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My Bestest Ever Roasted Vegetable Stock

Written by lee on . Posted in anti-inflammatory, Blog, Candida Friendly, Dairy Free, Dinner, Fasting, Gluten Free, gut healing, gut health, Heal Your Gut, healthy gut. digestive health, Healthy Meals, micro flora, microbiome, Nutrient Rich, Organic, Sauces, Seasonal, Shopping List, Soup, Soups & Salads, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer, supercharged food, Supercharged Food Menu, Vegetables, Vegetarian, Wheat Free, Winter, Yeast Free

roasted-veg-stock

“Good broth will resurrect the dead,” reads a South American proverb.

Escoffier claimed “Indeed, stock is everything in cooking. Without it, nothing can be done.” A staple and medicinal cure-all in traditional households and the prime ingredient in classic gourmet cuisine, stock or broth made from meat or vegetables is a beautiful meal-base ingredient to always have on hand in the freezer, and has been revered for generations for its ability to nurture the sick and nourish families.

For chefs, stock is the charmed elixir for making soul-warming soups and spectacular sauces.

Vegetable broths made mindfully at home are one of the cheapest and easiest ways to use up leftover veggies, making it a fabulously frugal and environmentally friendly household staple.

If you’re looking to be a more conscious consumer, a homemade stock using up all of your on-hand veggies are the perfect way to enter into the world of frugality, and can help you to justify spending a little extra on quality organic ingredients as you find use for every last skerrick of produce to create delicious meals for you and your family to enjoy.

Beyond adding delicious flavour as the bases of sauces, stocks, soups and stews, they also act as a supercharged “tonic” that are wonderful for adding a dose of healing nutrients that are empowering for health.

Many of the minerals and vital nutrients contained within vegetables are actually bound up within the cell walls of the raw product. Long, slow and gentle cooking actually allows for the breakdown of the cell walls of veggies so that your digestive system can have easy access to the uptake of nutrients.

This is an especially helpful process if you suffer from leaky gut or malabsorption.  Adding broths and stocks is an extra insurance policy to ensure that your body is being flooded with easy-to-digest nutrients and it's one of the staples in my book Heal Your Gut and Heal Your Gut online programs.

I love to experiment with different flavours of seasonal vegetables, herbs and scrap leftovers to create nourishing stocks and tasty, nutrient-rich broths that are both delicious and healing.

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Foods That Boost Happiness :)

Written by lee on . Posted in All, Autumn, Blog, Blog Breakfast, Blog Dinner, Blog Lunch, Blog Salads, Blog Snacks, Breakfast, Candida Friendly, Dairy Free, Dessert, Desserts, Dinner, Gluten Free, Lunch, Nutrient Rich, Organic, Salads, Seasonal, Snacks, Soup, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer, Vegetables, Vegetarian, Wheat Free, Winter, Yeast Free

StirFryBEef

Want to improve your mood?  Did you know that food may be a significant piece of the puzzle?  

The science behind food's effect on mood comes down to chemical and physiological changes in our brain structure which can lead to altered behaviour. Today I'm sharing my favourite mood foods that have been proven to alter your metabolism and brain chemistry, ultimately affecting your energy level and mood.

There is so much hope for your mood in food! The science is showing that you can literally eat your way to happiness, so here are some of my top picks for foods that can boost your emotional health...

Fish oils

sardines avo

A 2012 study reveals that fish oil increases transmission of serotonin in the brain which controls emotion. Because of their ability to increase serotonin levels, fish oils are a lovely mood food to include in your diet. Sardines are my all time favourite source of omega-3 fatty acids and are an affordable and potent source of mood boosting fish oils. Try them in my smashed sardines with avocado on quinoa and flaxseed loaf for your next breakky option.

Brazil nuts

bliss balls

Did you know that brazil nuts are the richest source of the mineral selenium, which helps combat depression? Studies have shown that a small handful of brazil nuts everyday can help improve your emotional health. I like to enjoy them as an on-the-go snack, or chopped and sprinkled over yogurt with grated dark chocolate. Enjoy a hit of happiness by throwing some extra brazil nuts in these delightful Coconut and almond bliss balls.

Broccoli

Broccoli-Soup

Broccoli is a staple veg in my diet. It’s rich in B vitamin folate, which is essential for a healthy mood. Low intakes of the B vitamin folate has been linked to depression, and the great news is that Vitamin B also promotes healthy hair and skin, which boosts your self confidence as your complexion glows. I like to steam broccoli and enjoy with white fish, or in a risotto. I also adore cramming in this mood boosting green in my earthy Broccoli soup.

