16. Ramona’s Lentil, Butternut Squash and Kale Sauté

16. Ramona's LentilsFound two butternut squashes in the food cupboard and have lots of Kale left over so it’s time to try out

Ramona’s Lentil, Butternut Squash and Kale Sauté

Calories: ~250

This light dish will fill you up thanks to the protein in the lentils, and it’ll warm you up too, so it’s a perfect lunch for an especially cold day.

Ingredients

½ cup ready-to eat-steamed lentils

1 cup cooked butternut squash cubes (I oven roast them)

1 cup kale

½ tablespoon olive oil

Directions

Prepare lentils according to package directions.

Sautee kale and cooked butternut squash cubes in olive oil for five minutes (can add some minced garlic and lemon juice if desired).

Mix together ingredients in bowl and chow down!

Easy to make: 8/10 Takes effort to chop up the butternut

Taste test: 8/10 Needs a side dish, sauce, or is a side dish

Toddler Friendly: 8/10 Yes to squash & lentils, no to Kale

Image courtesy of articles.latimes.com

13 – 15. Angie’s Salsa and Guacamole with Kale Crisps

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Way back in Seventh Heaven, Galway ’99, the only food you were allowed to prepare as a waitress was Guacamole.(We also had permission to scoop ice-cream into dishes and pour pepper sauce over chips for post midnight punters, but it wasn’t half as involved.) The secret ingredient to our guacamole was fresh pre-prepped salsa from the chef’s kitchen, but we were serious in our measuring out and took pride in the finished result, yes I’m referring to you Sarah O’Toole! Despite cleaning Guacamole off tables nightly, Avocados remain top of my desert island food list.

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Avocados are fibre-rich, and help to lower bad cholesterol. They also contain less calories per serving than butter and mayonnaise, and are great on crackers. That’s a fact! For more interesting info on Avocados see: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-9744/11-fun-facts-about-avocados.html

Back to 2014….Angie Jenkins is an amazing personal trainer inRathgar, Dublin 6, and at Corporate Locations. Integrating workouts with healthy eating and Yoga/Pilates, she believes that “good health isn’t just about exercise, equally important is the food you eat and the way you live.” If you have a regular exercise routine but you’re not seeing changes physically, chances are you need to improve your diet, as “you can’t out-train a bad diet!”

ImageIf you want to eat healthier, look and feel better, Angie’s ‘Peak Condition Project’ Cookbook is a good place to start. Full of recipes that are tasty, as well as healthy and easy to make, it’s available here: http://www.fit4life.ie/pages/products1.

The three recipes below are easy to make, and taste delicious. Ifyou have a good recipe for some dairy/wheat/sugar-free pita bread to go with it, please let me know!

13. Salsa

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Sorry….

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14. Guacamole (As you can see from the scribbles, last time I made these was over a year ago!)

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15. Kale Crisps (normally I’d fry them up, so this was a new approach, nearly as good as the Sweet potato Fries)

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Easy to make: 10/10

Taste: 10/10

Toddler Friendly: Salsa 0/10, Guacamole 10/10 (with less chilli and an extra avocado)Kale Crisps: 0/10

 

Images courtesy of:

Guacamole – http://www.inspiredtaste.net

Avocados – http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-9744/11-fun-facts-about-avocados.html

Peak Condition Project Cookbook – http://www.fit4life.ie

Salsa Dancers – dancerposts.wordpress.com

12. (How NOT to make) Hummus

Consider the humble chickpea…

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Soak for 48 hours in cold water, rinsing as required. Boil up in a saucepan of water until soft, like with lentils,

then follow this recipe from the Irish Food Safety Promotion Board for one bowl of lovely hummus:

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DO NOT: Leave the saucepan on the hob long enough for this to happen: 

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Because then you will feel “tired, irritable and run down”, and you will need to eat more of this: 

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Thank God for Gwyneth’s Brownies!

And Tesco’s low-fat hummus…

Easy to make: 3/10 (Again, cooking skills affected the metrics)

Taste: N/A

Toddler: N/A

10 – 11. Gwyneth’s Vegan Chocolate Brownies

10. Vegan Chocolate Brownie Plate

These are divine!!!

This is the first recipe I tried from her book, my BFF Gwyneth Paltrow 😉

Make brownies and send her positive thoughts people!

