Recipes

Banana Ice Cream

20150528_114415It’s that time of year again where ice cream is everywhere. There’s nothing better than enjoying a cooling ice cream after a long day in a hot office, and now you can do it without the calories and the added sugars!

This recipe is SUPER SIMPLE! It has just one essential ingredient.

I’ve known about this idea for a while, but never tried it. I tried it last week and now I’ll permanently have bananas in my freezer, and when you taste this you’ll find out why! It actually tastes like creamy, ice cream. Suitable for just about anybody; those watching their weight, those with lactose intolerance, vegans, children, even babies! Plus you can vary it and make it “more gourmet” by adding in different things.

Healthy, cheap, tasty and sooo easy to make!

You’ll need a banana and a food processor.

(This recipe works best with ripe, sweet and soft bananas…the ones that are starting to go a little black in your fruit bowl!)

METHOD
1. Peel the banana, slice into coins and freeze in an airtight container or freezer bag (a couple of hours should be enough but overnight is best).
20150528_113850

 

2. Pop the banana slices into a food processor and blend.

 

20150528_1140133. First, they’ll appear crumb-like (see picture >>). Use a soft spatula to scrape the bits off that are stuck to the sides and keep going!

4. Once your bananas are becoming smoother, you can add in other ingredients if you want (see below for ideas).

5. Keep blending until your bananas (and extras) resemble a smooth, creamy texture…like ice cream!

6. You can enjoy it immediately, or you can put it into an airtight container and put it back in the freezer until it becomes more solid.

Additional flavourings (some not suitable for babies <12 months age):
– Walnuts (or other nuts)
– Peanut butter
– Frozen berries
– Honey
– Chocolate chips
– Nutella
– Crumbed biscuits (speculoos or ginger nuts!)
– 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon or ginger

Do let me know what you think and if you try adding in different things!

Recipes

Roasted Chickpeas

I’ve been making these for a while, but not got round to posting a recipe. These are great for those people who like to nibble, they have the crunch of crisps, but less saturated fat. Chickpeas are also a great source of protein and soluble fibre, which helps keep you fuller for longer.
They’re super easy to make and you can change the flavour so you don’t get bored. They are slightly addictive though, and (unless you’re okay putting up with the repercussions of bean-overload)…I’d recommend only having a handful at a time!

Ingredients:roasted chickpeas
1 tin of chickpeas
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon paprika
Salt & pepper to season

  • Alternatives:
    – S
    wap the paprika for pretty much any spice you like (curry, chili powder, you could even try mustard!)
    – Swap the olive oil for coconut oil and have with cinnamon and honey for a sweeter alternative (omit the pepper).

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 200’c.
2. Drain the chickpeas and rinse under cold water.
3. Tip the chickpeas onto some kitchen roll and rub dry. This will remove some of the husks (that’s okay!)
4. Add the chickpeas into a bowl along with the oil and your choice of spices. Season as desired and mix well, ensuring every chickpea is coated.
5. Place onto a baking tray and into the oven.
6. Roast for about 30-40 minutes until the chickpeas are crispy. The longer you leave them, the crispier they’ll get – just don’t let them burn!
7. Allow to cool, and serve. Store in an airtight container and they keep well.

The nutritional information below is per 45g portion:
CALORIES: 90kcal
TOTAL FAT: 3.5g
SATURATED FAT: 0.5g
PROTEIN: 4g

Dietary Conditions, Healthy Living

How to be a healthy veggie

I’m not vegetarian, but I do enjoy vegetarian food. Every Monday, I experiment with a recipe that typically contains meat and try to make it with lentils, beans or another legume. I support ‘Meat Free Mondays’ for a couple of reasons; I like the taste of legumes and pulses, they’re lower in saturated fats than red meat PLUS I like the challenge of trying to make something where my boyfriend doesn’t notice the meat is ‘missing’!

If you’re thinking about becoming vegetarian or vegan though, it’s more complicated than just cutting meat and animal products from your diet.

