool on a cooling rack
Have you seen the gluten free shelves in the supermarket expanding? Many people are aware of their gluten sensitivity or even have coeliac disease. And the gluten-free food industry is eagerly stepping in. Which doesn’t mean that gluten free products are necessarily healthy: they’re almost always highly processed and contain lots of sugar, soy and processed oils.
So what to do if you want or need to go an a healthy gluten free diet? Here are some tips to help you transition:
Shop on the outside aisles of your supermarket. That’s where the healthy foods are usually located. So stock up on organic fruits and vegetables, lean meats and eggs among others.
Read labels!When you buy packaged foods, it’s important to understand what they contain. Foods that include wheat, rye, spelt, barley, or kamut contain gluten. Also, look for words like “spices,” “flavoring,” “modified food starch,” “maltodextrin,” “glucose syrup,” and “citric acid.” These can all contain gluten. Be sure to read the ingredients list and also the “contains” section of food labels.
These are the grains you can eat: quinoa, teff, buckwheat, brown rice, millet and amaranth. If you want to try oats, look for the gluten free ones. They’re not more processed than the regular ones, just grown and rolled in a safe way.
“Gluten-free” doesn’t necessarily mean ‘healthy‘. Especially stay away from gluten-free cakes, sweets and biscuits. They contain often loads of sugar and processed flours and are low in nutrients.
Don’t buy any ready-made sauces and dressings. Make your own so you make sure they are healthy and without any gluten, sugar or processed ingredients.
Go back to the kitchen and prepare your own meals. Chopping your veg and preparing your meal is a great way to unwind from a busy day. And it’s a lot cheaper as well!
Find some great websites and blogs. Cooking healthy and delicious meals is so much easier now with all the inspiration you can find online. I love the Deliciouslyella blog. Her recipes are also dairy and refined sugar free. Mynewroots is another great and very creative one. And if you love baking and sweet treats, have a look at Livia’s kitchen. Start with two or three easy meals at first. Once you feel comfortable, move of to more challenging or time-consuming recipes.
Get prepping. Make a big pot of soup and freeze it in portions. Make a batch of your favorite snacks with a friend. So that when you’re tired or uninspired you won’t be reaching for the not-so-good stuff. You’ll find more ideas in my free Healthy Eating on the Go guide.
Know which alcohol to avoid. Gluten-free alcohol includes cider, wine, sherry, spirits, port and liqueurs, but remember that beer, lagers, stouts and ales contain varying amounts of gluten.
Over to you! What are your top tips for going gluten free?
Because of the mild weather there’s still lots of chickweed growing at the moment! It has been said that there is no part of the world where Chickweed is not to be found. It’s one of the first greens available in winter and the tenderest of wild greens. It’s available most of the year round, but gets stringy around midsummer. As the name suggests, poultry love it.
Chickweed is readily distinguished from the alike plants by a line of hairs that runs up the stem on one side only, which when it reaches a pair of leaves is continued on the opposite side. As you can see in the picture.
Chickweed can be eaten raw. Most obvious is eating it as a salad. Or how about liquidised in a green smoothy? It makes a nice pesto as well. But the best recipe I’ve come across is chickweed pakoras…
Chickweed pakora From: Hedgerow – John Wright
Don’t be too precise on quantities: it’s hard to get this one wrong…
100 gr gram (chickpea) flour
1 tbsp medium curry powder or to taste
½ tps baking powder
½ tsp salt (or more)
About 120 ml water
50 gr chickweed, washed, dried and roughly chopped
1 small onion
1 clove of garlic or a handful of wild garlic
Vegetable oil for shallow frying
– Mix flour, curry powder, baking powder and salt
– Slowly stir in enough water to form a paste with the consistency of mustard
– Mix in chickweed, onion and garlic
– Heat a thin layer of oil in a heavy-based frying pan
– When hot, spoon in heaped spoonfuls of the pakora mixture to form little cakes. Space them well apart
– Cover with a lid and cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes until crisp and golden brown on one side.
– Turn over the cakes and brown the other side
– Drain on kitchen paper and serve!