10. Gwyn It's all good

Pure decadence in a bun. So good I made them twice! Followed the ‘Basic Brownie Recipe’ using half the amounts; tried the ‘Power Brownies version the second time.

10. Vegan Brownie Recipe

For the ‘Power Brownies’ I added extra liquid, water with instant coffee granules, to keep the mixture wet.

10. Concentrating

Had a little help…

Finally starting to enjoy the decision to make 40 recipes in 40 days. If I can make something this good, imagine what talented people can do with this recipe??

10. Baking 210. Baking 110. Can I lick the spoon?10. Gona lick it!

10. Licking the spoon

Pre-bake taste test…passed!

Easy to make: 10/10
Taste: 100/10
Toddler Happy: 200/10
Total score: 310/30….All-time 5 star recipe!

10. Chocolate Brownie Success

9. Alexandra’s Sweet Potato Fries

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LOVE these. Could eat way too many. Thanks Alexandra for the recipe!

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Easy to make: 10/10

Taste: 10/10

Toddler friendly: N/A They were too good to share. (The kids looked happy with their water and rice cakes.)

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First time Alexandra made them, I was aiming to take a photo like this:

 Image….but captured this:Image

2nd time I made them, aiming for this:

Image…and managed this:Image

3rd time….?Image

Dodgy photos aside, I promise you in real life they are heaven. And so easy to make. They taste great with hummus, avocado, guacamole, salsa…watch this space for recipes on dips!

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Photos from 

1. http://www.weelicious.com

2. http://www.indianapublicmedia.org

3. http://www.taylortakesataste.com

4. http://www.foodchef.net

7 – 8. Roasted Pepper Soup and Spelt Bread

7-8. Roasted Pepper Soup and Spelt Bread

Everyone has a cold (but no tummy bugs, so we’re ok!)

We need soup and fast…only thing left in the fridge was half a yellow pepper, so used lentils to turn it into a soup, hence vague guidelines for method and Ingredients List…

Ingredients: Garlic cloves, Yellow Pepper, Cube of Vegetable stock with boiling water, Yellow Lentils, Tagine Paste.

Method: Chop up and roast garlic cloves and yellow pepper in pre-heated oven dish lined with olive oil. Meanwhile boil up lentils and make up veg stock cube in boiling water, add to the lentils. When lentils are SOFT (mine were still a bit grainy, which I suspect is why the 3 year old refused his soup), add the roasted garlic and pepper to them. Taste and add tagine paste to give it a kick, I used about a teaspoon. Simmer, blend and serve.

Spelt Bread: Recipe from Claire, have made it many times and it always turns out well, even when I ignore the amounts and method! You can use Soya Milk in place of Buttermilk. I added a dessert spoon of Flaxseed and an extra spoon of Molasses. It’s delicious.

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Used American Cup Measurements thanks to this fancy device from Eilis

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and got the Flaxseed from Harold’s Fayre Health Food Shop in Harold’s Cross.

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Easy to make: Bread & Soup 10/10

Taste: Bread 10/10, Soup 8/10 (Lentils were undercooked, technically more of a texture than taste issue)

Toddler: Bread 10/10, Soup 7/10 (Disguised as pasta sauce, under pasta and grated cheese).

6. Eat your Green’s Dinner

In the interest of bringing back Broccoli to a 3 year old who “don’t like trees” and celebrating Paddy’s Week, we had a green dinner (blended up for baby).

Very simply, it’s spinach, broccoli and mushroom in a pot, with a small amount of oil.

I added pasta and a little pasta sauce* for them; seeing as I’m wheat-free for Lent, I had mine without.ImageImage

Mashed up for my 6 month old, hmmmm!  Image Image                                       Darcey approves of her Paddy’s Green Dinner

*Pasta and sauce from Tesco; sauce contained cheese and 3.9 Sugar per 100g. Usually I make it up with passata, pesto and a small amount of whatever milk they’re having, but 3 yr old’s been complaining that he “don’t like red” so thought I’d try this “orange” one… So, if you have a good recipe for kids’ pasta sauce, please post it up as a comment and I’ll try it out, thanks!

