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My Best Sticky Chai Recipe Ever

Many years ago, I decided to ditch a habit that was causing harm to my health. It was no easy feat. I had a massive void in my heart that was aching to be filled. I searched for what felt like oolong time to fill the spot, but alas, no luck.

And then, I went to India, and fell in love. Sweet, warm and a little spicy. Suffice to say; I fell hard.

If you haven’t guessed it by now, the void I was trying to fill was an almond latte-shaped one. I tried peppermint tea, green tea and even went so far as a magical unicorn latte (yes it's a thing!), but nothing hit the spot quite right.

I searched throughout the region for an alternative drink (okay, the cafes around my neighbourhood). But it wasn’t until I sipped on a chai from a street vendor in India, that I discovered what I'd been missing all along.

Since then, not a day has gone by without a chai. Chai is my motivator, life source and for any yogi’s out there, my prana.

For any newbies out there, let me quickly introduce you: this is chai, a flavoured tea beverage made with black tea and aromatic Indian spices or herbs. Chai loves walks in the park, dairy-free milk, rom-coms, and a dash of excitement.

Since tasting that authentic chai, I've been tinkering around for years trying to perfect my own version and one that can live up to the hype and universal appeal of this drink. My motto being, if at first you don't succeed, chai chai again.

IMHO a good chai needs to be well balanced with spices, have a warmth and sweetness, give you a big hug from first to last sip and its whole should be greater than the sum of its parts.

I’ll stop being modest here for a second and cut to the chai-se, this is the tastiest chai you’ll ever make. I know what you’re thinking: Lee, I think you’re a little bit biased here. Maybe you’re right, but if you're a chai lover I'd really love for you to try it out.

So, you may be asking, what goes into making a good chai? A good chai needs to be the perfect temperature, creamy enough to be warm and comforting, but not too sweet that it overpowers the spices.

But, we’re not here to make a good chai; we’re here to make a great one...

If you avoid caffeine, chai is inclusive, so you can make it with a caffeine-free tea as a base. I’ve added a version where I've swapped out the regular black tea for caffeine-free rooibos tea- but you can make it with either.

My chai spice mix (masala tea) includes a mix of spices, including cardamom pods, ginger, cinnamon, whole cloves, star anise, fennel seeds and saffron. This blend is perfect for creating a dreamy creamy at-home chai.

Once you’ve created your chai mix, feel free to keep it in a glass jar and leave it in your spice cabinet for future use (like, ahem, tomorrow) or the fridge.

This simple recipe makes for the perfect pick-me-up, and as a bonus, makes the house smell like Christmas!

The Best Sticky Chai Recipe I have Ever Tasted

Makes: 1 jar

  • 12 cardamom pods
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 3 cinnamon quills
  • 4 star anise
  • 1 tbs fennel seeds
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups rooibos tea leaves or use English breakfast tea
  • 1 tbs vanilla fresh, liquid or powder
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Pinch saffron (optional)

Method:

In a small pan toast cardamom pods, ginger, cinnamon, star anise, whole cloves and fennel seeds.

Transfer to blender or mortar and pestle and smash or whizz until pieces are chunky.

Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir in vanilla and honey to coat. I usually do this bit with my hands.

Keep in airtight container - I store mine in the cupboard, but you do you!.

Sticky Oat Milk Rooibos Chai

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbs chai mix
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup oat milk
  • Ground cinnamon, to serve

Place 3 TBS of chai and 2 cups of  water in a small saucepan over a medium heat.

Heat slowly  and then turn down to a simmer. (This will protect the nutrients in the honey as rapid heat can destroy them).

Add 1/2 cup of oat milk and warm gently.

Turn off heat and let steep for 5 minutes allowing the flavours to mingle.

Strain into a mug and top with ground cinnamon.

Hope you enjoy this delicious Sticky Chai recipe. Let me know how it works out for you in the comments section below.

Lee 🙂

Mexican Spiced Squash with Avocado & Black Bean Salsa and Quinoa

Today I’m sharing a colourful plant-based dish that’s guaranteed to satisfy. 

 

It’s a tasty Mexican spiced squash with avocado and made with the addition of black beans which are both nutty and creamy, and a wonderful source of protein and fibre.

 

Protein and fibre are going to keep you fuller for longer. Protein can help you to maintain muscle mass and strength and is needed for cell growth and repair and fibre is good for digestive health. 

 

Cooking and eating Mexican is a lot easier than you think. Especially if you opt for the zero planning or shopping option by ordering straight from a fresh delivery service such as Hello Fresh

 

Depending on what you fancy to eat, all you need to do is choose your recipes, then the pre-measured ingredients are delivered safely to your door. There are so many great recipes to choose from too you could literally eat your way round the globe. 

Why not savour the salsa and enjoy this zingy vegetarian dish on its own for lunch or dinner, or serve it as a filling side dish alongside grilled meats? It’s not only delicious and satisfying but also good for you too. 

 

Mexican Spiced Squash with Avocado & Black Bean Salsa and Quinoa 

 

1 Butternut Squash halved lengthways 

1.5 tsp Mexican Spice

½ cup Vegetable Stock

120 grams Quinoa

2 Vine Tomatoes

1 Avocado

1 Lime

1 Tin Black Beans

1 bunch Mint 

1 bunch Coriander

2 tbs Sour Cream

15 grams Pumpkin Seeds

500 mls water

 

Method

Preheat your oven to 200°C. Halve the butternut squash lengthways and scoop out the seeds (no need to peel). Chop it into 2cm cubes and place on a lightly oiled baking tray. Sprinkle over half the fajita seasoning and a pinch of salt. Toss to coat then spread out evenly and roast on the top shelf of your oven until charred at the edges, 30 mins. Turn halfway through cooking.

 

Put a large saucepan of water on to boil (amount specified in the ingredient list). When boiling, add the vegetable stock. Lower the heat to medium and add the quinoa. Cook uncovered, until the quinoa is tender and the seed has split, 11-12 mins. When done, drain in a sieve and leave to cool.

 

Chop the vine tomato into 1cm chunks. Pop in a mixing bowl and season with a pinch of salt. Halve the avocado lengthways and twist apart. Remove the stone and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Chop the flesh into 1cm chunks and add to the tomato. Zest the lime. Mix half the zest into the salsa, along with a squeeze of lime juice. Mix well and set aside.

 

Drain the black beans in a colander and rinse under cold water. Add to the salsa. Pick the mint leaves from their stalks and finely chop (discard the stalks). Add half to the salsa. Roughly chop the coriander (stalks and all) and stir it in too. Add a pinch of the remaining fajita seasoning and the olive oil (amount specified in the ingredient list). Taste and adjust with salt, black pepper or more spice if you like it hot!

