The Happy Starfish

Living Mindfully & Celebrating Health, Happiness & Peaceful Living


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Recipe – Vegan one-pot vegetables

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My lunch was far tastier than it looked and really warmed me up on this chilly day.

I heated some coconut oil in a pan and fried a diced onion and carrot cubes for a few minutes, before adding shredded cabbage and potato cubes. I stirred in one teaspoon of turmeric and one of cumin (I was cooking a batch for four people), crumbled a vegan stock cube over the top and added a splash of water. The pan was sealed with a lid and left to slowly cook for thirty minutes. Gorgeous. It would make a great side dish as well.

 

 

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Easy vegetable chilli

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I was salivating cooking dinner last night.

This vegetable chilli is so yummy my family ask me to make it all the time.

I can’t take credit for the recipe, it’s from the fabulous The Endless Meal but it’s so good I had to share.

Ingredients

  • 2 of the large 28oz cans of whole tomatoes and their juice (use your hands to roughly crush the tomatoes)
  • 2 can of beans, drained and rinsed (I used kidney and white beans)
  • 2 cup of frozen corns (you could use fresh but frozen is easy an works great)
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 2 peppers, diced (I used 1 red and 1 yellow pepper)
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1-3 tablespoons chiili powder (more will be spicier)
  • ¼-2 teaspoons of chili flakes (the more chili flakes the spicier it will be)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • Salt to taste(you’ll need quite a lot)
  • Optional toppings: sour cream, cheddar cheese, cilantro, diced avocados or green onion.
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute more. Add spices and cook stirring for about 30 seconds.
  2. Add peppers, carrots and celery and cook for about 5 minutes, or until they just start to soften. Add tomatoes and their juice and bring to a simmer. Once the chili begins to simmer, reduce the heat to medium low. You want the chili to be at a low simmer with the lid off.
  3. Continue to cook the chili, stiring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Add beans and corn and let the chili return to a simmer. Cook for 5 more minutes or until the corn and beans have heated through.
  4. Generously salt to taste.
  5. Serve on its own or topped with one (or all!) of the delicious toppings.
  6. Enjoy!


Chia seed puddings

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Chia seeds are insanely good for you. They come from the desert plant Salvia hispanics and are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, protein and minerals. Recent research suggest that regular consumption of chia may low cholesterol and blood pressure.

I sprinkle chia over my breakfast every day.

This chocolate chia dessert feels really indulgent and is really easy to make. Chia is very filling so I get 4 desserts out of this recipe.

To make a traditional chocolate chia pudding mix 1 1/4 cups of the milk of your choice (I use my homemade almond milk) with 1/4 cup chia seeds and 2 tablespoons cacao powder and 1 tablespoon of sweetener (I use agave nectar). Give it a good mix and place in the fridge for a minimum of an hour to set (extra yummy if you leave overnight). That will give you a dessert that looks like this: –

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However, some people do liken the texture to eating tadpoles! I like my dessert a little smoother and thicker so before eating I blend with a banana which will give you something that looks like this.

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I top mine with grated homemade chocolate.

If you wish you can omit the chocolate and add some vanilla bean paste. I love this version with chopped up fruit.

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Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Quinoa, tomato and ginger soup

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Quinoa is said to be the only plant food that contains all 9 essential amino acids, putting it on a par with animal proteins. It is completely gluten free and really easy to cook. I do find it a little bland plain so am always looking for easy to pep it up like in this gorgeous (and healthy) soup. I usually double the quantities as I freeze a batch.

 

Small onion

2 cm fresh root ginger

1 tsp ground turmeric

2 tsp cumin seeds

400g canned tomatoes (can use fresh if prefer)

2 tsp tamarind paste

70g red quinoa, rinsed

225 ml vegetable stock

4 tbs fresh coriander

 

Heat choice of butter or oil (I use coconut oil) in a pan and fry the onion until translucent.

Add ginger, turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon of cumin seeds*, season if you wish and cook for 1 minute.

Sir in tomatoes, tamarind paste, quinoa and stock. Bring to boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 25 minutes stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat, stir in the coriander** and leave to stand, covered, for 10 minutes.

