Wet Salad

I’m off to Japan tomorrow morning! My family love travelling and this has been on our list for years, so we are so excited to finally be visiting. I’m quite overwhelmed by it all actually – I just can’t wait. I’m fascinated to see what it’s like, although a little nervous about the food, as I’m not a sushi fan…

I’m sure a post will follow. But for now I wanted to share my recipe for getting rid of all the leftovers in my fridge! A classic pre-holiday activity.

A few years ago an actor friend of mine came to crash with me for a few days. He was a very healthy man, in body and mind. He was very zen, and we had a lot of big deep and meaningful conversations while he was here. Of all my memories though, the residing image in my brain from his brief stay was the “wet salads” he always made, as he called them. These involved grating up very moist vegetables, to create a very soggy pile of raw goodness. Sound grim? It definitely isn’t.

Here is my Avocado and Chilli Wet Salad, as the beautiful and calm Vyelle would have called it. Enjoy your upcoming week, and I’ll see you all on the other side…


Image

Ingredients

1 large grated carrot

1/2 grated courgette

1 grated cooked beetroot

1 avocado

1/4 red chilli, chopped

Olive oil

Lemon juice

Black pepper

Mix it all together, and what have you got…? Delicious fridge-emptying goodness, that’s what. Happy holidays!

Image

 

 

3 Ways to Help Yourself Behave

I’ve recently been trying to slim down a tiny bit again. All the usual things: summer is round the corner, my birthday is next month, I’m going to a wedding on Saturday etc etc. Anyway, I’ve found a few things that have really helped me stay on track – steering me away from the chips and dips, and towards the home-made soups and kale!


 

1. Fit-spiration

Many of you may have heard of the evil twin sister to this motivational technique – “thin-spiration”. Thin-spiration is a hideous hideous thing. It’s a word generally used by people suffering from eating disorders to describe the reams of photographs they look at of un-naturally skinny other people, whether they be celebrities or just other fellow anorexics. It is a distinctly un-healthy idea, but the need for inspiration to achieve our goals is a common one. I recently heard someone talk about “fit-spiration” and thought that sounded wonderful. Find a picture of somebody who is in excellent shape – slim but healthy. Somebody who is fit and strong. Make that your goal. I stumbled across this picture when I was shopping online for a new sports bra, and it’s stayed on my laptop desktop ever since!

Image

 

2. Health food blogs

I’ve previously talked about my favourite food porn website: http://beautifulpicturesofhealthyfood.tumblr.com/

But I’ve now got a new favourite health-food blog, and it’s all vegan. Readers, meet Deliciously Ella. Deliciously Ella, meet my readers. Once you find a brilliant health food blog, it’s easy to stay healthy yourself, because you crave their recipes. You want to make what they make, you want to eat what they eat. Gone are the desires for a Dominos pizza with burgers in the crust, and here come the impulses to make a vat of quinoa every weekend, just to add to all my dishes during the week. I want to make this, and this… and most of all these. Get a healthy obsession, and suddenly being good isn’t a chore.

3. Fruit and Veg Challenge

Recent research has found that our ideas of 5-a-day are way under what we really should be consuming. Apparently it’s more like 7-a-day. But let’s be honest, we all knew that the more fruit and vegetables we ate, the healthier and happier we’d be; There isn’t a limit. I’ve recently set myself challenges – every now and then I say, “let’s eat solely fruit and veg today”. It’s easier than you think. I eat fruit all morning, have a salad dressed with lemon juice and plenty of herbs for lunch, more fruit in the afternoon and then a home-made soup for dinner, or a mound of all my favourite vegetables: Green beans, cauliflower, aspargaus, mushrooms. Challenge yourself to eat 7 portions of fruit and veg today, and just see how much the bad stuff you consume goes down.

ImageImage

Jazzed up Greek Salad

ImageLast week I felt dehydrated. I was drained, and woke up every day with a headache. Obviously my body was lacking water, but I felt like I was drinking loads.

Time to bring in the back-up… water in food. I decided to make a mammoth-sized salad, greek style – but with added bits, vegetables that are known for being high in water content. I added mushrooms and beetroot, so the ingredients were as follows:

 

Lucy’s Jazzed up Hydrating Greek Salad Bowl

Leaves – kale and rocket (half a mixing bowl full!)

Tomato

Cucumber

Red Onion

Mushrooms (briefly cooked in a teaspoon of coconut oil)

Beetroot

Feta

Plenty of dry oregano, olive oil and lemon juice to dress it

 

It was absolutely delicious and incredibly filling. Remember, a lot of the time you feel hungry, your body is actually just thirsty. You’re dehydrated. Our bodies are about 60% water! And I know I’m not the first blogger to point that out! This is not me saying that every time you’re craving something to eat, you should just drink water. You need to know your own body and judge every feeling individually. I know when I’m occasionally feeling faint and my body actually really needs fuel, and I also know when I’m just restless and a bit dehydrated, so I’m reaching for the peanut butter and the teaspoon!

But this salad did just the trick. It filled me to the brim, and I was peeing non-stop for the rest of the day (now we’ve discussed going to the toilet, we’re all very good friends).

Try it yourself and notice how good you feel. It’s not just the water in all those vegetables, but the nutrients in so much raw food.  Enjoy!

 

See my post on Lucy Salads for other suggestions for mammoth-sized salad bowls to fill you up, and see my post on greek food for breaking down the various advantages of such a salad. And finally, read here why kale is such a fantastic way to bulk up your salad.

 

Image

 

 

Hot Tomato Orange soup

My most recent obsession has been this delicious home-made soup. I made it for a friend, who responded with the following analysis:

First you taste the tomato and think “yum, yeah nice tomato soup”, then you get the kick of the chilli and you’re all like, “woah there, what’s that?” Then in the aftertaste you notice the orange and it’s like, “alright clever dick”.