 

Mix the remaining chopped mint through the sour cream. Add a pinch of salt and set aside. Transfer the (now cooled) quinoa to a large bowl and add a squeeze of lime juice, the remaining zest and a pinch of fajita seasoning. Mix together and add salt to taste.

 

Stir half the salsa through the quinoa, then spoon the quinoa into deep bowls. Top with the butternut squash and the remaining salsa. Dollop on some sour cream and sprinkle over the pumpkin seeds. Enjoy!

 

FREE Gut Transformation Summit 2020

As many of you already know, the gut plays an essential role in your overall health, your energy levels and your ability to keep your immune system strong and healthy.

This week I’ve been involved in a wonderful gut transformation summit which is a FREE resource for all.  If you’re keen to discover the latest information available on gut health, from the biggest names and renowned experts in the gut health and wellness industry right now then read on.  

You can sign up now for the Gut Transformation Summit 2020 to learn natural, effective, easy-to-implement ways to heal your gut and improve your health and start living a life you love, at any age.

It’s totally FREE to attend from 2-6 Sept 2020. You don’t have to be one of the hundreds of thousands of people around the world struggling with gut health issues, from IBS, SIBO, chronic diarrhoea, reflux and constipation, to other related health issues like auto-immune conditions, fatigue, insomnia, brain fog, irregular moods, anxiety and depression, to name a few.  

Sign up for the Gut Transformation Summit here.

Your hosts for the Gut Transformation Summit, Gen & Leisa from Nourishing Therapies, became gut health experts through their own struggles with it, for over 15 years. That’s what inspired them to create this summit, to get you the information you need to avoid making the mistakes they made, so that you can get better fast and get back to enjoying life.  

Here’s a sample of what you’ll learn during this summit: 

  • Why there is NO one-size-fits-all diet and how to figure out the best diet for YOU.
  • Blastocystis hominis and DientamoebaFragilis: Friend or Foe
  • How a carnivore diet could help reverse gut issues and autoimmunity.
  • How colonics and enemas can improve your gut health, and tips on how to do them.
  • Food sensitivities, methylation, and where to start when you are sensitive to everything!
  • Surprising supplements to help recover from SIBO & IBS.
  • How your home environment could be contributing to your gut issues and multiple chemical sensitivities.
  • How a tight iliacus and psoas muscle can affect your digestion and how you can fix it! 
  • The impact of trauma on your gut and tips and techniques to move through trauma quickly and easily with permanent results.
  • And so much more!

If you want to take charge of your own health, you don’t want to miss this summit! 

Sign up for the Gut Transformation Summit 2020 here 

Sleep Tips + Tray Baked Salmon with Pumpkin and Avocado Mash

The recipe for a good nigh.....zzzzzz

Oh, um, sorry, just nodded off a little there. Where was I? Oh yes, back to reality, today I am sharing a recipe that'll help you to enjoy a wonderful night’s sleep.

If you need a healthy dish to send you off to the land of nod, then you must try this delicious tray baked salmon dish. All you need to do is make this super simple recipe for an early dinner and enjoy it, then once it’s time for bed, roll on an essential oil, crank up your diffuser and all of a sudden you will find yourself getting…. very very very sleepy.

Right now, is a really good time to talk about sleep. A good sleep is one of the most under-rated health tips. Not just one night but every night it’s important to make room in your day for a healthy sleep. Insomnia is a prevalent sleep disorder, appearing in about a third of the population sampled in one study. If your constant lack of sleep is negatively affecting your mental health, click here to get the support you deserve today. For a dynamic calming duo why not try my Chamomile and Lavender Tea.

So why do we need sleep? Well, sleep helps your body reset and recover, it can help reduce stress, improve your memory and even lower your blood pressure by encouraging a steady state of relaxation.  To feel energised during the day, getting enough quality sleep is imperative.  Do you ever notice that your sleep helps you to remember and process things better during the day?  You feel more switched on and you seem to have the mental acuity to make the most of each day? That is due to  our memories being reactivated, strengthening of brain cell connections, and information being transferred from short to long-term. During sleep, the brain replays memories that you have had during the day which strengthen neural connections.

A good sleep can help build your immunity and conversely, it can also have the opposite effect,  draining your immune system by running yourself to the limit.  Having a susceptible immune system can also keep you lying awake at night.

To ensure quality and quantity sleep, implementing your own sleep routine can make a big difference.  Just introducing a few simple, helpful habits can make the world of difference to the way you sleep and the length and depth of your sleep. Eating the right foods at the right time such as having dinner earlier in the evening, will also go a long way to improving your sleep, and your digestion!.

Other tips to help sleep are screening off your phone, computer or TV, and easing off the accelerator as the evening approaches. Winding down and relaxing after dinner can help your body get into rest and digest mode.  Going to bed at the same time each night will enable a better sleep pattern.

Most people need around 7-8 hours of sleep a night but spending too long in bed can also be detrimental. Need more sleep tips? Check out Consumer Mattress Guide, they have a ton of helpful articles you'll love.

I like to create a space for new, restful, in-the-moment energy, so aroma is where I like to start. Recently, I've been using The Goodnight Co’s natural Immunity Boost Kit. It includes expertly blended Immunity Pure Essential Oil and Immunity Roll On to pop in your diffuser or on the go and it’s safe for the whole family to use. You can also go about your day and sleep without sniffles as the range features Cold + Flu Drops to naturally ease symptoms of cold and flu viruses, and even seasonal allergies.  These 100% natural blends combine the power of seven essential oils, with ingredients famed for antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiseptic and antiviral properties to help ease your body and soothe your mind. It's my nightly routine and it works for me.

But let’s back-up a bit to dinner, with this immune and sleep delicious dish. Tray baked salmon with pumpkin and avocado mash will keep your belly and mind happy. It includes butternut pumpkin which is great for immunity. One cup of cooked pumpkin provides Vitamin A, C and E. Studies show that vitamin A can strengthen your immune system and help fight infections. Sesame seeds contain tryptophan which is used by the brain to produce neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin that help you relax and go to sleep.  The tiny seeds also contain calcium which helps the brain use tryptophan to manufacture melatonin.