Ginger

StirFryBEef

Ginger is a gorgeous warming root that has been shown to increase neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are chemicals used by brain cells to communicate with each other. They control your ability to focus, concentrate, remember, and regulate mood, cravings, addictions and sleep.

Ginger increases levels of these important brain chemicals, including dopamine, which is considered the “motivation molecule” that helps you get focused and be productive. It’s also in charge of your pleasure-reward system. Fresh ginger root (especially when sliced into a mug with hot water) also assists in stabilising anxiety and panic. One of my favourite ways to enjoy ginger is in my Stir fried ginger beef; a super speedy and delicious dinner mid week.

Blueberries

Kakadu plum and blueberry icecream

Blueberries can help prevent the release of cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal gland during stressful situations, that travels to the hippocampus (a major portion of your brain) and provides emotional responses. Berries can help control and counter the effects of this hormone’s impact on your mood.

Berries are loaded with anthocyanidins, known to boost brain function and antioxidants, which promote brain and nervous system health. Berries are also low in sugar and calories, so pile them on! Enjoy a boost of blueberries in this super antioxidant filled Blueberry and Kakadu plum ice cream which will impress your guests with its unique blend of superfood flavours.

Here's to eating your way to a happy mood!

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Green Bean Subji

Written by lee on . Posted in anti-inflammatory, Ayurveda, Blog, Blog Dinner, Blog Lunch, Blog Salads, Candida Friendly, Dairy Free, Dinner, Eat Right for Your Shape, Gluten Free, Nutrient Rich, Organic, Salads, Snacks, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer, supercharged food, Supercharged Food Menu, Vegetables, Vegetarian, Wheat Free, Winter

green bean subji

Whoever said that veggies are boring and time consuming deserves a rap across the pork knuckles!

I’m in total awe of the power of veg and constantly surprised by the depths to which I can go in exploring different ways to express the beauty of these gorgeous ground dwellers.

In India, and particularly the Ayurvedic realm; veggies are prized and highly emphasised, not to mention a handy frugal option with high levels of nourishment.

Today I'm sharing a special dish I discovered when I was studying in Kerala. You can read more about my Indian cooking adventures here or in my recipe book Eat Right for Your Shape.

I’m especially proud of Ayurvedic cuisine for its wholesome and innovative approach to preparing quite elaborate meals out of simplistic veg. This glorious green bean subji is a prime example.

Subji is an Indian term that literally means ‘vegetable dish’- and can be in connection with any vegetable in a variety of different cooking methods. Subji’s can be dry, wet, or in curry form.

This spectacular subji is based on the humble green bean, but is impressively dressed up with a list of medicinal and flavourful Ayurvedic ingredients like cumin, ginger, mustard seeds, shredded coconut for texture and the freshness of coriander leaves. In minutes your regular bean is transformed into an exotic, aromatic vegetarian dish that’ll really blow your hair back and widen your eyes.

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Spotlight on Pumpkin + A Delicious Pumpkin Porridge Recipe

Written by lee on . Posted in Autumn, Blog, Blog Breakfast, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Nutrient Rich, Organic, Seasonal, Sugar Free, Vegetables, Vegetarian, Wheat Free, Winter, Yeast Free


PumpkinPorridge

The warm and sweet nature of pumpkin makes it one of the most delightful comfort foods to be enjoyed roasted, steamed and smeared with butter, or blended into soups in the cooler months.

This large trailing plant with yellow, bell-shaped flowers, will take up a lot of room in the garden, and if you've ever grown pumpkins you may have memories of them wildly overrunning the backyard at quite a remarkable pace.

There are many varieties of pumpkin. Butternut produces small to medium pear-shaped fruit with deep orange flesh. Buttercup are small to medium round pumpkins with dark green skin.

There are a number of large pumpkins, some round and flattish - good for storage and eating - others will produce the "Cinderella coach" type giant round fruit which are not as lovely for eating.

Like most fruits and vegetables, pumpkin comes in a number of varieties, all of which are both hugely beneficial for your health and absolutely delicious on your plate. Some different types of pumpkin to consider are:

Queensland Blue Pumpkin: as the name suggests this Australian grown variety of pumpkin has a bluish-green skin with classic orange flesh. This variety tends to grow to around 3-5 kg and can be grown all year long in tropical climates.

