Spicy Turmeric Zoodles

I may be studying nutrition but there are moments that I really struggle with eating healthy.  There are days when I am running on very little sleep and feeling a little stressed out, and I find myself craving a huge bowl of pasta or a cupcake (or three).   The last thing that I want to eat is an apple, a salad or a green smoothie.  There are times when I indulge my cravings as I firmly believe that life is about balance, but there are many times when I resist or find an alternative solution.  Today’s recipe was a happy and spontaneous dish that I created one day when I was particularly hangry (not in the best of moods due to overwhelming hunger and exhaustion).  I was craving an indulgent bowl of pasta but I was determined to resist.  With a few veggies left in my fridge I decided to put my little spiralizer to good use and created a simple and delicious dish that delivered some guilt free satisfaction.

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For those of you that are not familiar with the term zoodles, it is zucchini in the shape of a noodle.  Small handheld spiralizers like the one that I have are inexpensive and very easy to use.  You can also just use a peeler to cut thick ribbons of zucchini.  Zoodles are my favourite of all of the veggie “noodle” variations.  The texture and taste is most similar (in my opinion) to a regular noodle, so when I eat them I don’t feel deprived or that I am missing out.

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This dish uses two of my favourite vegetables – zucchini and asparagus.  I find both vegetables very easy to work with and they don’t require much prep or cook time which makes them perfect when you are short on time.  If you are not completely sold on zoodles, you can substitute any noodles that you prefer or mix the zoodles with a regular pasta to create a more hearty dish (just be sure to save a bit of the pasta water to add to to the pan when you putting this dish together).   To achieve the rich buttery taste that I was after, I decided to use a combination of olive oil and ghee.  When used in moderation, both are healthy fats that will help your body to absorb fat soluble vitamins from the vegetables, as well as give the dish an indulgent taste minus the guilt.  Serrano peppers up the heat factor of the zoodles (omit if you are not a fan of spicy food) and turmeric adds beautiful colour and increases the health benefits for this simple and delicious dish.  Pair this dish with a simple poached egg, a piece of wild salmon or toss with some shredded chicken breast for a delicious, healthy and well balanced meal.

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Spicy Turmeric Zoodles 

Ingredients:

1 medium sized zucchini spiralized

1/2 a bunch of asparagus (aprox 6 stalks) chopped

1.5 tsp of high quality olive oil

1.5 tsp of ghee

1 serrano pepper (finely chopped)

1 clove of garlic (minced)

1/4 tsp of turmeric powder

Lemon

black pepper

salt to taste

Directions:

In a medium sized frying pan melt the olive oil and ghee over medium heat

Add the garlic and serrano pepper to the olive oil and ghee combination and gently fry for 1 minute

Add the turmeric and a pinch of black pepper to the mixture and stir to ensure that the ingredients are well combined

Add the asparagus and toss to coat in the oil, cook for 1 – 2 minutes

Add the zoodles and stir to ensure that the zoodles are well coated.  Cook to your desired consistency, I like my mine with a slight bite so 2.5 mins is generally sufficient.  Please note that the longer you cook the zoodles, the more water the zucchini will release.  Season with salt and pepper and squeeze some fresh lemon juice onto the veggies.

Plate and top with your desired protein

Enjoy!

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I hope that you have a beautiful day! ❤️XXS

Restorative Turmeric Soup

Happy New Year everyone!  A new year is always exciting as they are filled with endless possibilities but ironically January and February are some of the toughest months to get thru.  The cold weather and post Christmas blues are enough to put anyone in a bad mood. Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to help you successfully navigate these dreary few months with ease.  My favourite is indulging in good (but clean) food.

Soup is a common food staple especially during the colder months.  Growing up, I always considered soup food that you only eat when you are sick.  It was not something that I particularly enjoyed, with the exception of a piping hot bowl of hot and sour soup that I loved on the rare occasions that we went out for Chinese food.  Over the past few years I have started to incorporate more soup into my diet.  I frequently reach for a cup of comforting miso soup whenever I am feeling sick or in need of some comfort food.  And when I have more time I enjoy making my own grilled tomato soup or a clean green soup.  The fact is though is that I have always enjoyed the side dish that I would eat with the soup more then the soup itself – be it crackers, grilled vegetables, roast chicken or cheese on toast.  The moment that the side dish was finished, I would lose interest in finishing my soup.  The soup was never the star of the meal.

