Slow Cooker Moroccan Vegetable Stew

These days trying to get dinner on the table at an appropriate time is a near impossible task, most of the time we just eat  salads and stir fried veggies.  Its still tasty, but sometimes I just want something a little fancier.  When I do get time I can make some gourmet tasting meals, but why waste that energy when I just want to play with my cute little baby.

In comes the trusty slow – cooker.

This Moroccan stew is the perfect dump and forget meal.  I mean you can saute the onions and garlic before dumping it in the slow cooker, but I don’t bother and it comes out great.  The amazing flavours of Moroccan cooking makes this stew something really special and so easy to prepare.

Serve it with wholewheat couscous, cauliflower rice or a delicious crusty bread.  The possibilities are endless!  You don’t even have to use the same vegetables.  Use whatever you have on hand or your favourite vegetable combinations, this is a very versatile recipe so experiment!

SLOW COOKER MOROCCAN VEGETABLE STEW – serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 small butternut, peeled and cubed
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup kale, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1/2 tsp  ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp sweetener of choice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp cornflour mixed with 2 tbsp water – optional
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Add all ingredients except the cornflour and 2 tbsp water.  Stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 7 – 8 hours or on high for 3 – 4 hours.

If you want a thicker stew add the cornflour mix and stir until it thickens.  Taste and season to taste.

Serve with couscous, quinoa or anything you like.  This tastes even better the next day.

Nectarine Green Smoothie

I’ve been loving smoothies lately.  I make a large batch in the morning, and keep them on hand for those times Arren just refuse to be put down, which happen quite often.  Arren just loves his mommy’s bony arms.  During those times its extremely difficult to even try to make something to eat, and I’m still learning how to eat with one hand while holding a growing baby with a floppy head with the other, its not as easy as you would think!

Smoothies have become my go to meal replacement, I keep telling myself that it wont be like this for long and soon he wont need me as much anymore so right now I’m taking the cuddles when I can get them and just really enjoying this time.  These smoothies really give me that extra boost to be the best mother to him I can possibly be.

This is my go to smoothie recipe, the sweetness of the nectarines and the tangy-ness of the lemons make this a sweet and sour treat that I just can’t get enough of.  Filled with all that good for you ingredients that keep me going while breastfeeding, and squat bouncing with a baby.  The best workout I’ve ever had has been having a baby.  I’ve really started getting creative with my bounces,  Arren really enjoys all the strange bounces.  What can I say I apparently make them weird, but I make a damn delicious smoothie too!

NECTARINE GREEN SMOOTHIEserves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 soft nectarines, washed and chopped
  • 1/4-1/2 a small cucumber, washed and chopped
  • 1 banana, chopped
  • 1-2 lemons, juiced.  Depends how lemony you like it.
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1- 2 cup kale
  • 1 1/2 cups – 2 cups water
  • sweetener to taste
  • ice

Directions

Place everything in a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into a glass and serve! Easy as that.

Date Energy Bites

If you know me you  know I hate gluttony, its just one of my pet peeves, I’m all about moderation and eating a healthy diet that’s light on the planet; I want to leave behind a light footprint on the planet.  As light as I can in this day and age.  You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this, and why I’m talking about this on a date recipe?  Well, it all started with Tim Noakes.  Man, I don’t know the guy, but boy do I dislike him.  If you don’t know who he is he created the banting diet.  A diet I feel is not environmentally light and is just really damaging to the planet.  After receiving a cookbook of this guy as a gift and trying to see if there is actually anything I would make in the book, I just got more irritated.  I’ve made a few banting recipes for my parents in law who are on this diet, and I just hated it.  Its so heavy on dairy and meat, it even made Carl sick when he ate it.  I mean 3 cups of cheese, mixed with another cup of soft cheese all mixed in with an insane amount of eggs and just to top it all off lets just add a truck load of meat, I don’t know if its just me, but that does NOT sound healthy to me.  I mean, hello cholesterol?  As I was flipping through this cookbook, wondering whats wrong with this guy, I came across a date ball recipe.  I stopped because you know I didn’t think date balls required a lot of ingredients.

Boy, was I wrong!

As I went through the ingredients list, my anger for this man just reached a level I didn’t think  it could reach.  Eggs in date balls? Cream in Date balls? Why does everything have to contain eggs with this guy! I don’t think eating such a large animal product diet is good for the planet, we all share this planet and  I think his diet is so popular here, because people here don’t want to eat consciously and think about where their food came from.  The idea of skipping meat for one meal is impossible to some.  Yes, you will lose weight on a gluten free sugar free, high fat and meat diet, but what about your environmental impact.  Okay! Okay! rant over.  I’ve just been mulling about this for so long and felt like I Just needed to get it off my chest.  So lets get on to this recipe.

