Honey Roasted Carrots with Fresh and Spicy Zhoug

These multi -coloured carrots seduced me at the market today. They were so beautiful I just had to find a way to turn them into a delicious meal.

Rainbow Carrots

Rainbow Carrots

I love middle eastern cuisine  – the spices, the flavours, the fragrances, the colours and the intensities. It’s the passion in middle eastern cooking,  it’s authentic and real honest food – that’s what I love!

This is what inspired me – I thought  Zhoug would make the perfect match to the beautiful carrots.  I decided roasting them slowly in the oven with honey, freshly squeezed lemon juice, sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil.

So, in the oven at 350F for about 40 min.

Zhoug is a fresh herb, garlic and chile sauce,  slightly spiced with cardamon, cumin and cloves, which I imagined would go really well with the roasted carrots.

Zhoug is not only wonderfully tasty, but also super healthy! Packed full of nutrients, antioxidants and flavours!

One of my all time favourite middle eastern cook books is Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamini’s book, Jerusalem, – it’s a visually stunning book with lots of great recipes. My Zhoug is strongly inspired by the recipe in the book, but with some tasty changes that I like.

Sauces like Zhoug, Harrissa, Chimicurri, and Muhamarra are amazing condiments. They make eating vegetables a total joy !

Fresh Parsley

Fresh Parsley

Zhoug

One bunch of big leaved parsley

One bunch cilantro

one green chilli

juice of one small lemon

1 teaspoon maple sirup

2 clove of garlic

4 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

sea salt

Wash the herbs thoroughly and put them in the blender, add the rest of the ingredients and blend into a pesto-like sauce.

Fresh Cilantro

Fresh Cilantro

Serve the roasted carrots warm or cold with the sauce and some pomegranate seeds

pomegranate

pomegranate

… and enjoy – an easy to make, but extremely tasty dish!

Honey Roasted Carrots

Honey Roasted Carrots

Perhaps, add a slice of good bread?

good bread

good bread

 I hope you have a wonderful weekend! 

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Raw Aubergine Lasagne with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Creamy Béchamel

One of the things that continuously surprises people, is how good healthy food tastes!

I hear it again and again – wow, this is so good!

I mean, healthy food really tastes so good that I actually prefer it to more traditional recipes! In fact, so good, I often choose it over anything else.

And by healthy food, I’m not referring to low-fat, low sugar, low taste, low life….. no life……Dietary restrictions are not for me –  I believe that it’s really more about balance!.

There are easy ways to get going: For example, try shifting the balance on your plate to mostly plants, or eating plant-based one meal a week or even an all day plants diet. Even just exchanging some meals every now and then with plant-based foods. Plant-based food nourishes the body, feeds it what is really needed, rather than just filling it up. This will make a huge difference to your body balance and add tremendous benefits to your health and overall well-being.

By eating plant-based you:

  • keep yourself nourished
  • keep your cholesterol levels down
  • lose weight and maintain your ideal weight
  • feel content
  • stop unhealthy cravings

Raw Aubergine lasagne with fresh tomato sauce and creamy béchamel 

Eggplant Lasagne

Eggplant Lasagne

The “lasagne” sheets/pasta is aubergine in this case, but it could as well be thin slices of zucchini,  sliced the long way, left to marinade for about 15min, with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt and a squeeze of lemon….

Aubergine

Aubergine

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Fresh Tomato Sauce

200g fresh organic tomatoes

4 whole sundried tomatoes

Fresh Basil

Fresh Oregano

A little red chili pepper

Sea salt

A clove of garlic

A small piece of shallot onion, maybe 1/4 of a whole

Freshly squeezed lemon juice

Put everything in the blender and blend into a sauce. Put it in a bowl and set aside while you make the creamy béchamel…

Creamy Bechamel

Creamy Bechamel

 Creamy Bechamel

1 cup of raw Cashew nuts

1/2 cup of avocado oil

Freshly squeezed lemon juice

Freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 cup of water

Soak the cashews – I soak them overnight to make them really soft and easy to blend. Put the cashews, water, avocado oil, lemon juice, nutmeg and sea salt in the blender and blend into a creamy sauce.

Fresh Basil

Fresh Basil

Now layer the lasagne – it’s best to do this right before it’s served, minutes before eating.

