Fresh Homemade Tomato Soup served with Garlic and Goat Cheese Focaccia

Today I went out to my local market,  a fantastic place just outside the city where I live. Right now the market is  booming with local strawberries, new potatoes, fresh herbs, tomatoes, spinach and so much more.

…and chickens wandered around in the shop while I was filling my basket – that’s my kind of place.

A basket full of goodness

A basket full of goodness

I  simply love this time of year when the markets are booming with the delicious fresh produce of the season- particularly the deep red sweet tomatoes! They are like candy in themselves and create a little party in your mouth – so intense with flavours!

When I saw them I immediately decided that I wanted to make fresh tomato soup. Continue reading

Advertisements

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

Sick and tired of dieting?

Are you sick and tied of dieting? I was so sick and tied of diets that promised that they could work wonders, but never changed a thing. I was tired of feeling deprived of the great meals that I was missing, of eating boring, tasteless food that really didn’t satisfy me in any way. I was sick and tired of counting calories and feeling guilty if I ate something “bad”. Life is too short for that.

The great revelation for me was to eat more plant-based foods!

In our family, we have now changed many of our meaty meals to plant-based foods.

Sometimes we do VB6 – Vegan before 6, meaning no animal products until dinner. Then you eat anything you like for dinner. Sounds  fabulous? It is! VB6 was invented by NYT food journalist Mark Bittman because his health was suffering (see the link below). But through VB6  he got his health back.

I love this idea, it is something we can all do, quite easily. It is totally doable, not a big change, but it has huge impact on our overall health and well-being. By eating like VB6 or a similar scheme, you can keep your cholesterol down, your blood pressure healthy, your blood sugar good, your weight down and, at the same time, you will feel energized and full of life.  We love this way of eating so much that we actually sometimes expand the idea to VUF – Vegan until Friday!

Eating this way is delicious, tasty, satisfying and nourishing and it feeds your entire body and soul. It is the perfect way to stay healthy and loose the extra weight. I never think calories when I eat like this – my weight stays ideal and I feel ideal – there is no going back for me. I love this way of living and eating – I enjoy my meals and I never feel I am missing out because I am not.

Take this burger for instance – a quinoa burger with all the trimmings, guacamole, arugula on a homemade bun. The perfect exchange.

A favorite burger – Quinoa burger made with sweet potatoes and mushrooms.

500g Mushrooms – I use the brown mushrooms or Portobello

3 shallots

2 medium size sweet potatoes

2 cups of cooked quinoa

2 teaspoons of paprika

3 tablespoons of flax-seed meal

2 cloves of garlic

Sea salt and pepper

Flour

Chop the mushrooms, chop the shallots, add some olive oil on to the frying pan and brown the mushrooms,garlic and onions. Add sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Bake the sweet potatoes till they are soft, e.g., for about an hour in the oven. Scoop out the sweet potato from the skin and put it into the blender, add the mushrooms, onions and  garlic. Blend into a soft mixture. Put the mixture into a bowl and mix in the flax-seed meal. Mix it well.  Let it cool. Make the patties and gently turn them on a plate with a bit of flour/sea salt/pepper on all sides. Fry the quinoa burgers in olive oil till they are golden brown on both sides.
Serve on a warm homemade bun, with slices of red onions, homemade guacamole, slices of tomatoes, and lots of fresh crisp arugula.

Enjoy!

Another delicious veggie burger from Somer at  Vedgedout

We went plant-wild for a week, check it out here

Read more about Mark Bittman and VB6

Lima beans with garlic, sunripe tomatoes, chili and zucchini

The perfect mix –  sun ripe organic tomatoes, fresh zucchini, garlic and chili – and Lima beans. An easy dish enjoyed on its own or as a perfect companion to fish, chicken, etc.