Medjool dates are just the best thing to ever come out of nature.  Its natures delicious candy, that I now believe really helped me with my short labour time ( 1 hour and 5 minutes).  These little energy bites actually got created thanks to my intense labour preparation.  I was expecting the standard 6 hours at least labour, so for weeks I was preparing little energy boosters to keep Carl and my midwives going.  During the last couple of weeks of waiting for my baby to arrive ( better late than never I suppose), I was starting to get a little tired of waiting and craved a whole lot of comfort food.  Lamingtons was one of those cravings.  I was out of gluten free flour and really didn’t feel like baking and decided medjool dates are yum, but could be yummier.  Anything dipped in chocolate pushes even the most boring recipes over the edge.

These are really easy to prepare, the hardest thing is making a double boiler to melt some chocolate or you can just use a microwave, will keep your energy up and give you the boost you need with a whole lot of delicious to go with.

DATE ENERGY BITES – 10 bites

 

Ingredients

  • 10 soft medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate, the darker the better. We like 85% – 90%
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 10 roasted almonds

Directions

Place an almond in every medjool date.

Place the dates in the freezer for 5 minutes, it will make the chocolate stick easier.

Place the chocolate and coconut oil in a small bowl and microwave until soft.  Remove and stir until completely melted.

Dip the dates into the chocolate, get it completely coated and dip in coconut flakes, get it completely coated.

Place on plate and chill in the fridge until set.

I tried these with different toppings like chia seeds, with just the chocolate and goji berries, but the coconut flakes one is my favourite.  Feel free to experiment until you find a topping you just can’t get enough of.

an instant of life captured for eternity

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^^ Picnics on the beach.

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^^ I  wanted to feel how cold the water was without getting wet so I just stood there until a wave lapped at my feet.  I kind of look like a child from behind….My workout pants seem to be getting baggier and baggier…..bad workout pants, you should stay up.

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^^ The most dramatic towel shaker ever.

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^^ Shark watch flag.

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^^ Found a little friend on our walk.

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^^ early morning walks, making friends with fluffy weird haired cats, while I have fluffy just got up bed head hair.

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^^ Invited my parents in law over for lunch and made these two desserts! A raw chocolate pie and a crushed lemon tart trifle.  So good.

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^^ Picnic with a view.  I only ate my avocado sandwich and a couple pieces of fruit, the wind was so intense, all the food was covered in sand almost instantly.

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^^ Birds being dramatic.

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^^ So many of them.

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^^ my parents in law got me an early birthday present, the most amazing food processor/ blender ever.  In an instant I had the most amazing sunflower butter without oil.  It tastes so good and is so creamy.

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^^ Made little drool bibs/neckerchiefs for the baby, because all babies needs to be gangsta while drooling.

Hi friends! How was your weekend?  Is everyone still recovering from Thanksgiving binge eating? Over the weekend we decided to go for a little beach picnic we were all set to take a walk down to the beach, but I was standing in the sun really early in the morning by the way, sending someone a text I realised I might not make it back in this heat.  It was like standing in an oven before 8 o clock in the morning.  So we decided to drive to beach, when we got to the beach, it was insanely windy! Its one of the things I hate most about Cape Town, the fact that it can be so hot and the wind can be so cold, yet harsh that you just don’t know what to do.  We powered through and continued as planned with our little picnic.

On Sunday we invited Carl’s parents over for lunch and I cooked up a mini feast.  I warned Carl about the risk of eating large quantities of dairy and oil when he’s been on a clean eating diet, but he didn’t believe me, I couldn’t stop laughing when he got badly effected by it and wanted to vomit, while having a headache and stomach pains.  It was a lovely weekend and we finally feel kind of ready for this baby to arrive!  I can’t believe how in a couple of weeks I will be holding my little baby in my arms, while asking baby A, “why did you have to abuse mommy from the inside so badly?”  I hope everyone has a great Monday and an even better week.