Start with slices of marinated aubergine – then add micro greens, slices of avocado, some fresh tomato sauce, then another slice of aubergine, top generously with the creamy béchamel and a sprig of fresh basil.

Micro greens

Micro greens

Avocado

Avocado

Enjoy

Enjoy

This is the perfect lunch – or dinner served with a slice of freshly baked rosemary foccasccia – also perfect with a piece of fish, chicken or meat – and a glass of wine.

“You know, all that really matters is that the people you love are happy and healthy. Everything else is just sprinkles on the sundae” – Paul Walker

Soothe your Jet-lag and sleepless nights

I just returned back from Europe and the first couple of days with jet-lag were rough, to say the least!

9 hours time difference, really does you in and affects your entire system, in a big way! I felt completely out of balance…

Woke up at 1:30 in the morning and was hungry, started to unload the dishwasher and checked my email ……

I desperately needed to soothe that out of control jet-lag of mine!

Sleepless nights creates imbalance in the body, it affects our health and overall sense of well -being, but there are lots of different ways we can promote great sleep and regain balance again.

Jet-lag is always talked about as something we get when traveling thorough time zones. But really, we go thorough the exact same thing if you work shifts, if you have had a baby and need to get up to feed in the middle of the night or when we are simply stressed and just can’t sleep at night. Regardless of the reason it is important that we take time to really soothe that sleepless, tried and exhausted body of ours in order to get back in to balance and promote good sleep patterns again.

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I travel a lot and often experience jet-lag – so these are my favorite tips for soothing jet-lag and regain balance again:

  • I set the clock and go with the time it is where I am
  • I don’t nap or sleep during the day even though I am dead tired.
  • I spend time outside and get as much sunshine/ daylight as possible, as it helps to adjust to the new time zone.
A swim in the lake

A swim in the lake

  • I go to bed early (but not too early…)
  • I get up at the usual time
  • I quickly get back into the routines and follow the daily rythm
  • I exercise gently – a swim, a walk, a bike ride, yoga
  • I meditate
  • I drink lots of water
Fresh Cool Water

Fresh Cool Water

  • I drink green juice and/or green smoothies
Green and delicious

Green and delicious

  • I eat lots of healthy food to help my body restore, find balance and rejuvenate.
Balance

Balance

This mornings fresh green juice –

Refreshing green juice

Refreshing green juice

Red Kale, Apple, Ginger and Lemon Juice 

5 sweet apples

1 bunch of red kale

1 lemon

A small slice of fresh ginger

Wash and clean the apples and kale, peel the lemon and the ginger – run it all through the juicer and serve ice cold.

Sleep well

Sleep well

Melon Spinach Smoothie

Last day of holiday in Denmark – 3 weeks flew by – all too quickly, but I enjoyed every single minute.

It was all that I had hoped and wished for – sunshine, bright summer nights, family, friends, swimming in the sea, running in the forest, blackbirds singing, relaxation, books, strawberries, new potatoes, fun – bare feet and freckles. Oh it was good!

Now I am ready to go back to the west coast of Canada – enjoy summer there and getting back to work.

Before I run, I want to share some photos and a green smoothie recipe that became a favorite this summer.

The melons are so ripe, juicy and incredibly sweet.

Gorgeously Sweet Melons

Gorgeously Sweet Melons

Melon Spinach Smoothie

One big handful of fresh spinach

1 sweet melon – I used 1/2 Gaia and 1/2 cantaloupe

1 big peach

Ice cold water

Some frozen grapes

Melon Spinach Smoothie

Melon Spinach Smoothie

So good and so refreshing on a warm summer day! 

Plenty time for reading

Plenty time for reading

Wild Flowers

Wild Flowers

Morning run in the forest

Morning run in the forest

Biking to the beach

Biking to the beach

Swimming

The life guard’s post

Caprifolia

Caprifolia

Sunsets

Sunsets

A 10:30 pm goodnight swim

A 10:30 pm swan family goodnight swim

Where ever you are – I hope you are soaking up summer and enjoying life!

Mushroom Quinoa Steak served with fresh Pesto on Baked Aubergine

I frequently enjoy replacing ordinary meals with vegan or vegetarian deliciousness. I actually eat more vegan food now than anything else. Why? Because it tastes amazing and is so good for my health.

