Hello! I’m Frances and I'm delighted you’ve found The Blushing Beetroot. This is my first ever attempt at blog writing and I’m so excited to be able to share some of my healthy food creations with you.
I’m a full time mum of two little ones. I find I’m cooking so much now and experimenting a lot with different foods and dishes that I’d like to record and share them with you. Also it gives me something to keep my brain from going totally rusty!!
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Monthly Archives: January 2015
I used to think guacamole was solely a dip. A luscious, green, creamy dip to scoop a salty nacho into or to be added to a hungry looking enchilada. How wrong I was! By chance I discovered that guacamole is very versatile and can be spread on toast for a satisfying breakfast, can be used as a creamy addition to a rice dish, used as a sandwich filling with crunchy cos leaves or used in the traditional manner as a dip. Most people have their own way to produce the perfect guacamole, add red onion or not, maybe some chopped tomatoes, chillies, or coriander, there are numerous possibilities. Here I’m keeping it simple but deliciously moreish. . . .
Prep – 5 minutes
Portions – 2
2 avocados mashed
1-2 garlic cloves
Juice 1 lime
Salt & pepper
1 plum tomato chopped optional
Chilli flakes optional
Mix the avocado, garlic, lime juice and salt & pepper together in a bowl and your done!
Here’s the juicy bit . . .
Fats can be categorised as 1) trans fats or hydrogenated fats 2) saturated fats and 3) unsaturated
Trans fats are man made unnatural fats and should be avoided. Hydrogen atoms are added to a fat through a process which alters its natural chemical makeup in order to give it a longer shelf life. You’ll find trans fats in foods like pre packaged cookies, pastries and margarine.
Saturated fats are mainly found in meat and dairy products. These fats can increase ‘bad cholesterol’ AKA low density lipoprotein or LDL. Cholesterol can raise blood pressure and lead to hardening of arteries among other conditions. Saturated fats are best limited in your diet.
Unsaturated fats are found mainly in plant sources. They have a range of health benefits as they help increase good cholesterol AKA high density lipoprotein HDL and decrease LDL thereby reducing cholesterol. These fats are further divided in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated depending on their chemical makeup. Omega fats, 3 and 6 are examples of polyunsaturated fats and are essential in our diet as we can’t make these fatty acids.
Avocados are rich in oleic acid which is an omega 9 fat. These are monounsaturated fats. Oleic acid is also found in olives and olive oil. Since oleic acid comes under the unsaturated fats category its health benefits include reducing LDL and increasing HDL. It’s also has anti inflammatory properties which helps reduce inflammatory conditions in the body like arthritis. Avocados also contain vitamin E which benefits the skin, fibre and antioxidants.
We all get the the munchies from time to time. Whether it’s late morning, a mid afternoon slump or night time nibbles, the desire for a pick me up snack hits us all. With busy schedules at work or at home with little children this is when it’s all too easy to reach for a handy ‘treat’, biscuit and coffee, tea and buttered toast, chocolate bar or crisps. I’ve a sweet tooth and and have fallen prey to this temptation numerous times. As an ex nurse on a busy ward, very often not getting a lunch break or afternoon tea break there were always boxes of chocolates or biscuits available to munch on and give me a burst of energy to keep me going for a few hours. However as we all know this isn’t a good way to sustain energy and depletes us in the long run. I began opting for 70% dark chocolate instead of sugar laden milk chocolate. This worked very well and surprisingly I now find milk chocolate too sweet. But chocolate as delicious as it is does not always hit the mark, so I came up with this super simple speedy snack! Nut butter on oat crackers with sliced banana. Simple, quick and tasty, Mmmmmm!
• oat or rice crackers
• nut butter – I use almond and cashew
Spread your chosen nut butter onto the crackers and top with sliced banana.
Here’s the juicy bit . . .
If you have problems sleeping bananas may be able to help you. Packed with the amino acid tryptophan, this converts to serotonin and melatonin which helps calm us and aids restful sleep.
Peanut butter is probably still the most commonly used nut butter. Unfortunately peanuts easily grow a mould. This mould produces toxins called aflatoxin. Aflatoxin Is a carcinogen which has been shown to have a connection with liver cancer. Because of this peanuts are usually heavily sprayed with anti fungals. Almond, cashew and walnut butters are a good alternative. Seed butters are also available if you have an allergy to nuts.
Soups are a great meal for anytime of the year. Hearty, warming soups for the colder seasons and lighter consommé or cool gazpacho for summer months are nourishing and tasty. January is a month often marked by colds, coughs and generally feeling run down. The combination of late nights, over indulgent foods and excess alcohol depletes us of nutrients, taxes our systems and results in a sluggish tired body in need of rest and recuperation. We moved our little boy from his cot into a bed at the beginning of December and his excitement of having this newfound freedom has led to a much later settling time for bed and very interrupted sleep for weeks. As a result of having 6 weeks of running on minimal sleep I became unwell with a tummy bug and totally lethargic for 48hrs. The following soup helped restore my energy. A bowl of veggie soup is most welcomed when you’re feeling low. This is one of my takes on a vegetable soup but of course there are so many combinations of vegetables to choose from that rarely any two vegetables soups are the same. I love the kale in this recipe as I feel it gives an injection of health. I’ve also added quite a lot of garlic which I really like ( my husband does not!!) but it’s a great boost for the immune system.
