Freshly Squeezed Pomegranate Orange Juice

This time of year we need to nourish our bodies and boost the immune system. This is  a hectic time of year with lots of stress and when the body is stressed it is much more prone to catch any little bug going.

What better way to boost the immune system, than juicing some fresh pomegranate and some fresh oranges and make a truly delicious and potent drink served on ice?

I could feel every cell in my entire body wriggle with joy, while drinking it 🙂

This is a real health bomb, as pomegranate is so full of goodness and is known to lower cholesterol, high blood pressure, excellent for the skin, as well as being packed with vitamin C – so along with the oranges, this is really a health booster!

The pomegranate can be a little tricky to seed but once you get the hang of it it is quite easy. Don’t do the job wearing your best clothes as it’s really juicy and the juices will escape everywhere even if you are careful. For this serving, I used one big pomegranate and 10 oranges for 4 good sized glasses of juice.

Prepare the pomegranate by taking out the seeds, put them into the juicer and then juice the oranges – serve the drink on ice – Enjoy!

Read more about the health benefits of pomegranate here

Advertisements

How to get kids to eat healthily

Many people have asked me “How do I get my kids to eat healthy?”

It can be a real challenge. Many children are picky and there are many foods they don’t like. It can be really hard to get them to try new things too. And, of course, there is a reason for all of that. Studies from the University of Copenhagen show that there is a significant change in taste perception as a child develops into a teenager. The research shows that first, as teenagers, can distinguish between different flavours and that there is a decreased preference for sweet flavors.

So, until the teenage years, their taste buds are not fully developed. The research also showed that girls taste buds are more sensitive than boys. This means that there are a reason why kids can be picky and boys eat differently than girls and like different things.

Taste buds and flavor preferences change as the child grows.

See a great article by Christine Bude Nyhom here

Without considering this, dinner time can turn into a battle and a power struggle. We want to be good parents, we know the importance of healthy eating. And we get scared and worried if they don’t like to eat the carrots.

Knowing that kids have a legitimate reasons for their food choices helps. They are not just being picky and difficult. Their bodies are growing, their minds and spirits are developing and so are their taste buds.

It is now they build the foundation for a healthy life.

My tips to help encourage kids to eat healthily and establish healthy eating habits

  • Never force them – I remember when I started eating more healthy food, I felt So Great and I wanted the whole entire world to know about it so that they could feel the same! But, I was too pushy, and it had quite the opposite effect. Especially my son made a point of NOT wanting to eat that healthy stuff. So, I had to change the strategy. I actually apologized to him and told him I was really sorry that I had been so pushy. Then I cooked the usual food but I also cooked the new more healthy options – and I allowed everyone choose. To my surprise, one night I had made lasagne, but also raw food “healthy” lasagne instead of a salad. My husband and I took big portions of the raw food plant-based lasagne and we munched away while smiling and saying – “yum, yum, yum – oh, how good this is”. And, the kids looked at us and without saying anything joined in and started to eat the healthy lasagne. By the end of the meal, the raw food lasagne had been devoured and the normal lasagne was hardly touched!
  • Always have fruits and veggies easily available –  Having a fruit basket and plate of cut vegetables available, perhaps with some great dip, or freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices are a great way to get more healthy food. Often, if delicious fresh fruits and veggies are available, and cut into bites or as a fruit salad, kids will snack on it rather then the usual chips and sweets. And setting a good example is a great convincer, if you do it perhaps they’ll follow too. Maybe not at first, maybe even months, but one day they will – in the meantime give them a multivitamin and trust that it will happen and that they will not die of hunger.