I hope you enjoy this tasty and peaceful recipe and add it to your weekly menu plans. Give it a go and let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Tray Baked Salmon with Pumpkin and Avocado Mash 

Serves 3 

Ingredients 

  • 1 butternut pumpkin chopped into small cubes
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil  
  • 3 salmon fillets skin on 
  • 1 TBS chopped fresh parsley (great for sleep!) 
  • 1 tsp cumin (great for insomnia!) 
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped 
  • 1 TBS sesame seeds 
  • 1 TBS lemon zest 
  • 1 TBS lemon juice
  • 3 lemon slices, halved
  • Pinch sea salt and black pepper  

Avocado Mash 

  • 1 avocado, diced into cubes 
  • 2 TBS coriander, chopped 
  • 2 TBS  parsley, chopped 
  • 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil 
  • 2 TBS lemon juice 
  • Pinch sea salt 

To serve 

Large handful of rocket 

Method 

Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius 

Place baking paper on a baking sheet and add pumpkin 

Splosh on 1 TBS olive oil, then sprinkle with cinnamon 

Roast for 15 minutes 

In the meantime place parsley, cumin, garlic, sesame seeds, lemon zest and 2 TBS lemon juice, 2 TBS olive oil and salt and pepper in a bowl and mix to blend, place blend over salmon fillets, rubbing it in to stay put

Remove tray from the oven, add the salmon fillets, and lemon slices into the tray with the pumpkin.  Return to the oven for 10-15 minutes until salmon is cooked to your liking 

Whilst the salmon is cooking make the mash by combining all of the ingredients into a bowl and smashing with a fork 

Once the salmon is cooked,  serve with rocket and avocado mash.   

Give it a shot and let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Lee xo

Introducing Flourish and Nourish Through Menopause, a New eCourse

 

Hello ladies,

This one is for you!

If you're a woman experiencing menopause or peri-menopause and you're feeling like your body is out of control, or you're not managing stress as well as you used to, maybe you're noticing your energy levels and patience declining or the hot body you once had is now just a hot mess of hot flushes 😉 if this sounds like you, I think you'll love our brand new 6-week eCourse called Flourish and Nourish Through Menopause.

We all know menopause happens, but you don't need to just deal with it!

Sometimes it can be confusing knowing what to eat and how to nourish your body, especially at a time like this. If you’re unsure of where to turn for information about this time in your life, don’t worry we're here to help and with answers to all of your questions.

Menopause is something that EVERY woman will go through during their life and yet society and the media seems to remain very quiet about it. But things are changing. 

Flourish and Nourish Through Menopause –  is THE online course for every woman who is in peri-menopause or menopause and is feeling like they need to make some changes to feel more energised, alive, and healthier.

You'll learn so much on this in-depth educational course. By the end of the 6-week course you'll know how to manage common menopause symptoms at home, feel less stressed, have more energy, know how to reduce risk factors for common conditions, feel positive and in control and know what to eat for optimal health and weight management.

The course is run by Lee and Belinda and between us, we’ve helped thousands of women to optimise their health and feel their very best. You can watch this video now to learn more!

About the Flourish and Nourish Through Menopause Program

Throughout the 6-week course you will guided every single step of the way. You’ll have access to the following modules with video, written content and activities. There are over 50 beautiful recipes, recipe videos, meal plans, yoga instruction videos and meditation audios which can be accessed at any time during the entire course at your fingertips.

Why should you join?

  • You'll finish this course feeling like you are back in control of your body and your symptoms
  • ALL women deserve to understand the menopausal transition and know what they can do to manage it naturally
  • This course will educate, motivate and inspire you to make long term improvements to your health
  • You'll be provided with step by step guidance on how to make changes to your diet and lifestyle for optimal hormonal health
  • You'll LOVE the recipes which are all nourishing, tasty and simple to make. The whole family will enjoy these recipes which contain easy-to-access ingredients
  • You'll feel supported and part of a community of women who are focused on their health and long-term wellness

What you’ll receive when you sign up to the Flourish and Nourish Through Menopause program

  • Six modules delivered weekly, containing practical expert advice for managing menopause and peri-menopause
  • Tailor made videos in addition to written content
  • Guided support to help you understand how to manage symptoms and tweak your diet to feel your very best
  • Weekly activities, quizzes and downloads
  • Yoga instruction videos for anxiety, sleep, hot flushes, energy and balance
  • Audio meditations for sleep and anxiety
  • eBook for you to download with over 50 recipes and images designed to nourish your body through menopause
  • Shopping lists and meal plans
  • Private Facebook group support and Live Q&A’s
  • All it takes is a six-week commitment from you and you’ll learn so much and feel empowered, strong and supported through your menopause transition

What does the program contain? 

Module 1 - Understanding Menopause and Managing common symptoms

This module helps you to understand what is happening during the menopause transition and where oestrogen can be produced after menopause to keep you feeling your very best. The top 17 menopause symptoms are explored with practical tips on how you can manage these symptoms at home. 

Module 2 – Nutrition for Menopause Part 1

In Week 2 we begin diving into nutrition and how food can help to improve our menopausal symptoms and your future health. We have detailed info on which nutrients are essential for menopause and we list the Top Ten foods for menopause and learn how to make a balanced meal plan.

Module 3 – Nutrition for Menopause Part 2

There is so much to learn about nutrition! This week we learn about which foods and substances can negatively affect menopause while dispelling common myths and helping you learn how to best choose foods when you are shopping. We give nutritional advice for each stage of the menopausal transition and detail which supplements might be right for you. Each supplement/nutrient is explained in detail and includes which form to look for and what dose to take along with our top brand suggestions. 

Module 4 - Impact of Lifestyle on Menopause

Exercise, sleep, stress and friendships can have a massive impact on menopause symptoms. We detail lifestyle tips for optimal hormonal health, how to ensure a good night’s sleep and some tips for managing stress. Which types of exercise are beneficial for menopause are explained along with do-at-home yoga videos and guided audio meditations. 

Module 5 – Preventing Long Term Health Risks

After menopause comes an increase in the risk of certain long term health conditions. Learn about how to minimise your risk factors and understand the ongoing health checks and blood tests that are useful for focusing on wellness and prevention. 

Module 6 – Pulling it all together and making a plan for the future

By week 6 you’ll have learned everything there is to know about menopause and how to flourish and be nourished through the process. Menopause isn’t something we are trying to fix but something we are trying to transition through with ease. This week wraps up all you have learned and helps you to make a plan moving forward to allow you to eat well, move more and better manage stress. See you in the course!

Who has created this course?