Tempeh Banh Mi less Lettuce wraps

I don’t know if its the weather or the fact that I’m trying to eat all the cooling food I can possibly get my hands on before confinement starts, but I’ve been on a complete easy meal kick.  Especially on the weekends! The weekends around here are just so intense that we sometimes don’t even get time to eat  lunch, with all the driving around trying to find stuff and ending up on the complete opposite side of where we live, things are always just chaotic here. We even try to be out of the house before 8 so we can get to everything before all the shops closes at 1 or 2 on a Saturday.  So eating lunch is a luxury for us, on the special days we manage to get home at a decent lunch time we are so ravenous that a quick lunch is the only thing that will do and with all my pregnancy dietary needs I’ve got going on, grabbing the wrong thing to eat can end up in heartburn for the rest of the day or a sleepless night!  Not pleasant at all.

This recipe was created on one of those days where I just wanted a quick meal that would be yum, filling and that I could just eat with my hands.  So why the weird title? Well banh mi literally means baguette in Vietnamese and seeing as there is no gluten or bread in this recipe, but it has all the wonderful banh mi flavour it just seemed like the perfect title?

If you remember a while back I was talking about how I’ve cut out soy in my diet, but kept in fermented soy products for their endless health benefits.  So why tempeh?

Tempeh is processed less than all your other soy based products, its also a great source of protein making it a great plant based source of protein, because its fermented it makes it easier to digest.  The fermentation also increase the ability to absorb your nutrients as well as keeping your gut healthy.

TEMPEH BANH MI LESS LETTUCE WRAPS 10 wraps

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Ingredients

  • 8 oz tempeh slices into pieces
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 small carrots, grated
  • 1 small diakon, grated or chopped into matchsticks (or radishes)
  • 1/2 a small cucumber chopped into matchsticks
  • 1/4 cup liquid sweetener
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • juice and zest of a 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 tsp minced ginger
  • lettuce butter lettuce or romaine lettuce
  • coriander
  • jalapeno slices (optional
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 2 tbsp sriracha

Directions

In a bowl combine the apple cider vinegar, lime juice, sweetener, diakon, carrots and cucumber.  Toss and refrigerate until ready to use.

In a pan over medium high heat add the oil and tempeh.  Lightly brown the tempeh on both sides.  Add the tamari, garlic powder, juice and zest of lime and ginger, making sure it gets covered.  Remove from heat.

In a small bowl combine the mayo and sriracha, taste and adjust.

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Add the refrigerated veggies to your lettuce wraps, tempeh and a drizzle of mayo.  Garnish with coriander and jalapeno.  Serve!

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Amazing Almond Banana Protein Smoothie

I’ve been loving smoothies and shakes lately! Making a quick shake or smoothie is a fast way for me to get in a lot of nutrients in a short amount of time.  When I need a protein filled snack, bam! Lets have a smoothie.  This is my favourite smoothie EVER.  Yes, it might not be a vibrant ,beautiful green or a wonderful colourful colour, but the simplicity of this boring looking smoothie is all sort of amazing on the taste buds.  Filled with all the wonderful super foods you need with a whole lot of yum, this is definitely the treat with so many health benefits you need.

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MACA BENEFITS

  1. Hormone Balance; Maca is believed to balance estrogen levels.  Which can help with ovulation and pregnancy.
  2. Decreases levels of anxiety and stress.
  3. Helps with male fertility
  4. Increases endurance, energy and mood.
  5. Antioxidants booster; Helps in fighting disease and is great for cancer prevention.

COCONUT OIL BENEFITS

  1. Prevents heart disease and high blood pressure.
  2. Protects the liver
  3. Reduce inflammation and arthritis.
  4. Cancer prevention.
  5. Immune system booster.

ALMONDS BENEFITS

  1. Prevention in heart disease.
  2. Supports healthy brain function.
  3. Helps keeps your skin young, thanks to the anti ageing benefits.
  4. Helps control blood sugar levels.
  5. Helps with weight loss.

FLAX SEEDS BENEFITS

  1. High in fibre and great for gut health.
  2. Keeps your hair and skin healthy.
  3. Helps with losing weight.
  4. Lowers cholesterol.
  5. High in antioxidants.

CARDAMOM BENEFITS

  1. Helps prevent cancer.
  2. Keeps your heart healthy.
  3. A great anti – depressant.
  4. Helps with treating urinary disorders.
  5. protects against gastrointestinal diseases.

ALMOND BANANA PROTEIN SMOOTHIEserves 2

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Ingredients

  • 1 large, banana peeled
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1 -2 cup almond milk (depends on how thick you like it, start with a cup)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1 heaped scoop protein powder
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • 1 large pitted medjool date.
  • Ice

Directions

Place everything in a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into a glass and enjoy all those delicious health benefits.

