Dinner

Vegan zucchini “pasta”

December 17, 2014

Looking for alternative pasta recipes, I kept on stumbling on various zucchini “pasta” dishes. You see it once, then forget about it, you see it twice and then think….hmmmm why not?

The only “tool” you’ll need for this is a julienne peeler, which helps you make really finel looking spaghetti.

You can prepare this type of pasta with any kind of sauces, with cheese on top, with meat and so on. This time I went for a totally vegan version with a raw tomato sauce and sauteed mushrooms , which I enjoyed so much that it quickly jumped to the top of my recent food preferences.

So…here it goes. For a meal for 2 persons,

You’ll needvegan zucchini pasta

  • 3 zucchinis
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 100 grams mushrooms
  • salt and pepper

For the sauce:

  • 400 grams raw tomato sauce (or 5-6 ripe tomatoes)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 small red bell pepper
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper (or more…depending on your “spicy” preferences)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple vinegar (another type will also do)

 

How to:

You’ll start by preparing the zucchini pasta. Peel each zucchini with the aid of the julienne peeler. The result should be very thin and long spaghettis. Stop peeling once you reach the middle part of the zucchini, where you have the seeds. This part is too soft to use in the pasta, so I just used it the next day in a soup.

Place the fresh zucchini pasta in a bowl, spread it with salt and let it rest for about 30 minutes. The salt helps remove the excess of water from the zucchini. If you skip this step, the pasta will be all soft and mushy…and you don’t want that :)

Now your timing is perfect for preparing the sauce and the mushrooms.

I just cut the mushrooms into slices and sauteed them with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, for 5 minutes, then placed them in a bowl.

The sauce I prepared was a raw one. My husband prepared it for the first time as a dip for tortilla chips and we loved it so much that we always look for reasons to make it again. And it’s also the quickest sauce you can make when your guests will be at your door in 5 minutes.

Put all the sauce ingredients in the food processor and blend them well, until you obtain a homogeneous paste. The sauce is done! If you have a lot left over, you can boil it for 10 minutes and consume it another day.

When the zucchini pasta has rested for 30 minutes, wash it with cold water to remove the salt and make sure you drain the water well.

Heat some olive oil in a wok pan and sautee the pasta for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time. Serve together with the sauce and the mushrooms.

I never thought vegetable pasta could taste so nice and be so close to the pasta we’re all used to, but it does! Hope you will feel the same 😉

Enjoy!

Juices & Smoothies

Incredibly green juice

November 30, 2014
DSC_1143

Just made this incredibly green juice and thought….that’s a good name for this juice! :)

It’s based on Joe Cross’ “Mean Green” (see: http://www.rebootwithjoe.com) and has the most energetic effect on your body after you drink it.

I didn’t have my coffee today…and now I feel like I don’t need it anyway. I got my vitamins and my energy level boosted higher than a strong shot of caffeine would.

The juice has been made with the aid of a juice maker. It is not a smoothie, but a 100% pure juice. My juice maker is part of a food processor with many functions….it is unfortunately not a slow juicer, but it does its job well and having one machine that can fulfil most of the kitchen tasks is a good thing for me, as the space in my kitchen is rather limited.

So here is what you’ll need:

  • 1 lemon (peeled)
  • 4 green celery stalks
  • 1 small piece of turmeric (the size of your pinky)
  • 1 small piece of ginger (the same amount as the turmeric)
  • 4 handfuls of fresh spinach
  • 4 apples (cut into 4)

How to:

I start by juicing the ginger and the turmeric. Then I add the rest of the ingredients, one by one, ending with the apples. It results in a beautifully green juice that will freshen up your day.

If you find the taste of celery is too strong, you can always add an extra apple, to make it taste smoother. Anyway, if in the beginning you may feel the need for that extra apple, you’ll see that after a couple of times of having this juice you’ll feel like going for something “stronger”.

I prefer drinking my juice in the morning, before going to work, because I think this quantity of vitamins is too crazy for the evening, when you should relax and prepare for sleep.

 

 

Deserts

Raw sugar free chocolate cake

November 23, 2014
DSC_1132

This recipe was initially the creamy top layer of another cake, but I found it so delicious by itself that just decided it should get all the attention on the plate.

It’s very easy to make and doesn’t involve any baking and due to its high cocoa concentration it lasts quite long, even though it’s a small sized cake. A small slice can satisfy the sweet tooth better than a bigger one from another kind of cake.

In this recipe you will need the help of a food processor, quite indispensable once you start doing more and more cooking at home.