 

Image

 

I liked that analysis, and I think he liked the soup. So here it is, my recipe for Hot Tomato Orange soup. Leave out the chilli if you don’t like spicy and adapt the portion size depending on how many you’re cooking for. This will make a very large portion of soup for 1:

Ingredients:

3 large tomatoes

1 small white onion

1/3 of a chilli pepper

2 cloves of garlic

a teaspoon of dried basil

1 vegetable stock cube

a healthy dash of worcester sauce

a teaspoon of tomato puree

a dash of cinnamon

juice of 1/2 an orange

Firstly chop up your tomatoes and onion and pop them in the pan to sizzle with the garlic, dried basil and chopped chilli. There is actually no need to add any oil in this recipe, as tomatoes are such soggy food and won’t stick to the bottom of the pan. (But olive oil always adds some deliciousness to any meal – so you can decide.) After the tomato and onion have gone soft, crumble the vegetable stock cube in, add the tomato puree, worcester sauce and cinnamon and stir for a little while longer. Then add water (this is a guessing game and it all depends on how watery you want your soup. Remember you can always add more water later, so I’d always err on the side of less than more. Generously cover the vegetables at least though.) When you have left all this to bubble for about 10 minutes, you’re ready to blend it together. Pour the mixture into a blender and let the machine do its magic. The final touch is the juice from the orange. Add this at the final moment, when the pureed soup is back in the pan.

Serve and enjoy :)

Image

 

ps. Also, it’s crazy low in calories for maximum taste. Another wonderful fasting day meal. The above portion size has about 150 calories in maximum.

Wholemeal Pancakes

Image

Yesterday was a very special day in England – Pancake Day. Religiously it is known as “shrove Tuesday”, but in England it is the one day of the year when everybody goes wild for pancakes. And we’re not talking big, thick american pancakes – we’re talking the french kind – crepes.

Crepes with ham and cheese

Crepes with lemon and sugar

Crepes with nutella and banana…

I was looking forward to a classic “pancake day” with crepes a-plenty, but wanted to do it a little healthier this year. So I looked up a more nutritious recipe. I must admit that the one I found left me dubious. I was throwing a pancake day lunch for 2 friends, and made normal batter for them, convinced that my healthy concoction was going to turn out disgusting.

How wrong I was.

Here is the incredibly easy recipe for my wholemeal pancakes, which turned out absolutely delightfully. They were more filling and more tasty than the usual, and a whole lot better for me. I filled my savoury crepes with ham, light goats cheese, mushrooms, basil and chilli peppers; Then I filled my sweet crepes with Whole Earth dark chocolate spread, strawberry slices and banana slices. It was a very satisfying and delicious lunch, which felt 10x more indulgent than it actually was. Enjoy.

Wholemeal Crepe Batter

1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk (or soy milk)

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup wholemeal flour

1 egg white

Salt

Mix the two liquids together, then whisk in the egg white. Add the flour bit by bit whilst whisking, until you have your completed batter. Add a sprinkle of salt.

ImageImage

Naughty Break

I know this blog is about how to live a life of excess, abundance but also health…

But every now and then one just has to be a bit naughty. And I wanted to share my particular chosen naughty moment with you.

Image

Last week, I went to Paris for 24 hours with one of my best friends, Ellie. We had both been to Paris before so felt no need to rush around all the tourist hot-spots. Instead we went on a 24-hour tour to try and find the best Pain Au Chocolat in Paris. Here are some fine photographs of our experience:

Image

SAM_4850

ImageAnd the winning pain au chocolats were the following. The first picture shows Ellie’s choice – a chocolate/raspberry variation from a bakery called Miss Manon – and the second picture shows my winner, from Des Gateaux et Du Pain:ImageImage

I’d like to end with this quote from a fellow Bikram Yogi, which sums up perfectly how one should aim to live their life in a healthy way:

“It’s not shameful to want to change you body and be in good shape – just don’t push yourself to extremes. Do yoga but don’t be stressed if you struggle. Eat great food and choose quality over quantity. If you can’t do 100% of something. 10% is better than 0% and if you try and fail – forgive, yourself, learn and try again. We can all achieve more with a little inspiration.”

 

Image

Spinach Cake

There’s a recipe I’ve been wanting to make for a long time. It’s been printed off the internet and sat on my desk for a few months, and I just haven’t got round to it, which is silly, because it is very simple.

After a heavy Saturday night drinking this weekend, I felt like I needed something last night which would do me a lot of good, so I finally made this Spinach Cake. As a pre-cursor to the recipe, it is meant to be put in a loaf tin, or something of the sort, so it ends up as a long flat slab which can be cut up. I couldn’t find my loaf tin, or a suitable baking dish, so I put the mixture into muffin cases!! This worked quite well.

Ingredients:

200g Spinach

1/2 tbsp olive oil

Handful of pine nuts

1 clove garlic

1 egg, whisked

Handful of raisins or currants

Image

1. Wilt the spinach in a large covered saucepan over low hear for about 5 minutes (until all is cooked lightly). Then drain it and allow it to cool for a bit.

2. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, saute the pine nuts in the olive oil and garlic until they are just brown. Careful with your timings here, as pine nuts burn very easily. Better to have them a little on the paler side than the darker side at this point.

3. In a bowl, combine the pine nuts mixture, spinach, whisked egg and raisins. Add a sprinkling of salt.

4. Bake in greased muffin cases or loaf dish for about 15 minutes at 180 degrees Celcius.

5. Enjoy!

I then finished my night off with some lemon-drizzled Kale chips. (Obviously, I was a little hungover, and there were lots of rice cakes and popcorn around all this health… I wouldn’t want to lie to you.)

Image