Lima beans with garlic, sun-ripe tomatoes, chili and zucchini

Prepare the beans

200 g Lima beans

a sprig of fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

sea salt

Rinse well in cold water. Add beans to a big pot of cold water, bring to the boil, drain and rinse in cold water. Do the same 3 times before finally boiling in water added salt, fresh thyme and a couple of bay leaves. Cook till tender – cool.

and then the zucchini, garlic, tomato and chili

2 small zucchini

3 ripe tomatoes

3 shallots

2 cloves of garlic

fresh red chili or dried

Olive oil

Slice the zucchini, finely chop the tomatoes, the garlic and the shallots. In a frying pan, fry the zucchini till golden, add the garlic and shallots. Continue cooking until the shallots and garlic are soft. Add the tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes while mixing and stirring. Add the cooked Lima beans and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Add chilli to taste. Serve hot and enjoy on its own or as the perfect accompany to fish or chicken.

Summer salad from my own harvest!

Okay, today I’m going to brag. I, have grown my very first lettuce, ever! And then I made a delicious salad, with lettuce and herbs – right out of my very own garden. The lettuce in my high beds has finally grown so much that I can go out and “harvest”, exactly what I need for my salad. I am thrilled! I went out with my little wee basket and picked the lettuce we had for lunch!  Hey, it was an awesome feeling, really special!

The tomatoes I used are from the best greengrocer in the area. These local tomatoes are incredible, dark red and full of intense fragrance and taste.

Cut the tomatoes in half, add a slice of garlic on each half and a fresh leaf of basil, drizzled with a bit of olive oil. Sprinkle on some sea salt and freshly-ground pepper. Bake them slowly for about an hour in a 300F hot oven. Take them out of the oven and let them cool before using. By baking them slowly you get  a really great intense flavor that the garlic and basil accents – making a memorial lunch experience.

To give the salad some body I used freshly cooked and cooled chick peas or you can use canned ones (1 can), drained and rinsed.

The dressing:

2 table spoons of good balsamic vinegar (don’t skimp on the quality – this is essential)

8 spoons of good olive oil (again – really good olive oil makes a great difference)

some sea salt

2 cloves of garlic

Mix together the balsamic vinegar with the olive oil, sea salt and freshly squeezed garlic – set it aside.

Cut a couple of slices of great bread, preferably slightly stale – cut them into cubes and fry them in a bit of olive oil – until very slightly golden. Turned off the heat and add some freshly squeezed garlic and some sea salt. Mix it around and set aside.

Rinse the lettuce and herbs carefully and put them on a clean cloth to drain excess water off.

Tear the lettuce and herbs into smaller pieces and put them in a salad bowl along with the chick peas, the baked tomatoes and the bread. Pour on the dressing and mix all well together, leave it to rest for a few minutes, so the salad and the bread soak up the dressing and absorb all the flavours. Arrange the salad on plates or in bowls and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Summer Infused Pizza

Frequent visitors to this site may notice a few changes. The “Happy Health” diet and exercise has become a part of the larger “Balanced Living” that I feel better describes my journey.

I realized that an important part of me had been missing: – the gourmet chef, my old recipes, my old signature dishes. The scrumptious food that is still part of what I eat.

Before getting into Happy Health diet & exercise – my life-balance was out of whack. I was eating rich food all the time and my body was suffering because of it. But with the new diet& exercise, my life-balance changed and it made a world of difference! I lost weight and gained energy. I now feel vibrant and full of life, my hereditary (bad) cholesterol is now normal and I’m off medication! I started to exercise more and I enjoyed it! My satisfaction with life grew as I could feel that things were “in-balance” again. These were just some of the amazing changes I have experienced, re-charging and re-balancing my life.  (See my updated “About” and the new “Balanced Living” page here).

Before Happy Health I had a 80/20 “balanced” diet – 80% rich gourmet food, meat, cheese, butter, cream etc and 20% vegetable, fruit, grains and nuts – Today I’m 20/80 – I eat 80% plant food and 20% of “anything”.  But, I still assure that the “anything” comes from the best sources – organic & honest!