First things first, a lot will depend to what degree you cut out meat. Is it just red meat (demi-vegetarian)? No red meat or poultry but you’ll eat fish (piscatarian)? No animals but still eat eggs and dairy (lacto-ovo-vegetarian)? Or no animals or animal products at all (vegan)?
All of these animal products contain nutrients that your body needs, so naturally, if you’re cutting them out then you need to find an alternative source.

Proteins are made up of tiny pieces called amino acids. Amino acids are required by the body to make hormones, enzymes and replace muscle tissue. Some amino acids are essential; the body cannot make them, so they need to be ingested through our diet. Most meats and animal products are called complete proteins, which means that they provide all of the 9 essential amino acids. If still consuming dairy products and eggs, these are valuable sources of protein too – with eggs being a complete protein.
Quinoa and soya beans are also technically complete proteins, although they do not contain as higher levels of these amino acids as animal products do. Therefore, it’s best to mix things up a bit! Quinoa, despite it being a complete protein, is not a rich source, so it should not be the only protein containing food vegetarians eat. Your diet should also contain rich sources, ie; eggs, chic peas, beans and lentils. However, most vegan sources of protein are not complete, meaning that in order to obtain all of the essential amino acids, a couple of protein sources need to be mixed. Legumes (lentils, chic peas, beans etc) are typically low in the essential amino acid called methionine. Grains (rice, cous-cous, brown bread etc), while containing methionine, are insufficient in lysine. By combining legume + grain, vegetarians or vegans can obtain a complete protein. For example; beans on toast, rice and black bean curry, lentil soup and bread or pita bread and hummus. Meat eaters and vegetarians should aim to have 2-3 servings of complete proteins per day.

IronAnother nutrient to be aware of is iron. Women have a higher requirement of iron than men (due to menstruation) and intakes are typically below what is recommended, especially in adolescent girls. Iron found in meat is called haem-iron, and is more readily absorbed than non-haem iron. For this reason, female vegetarians especially, need to ensure that they’re having a couple of sources of non-haem iron daily. Iron can be found in beans and pulses, eggs, fortified breakfast cereals, dark green leafy vegetables (like spinach, broccoli and swiss chard), wholemeal flour, dried apricots and seeds. As I said, these non-haem sources of iron aren’t so easily absorbed by the body, however, there are a few tips than can help enhance absorption. Vitamin C (found in citrus fruits, peppers and sweet potato) helps improve the amount of iron we can obtain from food. So having a glass of orange juice with cereal or some sweet potato in your lentil soup will help up your iron intake. Also, avoid having tea and coffee alongside a meal as they contain tannins and phytates that bind with iron and make it more difficult for the body to absorb.

If vegan, good sources of calcium will be required to replace calcium obtained from dairy (see my nutrient nugget for more info on calcium). Calcium is found in green leafy veg like; kale, broccoli, rocket and watercress, beans, pulses, fish where you eat the bones (tinned mackerel/sardines), almonds, brazil nuts, sesame seeds and dried apricots. Some soya milks and tofu are also fortified with calcium. Vitamin D (obtained from sunlight) enhances calcium absorption, so those at risk of poor vitamin D status should eat a variety of the above foods daily and certain populations may need to consider a vitamin D supplement.

Vitamin B12 is found in animals and animal products. The requirement for this nutrient is small so deficiency is rare but strict vegans should consume a fortified food. For example; yeast extract (marmite), fortified soya products, breakfast cereals and vegetable stocks. Finally, as milk is an important source of iodine, vegans are at risk of low intakes. If this is the case it’s recommended to use iodized salt or take a nutritional supplement.

In order to get all the vitamins and minerals we need, a large variety of fruits and vegetables should be eaten. Think about eating as many different colours as possible! This, alongside beans, lentils, grains and nuts will help ensure your vegetarian or vegan diet is adequate in all nutrients.

Nutrition

Nutrient Nugget – Calcium

Why do we need calcium?
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. Most people know that calcium is important for bone and teeth health, but it also helps with nerve signalling, blood clotting and regulating muscle contractions (including the heart).