  • Make green smoothies. This is such a fantastic way to get some greens and fruits down and it taste SO good! In the beginning make them more fruity and the kids will love them. Then over time add more of the leafy greens that are so good for us. In the beginning my kids did not even want to try it, so I poured some for myself and sat down while I slowly drank it and did a when Sally met Harry stunt”. First, they shook their heads and walked away. But one day my daughter said, “hmmm, can I try that green stuff?” – I wanted to pour her a huge drink in the biggest tumbler I could find in the house, but I restrained myself and poured her a tiny one. “Yum this is quite good, can I have another one?” Victory! My arms were high in the air (metaphorically) !! My son eventually said “Mom, it’s unfair that you always make the green smoothies when I’m in school because then I can’t have one”. As they started drinking the green smoothies they automatically started to crave more greens – so I often see them choose fruits over chips or ask if they can have 1/2 cucumber or an avocado. They make more healthy choices naturally and that is awesome! It took time and patience, but it was well worth it.

  • Freeze smoothies and make ice cream – smoothies make perfect ice cream and the green once make the coolest looking ice cream. A friend of mine who has little kids, came up with the idea of freezing the leftover green smoothies and the kids loved them!! She has promised me a photo 🙂

  • prepare food together – cooking together is so much fun. Yes, it does take longer and yes, there is more cleaning up to do but over time your kids will be little masters in cooking and cleaning up after themselves. They are more likely to try something new if they have helped prepare it and it is a great way to be together.

  • Make dinner time a shared experience – sitting down, having dinner together means so much, in so many ways – socially of course, and also when it comes to establishing healthy eating habits – for everyone.  If they see us take time for eating and enjoying our food that is what they learn. Maybe not today, maybe not right away, but over time – they will treasure that time together and the good food.
  • prepare what you know they like and add healthy sides – allow them to choose. Also try to ‘healthy-up’ old favorites, like adding grated carrots and zucchini to meat balls or add grated vegetables to sauces, or use 1/2 the amount of meat in a chili con carne  and add more veggies and beans instead.
  • Be an example – This is probably the number one most important tip. Be an example, kids look at us and what we eat and if the majority of what we eat is healthy nourishing food, they will learn to eat that way too and enjoy it.

This is a great article about kids and eating:

http://life.gaiam.com/article/10-ways-get-kids-eat-healthier

Celery steak topped with garlic fried mushrooms and served on a tarragon tomato sauce

I am always trying to create something delicious, something completely scrumptious, that will satisfy my hunger, as well as my very spoiled taste buds.

For those of you who don’t know me, I now have normal cholesterol levels and I no longer depend on medication!

I lowered my cholesterol by exchanging some of my meals with plant-based foods and exercising.

I don’t diet, I don’t restrict myself. I eat anything and everything I want to, but I make sure, that I exercise and that 80% of whatever I eat, is plant-based.

This is one of the plant-based meals we had this week.

Celery steak topped with garlic fried mushrooms and served on a tarragon tomato sauce

It was wildly delicious!

1 root celery

2 large baking potatoes

2 big shallot onion

1 big clove of garlic

Sea salt

pepper

olive oil

10-15 dark mushrooms

2 cloves of garlic

Peel the root celery and the potatoes, grate them and put them in a bowl. Finely chop the shallot and squeeze the garlic, add them to the bowl and mix well. Add sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Now take a portion of the mixture and with both hands squeeze all the water out while making little celery/potato “cakes”. Turn the oven on – to 350F.  In a frying pan, put in some olive oil and heat up the pan and brown the celery steaks on both sides and put them on a baking tray and place them in the hot oven to finish them of, about 30-45 min .

While they bake – rinse the mushrooms and roughly chop them. Finely chop the shallot onion. Heat the pan again adding a bit more olive oil, fry the mushrooms and when they start to brown add the chopped shallot onion and the freshly squeezed garlic.

Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper – set aside.

For the sauce

Use 3 big fresh tomatoes or a small can

1 shallot onion

1 garlic clove

a teaspoon of tarragon

Sea salt and pepper

Chop the tomatoes, chop the onion and squeeze the garlic. Add some olive oil to a saucepan, saute the onions and the garlic, add the tomatoes, add the tarragon and cook for 5 min while stirring. Put everything in the blender and blend into a smooth sauce, season with salt and pepper.