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Easy to make: 10/10 Thank you Tesco

Taste: 10/10

Toddler: 10/10

5. Vegan Chocolate Muffins

5. Chocolateavocadomuffins

This was hilarious. Got the kids to help and thought I was Annabel Karmel until 12 mintues in the oven and nothing happening, left them in 25 minutes, still no buns cooked! All very strange…then went to use the microwave to heat up the baby’s bottle and tada! Turns out this time I remembered to melt the coconut oil, and forgot to add it to the mixture…mystery solved. Watched my son’s heart break as he tried to eat his “chocolate cakes”, on the plus side maybe I’ve turned him off sweets for life?

Aghghgh what am I after eating? I don't understand Mammy!!

“Urgh, help, what is this??!”

Recipe from http://www.shebakeshere.com/2013/05/healthy-chocolate-avocado-muffins.html#comment-19079

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour – For Lent recipe we used gluten-free flour with 1tsp Xanthan Gum
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp espresso powder – We kept this out to keep the kids calm!
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted & peeled
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup (not pancake syrup)
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted – MELTED!!
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips – We put in blueberries instead

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350*F. Prepare your muffin tin by greasing with non-stick cooking spray or baking liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together whole wheat pastry flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, espresso powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. Measure the coconut oil and melt in the microwave for 30 seconds. In a food processor, puree the avocado, maple syrup, melted coconut oil, almond milk and vanilla extract until smooth.
  4. Make a well in the dry mixture and add the wet mixture to the dry mixture. Stir together with a wooden smooth until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Scoop the batter into the muffin tins and bake for 15-20 minutes until the tops are slightly cracked. Remove from the oven and do not remove from the muffin tins for an additional 15 minutes to let them cool.
  6. Keep stored in an air-tight container. You can also keep them stored in the fridge, like we had to do once our place became too humid. They taste fantastic cold!

    Perfectly  edible Chocolate Muffins

    Perfectly edible Chocolate Muffins

However, if you forget this

Melt the coconut oil, THEN add it to the mix...

Melt the coconut oil, AND add it to the mix…

…you’ll get this

Perfectly inedible Chocolate Muffins

Perfectly inedible Chocolate Muffins

When the next avocado ripens we’ll try again, 3rd time lucky to actually melt and use coconut oil in a recipe!

Easy to make: 10/10

Taste: N/A as didn’t follow the recipe

Toddler friendly: N/A Am sure it would have been eaten if it was made properly (and blueberry-free!).

4. Alexandra’s Peanut Butter Cookies

Vegan and sugar-free, 100% Lent-friendly!

Vegan, sugar-free, perfect with a cup of T

Ingredients:

1 cup barbanzo bean / chickpea flour (Gram Flour)

3/4 cup Peanut butter or any nut or seed butter you wish

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1/3 cup raw coconut nectar or any sweetener you wish

1 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp water

Method:

Mix very well, might take a couple of minutes to come together.

Bake in 350F oven for 12 minutes.

Easy to make: 10/10 (Alexandra made them!)
Taste: 7/10 Couldn’t find raw coconut nectar, so used maple syrup instead. Though the kids loved them, I’d need more (sugar!)
Toddler friendly: 10/10 Empty dish speaks for itself…

Peppa and George ate all the peanut butter cookies

Peppa and George ate all the peanut butter cookies

3: Sugar-free, Wheat-free, Dairy-free….Porridge!

Oats are fabulous. It’s official! Full of fibre, vitamins and minerals, they can lower cholesterol, reduce high blood pressure and stop fat forming in the arteries, thus reducing the chances of heart attacks and strokes. The benefits of eating porridge go far beyond fibre. Feeding your children a bowl of oats for breakfast can help to prevent obesity. Oats are a source of Vitamin B1 Thiamin, which is vital for the Nervous System, and a source of Folic Acid which is essential for healthy foetal development.*

So Oats are on our Lenten List.

Recipe 3: Porridge with… Almond Milk, Blueberries, Banana, Cinnamon, Hazelnuts and Honey (or any variation you wish!)

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Ingredients:

6oz Porridge flakes

9fl oz rice, almond or coconut milk

9fl oz water

Nutmeg and cinnamon to taste

Berries to serve

Method:

1. Mix oats, milk, water and nutmeg/cinnamon in saucepan.

2. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 – 10 mins, stirring continuously.

3. Add berries, banana, honey, raisins, flaked almonds or hazelnuts to serve.

Easy to make: 10/10 Taste: 10/10 Toddler Friendly: 10/10

*http://www.independent.ie/lifestyle/health/scientists-find-more-than-grain-of-truth-in-benefits-of-porridge-30104663.html