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Mung Bean Fritters with a Peach Chutney ( Gluten free, vegan, Sugar free, High Protein)

Mung beans, might sound like something completely new to most people, but they’ve actually been used in Ayurveda diets in India for centuries! Mung beans are considered a cherished food in ancient Indian practices, that’s been used as a medicine since 1 500 B.C.  These little green beans are filled with protein, fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients, for such a small bean they sure do pack a nutritional punch!  No wonder they are used as medicine.

When I think about Mung beans I think about the one time Carl and I were shopping in an Asian Supermarket somewhere, and without paying much attention to the floor, because who really looks at the floor in a grocer, I stepped on a ripped open bag of mung beans, I remember just really crushing them with my feet, I continued walking like nothing happen just to see Carl looking just as confused as I was, about what he just stepped on.  After a lot of giggling we continued on with our shopping, only to go back to that same section to see a worker scooping up all the mung beans, sealing it, reweighing it and putting it back on the shelf.  Since that day I only buy things that are really sealed and I really, really wash my rice and legumes!  Let that be a lesson to everyone! Unless you like the taste of shoe with your bean! Wash all your legumes like someone might have stepped on it somewhere!

These fritters don’t taste like dirty shoe, they taste amazing, unless of course you’re into the dirty shoe taste! Is quick to prepare after the soak! and is accompanied with the most amazing peach chutney!  The chutney compliments the spices of the fritters amazingly is sugar free, raw and will just make you want to dip everything you can find.  If you love Indian food you will love this recipe.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF MUNG BEANS

  1. Helps lower high blood pressure.
  2. Contains antioxidants that fight cancer development.
  3. Provides a high amount of Protein
  4. Can help prevent type 2 diabetes
  5. Boost Immunity and protect against viral infections
  6. High source of vitamins and minerals.  Mung beans are loaded with folate, magnesium, b vitamins, manganese, zinc and calcium.  That’s a whole lot of goodness in one small little bean.
  7. Helps with weight loss
  8. Can help decrease PMS symptoms.
  9. Easy to digest.

Why you should soak your legumes? when you soak your beans overnight and rinse them well, it makes them easier to digest and takes away the gassy element that beans sometimes gives you.  It also helps remove phytic acid that can cause tooth decay.

MUNG BEAN FRITTERS – 18 fritters

Mung Bean Fritters

Ingredients

  • 1 cup mung beans soaked in enough water to cover it overnight
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 tsp cumin seed
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 cup chard or kale leaves
  • 1 medium carrot grated
  • 1 small zucchini, grated
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro optional
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oil for frying

Directions

Blend the soaked and rinsed well mung beans with the water, garlic,cumin seed and kale, until it looks like a smooth pancake batter.  Add more water if it needs to be a little less thick.

Stir in the coriander, turmeric, ginger, carrot, zucchini, green onions and cilantro.  Season with salt and pepper.

Heat some coconut oil, in a large skillet over medium high heat and spoon the mixture onto the hot skillet, I try to get them to be all nice and flat by smoothing them out at this stage.  Cook about 3 – 4 at a time.  Cook for 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown on both sides. Continue until the batter is done.

PEACH CHUTNEY

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Ingredients

  • 2 peaches, chopped
  • 1 tsp raisins
  • 1 tsp goji berries – optional, or just add more raisins
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp liquid sweetener
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ginger
  • pinch cinnamon
  • pinch ground cardamom
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • pinch coriander
  • fresh cilantro

Directions

Place everything in a blender and blend until blended together, but not completely smooth.  Taste and adjust spices.  Serve on top of the fritters.  YUM!

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Healthy Chocolate Coconut Overnight Porridge ( Vegan / Gluten Free)

I’ve been on a serious breakfast kick lately.  Give me anything that’s fast, that will keep me going until the afternoon and I’m willing to give it a try.  Right now I’m in the serious grazing part of my pregnancy, I never feel completely full and I’m always on the look out for my next snack and when I can’t have it immediately I feel like a complete wreck.   If it didn’t make me feel like a completely irrational drama queen you would probably find me curled up in ball wondering what did I do to deserve such a food-less world even if the fridge is completely stocked, I just have to make something.

That’s why I’ve been going crazy for anything overnight, put things in a jar, shake it up and forget about it until morning.  At one point I felt like I was a little bit too addicted to my iron rich overnight oats, instead of calling the overnight oats helpline for addiction I decided I need to add some variety to my mornings, but yet be filling enough not to make me sulky in public when I get hangry 15 minutes later, it should be filled with protein and just make me feel good while eating it.  That’s how this gluten free, coconut flour, chocolate-y slice of heaven in a jar was created.  Filled with a whole lot of good for you ingredients, like ground flax seeds, chia seeds, banana, protein powder and really yummy coconut flour, how can you go wrong with something that’s just so right.