I have been wonderfully inspired by New York Times food-writer Mark Bittman who created VB6 – Vegan before 6. Eating only plant- based foods until dinner, he then goes to work – and eats at great restaurants serving the wonderful food he writes about. And now, no longer does this rich food make him ill – because he is not eating it all the time! His balance was wrong. But VB6, vegan before 6, changed his balance and he is fit as a fiddle today. You can read more about Bittman  here

In our family, we have been inspired by VB6 and have even made our own version – VUF – Vegan until Friday.

Summer Infused Pizza

We love pizza – Pizza can be divine if it is made with real ingredients and kept simple.

This recipe is made from scratch with love and sunshine. Made with sunriped tomatoes, garlic and lots of fresh basil and oregano.

The pizza dough:

1 teaspoon of dry yeast – if you have fresh 25 g

2 1/2 cups of water

1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

1 tablespoon of olive oil

5 cups of organic unbleached flour

You will need approx. 2/3 extra flour when you work with it later.

Dissolve the yeast in the water, add the olive oil and the salt. Add flour a little at the time while you stir. Add all the flower while you keep mixing til you have a dough that has “accepted” all the flour, meaning no flour on the side in the bowl. Leave the dough out on the counter to rest, with a clean wet cloth. The longer the better – you can mix this in the morning or the night before and put it in the fridge.

Freshly made tomato sauce on pizza is the best – it is such a treat and you will never want to eat store-bought pizza sauce again, if you can help it.  Another important thing is – the nutritional value in freshly made sauce is priceless. Click to see, tomatoes are a true SUPER POWER FOOD – packed full of goodness and taste!

Tomato Sauce:

1200 g fresh ripe tomatoes (the more reder the better)

2 shalot onions

2 cloves of garlic

one big bunch of fresh basil

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

2 spoons of olive oil

dash of white wine

2 bay leaves

Wash and chop the tomatoes, chop the shalots and the garlic. In a frying pan add the olive oil, saute the shalots, bay leaves and the garlic, add the white wine let it reduce a little, add the chopped tomatoes – let it cook over slow heat till the tomatoes are cooked through. Add the chopped fresh basil and let it cook for another couple of min.

Add the mixture into the blender and blend it into a smooth sauce. Taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper – the sauce is ready to go on the pizza.

I make a garlic/herb/chili olive oil marinade to drizzle on the pizza – and by adding some fresh arugula or any other lettuce on top of the pizza, you will get a divine mouthful!

The garlic/ herb/chili marinade is made from – olive oil, finely chopped fresh oregano, slices of red chili,fresh garlic some sea salt – I make a good portion, often I make it ahead to allow it to infuse the oil, to make it more intense. You only drizzle a little on top – so any leftovers are perfect for preparing vegetables, frying fish or chicken – or as a drizzle on your favorite anything.

Fresh herbs are so full of goodness!

Now to the actual pizza making.

Add some flour onto the counter and pour out the dough – add some more flour on top of the dough and start to work with the dough, needing it and stretching it. It will be ready when it stops being sticky, add flour until it feels elastic and is easy to work with. I use a rolling-pin to roll it real thin – add it to a hot baking stone or to a baking tray with baking paper.

Now add the homemade tomato sauce and sprinkle with grated Grana Padano, fresh mozzarella cheese and some good olives. Bake in a hot 420 F oven until baked and the crust is right. Keep an eye on it!

You can prepare smaller pizzas directly on the barbecue – with or without cheese – this is really an amazing way to make pizza too!

Once the pizza is ready – cut them, drizzle a little marinade on top, add the arugula and serve with a great bowl of salad.

Enjoy!

p.S. I just found Pinterest, I know I have been living under a rock, but I will be signing up, it looks like fun! I realized that my photos were there! I am so happy, grateful and thrilled to see that some of you have pinned my photos – THANK YOU!! I was not even aware – gratitude, I really appreciate that!!