Flourish and Nourish Through Menopause has been created by Lee Holmes and Belinda Kirkpatrick. We came together to create this course after finding a serious lack of helpful and practical information available to help women through the menopausal process. Lee Holmes a nutritionist, wholefoods chef, yoga and mediation teacher, best-selling author of nine Supercharged Food books and creator of the Love Your Gut powders and author of this website www.supercharegdfood.com and www.superchargeyourgut.com

Belinda Kirkpatrick is a Naturopath and Nutritionist and expert on women’s health and hormones. Belinda is the author of Healthy Hormones and has been in clinical practice for over 15 years helping thousands of women just like you take control of their hormones and thrive  through the menopausal transition. We have combined our skills and experience to bring you the very best and most practical information, inspiration and guidance to empower you to understand your body and feel amazing and in control through menopause and beyond.

How much does the course cost?

The 6-week program is only $199 and comes with a free recipe eBook with over 50 recipes.

Vegan Lentil Moussaka

Have you been drawn to eating more recently? How about craving comfort foods you don’t usually?

You’re not alone. With a lot of unknown in the air, many of us are feeling destabilised. While we aren’t able to fill ourselves with the answers, with what’s going to happen and when it will occur, we can choose to solve this emptiness temporarily with wholesome food.

Did you know that satiety communicates to the body that we’re safe; a feeling many of us are craving at the moment?

In unknown times, you can choose to use food as a tool to bring comfort, and all it involves is choosing wisely. For many people, it’s easy to get caught up in the loop of consuming comfort food, of delivery drivers and sweet treats. You guys know me by now, and I'm not the kind of person to encourage you to stop altogether, however gifting your body with nutritious foods can really lift your energy and mood, too. Fresh and healthy meals can grant a source of comfort; healthy food and tasty food can be mutually inclusive.

If you’re looking for a guide to help you feel your best and enjoy cooking, my FREE two-week guide to stockpiling your pantry may be right for you.  Or if you're keen to support your immunity another FREE resource I've created is a 14-Day Supercharge Your Immune Health Pantry List with recipes.   The resources are great for singles, couples and families, and you don’t need to be a doomsday prepper to benefit from them, everyone’s welcome!

If you’re looking for a recipe that brings both comfort and nourishment in the same mouthful, my Vegan Lentil Moussaka is the one for you. I assure you it’s tasty like you’re-eager-to get-a-second plate-of-it-after-only-the-first-bite kind of tasty. You know what I mean 😉

If you’ve never heard of moussaka, it’s a traditional Greek dish that’s similar to lasagne but utilises eggplant in place of lasagne sheets. It’s a handy way to sneak extra vegetables into the mouths of those in your household. Moussaka is an extremely warming comfort dish that my family has been enjoying during this lockdown period.

Mince traditionally fills a wholesome moussaka, but after receiving many emails and Instagram DM’s from people who previously bought tinned lentils and beans during panic-buying days and didn’t know what to do with them, I’ve switched things up with this vegan moussaka with lentils.

You don’t have to be a vegan to eat lentils, trust me! When you prepare lentils appropriately, they can be delicious for the meat-eaters and meat-free among us.

So, let’s chat about the humble lentil. Lentils are a high-fibre legume, great for showing love to our digestive system. And remember, a happy gut = a healthy nervous system and a happy mood. This moussaka is also full of vegetables for an extra fibre hit.

Legumes also offer an excellent source of plant-based protein which brings satiety. Protein is necessary for the health of our hormones, muscle and skin health.

Lentils give this moussaka a meaty texture so your household won’t feel like they’re missing out if meat free Mondays sends the troops into meltdown. To make this moussaka even more delicious, I’ve created a sunflower seed cheese topping with nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast contains vitamin B12, another nutrient that can be difficult to obtain on a vegan diet. Vitamin B12 helps create DNA, and a deficiency can cause weakness and fatigue.

If you’re looking for comfort, why not try this Vegan Lentil Moussaka on for size? This deliciously layered baked eggplant dish with lentils and a vegan cheese sauce will bring all the comfort and nourishment you and your family need. Let me know what you think of it in the comments below!

Vegan Lentil Moussaka

Serves 3—4

When prepared with love and flavour, the humble lentil comes into its own. This moussaka is completely free of all forms of stodge.

Ingredients

  • 1 eggplant (aubergine), sliced
  • 2–3 zucchini (courgettes), sliced
  • Celtic sea salt
  • 60 ml (2 fl oz/1/4 cup) cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 shallot, chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 x 400 g (14 oz) tins diced tomatoes
  • 2 x 400 g (14 oz) tins lentils, drained (soak if preferred for easy digestion)
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/1/2 cup) vegetable stock
  • 2 teaspoons oregano leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Sunflower seed cheese

(If you don’t have ingredients or time to make this just use 1 ½ cups grated vegan cheese)

  • 145 g (5 oz/1 cup) sunflower seeds, soaked in water
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
  • pinch of Celtic sea salt
  • 120 ml (33/4 fl oz) filtered water

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes, for topping

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6).

Place the eggplant and zucchini in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Set aside for 30 minutes then rinse off the salt.

Put the eggplant and zucchini on a baking tray and brush with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil then bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until browned.

Remove from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 220°C (425°F/Gas 7).

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Add the remaining olive oil into a large saucepan over medium heat and sauté the garlic, onion and shallot for 5 minutes, or until browned. Add the apple cider vinegar, tomatoes, lentils, stock, oregano and cinnamon and season to taste. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer over medium–low for about 15 minutes.

To make the sunflower seed cheese if using, place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
If you’d like a creamier cheese, add some filtered water to the mix. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm up.

To assemble the moussaka, place a layer of the cooked eggplant and zucchini in a 28 x 18 x 5 cm (111/4 x 7 x 2 inch) baking dish. Pour a layer of sauce over the vegetables, and then repeat. Top with the sunflower seed cheese (or grated vegan cheese, if using) and scatter over the nutritional yeast flakes.

Bake in the oven for 15–20 minutes or until the top is crispy.

Give it a go and let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Lee xo

Foods to Improve Your Mood + Cheesy Kale Chips

Have you ever finished a loooong day with a kind of sad and lethargic feeling? Then, all of a sudden, you find yourself standing in front of the fridge or pantry and gobbling down the entirety of its contents. Often, this includes the foods we shouldn’t be eating in copious amounts, like chocolate, chips, chocolate, cookies, oh, and did I mention chocolate?

We often tuck into these foods because they give us temporary emotional highs. They make us feel good and keep us wanting more (kind of like the really awful TV shows you watch, love to hate and can’t stop watching). We all have our vices – maybe for you it’s chocolate, chips, fast food, ice-cream or something else entirely.

So what makes us experience these cravings?

Picture this: you're sitting on the couch, it's a little late, your favourite Netflix show is on and you have a bar of chocolate in front of you (dark chocolate obviously, because it's high in the antioxidants and whatever...). You convince yourself you'll only have one piece. You look down during the ad break and it's only the wrapping that remains. How on earth did that just happen?