When the celery steaks are ready arrange it all on a plate and top with some fresh arugula.

Enjoy!

Orange Chocolate Truffle Treats

I don’t know about you, but I adore chocolate!! I have always loved anything chocolate.  Once while visiting Brussels, I tried chocolate that was SO good that nothing has been the same since. That experience changed me forever.  Since then, I will rather be without chocolate than eat mediocre chocolate! Eating Belgium chocolate is like going for a visit to heaven. 🙂

Good chocolate has a very high content of coco bean, usually more than 70%, whereas some common (popular) brands of chocolate contain very little coco, if any at all.

Today I made some delicious Orange Chocolate Truffle Treats. These are totally healthy – good for you at the same time. They contain no white sugar, no white flour, no butter, no cream, no eggs, but none the less, crazily tasty!  I served them to the kids after school and they devoured them eagerly, no questions asked. The dark chocolate, the nuts, and with a hint of orange, makes these little treats, a divine mouthful. The perfect snack!

Orange Chocolate Truffle Treats

1 can of black beans

200 g of good dark chocolate min 70% coco bean

10 medjool dates

2 table spoons Agave sirup

2 organic oranges

1 cup raw almonds

1/4 cup walnuts

pinch of sea salt

Simply add the almonds to a blender, blend into flour, drain and rinse the black beans, put them in the blender, add 200 g of melted chocolate, grate one orange and add the gratings (rind) to the blender, peel the oranges and add them too, add the dates and the agave syrup, add a pinch of sea salt and blend all the ingredients to a smooth consistency. Roughly chop the walnuts and add them to the chocolate “truffle mix”.

Now on a clean counter pour out some coco and some shredded coconut – now roll the truffle mix into little balls and roll each one in either coco or coconut. Place them on a plate and cover them – put them in the freezer and take them out when you need a special treat. But, allow them to defrost before you bite into them.

Enjoy the party, guilt-free

The coziest time of year is ahead of us – December with Christmas is just around the corner.  Christmas parties, jingle bells, snow sleighs and time spend with friends, colleagues and families – meaning lots of treats, delicious food and drinks. Temptations around every corner.

We are already preparing ourselves for the guilt that follows.

But hold on a minute, it doesn’t have to be like that!

 

In reality it is not about the parties, it’s about how we live between the parties.

The way we live between the parties are much more important. I used to have the attitude that I may as well just eat and indulge all the time, because I was going to go on a diet when December turned into January anyway. And THEN I would loose all the weight I had gained and be fit forever – right!!

By the end of January I was back to normal – meaning I had stopped going to the gym, stopped counting calories, stopped eating grapefruits and broccoli.  And I felt guilty – painfully guilty and bad that I could not keep my intentions – Again!

I think it is much more harmful to the body to beat ourselves up, than it is to eat good food and enjoy the party

It’s not all or nothing, but rather all about balance – how do we live in between the parties?

My tips before we go into this season of feast and fun:

  • Drink delicious green smoothies every day – especially before the party
  • Remember to exercise – it is even more important this time of year
  • Take time to relax
  • Go for walks
  • Drink lots of water
  • Get your sleep
  • Exchange some of your meals with plant-based food

Then go join the party – have fun and enjoy it!! Oh, and don’t forget to kick off your shoes and dance 🙂

Tagine Feast

One of the things I love most about winter is slow food! Food that takes love and compassion to prepare and slowly cooks on the stove while the delicious smells of the dish spread throughout the kitchen.

That is for me, the coziest time! Woolen socks, candle lights, some good music, a big pot of tea and I am ready to cook. Today I prepared one of my favorite dishes of all. Tagine – a Maroccan classic. So intense with flavours it is pure joy and well worth the time it takes to prepare. I made two versions, a vegetable Tagine and because it is my husband’s birthday, a lamb Tagine – with Homemade Harrisa Sauce.

