Thursday, October 27, 2011

Blueberry & Walnut Dark Chocolate

The weather isn't exactly great today so that makes for a great excuse to stay indoors and arrange your sock drawer, look through that big pile of paper, and potter around the kitchen (yes, these are things I am doing).

For those of you who know me well or have followed this blog from start know that I am a huge fan of dark chocolate. There is no better way then to finish of a beautiful meal with two squares of 70-90% dark chocolate. Frankly I wished that restaurants would offer that in their menus. Who needs fat, sugary desserts that will leave you too full, tired, and regretful, when you could end your meal gracefully with a coffee and dark chocolate to calm that craving of yours. 

Since I am already "addicted" to dark chocolate (not the milky stuff) I wanted to find a way to bring even more healthy foods into the game, without sacrifice the great taste of cocoa. The end result is a omega 3-, antioxidant-, and vitamin C- rich dark chocolate suitable for any occasion. Why not give to the kids on Halloween?!

Blueberry & Walnut Dark Chocolate 
100g 70% dark chocolate
1/2dl walnuts
1/4dl dried blueberries

Start by lining a small (20x10cm) bread tin. 

Break the walnuts if desirable into smaller pieces and spread out evenly, along with the blueberries, on the baking paper. 

Melt the dark chocolate in a small pan on very low heat. Keep an eye on it and stir frequently to help the melting process and to avoid the chocolate from burning. 

Once melted, pour the chocolate over the walnut and blueberry mix. Leave to cool for a bit and then place it in the refrigerator until completely set. Should not take more then 30-45min before you can lift the whole bar out form the tin.

Break into pieces or keep as one delicious chocolate bar. Your choice! 

HEALTH BENEFITS of Dark Chocolate: The real health benefit of dark chocolate is as you know in the cocoa itself. So the higher percentage of cocoa, the higher the health benefits. Always aim for 70% and beyond. Cocoa is known to lower blood pressure, boost your mood, and research shows that it has beneficial properties for people under great stress. Some people even call it a Super Food! Cocoa can soften your skin, enhance the action in the bedroom and help you loose weight by suppressing your cravings and help metabolise fat in your body. But please don't fool yourself. Dark chocolate has quite a high calorie intake so don't go for the whole bar in one go. Aim for a couple of pieces. If you want the whole bar, make sure to retract something else from your food intake that day. That's the secret to stay slim and not put on any weight. Simple as that :) For more info on the health benefits of cocoa and more delicious chocolate recipes, please follow the link.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Protein Rich Green Pea & Herb Soup

OK, so finally the soup I have been waiting for to share with you. The final verdict came in yesterday for lunch when both my sister and daughter gave it the thumbs up. This protein and fibre rich soup does not require any endless chopping of vegetables and the main ingredients comes straight from the freezer so you will have it on the table in under 20minutes. If you feel that frozen foods is wrong, think again. Frozen vegetables actually contains more nutrients then most fresh ones that you pick up from the supermarket. The reason being that the fresh vegetables can sit on the shelf, in a warehouse or travel all over the world for days and even weeks before it reaches your mouth while frozen vegetables freezes within hours after harvesting. But please do not ignore the fresh local vegetables from local farmers market or any seasonal vegetables available. I do not want you to miss out on the experience of preparing and eating fresh, seasonal vegetables and neither should your children. If you want to stay slim, beautiful and healthy you need to eat nutrient dense foods that your body can use. Any foods that is not dissolved properly and used will get stuck in your system, make you bloated and uncomfortable, and eventually cause weight gain.  

Protein Rich Green Pea & Herb Soup

3dl/300ml frozen green peas
1dl/100ml frozen green soybeans
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed and roughly chopped
1 vegetables or chicken stock cube (gluten and lactose free)
1 small handful of fresh thyme
1 small handful of fresh mint

Put all ingredients (leave the herbs for later) in a medium sized pan. Add as much water that is needed to just cover the vegetables. Bring to the boil then lower the heat and allow to simmer for 5minutes. Turn off the heat and add the fresh herbs. Now mix the soup with a hand mixer or in a blender and serve immediately. Serves 2

If you would like to make this soup for your infant, use a stock that is without or with reduced salt and without gluten and lactose as above.   