Science plays a bigger role in our cravings than we might realise. Those ‘melt in your mouth’ foods, like chocolate and marshmallows, give you a happy sensation when you eat them and then you tend to crave them more. This feeling signals to your brain that you’re not eating as much as you actually are and keeps you wanting more and more and.... So, when you eat these food, they literally tell your brain that you’re not full, even though you’re eating lots of calories. And this, my friends, is why many of us over eat.

Food companies know this and often take full advantage of it – there’s a reason small blocks of chocolate are so hard to find! These companies will also spend millions of dollars to discover the most satisfying level of crunch in a potato chip… imagine having that job!

A lot of the instant and fast foods that we crave are delicious and make us feel okay, but it's only temporary. These foods are often high in unhealthy fats, calories and artificial ingredients. The only thing they're low in is nutrients! They can impact brain function and memory, leading to a feeling of depression after the initial joy of eating it. They can also cause an increase in our blood sugar levels, which make us hungry after a meal, leading to over eating and weight gain. These comfort foods can often be full of artificial ingredients that our bodies have trouble understanding and that can lead to tummy pain, bloating, absorption problems and fatigue.

So now for the real question, what can we do about it?

I’m sorry to break it to you, but there’s no specific superfood that will make you happy or improve your brain function. Instead, what a good rule of thumb to follow is to eat a healthy diet with a variety of nutritious foods. Following a diet that emphasises vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, whole grains, olive oil and lean protein, and reduces ultra-processed, fried and sugary foods. Basically, eat the real stuff, and cut back on junk food and you’ll be good to go!

If you’re really looking for a mood-boost, and we’re talking a real, sustained mood-boost, the best way to do it is to consistently supply your body with nutritious foods to keep it motoring along.  That doesn't mean you have to forgo all your favourite comfort foods, the key here s moderation.

Researchers have studied the association between foods and the brain. They’ve identified nine nutrients that combat depression and boost our mood. Don’t worry, I’ve compiled this all for you so you don’t need to get into the nitty gritty of it!

These nutrients are calcium, chromium, folate, iron, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin D and zinc. These mood-nutrients make us less stressed, boost libido and make us happier. Nutrients in foods can actually support neurotransmitters that produce feel-good hormones and happy hormones, like serotonin and dopamine.

So, what foods should we be including in our diets?

Capsicums – capsicums are full of vitamin C (even more than oranges) which helps hormone synthesis, producing happy hormones. The higher the concentration of vitamins in our food, the bigger the impact on our mood. Due to their vitamin C content, capsicums are also great for increasing our immune system so we don’t get sick. Whip up a Hazelnut and Capsicum Pesto.

Flaxseeds - flaxseeds, also known as linseeds, are high in Omega-3 fatty acids to help avoid foggy brains. Flaxseeds can also help balance hormones and produce energy. I like to sprinkle flaxseeds over my eggs, make a flaxseed crust with baked fish or put a tsp of ground flaxseeds in my porridge.

Oats – oats are full of the vitamin B1 which helps produce energy. They also help seal the lining of the gut and reduce inflammation. Try out my gutmeal for a sustained mood-boosting breakfast.

Cacao – cacao - ahh the good stuff! Cacao increases serotonin and dopamine in the brain, giving us feelings of pleasure, happiness and lowering our stress levels. Cacao is also high in iron, magnesium, calcium and more! The best way to enjoy cacao? Chocolate! Go for ones that are 70% cacao or the raw stuff! Try this delish Chocolate Fudge.

Maca – maca is actually a Peruvian root vegetable that's found in powdered form from health stores and online. It helps regulate and balance hormones, boost our libido and fertility!  I can't speak about maca without mentioning my Maca and Tahini Latte.  This creamy and warm concoction is the perfect latte to help you chillax.

Oily fish - like salmon and sardines, are high in omega-3 and raise dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain.  Low levels of serotonin are linked with depression, aggression and suicidal tendencies, while dopamine is a “reward” chemical that the brain releases in response to pleasurable experiences, such as eating.  The body does not naturally produce Omega-3s, so the fatty acid needs to be consumed from outside sources. Deficiency symptoms include fatigue, mood swings, memory decline, and depression. Try this Sardine Mash Pot.

Avocado – avocados are a natural hormone booster and they also help us absorb nutrients we’re eating, particularly fat-soluble vitamins. This is your permission to eat avocado with everything... you're welcome.

Lentils – lentils are a slow-digesting carbohydrate that help boost our serotonin levels. Lentils are a low-calorie, nutrient-packed legume with a nutty and earthy flavour. They contain a great source of prebiotics to help out your gut and keep things running smoothly on our insides. Plus, lentil dahl is dahl-icious.

Rosemary - the delicious herb, is an example of an adaptogen that has been used for centuries for its stress-relieving and immune-boosting qualities. It’s the perfect herb to add to your meals, I've included it in my Rosemary and Thyme Chicken Stew.

Chai Tea - No spirit-lifting list of mine could omit chai tea. Chai uses a blend of spices that promote happiness and I’m almost certain that a cup of chai tea can fix anything. If you’re ordering one out, be sure to go for the real stuff, not the powdered or syrup version!

Carbohydrates - let's slash carbophobia! Carbohydrates can help boost your mood. In a new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, people who for a year followed a very-low-carbohydrate diet—which allowed only 20 to 40 grams of carbs daily, about the amount in just 1/2 cup of rice plus one piece of bread—experienced more depression, anxiety and anger than those assigned to a low-fat, high-carb diet that focused on low-fat dairy, whole grains, fruit and beans. It's been suspected that carbs promote the production of serotonin.

Living a life of restriction, like a low-carb diet, for a full year may have negatively impacted their moods. When choosing carbohydrates, go for unrefined carbohydrates like oats and quinoa and choose starchy carbs like pumpkin and sweet potato.

Saffron - saffron has proven to help relieve PMS symptoms, like mood swings and depression. It's antidepressant effects have even been compared to common antidepressants like Prozac! Researchers believe that the spice helps produce the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin and makes it more available to the brain. You'll love my White Fish Soup with Saffron.

Nutritional Yeast Flakes- Nutritional yeast is the kind of yeast that doesn't feed pathogenic bacteria as it's a deactivated yeast and usually a strain of scaaharomyces cerevisiae.  It's packed with B vitamins such as B1, 2, 3, 6, 9 and 12, and fibre and  makes a great food source for vegans who may be lacking in B12.  Research shows that B vitamin supplementation can benefit stress. It's cheesy nutty flavour means you can add it to pizza's, soups, mashes, omelettes and casseroles or wherever you would ordinarily add cheese.