Fry remaining cumin seeds for a few seconds, swirl into soup and serve.

 

(*I have, in the past, used powered cumin instead and added at step 2 and then omitted final step. **You could also add powered coriander at step 3 if you don’t have fresh).

 


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Crunchy Sweet Potato Strips

With a 7oz serving of sweet potatoes containing 65% of the daily recommended vitamin c as well as being rich in calcium, folate, potassium and beta carotene they are the most nutritionally rich vegetables around.

For a quick and simple snack I peel strips with a potato peeler, lightly spray with oil (I prefer coconut) and sprinkle with sea salt. I bake in a medium oven for approximately 8-10 minutes, turning once.

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Crunchy and delicious – the kids love them too.

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Homemade Almond Milk Recipe

It is super easy to make your own almond milk with a little forward planning.  Loaded with minerals, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and potassium – this dairy free milk also tastes delicious.

To make you will need 1.5 cups of raw almonds and a straining bag. (Most people used blanched almonds but I don’t worry as you strain it all at the end anyway).

Soak the almonds in water to soften – overnight is best but at least 4 hours.

Strain the water from the almonds and place in blender with 1 cup of water.

 

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Blend until they become a smooth paste (this doesn’t take long at all). Don’t worry too much about the appearance at this stage. This is particularly unattractive as the almonds weren’t blanched.

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Add another 3 cups of water and blend again until smooth and frothy.

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Now you can, if you wish, add something to sweeten the milk and give another blitz (i.e a couple of dates, cinnamon, honey, syrup or vanilla). I personally sweeten mine when I wish to drink but leave unsweetened in the fridge so I can cook savoury sauces with it.

Strain (I use a jam straining bag).  You can (just) see the skins are retained in the bag.

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Bottle and enjoy. IMG_3239

 

Store the milk in the fridge until you want to use. I freeze some too (remember not to overfill containers as will explained a little when frozen).

 

 

 

 


Oh Spirulina, you smell so bad (and taste even worse)

Spirulina, a highly nutritious micro salt plant, is ridiculously good for you. A complete protein containing all the essential amino acids, it also contains a range of vitamins and minerals. This super food has many potential health benefits including boosting the immune system and energy levels, improving digestion, controlling appetite, it supports the vital organs and, due to the chlorophyll, it is a great all round detoxer.

To aid my health condition I have taken spirulina supplements regularly due to the high levels of the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA) which is proven to reduce inflammation and the iron and B vitamins help combat my fatigue.

Last time I decided to have a change from capsules and bought some powder to add to my raw juice each day. I was chatting to my son as I opened the packet and he visibly recoiled as the smell came wafting out. “Mum, you’ve taken health too far” he said as he slowly backed away. Sniffing the contents I had to agree he had a point.

The first time I added it to my juice didn’t go well. It wasn’t entirely the taste (although that was bad enough) but the stench turned my stomach every time I took a sip.

Now braver people than I may be able to add this to water and knock it back but not me so I set off on a quest to make it more palatable.

There are a myriad of recipes online all claiming to make spirulina more palatable and I have tried many. I couldn’t find one which masked the smell and I found them hard to tolerate. When it came to juices the only way I found to tone down the taste was to add 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar.

Next I decided to add to food. I tried David Wolfe’s spirulina and chocolate ball recipe.

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¼ cup hempseed
½ cup raw cacao powder
1-2 tbsp spirulina
3 tbsp virgin coconut oil
2 tbsp raw honey
1 pinch sea salt

You mix all ingredients together, roll into balls and freeze for 15 minutes. You can eat straight from the freezer.

My husband liked these but I could still taste the spirulina, although I couldn’t smell it anymore. (it is worth noting that different brands have slightly different taste and smells so it is worth shopping around to find a brand that suits you).

As a last ditch attempt before I added the powered to empty vegetarian capsules I thought I would try a smoothie. I blended almond milk with a handful of frozen berries, 2 tsp spirulina, 2 tsp cacao powder, 2 tsp flax seeds and 1 tsp agave nectar. Success – it tastes (and smells) fantastic.

I would love to know of your spirulina experiences.

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