HEALTH BENEFITS of Soybeans: Soybeans as all beans and legumes are a great source of protein and fibre. The fibre in soybeans promote digestive health and may reduce the symptoms of constipation and bloating. These beans contain compounds that inhibits the uptake of fat to our fat cells and by that prevent fat storage in your body.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Salad with Fig & Buffalo Mozzarella

I was hit by the 24-hour bug the other night and spent the greater part of yesterday wondering if I would ever be able to carry my self up again. Rarely have I felt so weak and helpless, on the rim of breaking altogether. As luck would have it this weeks recipe, a salad made with raw leafy greens and figs, topped with smooth buffalo mozzarella, is just what my body needs. Raw fruits and vegetables provide your body with antioxidant, vitamins and minerals on a top level since nothing has been done to destroy them, such as cooking, steaming or baking would do. The raw fruits and vegs boost your immune system and take part in breaking down other non-raw ingredients, making the whole meal easier to digest and a healthier meal in total. In other words - make it a priority to serve raw vegetables with each meal. 

Salad made with Figs & Buffalo Mozzarella
2 handfuls of leafy greens - spinach, rocket, romaine
2 figs
1 bulb/125g buffalo mozzarella
balsamic vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

Wash the leafy greens and divide onto to plates. Slice the figs and quater the mozzarella to place on top. Finish off with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, olive oil and freshly ground black pepper. Serves 2

HEALTH BENEFITS of Buffalo Mozzarella: Just as Goat's Cheese from last weeks recipe, he buffalo mozzarella is easier to digest and therefore more desireable then mozzarella made out of cow's milk. It is a good source of protein and the calorie content is approximately 260kcal/100g compared to 320kcal/100g in cow's milk mozzarella, which makes it even more desireable.   

Friday, October 7, 2011

Beetroot, Asparagus & Goat's Cheese Salad

With a little one to take care of (for me that is baby Lily now 6months) you are rarely one to run out of things to do. Quite the opposite. These wonderful little creatures challenge you on a daily basis keeping you busy and occupied as ever before. Despite a busy life you still need breakfast, lunch, dinner (and snack) to keep your body going. You should make a habit of eating at the same time every day since your body works at its best when following a routine. To do so you need to make sure that certain meals does not take too long to prepare. Otherwise there is a good chance that you will grab what's in sight whenever you find a spare minute or two, or skip a meal altogether. None of which are a favour to your health, weight or wellbeing. Quick and Healthy is the way to go forward. This Beetroot, Asparagus & Goat's Cheese Salad is one such meal - packed with vital nutrients and finished in less than 15min.

Beetroot, Asparagus & Goat's Cheese Salad
1 bag/55g of wild rocket - washed
4 whole preserved beetroots - cut into quarters
1 bunch/250g asparagus
100g soft goat's cheese - the kind that you can spread 
1tbsp pine nuts
drizzle of olive or rapeseed oil

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Place the asparagus on a lined baking tray, drizzle some olive or rapeseed oil on top, and bake for 10min.

While the asparagus are baking away in the oven, gently roast the pine nuts for a couple of minutes until they are starting to get a slight golden color. Turn the heat off and set aside. Divide the rocket, quarted beetroots and goat's cheese onto two plates. 

Once the asparagus is ready. Place on top of the salad and finish of with the roasted pine nuts and a drizzle of olive or rapeseed oil. Serves 2

Serve with a slice of good sour dough or rye bread. 

HEALTH BENEFITS of Goat's Cheese: Goat's Cheese does not contain lactose in the way cow's milk does and is therefore much easier to digest. It has a high rate of build promoting protein and calcium and should therefore be a natural part of your diet. Protein build strong muscles and gets the metabolism going while calcium keeps the bones structure and strength at bay.