Probiotics - Whether from supplements or foods, these good bacteria are beneficial for more than digestive health. People who take probiotics see improvements in their perceived levels of stress and have a more positive mental outlook compared to people not taking probiotics. Not only does eating these happy foods help our moods, they also help out our gut because of the direct link existent from the gut to the brain. So, if we’re eating mood-boosting food, our bodies are going to function much more efficiently and our moods are going to be that much brighter.

Iron Rich foods- In a review published in Nutrients, the researchers with Deakin's School of Psychology and Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research (C-PAN) examined studies into the positive mood and cognitive effects of increasing iron and zinc intakes in women between 12 and 55 years old.  They discovered that increasing iron intakes via supplements improved memory and intellectual ability, and increasing zinc intakes also via supplements improved depressive symptoms in women who either already had depression or had low zinc levels. Iron rich supplements such as Love Your Gut powder and Fulvic Humic Concentrate are a great way to assure an adequate intake of iron.

So, what's my netflix snack of choice? My Golden Gut Oatmeal Cookies and these delicious Cheesy Kale Chips. They're full of mood-boosting and healthy-promoting ingredients so you can lounge around with netflix on and snack away!

Happy Kale Chips

Serves 2

  • 1 bunch of curly kale, stems removed, leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6).

Combine the kale and oil in a large bowl and massage the oil into the kale.

Transfer to a baking tray, sprinkle with the nutritional yeast flakes and bake for 12 minutes.

These are best eaten straight out of the oven.

🙂

Lee xo

FREE Supercharge Your Immune Health 14-day Shopping List

IS YOUR PANTRY SUPPORTING YOUR IMMUNITY?

Immunity, immunity, immunity! It’s the hot topic raising the temperature of many discussions nowadays. It’s also a vexed issue - vaccines, herd immunity, pandemics, vitamins, supplements, snake oil. You know the drill.

At Supercharged Food we’re, funnily enough, all about the power of food. Not overblown promises, cure-alls, just good, old food. When it comes to immunity, food amongst other things can play an important role in helping you manage disease and bounce back to health.

When it comes to good old-fashioned health and immunity, the place to start is in your pantry.

We've all been through alot this year, and to give you and your family a helping hand with navigating which particular foods are best, we’ve created a FREE ‘Supercharge Your Immune Health 14-day Shopping List’.

You can also find lots of recipes utilising the pantry list ingredients here on the blog. There are delicious recipes such as: 

It’s a practical list of pantry, fridge and freezer immune-supporting staples. We’ve done all the research and list-writing for you. You’re welcome. 

Many of the items recommend healthier substitutes for staples: brown rice for white. Almond meal or whole grains for processed and bleached flours. More veggies than meat. To build your immune system (any of your body’s systems in fact) it’s best to get back to the simple idea of making healthier choices.

But fear not, we promise you’ll get used to the new ‘swap-outs’ and your body will start to crave them. And so will your taste buds too!

A few stars that we’d like to put on a pedestal are foods such as flaxseed, garlic, nuts and bananas.

Flaxseed never cops any flack in the Supercharged household. We use its oil, the seed itself and crushed and blended into smoothies and cooking. Flaxseeds are a smart choice because they’re dense with nutrients - omega-3 fats, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), lignans a type of phytoestrogen and fibre. Flaxseed components  such as ALA and lignans affect immune cells and mediators of the immune response such as eicosanoids and cytokines.

Garlic. It’s not only great for Vampire immunity it also builds YOUR immunity and is used in many cold and flu remedies. To get the most from your garlic here’s a few tips: crushing garlic and allowing it to stand for 10 minutes before cooking can help prevent the loss of its medicinal properties. Researchers have also found the loss of nutrients via cooking could be mitigated by increasing the amount of garlic used. There you can blame ‘researchers’ for doubling your garlic intake!

Shellshock! Nuts are packed with protein, fibre and essential fats. A golf ball-sized serve (about 30g) of unsalted nuts makes a vitality-boosting snack. The vitamin E found in nuts like pistachios, almonds and walnuts is required by the immune system to help fight off invading bacteria.

Bananarama. It’s the fruit we buy most. We love a smoothie in Supercharged HQ and bananas make a smoothie rich, nutritious and delicious. Buy them green, let them ripen, use some and freeze the rest. We like to have them almost, almost over-ripe. It makes them sweeter. Frozen bananas are not just convenient but add coldness to the drink.  Bananas are a prebiotic food – supporting gut health which is linked to immunity plus they’re high in vitamin B6 which is required for immune system functioning.

Enjoy your FREE ‘Supercharge Your Immune Health 14-day Shopping List’. I hope this helps you and your family. We’ve done all the thinking for you with lots of vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables, immune supporting herbs and spices, flavour providers and fridge and freezer items.

Please download the Supercharge Immunity Shopping List here.

Stay Supercharged 🙂

Lee xo

Oven Baked Veg and Garlic Soup with Toasted Seeds

I'm going back to the future.

I love blogging and sharing my food adventures with you.

And you sharing right back.

It's what Supercharged Food is all about and why I started blogging in the first place.

So, I’ve decided I’m going back to basics.

You know, when the blogger make a recipe at home in their kitchen, away from the hullabaloo that is life?

Forget FaceTime! Let's get back to face to face time.

Say hello to good old-fashioned, simple Supercharged food blogs.

Here’s the first…

Curate your date night with my Oven Baked Veg and Garlic Soup with Toasted Seeds.

Whether you’re facing first-date butterflies and you want to seriously impress your first date or, you want to make your long-time partner feel a little more special, this SOUPercharged recipe is sure to do the trick.

Get changed out of your tracksuit pants and throw on your fanciest get-up because date night at home need not be casual!

You don’t need a specific day to show someone you love them. Sometimes love can come through in the simplest of gestures - like making a warming pot of soup with some candles and soft tunes to gently sway to on the couch.

This baked veg soup is husband-approved and absolutely fool-proof. You can even throw it together while you're getting home from a long day. It's sure to warm you both up from the inside out.  If you have an air fryer / toaster oven why not make some sweet potato fries to have on the side? 

So, what makes this soup so soupercharged? The cruciferous vegetable, cauliflower, can help fight inflammation because it's rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Whilst garlic can help lower cholesterol and combat heart disease!  Who knew healthy eating could be so sexy?

Don't forget the seedy topping! Seeds are rich in  zinc - a crucial but often forgotten mineral that helps with growth, immunity and can even improve our skin.