Portions – 4
Prep -15 minutes
Cooking – 45 minutes
• 1 large onion finely chopped
• 3 carrots diced
• 2 celery stalks chopped
• a handful of kale, stalks removed and finely chopped
• 2 medium sized potatoes diced into chunks
• 2 plum tomatoes diced
• 5 garlic cloves crushed
• 400g chick peas rinsed
• pinch oregano
• pinch thyme
• pepper to taste
• coconut oil to cook
• 1 litre vegetable stock
• 2 tbsp tomato purée
Place the coconut oil in the pot and add the onion, carrots and celery. Allow to sweat for 10 minutes or until they start to soften.
Next add the potatoes, tomatoes, herbs, kale, pepper, and tomatoe purée. Stir all the vegetables together.
Add the vegetable stock. Bring to almost a boil then reduce to a simmer. Put the lid on and allow to cook for 15 minutes.
Take the lid off and add the chick peas. Leave the soup simmering and reducing slightly for about 20 – 25 minutes until all the vegetables are soft.
Add the garlic just before you serve and enjoy.
Here’s the juicy bit. . .
Garlic has numerous health giving properties and is great for helping fight off bugs. It’s an anti-viral, anti-fungal and antibiotic. The active ingredient in garlic is allicin. This compound starts to be activated once crushed. It’s best to crush your garlic cloves and leave them aside allowing this compound to build and only add to your food at the end of cooking to retain these health giving properties. Allicin changes once cooked.
Makes 1 portion
Prep 5 minutes
• sourdough bread – toasted
• 3 plum tomatoes
• half avocado
• 1 clove garlic – crushed
• Himalayan pint salt or sea salt and pepper to taste
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
Chop the tomatoes into bite size pieces. Dice the avocado. Mix the crushed garlic clove into the olive oil and apple cider vinegar and pour over the tomatoes and avocado. Finally season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy with the toasted sourdough bread.
Here’s the juicy bit . . .
Organic unpasteurised Apple cider vinegar is known to have many health benefits. It has antibacterial, antiviral and anti fungal properties. Taking 1-2 tsp daily in water or added to your food as in this recipe has shown to help stabilise blood sugar, may assist in weight loss and helps rid the body of candida – a yeast overgrowth. I use the brand ‘Braggs’ which I get from my local health food store.
Some say it helps improve dandruff, whiten teeth when gargled with water, can be diluted and used as a facial toner and aids digestion. I haven’t used ACV yet for cosmetic reasons but when I do I will let you know how I get on. . .
Happy new year! I hope you’ve had a fantastic time celebrating Christmas and are bursting with enthusiasm for 2015. Most people including myself however start off January not feeling their best after overindulgence during the christmas holiday. I’ve decided to post one of my favourite things to drink when I want to feel healthy and treat myself with an abundance of goodness, – a green vegetable juice. I have a cold press masticating juicer which is fantastic at preserving most of the nutrients while juicing your fruits and vegetables. It’s a bit pricey but a fantastic investment for your health. I also just bought a nutri bullet for my husband as an early birthday present and so far we’re lovin it. It’s cheaper than my juicer and a good option if a juicer is off the budget. A few of these green drinks during the week and you’ll reap numerous benefits. I want to make 2015 a really positive and healthy year so here’s to a great year full of great food, invigorating excerise and positive attitude x
Makes 600 mls approx
• 100g baby spinach
• half cucumber
• 4 sticks celery
• 2 carrots
• 1 inch fresh ginger
• 2 apples – core removed
• 1 lime
Wash all your fruit and vegetables. De core the apples. Peel the ginger with a tea spoon. Cut the fruits and vegetables to fit your juicer.
Place all the ingredients except the lime into your juicer one at a time. Pour into your glass. Squeeze over the juice of the lime. Enjoy!
Here’s the juicy bit . . .
What a powerhouse of nutrients this juice is! After 15 minutes of ingesting your cells are reaping the benefits of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, phytonutrients all in their raw unaltered, unprocessed state. With juicing its the fibre that is removed which means the potent nourishing liquid is easily absorbed into your bloodstream and to your cells. Very little effort is needed to prepare this food for assimilation. Also with juicing you tend to consume a lot more veggies compared to when you eat them whole. This is because the fibre from whole veggies fills you up quicker.
Juicing is an excellent way to keep nourished particularly for anyone who is undergoing chemo and radiotherapy treatment. Very often these treatments leave people feeling nauseated with low appetite. How awful is this when it is at this time that you desperately need excellent foods to help combat this illness. There are some very encouraging cases of people who have gone into remission or cured themselves from cancer by eliminating certain foods, choosing organic to reduce the chemical load the body has to detox and by regular juicing.
‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ but I think ‘ a green juice per day keeps illness at bay’!