The other day I had made both, so the family could choose what they wanted – to my surprise ALL, even the teenagers helped themselves to the vegan dishes! And there I was, stuck with the meat which I had to chuck……… imagine!

I thought, really? But yes!
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This is one of the dishes that win over meat in our family.

Continue reading

U-Turn

During my recent visit in Denmark I heard about a very interesting study concerning lifestyle related diseases like diabetes 2, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, stress, depression, etc.

The study aims at finding out whether it is possible to reverse lifestyle related diseases? Ie., once we suffer from these diseases,  is it possible to make a  U-Turn? And can that be done by simply changing ones own lifestyle?

The experiment, U-Turn, has been started by Chris MacDonald, a Cand. Scient in Human physiology, originally from the USA, but has been living in Denmark for the past 14 years. He is the founder of Health in Balance and Strong Body Strong Mind.

Chris has been coaching and guiding numerous people back to health with very positive results and continues to be a tremendous inspiration to Danes every day!

U-Turn is an experiment that is being documented by the Danish National television. Over a period of 6 months, Chris MacDonald is guiding the 8 participants, all suffering from lifestyle related diseases such as, type 2 diabetes, stress, depression, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and metabolic syndrome.

The program includes daily training, physical exercise, healthy food, getting a good sleep, along with support and emotional coaching.

Half way though the program the participants will go to France and hike the GR10, a hike that takes them thorough the French Pyrenees, a 850 km hike with considerable elevation, a very strenuous hike!

(Photo source National Geographic)

Throughout the experiment participants are closely followed by doctors from a Copenhagen hospital, to keep them safe, to monitor their well being and their need for medication.

Chris  MacDonald and his team want to see what happens to sick people when you ask them to eat healthy, walk every day and be physically active and minimize negative stress. What happens to them over a 6 months period of time?

Will they feel better? Will they be able to reduce or even eliminate their need for medication? Will they be able to reverse disease and return to great health?

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food – Hippocrates

So far, the National Television has produced 4 programs that have broadcast, taking the viewers along on the journey with the 8 participants and documenting the results they achieve. These programs cover the first half of the experiment.

It’s blood, sweat, tears and laughter – it’s amazing to see the courage, dedication and the victory! 

The participants have been monitored at the hospital when the experiment started, during and half way thorough. The results are astounding:

  • They lost weight
  • They lost dangerous body fat around inner organs
  • Achieved normal blood sugar levels
  • Lowered cholesterol
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Reduced stress
  • Reduced liver counts
  • 3 participants no longer need medication/
  • the rest have been able to reduce the amount of mediation significantly
  • They are of course in much better shape

I think the message is powerful.

Lifestyle changes are the strongest most effective medicine!

I am looking forward to following the experiment and I will report back to you, when it finishes.

Lifestyle related diseases can be reversed and healed by lifestyle changes!

Walking is man’s best medicine – Hippocrates

Muhammara – Spicy Lebanese Pepper and Walnut dip with Pomegranate

Today is THE Day of THE amazing VVP – The Virtual Vegan Potluck!

Welcome!

168 bloggers gather around the virtual table, each bringing a delicious vegan dish.

You do not have to be vegan to enjoy it – believe me!

This is THE perfect place to be inspired and possibly even awe stricken by all the incredible delicious and creative dishes coming from the vegan kitchen!

VVP was originally created by Annie, the amazing woman behind the wonderful  blog anunrefinedvegan.

Thanks to all the wonderful people behind VVP – Somer, AnnieJason and Lidia for hosting the event. You guys rock!

This is how it works:

If you want to start from the very beginning you have to go to veganbloggersunite – Or you can go from here and simply scroll down and press the “go forward” or the “go back” buttons, and away you go.

And so the party begins! I hope you have fun!

My contribution this year is an appetizer, inspired by the Lebanese kitchen. It’s intense, spicy, a little hot with a hint of sweetness. It’s delicious and it tastes SO good as dip for veggies or on a cracker.