All of that changed when I made came across a recipe for turmeric soup on Pinterest. I decided to adapt it to suit my tastes and the results were nothing short of amazing (if I do say so myself).  I normally have two bowls and seriously contemplate a third when I make this soup.  It is hearty, satisfying and delicious – no side dish required.  I am finally a soup convert.

The base of this soup is coconut milk, filled with good fats and incredibly filling and satiating I cannot believe I hadn’t thought to use it earlier in any of my previous soups.  Turmeric is fabulous for lowering chronic inflammation within the body and adds a beautiful colour to this dish.  The original recipe calls for zucchini and I chose to channel my inner Popeye and include spinach as well.  I used frozen chopped spinach for this recipe but fresh works just as well.  Super simple to make, this soup doesn’t require any complicated ingredients, a lot of skill or effort.  It is easy on the digestive system so it won’t leave you feeling sluggish and bloated.  Overall this soup make me happy and leaves me feeling comforted and restored – a total winner in my book!

With a few tweaks this can easily become a vegan dish (omit the fish sauce and swap the chicken broth with vegetable broth) and you can always substitue in your favourite veggies to personalize this dish to suit your taste.

Ingredients

1 can of coconut milk

1 cup of chicken stock

1 cup of frozen spinach

2 -3 small to medium size zucchini

1/2 onion finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic (minced)

2 tsp olive oil

2 (heaping) tsp of ground turmeric

2 tsp fish sauce

sea salt

black pepper

chilli flakes (optional)

half of a lime

chopped coriander (optional)

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a medium size pot over medium to high heat.  When the oil is glistening add in the onions stirring occasionally  to release the flavours.   Cook  until the onions are translucent (about 5 minutes).  When the onions are almost cooked thru add in the garlic and stir until the onions and garlic are well combined.

Add in the spinach, zucchini, salt, pepper, chilli flakes and turmeric, mix well.  Stir fry the vegetables in the mixture for a couple of minutes.  The frozen spinach will not completely thaw at this point but don’t worry, it will continue to cook in the broth.

Add in the coconut milk and chicken stock, stir well and increase the heat so that the soup comes to just a boil.  Turn down the heat and let the soup simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in the fish sauce.  Pour into bowls and top with a squeeze of lime juice and coriander.

Enjoy!

I hope that you have a beautiful day! XXS

 

Nutty Dark Chocolate Fudge

I love fudge.  It has been a favourite of mine since I was a child, and to this day I still find it difficult to not indulge every chance that I get.  While I’ve heard that it is relatively easy to make, I have never bothered as the store bought versions are always delicious and I don’t have to clean up after.  Recently though, I came across a recipe for hazelnut fudge on Pinterest that piqued my interest as it used coconut milk and maple syrup instead of the usual (and in my opinion heaven sent) condensed milk.  It was super simple to make and the results were quite good.  I decided to adapt the recipe for the holidays and came up with this nutty dark chocolate fudge recipe.  If you are looking for a quick and easy sweet treat this fudge works perfectly.  While it does contain a fair amount of sugar from the chocolate and maple syrup, it is also rich and dense so you don’t need too much to satisfy your sweet tooth.  I chose to use antioxidant rich dark chocolate (70%), almonds and hazelnuts in this recipe but feel free to swap in your favourite nuts and chocolate to make a version that best suits you.  Depending on the chocolate you use, please be mindful of the amount of maple syrup that you add into the fudge – the sweeter the chocolate the less maple syrup required.