Coconut flour overnight porridge

A word of advice, don’t be all willy nilly with your coconut flour, otherwise you might end up with coconut flour-aggedon.  The one evening I felt a little tired and didn’t count my tbsp properly, and because  coconut flour is just as hungry as I am, I ended up with 3 days worth of porridge for 2 people.  I wasn’t complaining.

CHOCOLATE COCONUT FLOUR OVERNIGHT PORRIDGEserves two hangry people

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Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp coconut flour
  • 3-4 tbsp chia seeds ( depends how thick you want it
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1/8 tsp Himalayan salt
  • 1-2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 overripe banana, mashed into a puree or a normal yellow banana blended smooth
  • 2 tbsp hemp seed powder (optional)
  • 1 cup non dairy milk
  • 3/4 cup water
  • sweetener of choice  ( I cut up some dates really small or add a couple of dates while blending the banana for a sweetener)

Directions

Mix the dry ingredients into a big enough jar, or two smaller jars.

Stir in the milk, water, banana and vanilla.  Stir well until all the coconut flour clumps are gone.  Or shake vigorously with the lid tightly sealed.

Place in the fridge overnight.

Coconut flour Overnight Porridge

Remove from fridge, if its a little bit too thick add more milk till desired consistency and serve with your favourite porridge toppings, I would suggest a drizzle of nut butter, almonds, yogurt, fruit and a drizzle of sweetener.  Sit back and enjoy your healthy, yet decadent dessert….. I mean breakfast.

Stacked Buckwheat Pancakes ( gluten free, Vegan)

I’ve fallen madly in love with buckwheat.  I just can’t get enough of this little fruit seed ( Yes, you saw that right, these little guys contain no wheat and is completely gluten free), its become my go to breakfast these days.  All the things you can do with it is just endless, I’ve been on a breakfast food craze lately so I’ve only gone as far as breakfast food; I’ve made a pretty yummy chocolate buckwheat granola, raw buckwheat porridge, buckwheat porridge parfait, warm buckwheat and the yummiest buckwheat pancakes ever!  Maybe soon I’ll venture out of my breakfast food comfort zone and start experimenting with buckwheat even more.

These pancakes are just something special its not your fluffy American pancake, but it also not your thin crepe, its in a whole class of its own with a denser consistency and a whole lot of flavour, that keeps you full and satisfied for ages, believe me! It even keeps me full and I’m in the stage of my pregnancy where I never feel full anymore, I’ve become a grazing animal that’s always looking for a quick nibble.  I stacked mine sky high and layered it with fruit and coconut yogurt , it did fall over like a badly stacked pile of pancakes, but the taste did not fade with its downfall!

BUCKWHEAT BENEFITS

  1. Contains disease fighting antioxidants: Helps fight cancer  and heart disease formation and helps protect against free radicals.
  2. Lowers cholesterol and Blood pressure levels:  This has actually been a downfall for me as I’ve been suffering from low blood pressure in this pregnancy, but adding a little extra salt with my buckwheat helped prevent that problem.
  3. Filled with protein.
  4. High in Fibre and helps improve digestion.
  5. Filled with vitamins and nutrients : buckwheat is a great source of energy boosting b vitamins, manganese, magnesium, zinc, iron and folate.

STACKED BUCKWHEAT PANCAKES14 small pancakes

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup rinsed hulled buckwheat groats, covered in water and left to stand overnight.
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup non dairy milk
  • 2 tbsp flax seeds
  • 4 pitted dates
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp oil

Directions

Once the buckwheat has soaked overnight, place in strainer and rinse clean, they might seem slimy, so just rinse them clean.

Place the strained and washed buckwheat in a bowl, add the milk, water, flax seeds dates, salt, baking powder, vinegar, vanilla, oil and cinnamon in the bowl.  Use a hand blender to blend the mixture into a pancake batter.  If it seems a bit thick add a little more milk.

Heat a pan over medium high heat.   Pour batter about 2 tbsp at a time on to the pan.  Wait until bubbles start to form and flip.  Cook until golden brown.  Continue until all the batter is used.

Buckwheat Pancakes

serve with coconut yogurt, syrup, fruit and coconut or anyway you like them.  Enjoy!