Butternut Pumpkin: sometimes referred to as Butternut Squash, this variety tends to have an oblong bell like shape, with yellowish skin and an orange flesh. It tends to have a slightly sweeter and nuttier flavour compared to other pumpkins and has an average size of around 2 kg.

Jap Pumpkin: also known as Kent Pumpkin has green skin mottled with yellow and brown patches, with orange flesh. This nutty variety has an average weight of 4 kg, with a longer maturation process.

pumpkinThese are the most common types of pumpkins grown in Australia however there are so many amazing varieties out there to investigate, like Atlantic Giant Pumpkins and Golden-nugget pumpkins, just to name a few!  In other parts of the world they come in all shapes and sizes from small to jumbo varieties, and favourites include, Jack-o-Lantern, Baby Bear and even a Spooktacular.

Background: The word pumpkin originates from the Greek word Pepõn which means “large melon”.  The word then gradually morphed by the French, English and then Americans into the word "pumpkin." Pumpkins and squash are believed to have originated in the ancient Americas, however these early pumpkins were not the traditional round orange upright Jack-O-Lantern fruit we think of today. Pumpkin pie is a traditional part of Thanksgiving meals in Canada and the United States, and in these countries they are frequently carved as jack-o'-lanterns for decoration around Halloween.  I have my own healthy version of a raspberry studded pumpkin pie you might like to try the recipe here.

Interesting fact: Early Native Americans first prepared pumpkin by cooking it in strips over campfires and they used the sweet flesh in numerous ways: roasted, baked, parched, boiled and dried. They also ate pumpkin seeds and also used them as a medicine. The blossoms were added to stews. Dried pumpkin was also stored and ground into flour!

In season: The general pumpkin harvesting season is autumn in Australia. However pumpkins grow exceptionally well in weather around 20-35 degrees, making it the perfect plant to grow in more tropical climates of Australia all year round. In the US they are planted in July as a warm weather crop but can be grown all year round. In the UK they are harvested between October and December perfect timing for Halloween.

Health benefits: Pumpkins are an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory food; helping with joint health, organ health, stress relief and soft tissue injuries! They can also help protect the eyes from cataracts and degeneration with their significant Vitamin A content.

The high levels of Vitamin C in pumpkins help to boost the immune system and encourage collagen production for the skin to maintain its beautiful glow and elasticity. They're also a great source of fiber to help maintain the health and detoxification of your digestive tract which helps keep your body running smoothly.

pumpkin lee

What to look for: Always inspect the pumpkin to see if it has any cuts, bruises or strange discolouration on its skin. If the pumpkin doesn’t look 100% on the outside, chances are it won’t be very nice once you take it home and cut it open. If you find a pumpkin that visually seems to meet the grade, hold it up to your ear and give it a firm knock. A beautiful healthy pumpkin will produce a solid woody sound, similar to a knock on a door or a wooden table.

Storing: Keep your pumpkins in a cool, dry and well-ventilated spot in your kitchen. Too much heat will cause your pumpkin to age and decompose quickly. You can also segment your pumpkin, wrap it in cling wrap and store it in the fridge. However this is more likely to cause the pumpkin to decline in flavour and quality more rapidly, but it’s a good option is

Preparation: Delicious in scones, soup, curries and puddings, the sweet, creamy texture of pumpkin also makes it a favourite in vegetarian curries and other dishes. To enjoy it simply, chop it into large chunks, drizzle with coconut oil and roast for 40 minutes at 180 degrees. I also love to incorporate it into mashed cauliflower, create a pumpkin and brown rice seeded salad grate it into omelettes, steam it, make a pumpkin soup with coconut milk and even add it sliced thinly into stir fries and curries. However the ultimate way to enjoy it is in your morning porridge!

Amaranth, Walnut and Pumpkin Porridge

Serves 2

This earthy porridge is the perfect morning comfort food. It’s super steamy and deliciously creamy. Delectability aside, this breakfast also boasts a healing hit of medicinal anti-inflammatory spices. You can also swap out amaranth for oats in the same quantity.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 pumpkin (winter squash), peeled and chopped into 3 cm (11/4 inch) pieces
  • 115 g (4 oz/1 cup) walnuts
  • 100 g (31/2 oz/1/2 cup) amaranth, soaked in water overnight, see note
  • 375 ml (13 fl oz/11/2 cups) coconut or almond milk, plus extra, to serve
  • pinch of Celtic sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon alcohol-free vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon rice malt syrup to sweeten (optional)
  • 20 g (3/4 oz/1/3 cup) unsweetened coconut flakes

Method

Line a bamboo steamer with baking paper and steam the pumpkin over a saucepan of gently simmering water for 7 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and purée.