Ingredients:

2 cups dark chocolate (min 70%) chunks or chips

1/2 cup canned coconut milk

1/4 cup toasted almond hazelnut butter

5 tsp of maple syrup (if using milk chocolate use 3 – 4 tsp)

pinch of sea salt or pink Himalayan salt

1 cup of toasted and chopped hazelnuts and almonds

Here’s what you do:

  • To toast the hazelnuts and almonds place the nuts on a baking sheet and bake at 350 (F) for approximately 5 – 8 minutes, shake the pan half way through.  Let cool then rough chop in a blender
  • Line a loaf pan with parchment paper
  • In a large pot mix everything but the nuts together and melt over low heat, stirring frequently
  • When the mixture has completely melted and combined gently fold in 3/4 cup of the nuts
  • Pour the fudge into the prepared pan and let cool for approximately 30 minutes , then sprinkle the remainder of the nuts on top
  • Refrigerate the fudge until set (about 2 hours)
  • It’s best to remove the fudge from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cutting into pieces

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!  XXS

 

Wonderful Walnuts

Nuts have had a bad reputation for many years.  As the fat free craze took hold a few years ago, anything containing fat was demonized and nuts were no exception.  Thankfully, we now live in a different world – a world where healthy fat is embraced in many forms  and nuts have once again become a pantry staple in many households.

I love nuts in all forms but one of my favourites is walnuts.  Rich in healthy fats, vitamins and minerals walnuts boost incredible health, brain and beauty benefits.  As a rich plant source of Omega 3 fatty acids  walnuts are known to help to decrease LDL cholesterol levels in the body and may help to reduce the risk of prostrate and breast cancer.  With a high concentration of the Omega-3 fatty acid DHA , walnuts can help to improve cognitive brain function in adults and help to prevent cognitive decline.  Research has also shown that walnuts help to increase inferential reasoning in young adults. Filled with stress fighting properties, these powerhouse nuts are packed with fibre, antioxidants and unsaturated fatty acids.

Anti-inflammatory in nature, walnuts are a great source of selenium which helps to treat existing skin damage as well as protecting the skin from UV exposure.  Helpful in treating inflamed skin conditions by oxygenating the blood and boosting circulation so nutrients are circulated well.  By combating free radicals in the body, walnuts can also help to control how fast you age.

Walnuts are a great addition to your diet as there are benefits for everyone.  Just be mindful of your serving size – a handful a day is more then enough to considerably boost your antioxidant intake.  What is your favourite way to include walnuts in your diet – let me know in the comments below.

I hope that you have a great day!

XXS

The Self Care Shower Ritual That You May Be Missing

Detox is a commonly used word amongst people in the wellness community, and over the past few years it has become a commonly used buzz word in popular culture as well.  It means many things to many people, but essentially it is used to communicate a method to rid toxins – most commonly from the body.  While your body has detox organs that help to eliminate toxins from your body naturally, there are certain things that one can do to help further stimulate this process within the body.

This year I decided to incorporate a new detox ritual into my self care routine, namely dry brushing.  This self care routine has become popular over the past few years, and while I had attempted once or twice prior to this year, 2016 is the year that I committed.  For those of you that don’t know, dry brushing is the process of brushing your skin with a natural bristle brush.  Some of the benefits of dry brushing include:

  • It sweeps away dry skin cells
  • Improves digestion
  • Stimulates the lymph nodes
  • Improves the appearance of cellulite
  • Boosts circulation

It is best to dry brush before you take your shower and many prefer to do it in the morning as they feel energized after.  How to maximize your dry brushing experience:

  • Use a soft but firm natural bristle brush
  • Start dry brushing at your feet and brush upwards to your heart
  • While dry brushing your stomach, brush in a counter clockwise circular motion
  • Use a circular motion when dry brushing your chest – that is where lymph drainage occurs
  • Take your time, spend 3 – 5 minutes dry brushing
  • Enjoy the process, it is a great time to breathe and take some time for yourself while doing something great for your body.

I am so happy that I have added dry brushing into my self care routine.  My skin looks and feels great since I have started.  It forces me to slow down and take a minute for myself while I am brushing.  It is extremely therapeutic and I find myself looking forward to my new self care ritual on a daily basis.

Are there any new self care rituals that you have included in your routine this year?  Let me know in the comments below.

I hope that you have a fabulous day!  XXS