And of course, the best part of having a date night at home is what happens after dinner...... 😉

Get your head out of the gutter - I'm a food blogger after all!

I'm talking about DESSERT.

Be sure to try out my love heart chocolates. These indulgent delights, with their special smooth and velvety texture and chocolaty buttery taste, are melt-in-your mouth good.

You'll wonder why you ever made reservations in the first place...

Oven Baked Veg and Garlic Soup with Toasted Seeds

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cauliflower cut into florets
  • 2 zucchinis chopped into cubes
  • 1 carrot chopped into cubes
  • 1/2 bulb garlic unpeeled (about 6 cloves)
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • Pinch chili flakes
  • 1 knob butter or 1 tbs olive oil
  • 500gms veg or beef stock
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 2 tbs wheat free tamari
  • 1 tsp ginger grated

Top with:

  • 1/4 cup toasted seeds
  • Fresh coriander

Method:

Heat oven to 240 degrees Celsius

Place veg and garlic on a baking tray and splosh with olive oil then add spices and stir to coat

Bake for 25 to 30 mins

Once ready heat butter/oil in heavy based saucepan

Squeeze garlic into pan and break up with a wooden spoon

Place veg into pan and stir

Add stock and remaining ingredients and stir then bring to the boil and reduce heat place on lid and simmer for 10 mins

Ladle into bowls and top with toasted seeds and fresh coriander

Gorgeous Green Lentil Soup

I love lentils. There. I’ve said it. And Murray River Organics green lentils are superb. I include these green lentils in at least three meals a week, summer or winter. I’ll toss them in my green leafy veggies, star them in stews or mix them up in a big pot of soup.

Salad can be a controversial friend over colder months, so this winter, I suggest you make friends with lentils. Trust me; they’ll friend you right back.

Lentils are a great pantry staple, and we all know I’m a big lover of an easy to navigate pantry. Plus have you noticed that when you have an organised pantry, you are more inclined to do home cooking and you feel like nothing can stop you!

What people really find out when they discover lentils is just how versatile and filling, they are, with no empty carbs.  When done correctly, they give soup a creamy texture, subtle flavour and substance. Lentils are nutrient-dense and rich in plant-based protein. You heard that right; I said plant-based protein. Some people assume you can only get protein from animal sources, but plants and legumes are abundant in protein. Getting protein from a variety of sources is critical in maintaining overall health.

Protein isn’t just for bodybuilders or those trying to put on size; protein is one of three macronutrients and makes up the main components of our muscles, bones, organs, skin and nails. We need protein to help us produce the right amount of haemoglobin, hormones and immune antibodies. Protein is a complex structure, made up of smaller building blocks called amino acids. Lucky for you, this soup mix is rich in plant-based protein, as well as soluble fibre.

Dietary fibre is vital for gut health and can keep us fuller for longer. Soluble fibre, found in little lentils, helps slow down the emptying process in our stomachs, increasing satiety. Fibre can also lower our LDL cholesterol levels and stabilise blood glucose levels. Foods rich in soluble fibre include whole grains and seeds such as rice, quinoa, oats and, of course, lentils. One cup of cooked lentils offers about 16 grams of fibre, making up more than half of our fibre requirement for the day.

Okay, I get it, lentils are great, but why are there so many and which ones should I choose?

Oh, I thought you’d never ask!

Brown lentils are the most common variety and have a mild, earthy flavour. You’ll find them in veggie burgers, casseroles and stews.

Red and yellow lentils, known as ‘split’, are processed into smaller lentil bits. They’re somewhat sweet and nutty and often used in Indian and Middle Eastern Cuisine. Hello, dahl.

Now, for my favourite, allow green to reign supreme! Green lentils have a robust and slightly peppery taste and are great for salads, side dishes and of course, my Gorgeous Green Lentil Soup.

You don’t need to soak lentils but soaking them can help remove some of their phyto-chemicals which can be the culprit of many a gut issue, including gas and bloating.

I’m using Murray River Organics green lentils as they’re better for the environment and our health. Murray River Organics have a variety of lentils on offer, including split lentils, French green lentils, black Beluga lentils and green lentils. They even have lentil flour, to fulfil all your lentil dreams!

I’m combining green lentils with coconut oil from Murray River Organics. Murray River Organics have the best organic oil in the biz. Thinking about their cold-pressed coconut oil makes my mouth drool. Coconut oil adds a sweet coconut flavour to cooking, adding another rich layer of flavour to my soup. Coconut oil can serve as a make-up remover, body moisturiser and hair conditioner.

With this Gorgeous Green Lentil Soup, you’ll satiate your taste buds and your tummy. If you want to avoid after-dinner hunger on meatless Monday (it’s okay, we’ve all been there. Yes, I’m looking at you, soggy mushroom burger, and no, I’m not sorry!), try my Gorgeous Green Lentil Soup on for size.

Gorgeous Green Lentil Soup

Supercharged tip: Soaking grains, lentils, nuts and seeds for 30–60 minutes in warm water helps make them easier to digest. If garlic or onion is a problem for you, you could also cook the lentils with asafoetida (Hing) a beautiful spice that you can find in Indian and Middle Eastern grocers. It has a pungent earthy taste similar to garlic and onions but will to help prevent gas and bloating.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon Murray River Organics Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 205 g (7 1/4 oz/1 cup) Murray River Organics Green Lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 4 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced
  • grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Celtic sea salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, to serve
  • lemon cheeks, to serve

Method

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger, and cook for 5 minutes or until the onion is soft.

Add the spices and stir for another minute until fragrant.

Add the lentils, tomato, stock and lemon slices, stirring to combine.

Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes or until the lentils are soft.

Add the lemon zest and juice, season to taste, and cook for a further 1–2 minutes.

Top with parsley and serve with a lemon cheek each.

Give it a go and let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Minimal Living + Ayurvedic Cardamom Hot Chocolate

Let’s talk minimalism.

Before you close this tab and roll your eyes, this isn’t going to be a blog post where I tell you to throw all the items that you’ve ever loved away, sleep on a thin mattress on hard wooden floors and live out of a backpack with only a distressed t-shirt, two ratty pairs of bamboo underwear, a scrappy diary and an iPhone charger to your name.

No.

There’s much more to minimalism than that.

Minimalism is more than just a style of house or art piece or throwing away things that no longer spark joy.

To me, minimalism is simple; it’s about simplicity, you know, the less is more approach.

The truth is, in the modern world we live in, we all have too much stuff (except the person who nodded their head to all the things I mentioned before. You probably don’t get where I’m coming from).