This is my version of the Lebanese dish Muhammara – originally it is made with the little Piquillo peppers, but I used red peppers to make a milder version.

red peppers ready for the grill

Red peppers ready for the grill

Muhammara 

Spicy Lebanese Pepper and Walnut dip with Pomegranate 

3 red peppers

1.5 cup of walnuts

2 slices of good bread

1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses

1 tablespoon of cumin

1 heaped tablespoon of chopped sun dried tomatoes

1-2 cloves of garlic

1/2 green chili (depending on how hot you like it)

1 tablespoon of paprika

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Freshly squeezed juice of one lemon

Sea salt – and freshly ground pepper

Grill the peppers on the BBQ or bake them in a hot oven till the skins are completely black. Let them cool a bit before removing the skins, the seeds and the core.

Put the walnuts and the bread in a food processor and pulse until finely processed.

Walnuts and bread

Walnuts and bread

Add the grilled peppers and the other ingredients,

Muhammara magic

Muhammara magic

the pomegranate molasses, the balsamic vinegar and the olive oil to the blender mix.

Pomegranate molasses and balsamic vinegar

Pomegranate molasses and balsamic vinegar

Process until it turns into a smooth paste.

Serve in a bowl with a sprinkle of fresh pomegranate seeds and a dash of olive oil.

Fresh pomegranate

Fresh pomegranate

Enjoy the Muhammara with homemade crackers

Served with crackers

Served with crackers

A delicious mouthful

A delicious mouthful

or serve the dip with fresh vegetables

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“I drink to the general joy o’ the table” – William Shakespeare Macbeth

Thank you for coming I loved having you here!

Please visit the other blogs by clicking the links below. Have fun!

go_bck

Spinach Grapefruit Smoothie

Smoothies for breakfast, as part of lunch, as a snack, before dinner – smoothies for any occasion ……..

But smoothies have also become THE number one “Fast Food” in our family. In a hurry, on the go, no time to cook or even eat – no problem, spin up a smoothie and away you go. Quick, nutritious and satisfying!

Today I made a green smoothie with spinach and grapefruit. I love grapefruit, but for 12 years I wasn’t able to have grapefruit! I was on cholesterol medication and something in grapefruit doesn’t mix well with that kind of medication.

Since I changed to “balanced living” and added lots of plant-based foods to my diet and started exercising, I no longer need medication to control my cholesterol!

There are, as you can imagine, many benefits connected to that – one great one is, I can enjoy grapefruits again 🙂

Grapefruit

IMG_3507

Spinach and Grapefruit Smoothie 

One bunch of fresh spinach

2 grapefruits

One bunch of red or green grapes

1 banana

1  slice of fresh ginger

2 Medjool dates

2 cups of filtered water

Ice

Put it all into the blender and blend into a refreshing, smooth, cool and delicious drink.

IMG_3515

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I hope you will Enjoy it !

Now to something completely different…..

Monday I travel back to Copenhagen to spend some time with family and friends. I am SO excited!

I will try to post while I’m away so stay tuned….

To travel is to live – Hans Christian Andersen

When I come back I will be attending THE FAMOUS AMAZING VIRTUAL VEGAN POTLUCK – on May 11.!

This is such a fun event! If you would like to join the fun by featuring one of your favorite vegan/plant-based recipes, there is still time to sign up here – otherwise – stay tuned for the event on May 11.

Thank you for dropping by, for reading and for commenting!

Happy Sunday!

Zucchini Fettuccine – with fresh tomato sauce and caper berries

I love the feeling that I have after enjoying a raw food meal. A kick of energy from a meal packed with live nutrients – which leaves me wonderfully vibrant, satisfied and energized for hours!

The satisfaction that you get from a raw food meal is quite a different feeling than you get after eating a typical lunch. A typical meat-based meal will often leave you feeling tired and heavy afterwards – ready for a nap. But the last thing you think about after a raw food meal, is taking a nap 🙂

 Zucchini Fettuccine served w/ fresh tomato sauce and caper berries 

This dish is perfect on it’s own, but it fits wonderfully well with a piece of grilled salmon.

Yesterday, we had it for lunch, with slices of avocado and fresh crispy baby spinach.

Raw Food Fettuccine

Raw Food Fettuccine

 

It is simple and delicious, refreshing and so easy to make. All you need is:

1 Zucchini

4 Ripe tomatoes

1/2 red pepper

Italian parsley

1 clove of garlic

1/2 lemon

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Caper berries

1 avocado

A bunch of baby spinach

First you make the sauce – you chop the tomatoes, peel the garlic, cut the pepper in half and remove the seeds.