Dry roast the walnuts in a frying pan over medium heat and set aside.

Drain the amaranth in a fine sieve and rinse under cold running water. Transfer to a saucepan with the coconut milk, pumpkin purée, salt, spices, vanilla and lemon zest and bring to the boil. Reduce the temperature to its lowest setting, cover and simmer, stirring often, for 15 minutes. You may need to add more coconut milk if the mixture is looking too dry. Remove from the heat and let it rest for 10 minutes.

To serve, divide between two bowls, drizzle with the extra coconut milk and rice malt syrup, if using, and scatter over the walnuts and coconut flakes.

Note: You can substitute the same quantity of rolled oats for the amaranth.

Happy cooking 🙂

Lee x

 

 

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Green Peas with Onions and Bacon

Written by lee on . Posted in Recipe Book, Vegetables

  • 500 gms green peas
  • 4 rashers nitrate and sugar free bacon
  • 2 TBS Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves garlic sliced thinly
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 TBS chopped mint for garnish

Cook garlic and onions until brown in 1 TBS Olive Oil

Meanwhile place rashers of bacon under a grill until crispy

In a large saucepan place olive oil and cook peas on medium heat stirring occasionally 

After 5 minutes add garlic and onions and stir

Reduce temperature to low and cook with lid on for a further 10 minutes

Place in bowl and garnish with crispy bacon pieces and fresh mint

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Beans with Anchovies

Written by lee on . Posted in Recipe Book, Vegetables

  • 500 grams green beans topped and tailed and washed
  • 1 TBS anchovies chopped
  • 2 eggs boiled and halved lengthways
  • 2 TBS Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup homemade chicken stock
  • ½ lemon juiced

In a large saucepan bring water to boil and place beans in steamer above

Steam until al dente

Place olive oil in a medium saucepan and heat on low adding anchovies, lemon and stock, stirring often

Remove green beans and transfer them to a bowl 

Toss beans with sauce and place on waiting plate, garnish with a boiled egg

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Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Written by lee on . Posted in Recipe Book, Vegetables

  • 12 Roma tomatoes (or tomatoes of your choice)
  • 1 TBS fresh dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp. Celtic sea salt
  • 4 garlic cloves crushed
  • 2 TBS olive oil

Heat oven to 100 degrees Celsius

Place tomatoes on baking dish

Splosh on Olive Oil

Sprinkle on sea salt, garlic and rosemary

Bake on middle shelf of oven for approx. two hours

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Bok Choy with Lemon Zest and Ginger

Written by lee on . Posted in Recipe Book, Vegetables

  • 2 bok choy
  • 1 TBS lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp fresh grated Ginger 
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

Mix grated ginger with sesame oil in a small bowl
Rinse bok choy and cut in half lengthwise 
With the cut side facing up place bok choy in steamer bowl
Sprinkle with lemon zest and oil and ginger mixture 
Steam for 6 mins
Sprinkle on lemon zest
Enjoy

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Sautéed Spinach

Written by lee on . Posted in Recipe Book, Vegetables

  • 2 bunches English Spinach
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock or water
  • Celtic sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup lemon juiced
  • 2 TBS olive oil or butter

Roughly chop spinach

Melt butter in a wide, heavy bottomed pan 

Into the pan add chopped garlic 

Place spinach in the pan along with the stock and seasonings and cook for 2 mins

Place the lid on the pan and simmer for about 10 mins, Remove from heat onto a serving dish and drizzle with lemon and serve

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Green Beans with Tomato, Mint & Basil

Written by lee on . Posted in Recipe Book, Vegetables

  • 1/4 cup EV Olive Oil
  • 1 red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cups green beans, trimmed
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 handfuls basil and mint leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • Celtic sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a heavy pan then add the onion and garlic sauté them over a medium heat

Now place in beans, tomatoes mint and basil 

Turn heat to low and place on lid cook for 20 mins 

Season to taste

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