In a world that’s constantly trying to tell us we need more to make us happier, maybe it’s time for a little reassessment to really figure out what is necessary and what's not.

At our core, we all know that the things that make us the happiest are usually the simplest, not the latest phone, mansion, dress or expensive car. The things that bring us true happiness are experiences like sipping on a big mug of tea, spending quality time with our family and friends and enjoying life's basic pleasures.

Maybe Covid-19 has brought this out in us more as we self isolate and reevaluate all sorts of things that were once taken for granted.

Trying to fill ourselves with more stuff almost always ends up leaving us feeling a little bit emptier afterwards. To me, there’s something graceful and simultaneously a tiny bit terrifying about letting go; of detaching ourselves to the material or a certain outcome. I believe there is much beauty to be found in detachment if we’re open to it. So, it’s time to get back to basics. It's time for freedom.

But, where do we begin?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with clutter, start decluttering. It doesn’t need to be a laborious process. You can start slow – say the one shelf that you throw all of your paperwork and Knick-knacks into (you know the one), or a section in your wardrobe. Think of it like this: if it’s not a heck yes, it’s a no.

Once you’ve gathered up your items, consider giving them to friends or dropping them off  your closest op-shop. Walking out empty-handed can feel extremely liberating, especially if you know that your pre-loved items are going somewhere they’ll be used and needed.

One of my favourite parts about minimalism is just how freeing it is. Once we realise that we don't need more to make us happy, we can enjoy simple pleasures a lot more. For example, I personally love giving out experiences as gifts rather than material items. If you want to find out more about meaningful gifting, click this link here.

If you’re looking for some new experiences, why not cancel your usual fancy dinner reservations for Friday and have a game’s night instead? I guarantee everyone will have just as much fun and you won’t need to worry about the awkwardness of splitting the bill at the end either. My family’s favourite choices are scrabble (I’m a word nerd, what can I say?), but we’re also impartial to monopoly and card games too.

Speaking of bonding activities, one of the most highly underrated ways to bond is over shared interests. Even if you're socially isolating, a book club is a brilliant way to share insights over a novel while also investing quality time into friendships and having a good laugh while you’re there too. If you're looking for a book to discuss, I've heard Supercharge Your Life's is a really good one ;). ha.

If you’ve ever had a look at my Instagram, you’ll know I have a mean green thumb. While I’m an amateur gardener, it’s seriously one of my favourite ways to spend my time. One of the best parts about gardening is using your own fruit, vegetables and herbs in your own meals afterwards. I’ve turned my kitchen into my garden!

If you’ve always wanted to try creating your own kitchen garden, be sure to check out this link here. Your tastebuds will thank you however, your wrists and back may not.

Cooking from scratch and using mealtimes as a celebration is a beautiful experience that we can all do a little more. When I have people over, I love putting our phones in a box upon arrival and just letting our mouths and the food do the entertaining. There is something highly underrated about presence that can be quite astounding when there’s no phones around. I also love pot luck meals when everyone brings an item they’ve made. It’s so much more fun when everyone can share their favourite dishes and exchange recipe ideas. What’s not to love about that?

Minimalism has given me a deeper appreciation of the items that I do have and cherish everything and everyone in my life even more. The truth is, we don’t need more stuff, rather we need to use what we have and use it properly.

So, go on, now it’s your turn! Decluttering and a new sense of gratitude and appreciation awaits you.

One of my favourite shared experiences is making a pot of Ayurvedic Cardamom Hot Chocolate and sharing it with family or friends.

Why not try this Ayurvedic twist on the classic hot chocolate, which doubles as a scrumptious indulging ritual as well as a medicinal aid for your gut.

In Ayurvedic tradition, cardamom is considered an excellent digestive that helps minimise gas and bloating. Its soothing, warming effect will help to enhance the absorption of nutrients, as well as calm the nervous system in times of stress.

You could serve this wonderful hot chocolate dusted with extra cinnamon and topped with raw cacao nibs. It serves 2.

Ayurvedic Cardamom Hot Chocolate

  • 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) milk of your choice
  • 30 g (1 oz/1/4 cup) raw cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon alcohol-free vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • pinch of ground ginger
  • 1 heaped tsp raw honey to taste

Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan and whisk over low heat until any clumps of cacao and spices have dispersed. Continue stirring as you allow the milk to simmer gently for a few minutes.

Pour into cups and enjoy warm.

NOTE: For extra kick, you could add a very small pinch of freshly ground black pepper — as long as spicy foods don’t upset your stomach. If you’d like a frothy hot chocolate, whisk or blend just before serving

I would love to know what your thoughts on minimal living are and also, what your favourite experiences to share with loved ones are.

Let me know in the comments section down below!

Lee xo

Pumpkin, Mushroom and Sage Brown Rice Risotto Video

The risottos are in for a healthy and delicious dinner recipe....and the winner is.....

*drum roll🥁 ....

This simple and satisfying Pumpkin, Mushroom and Sage Brown Rice Risotto!

It’s a new recipe that is so delicious and perfect for any night of the week or it also works well as leftovers for lunch any day of the week.

Wholegrain brown rice is a cute little swap out that you can make, as the fibre helps to lower cholesterol (along with sage) and it also aids digestion.

Enjoy the video below and let me know what you think of this new recipe?

Squash and Mushroom Brown Rice Risotto

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 3 tbs olive oil divided
  •  ½ jap pumpkin chopped
  • 1 small brown onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 4 large flat mushrooms chopped
  • 2 zucchinis diced
  • 2 yellow button squash
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 ½ cup brown rice
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup coconut milk (1 bought a 400 ml tin accounting for extra if needed)
  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar

To serve

Method

Place pumpkin on a tray, drizzle with 1 TBS olive oil and scatter with salt and place in a preheated 200 degrees Celsius oven for 25 mins.

Heat 2 TBS oil in large heavy bottomed pan and cook onions and garlic over a medium heat for about 2 minutes until softened.

Add mushrooms and stir, then add zucchini and squash and add spices and cook for five mins stirring.

Add rice and stir for a minute.

Poor in chicken stock slowly, one cup at a time, add coconut milk and add ACV and bring to the boil then turn down to low heat, cover with a lid and cook for about 30 mins or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Stir well intermittently, ensuring every grain of rice is covered.

Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.

Add more coconut milk (for creaminess) or stock or water if it needs it and replace lid.

Once it’s ready, stir through Golden Gut Blend for immunity or Love Your Gut powder, and butter if using then add roasted pumpkin and gently toss, spoon into wide mouth bowls and top with nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese and sage.

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