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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Vegan pasta sauce

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I made this for dinner last night and it was so yummy I had to share.

I cubed half a butternut squash and two sweet potatoes. Drizzled with oil, sprinkled with herbs and roast in the oven for twenty minutes until they were soft. I then blitzed them in a food processor with a can of coconut milk and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. I heated the sauce, adding vegetable stock until it reached the consistency I wanted (I used about 1/3 pint) and seasoned.

In a separate pan I melted some coconut oil and tossed in chilli flakes, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and toasted over a low heat.

I served the sauce over pasta with a sprinkling of crunchy seeds. Delicious.


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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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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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Brussels Sprout Chips

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Granted, brussel sprout chips may be a tad more fiddly to make than kale chips but I much prefer the taste so to me these are worth the extra effort. My children love them too.

To prepare chop the bottom of the sprout and gently peel off the leaves (chopping more off the bottom when you need to). I always save the centres for my next meal.

Wash the leaves well and place in a bowl and add your preferred choice of topping. Traditionally most people use olive oil and sea salt which is delicious, but I don’t like to overheat olive oil so I use coconut oil and cumin. Give the leaves a good mix with your hands making sure they all are well coated and place in a thin layer on a tray.

Bake in a moderate oven for 7-10 minutes until they start to go brown (don’t worry if some leave go brown, they won’t have the bitterness of overcooked kale). Remove from heat and in a few minutes they turn crispy. Best eaten straight away.

Play around with different flavours and let me know what works for you.