Where do we get it from?
Good sources of calcium include dairy products, soy beans, green leafy vegetables (broccoli, kale and cabbage) and nuts. Any fish where you eat the bones (eg. sardines or white bait) will also contribute calcium to the diet.
Fortified flour is often used to make bread and other products, so although this is not a rich source, some of our calcium comes from these products as they are consumed so regularly. Some brands of tofu and breakfast cereal are fortified with calcium too (check the label).

How much do we need?
Calcium requirements change for different ages. This is because of needs associated with bone growth. Below shows calcium reference nutrient intakes for different ages (Department of Health, 1991).
0-12 months: 525mg
1-3 years: 350mg
4-6 years: 450mg
7-10 years: 550mg
11-18 years: 1000mg (male) and 800mg (female)
19+ years: 700mg

A 200ml glass of cows milk will provide you with 250mg of calcium and a pot of yoghurt contains about 150mg. Vegan sources are not as rich, with 100g of broccoli providing around 40mg of calcium.

What if we don’t get enough?
Not having enough calcium over a long period of time could lead to osteoporosis and increased risk of bone fractures in later life. It can also cause development of rickets in children. See my post on vitamin D for more information on rickets.

What if we get too much?
Too much calcium usually occurs through use of a supplement but can lead to stomach pain and bowel disturbances. Intakes of less than 1500mg are unlikely to cause any problems.

Where can I find out more?
NHS Choices
The Vegetarian Resource Group

 

Department of Health (1991). Dietary reference values for food energy and nutrients for the United Kingdom.

Nutrition

Quinoa

quinoaI’m pretty late to jump on the quinoa bandwagon, but now I keep finding new uses for it. So watch out for recipes using this baby!

As quinoa is something that’s increased in popularity only recently, I didn’t know that much about it nutritionally either. So I thought I’d share my research with you.

What is quinoa?
Hailing from South America, and a staple of the Inca people for hundreds of years, quinoa is a wheat free alternative to starchy grains. It has a lot of the properties of typical grains (like rice and pasta) but isn’t from the same family, it’s actually the same family as chard, beets and spinach. However, as it is a cereal product, it’s considered a carbohydrate on the Eatwell Plate.

What about nutritionally?
Like other grains, quinoa is packed with fibre which helps keep your bowels healthy. It’s also a handy source of protein, especially for vegetarians or vegans; providing 9 essential amino acids in higher concentrations than found in other grains.
Having fibre and protein together helps keep you full, so the mixture of these two found in quinoa also means that it is fabulous for those trying to lose weight. Quinoa is also gluten free, making it an excellent addition to the pantry of any coeliac.
Finally, quinoa contains lots of micronutrients including; magnesium, iron, B-vitamins and calcium.

Per 100g serving
(approx. 50g raw)
CALORIES 120kcal
PROTEIN 4g
CARBOHYDRATE 21g
FIBRE 3g
TOTAL FAT 2g
SATURATED FAT 0.3g

What can it be used for?
Quinoa is incredibly versatile. On its own it has a subtle nutty taste which makes it a useful addition for soups, stews and curries as it won’t change the flavour too much. I would say it has a similar light texture to couscous, but has a slight crunch. I’ve eaten it hot and cold and both ways it tastes fantastic! I’ve used it as a replacement to rice, oats and even trialled some recipes that traditionally use pasta. I’ve also made quinoa porridge, see my recipe here.

How do I cook it?
It’s really important to rinse your quinoa before cooking it, as otherwise the coating on the grain leaves a bitter taste. Once you’ve rinsed it well, you can cook it as you would rice. It takes about 15 minutes on the hob and you can tell when it’s done by watching out for the seeds splitting open slightly.

Conclusion
Quinoa features regularly in our diet, and I’m enjoying experimenting with what else I can do with it. It’s a great alternative to traditional grains and has added nutritional benefits too. Variety is the spice of life so as far as I’m concerned it’s a fab addition to a healthy balanced diet.

There are quite a few quinoa recipes online, but keep an eye out for the ones I post too. I’d also love to hear your suggestions!