Put it in the blender, squeeze the 1/2 lemon, add sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Blend into a deliciously fresh tomato sauce.

Fresh tomato sauce

Fresh tomato sauce

You make the zucchini fettuccine by using a potato peeler and length wise cutting thin strips like this…

Zucchini fettuccine

Zucchini fettuccine

Serve it with leaves of crispy baby spinach some avocado, drizzled with plenty of fresh tomato sauce, leaves of Italian parsley and caper berries and a glass of fresh cool water

Cool fresh lemon water

Cool fresh lemon water

Fresh and delicious

Fresh and delicious

13 steps to a healthier ’13

It amazes me how much is possible when we take our own health into our own hands – so much can happen! It could happen that we might very well risk feeling better, energized, loose weight, lower our cholesterol, boost our immune system – and all naturally!

A little actually goes a long way – and can make a huge difference.

Health is everything – without it we have nothing.

nature therapy

 

13 steps to a healthier ’13

  • Drink green juice/green smoothies – every day. It is not a coincidence that I put green smoothies and green juice on top of the list. Drinking them every day, will energize you and naturally make you feel like eating more healthy foods, moving and grooving. You will feel great. If you are not already a green smoothie drinker check this >>>out.
  • Try to exchange some of your meals with plant-based meals. But keep to: whatever feels right – exchange, bacon and eggs with a delicious raw food oatmeal and a great smoothie. Or exchange the sandwich with a delightful salad lunch. One meal at a time will make a difference!
  • Exercise – there is no way around it, exercise is a must. We know the mind will try to convince us, that today is not a good day, tomorrow is better or even next month is much, much better. But don’t listen – just DO IT, get out there – I promise you one thing, you will not regret it.
    What ever it is – make it fun, make it enjoyable, make it a joy that you cannot live without. Check this>> out!
  • Drink water – Exchange some of your drinks with cool clear water. Water rejuvenates you and keeps you alive. This is what The Mayo Clinic>> recommends
  • Meditate – research shows again and again the multiple advantages of meditation. If you already meditate, you know what I am talking about. Meditation is so powerful and so good for our health, both emotionally and physically. Mindfulness meditation boost our health and overall well-being – it reduces stress and anxiety. It gives us a pause, a well needed break in a hectic world.
  • Journal – journaling is a fantastic way to release emotions, reflecting about life and understanding ourselves better. It is like writing yourself home. The journal can be trusted with anything, no one will ever need to see it, it is yours. Express yourself on the pages, no censoring.
  • Fresh air – spend time in nature. Japanese researchers have found what they call “Forest Therapy” – spending time in nature, to lower blood pressure and heart rate and it increases the amount of natural killer cells that helps us ward of infections and fight cancer. Read the article>> here
  • Play – did you know that play is an actual need? Play is crucial for our health and well-being. Dr Stuart Brown has proven how play shapes the brain, opens the imagination and invigorates the soul. Check this>> out.
  • Express yourself – Expressing ourselves, speaking our truth and taking ourselves seriously, is important for not just our emotional health but our overall health. If we don’t there is a part of us that gets stuck – and stops the flow.
  • Follow a dream – Life is short and if there is one thing that can really bring joy and add to our well-being, it is going after our dreams. Making them happen. Taking steps towards reaching a goal, a dream.
  • Get a massage – A massage is soothing, comforting and wonderful. It also has tremendous health benefits, such as stress relief, pain relief, helps with depression and anxiety, blood pressure control and it even boosts our immune system.
    Read more>> here.
  • Self-compassion – Before helping others put on your own oxygen mask! The more gentle, compassionate and loving we can be with ourselves the more compassionate we are to our children, our spouse, our friends and the world. Studies says self- compassion boosts not only our self-esteem but also our health. Prof. Kirsten Neff has researched the power of self-compassion for years, listen to an interview with
    her>> here
  • Friends and family – spend time with friends of both sexes. Nothing so rejuvenating as a night out with the girls or a guys night. A night with good friends around the dinner table is wonderful. Make time for friends and family. Often when you ask people what is most important to them, they say family and friends, but work and duties get first priority. Read more here in this>> Huffington Post article.