Harrisa Sauce:

1/4 cup olive oil

1-3 garlic cloves

3 baked red peppers

1/2 – 1 red chili

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon salt

Freshly squeezed lemon juice

Bake the peppers in 350F for approx. 45min -1 hr. Let them cool and peel of the skin.

Add the de-skinned cooled peppers into the blender – add the garlic, the cumin, the coriander, the salt, the freshly squeezed lemon juice.  Blend into a smooth delicious sauce.

This sauce is so good you might just want to make a double portion 🙂

Harrisa Sauce

Harissa Sauce

Vegetable Tagine

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

3 shallots finely chopped

1 bunch of fresh cilantro washed and freshly chopped

4 tomatoes cubed

3 spoonful olive oil

In a tagine dish fry the garlic, the shallots and the cilantro till it is golden – add to the blender and blend it with the tomatoes ( If you are also making the lamb tagine make a double portion of this)

Set aside till later………

Then,

take your favorite veggies and cut them into chunks. I used:

one bunch of carrots,

one parsnip,

1/2 head of cauliflower,

1 eggplant

1 zucchini

chop the veggies and set them aside

1 can of chick peas – drained and rinsed

Then

Chop 1 shallot

finely chop some fresh ginger so you have 2 spoonful.

3 tablespoons of olive oil.

Heat the tagine dish again, add the olive oil, the shallot and the freshly chopped ginger – saute. Then add the veggies, saute them all and add 1 stick of cinnamon and 1 spoonful of ground cumin.

Add the tomato/ cilantro/ garlic/ shallot mixture and 1 cup of vegetable broth. Add the lid and cook gently over slow heat for 30-45 min. Half way through, add the chick peas.

Serve with the Harrisa Sauce and perhaps with a bit of yoghurt that has been stirred with some freshly squeezed lemon juice, some sea salt and some freshly ground pepper – like this

Vegetable Tagine

Vegetable Tagine

 

Lamb Tagine

1 kg of lamb shoulder

3 garlic

3 shallots

1 bunch of fresh cilantro

3 spoons of olive oil

4 tomatoes or a can of chopped tomatoes

In a hot tagine dish or Dutch oven – saute the shallots, the garlic, tomatoes and the cilantro – add into the blender and blend into a smooth sauce – set aside

Fresh Tomato Base

Fresh Tomato Base

spice mix

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon cardamom

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon cumin

Delicious mix of spices

Delicious mix of spices

Mix well together to be used as the spice on the lamb – when it has been browned.

Now cut the lamb shoulder into cubes – brown well  in a hot tagine/Dutch oven, add sea salt, freshly ground pepper and the spice mix – I used 3/4 of the spice mix – you may want to use it all.

Now add the tomato mix along with 1 cup of broth – cook for about 1 — 1  1/2 hr  or until the meat is tender.

Serve with cilantro, lime, yoghurt stirred with freshly squeezed lemon juice and some of that delicious Harissa sauce.

Lamb Tagine

Lamb Tagine

Enjoy!

Have a great weekend!!

World Diabetes Day

Today is World Diabetes Day – A good time to spread some awareness about an illness that has blown out of proportion, an illness that has sky-rocket!

An illness that kills!

Continue reading

Each Morning a New Arrival

 

The Guest House by Rumi

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

Cycling in Copenhagen

Just back from visiting Copenhagen and while I am recovering from jet lag, I would love to share a wonderful documentary with you, produced by A Billion Bikes.

Copenhagen is big on bikes – over 90% of all people in Copenhagen own a bike. Everyone bikes! The children, while still small travel on the back or front of their parents bike or in a carriage attached to the bike (eg on the cool three-wheeled Christiania bike). But as soon as they are old enough, they get their own bike. Danes ride to school, on visits, shopping, to the park, everywhere, even to work on their bikes. We bike everywhere and in any kind of weather. In Denmark, we say it is never the wrong weather for biking you only need the right kind of clothing! Nothing can stop a Dane on his bike! You will see a business man in his suit, tie and polished shoes, on his way to a meeting, on his bike. You will see women in high heels riding their bikes. You will see people all ages riding their bikes. You will even see the Danish politicians riding their bikes – like after the elections last year, when the new government must present themselves to the Queen, all of the appointed ministers biked to Amalienborg Castle, to present themselves – check it out here. How cool is that?

It may seem that Danes are born on bikes and love their bikes but the infrastructure for bikes in the city of Copenhagen is probably one of the best in the world.

To get inspired try to watch this great documentary (5 neat episodes) – I hope you will enjoy them and maybe, who knows, be inspired to get your bike out, and hit the road.

Another great article in New York Times   about biking in Copenhagen- “ Commuters Pedal to Work on Their Very Own Superhighway”

VVP- Carrot cake with cranberries and orange, vanilla cream icing, served with orange sauce

Welcome to the famous, amazing, wonderful and incredible – the Virtual Vegan Potluck!

This is it – the day I have been looking forward to for weeks has finally arrived! The Virtual Vegan Potluck is a gathering of more than 100 enthused bloggers, from all over the world, sharing their creative vegan recipes. Maybe you have already been working your way around the virtual vegan potluck – if so, I hope you have enjoyed some wonderful food – appetizers, soups, breads, starters, mains, drinks, and now desserts!  I am so happy I signed up to make dessert! Because….

Dessert is probably the most important stage of the meal,

since it will be the last thing your guests will

remember before they pass out all over the table” – William Powel

I love Vegan desserts and in particular Raw food  desserts make my heart beat. Apart from being sinfully delicious, they are nutritious and packed full of goodness! So go for it – eat, indulge, enjoy and be healthier for every bite.

One of my old time favorites – is carrot cake with creme cheese icing!

I have created an almost raw food version of this old time favorite, and I can’t wait to share it with you!

So lets get to it!

Carrot Cake with cranberries topped with an orange, vanilla cream icing, served with orange sauce

3 cups of grated carrots

1 1/2 cup cooked quinoa

2 oranges

1 cup of walnuts

1 cup of oats

10 -12 dates Mojol

2-4 spoons agave

1 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

In a bowl, add the grated carrots and the cooked sprouted quinoa, grate the rind of the oranges, and then add the juice of the oranges. In a blender, blend the walnuts and the oats till it becomes flour-like, and add to the carrots. Add the spices to the bowl and stir well. In a blender put the ingredients from the bowl and add the pitted dates, blend smooth – I needed to do it in two batches. Put it back in the bowl and add the agave and the cranberries.

Put it into a pie pan

Make the  Orange, Vanilla cream icing

2 cups of cashews ( that have been soaked for 2-4 hrs or overnight in the fridge)

1 orange

4 spoons of Agave

1 vanilla pod

Drain the soaked cashews and put them in the blender, add the juice of one freshly squeezed orange, add the agave and scrape out the vanilla bean. Put it in and blend into a smooth cream. Spread it on top of the cake and decorate with walnuts.

Serve with Orange Sauce

1 Orange

2 spoons of Agave

Squeeze the juice of the orange and add agave to make the sauce.

Sorry I had to take a bite and another one and one more …………………. and then tomorrow I will have leftovers for breakfast!

This is my contribution. Thank you for coming to the Virtual Potluck – I am thrilled you came!!

But before I let you go – lets raise our glasses and make a big heartfelt toast to the Virtual Potluck people! – The Virtual Vegan Potluck was initiated and arranged by one of my favorite virtual friends and bloggers, Annie at anunrefinedvegan!

She birthed this idea and made it possible – thank you Annie!! Thank you also to 3 more beautiful virtual friends and bloggers, Somer from Vedged Out  , Lidia from Veganbloggersunite and Jason from Jason and the Veganauts for helping make this event possible. Lots of work went into this – thank you guys you are amazing!!!

… and so the party continues the show goes on and on and on – click forward or backward as you please by clicking the “go forward” – “go back”  images below.

Enjoy and have fun