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups of dates (pitted)DSC_1109
  • 6 tbsp. desiccated coconut
  • 6 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp. coconut oil (melted on steam)
  • 50 ml water
  • cocoa nibs or desiccated coconut for decoration

How to:

If you have very soft and fresh dates (for example Medjool dates), they don’t need to be soaked. If you have dry dates soak them for about 10 minutes in lukewarm water. After that, pass the dates through a sieve, so that there is no more water left in them.

Put the dates, desiccated coconut and cocoa in the food processor.DSC_1113

Melt the coconut oil above steam and then add it over the other ingredients. Mix everything well for two or three minutes, then check the consistency of the mixture. Can is easily be modelled into a cake or do you need add some water? If you do, add just a bit (50 ml) and then mix everything again for one or two more minutes in the processor and check again. It has to end up having the normal consistency of a dough.

 

Line a small cake mould or pot (with the diameter of aprox. 15 cm) with plastic foil, pour the mixture inside and tap it flat with your hand and decorate it with cocoa nibs or desiccated coconut. (The cocoa nibs taste more bitter and  offer a nice tasty contrast to the cake.)

Refrigerate it for about 1 hour, then remove from the foil and serve it in slices.

 

Now…you have nothing left than to enjoy your sugar free & guilt free chocolate homemade cake! ♥

 

Deserts

Healthy raw cake

November 16, 2014
raw nuts and dates cake slice

My husband discovered this recipe after we quit sugar, as sometimes our craving for sweet was asking for something a bit more than just a piece of fruit. This is a very simple recipe and requires minimum effort and ingredients.

We now prepare it during the weekend and enjoy a piece every morning of the week with our coffee. The high content of nuts keeps our stomach happy and satisfied until the “fruit break” later on during the day.

You’ll need:

250 g mixed nuts (pecans, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, almonds, all raw, not baked, neither salted)
250 g dates (without pit)
3-4 spoons desiccated coconut flakes

A medium sized oven tray with low edges (aprox. 30 cm diagonal) or a square salad bowl .

How to:

Soak the nuts and the dates in lukewarm water for about 15 minutes. Raw nuts and dates cake
Then pass them through a strainer and be sure you remove all the water, because you don’t want your cake to be soft and difficult to cut in pieces.
Mix them together with the aid of a food processor, until they make a uniform sticky dough.

Spread some grated coconut over the whole surface of the tray, the add the mixture and flatten it a bit with the hand.

Spread a layer of grated coconut over everything and flatten it well with the aid of the bottom of a glass or something similar. The harder you press it, the more compact and easy to serve cakes you will have.
Refrigerate for about 1 hour, then cut into squares.

Lunch

De luxe tuna salad

November 12, 2014
de luxe tuna salad

For this delicious salad you’ll need a nice piece of fresh tuna for the steak.
When chosing your tuna steak you should look out for the color: red means fresh. The darker the color, the
longer the fish has been waiting for some to buy it :)

You’ll need: (for two salads)

2 piece of tuna steak (aprox. 150 grams each)
2 hard boiled eggs
2 medium sized tomatoes
1 red onion (cut into rings)
mixed greens (rocket salad, baby spinach leaves, romaine lettuce)
a couple of black olives
sprouts (optional)
salt and pepper
olive oil

How to:

Start by preparing the salad. The steaks will be done in no time, so it’s better to have everything ready before hand.
Cut the tomatoes and the onion in rings and place all the ingredients of the salad on a big plate.

After doing these, heat the grilling pan and prepare the tuna steak. It only needs to bake around 2 minutes on each side.
If after this you still see that there is juice dripping from the steak and you know you don’t like your steak medium,
you can bake it one extra minute.
Place the steak near the salad, because the heat will alter the crisp of the leafy greens.

Enjoy! (with a glass of white wine)

Detox & Diets

Five key ingredients of a successful diet

November 10, 2014

I guess there is a turning point in everyone’s life when you stop and evaluate some choices you make every day, that seem to come very naturally. This turning point for me was about two years ago when I knew I was not feeling so great as I maybe should have and I decided to stop and notice what impact some foods have on my body and mind. It takes quite some power to give up tasty things that you know are not good for you, but the “treats” that your body has in store for you are in the end greater.

The following five steps are simply what I felt came along the way and even if they sound quite general, I think they may be a good place to start.

1. Get all the support you can. The best case scenario is when members of your family or close friends have the same healthy “aspirations” as you. In the beginning of a diet it’s much easier when there are not so many temptations around you, as you will probably (mmm…certainly!) experience some let’s say sensitive moments during the first few days.

2. Practice strength of mind. After a short while of being pig-headed concerning your established goals you will most likely discover a strength of mind you probably didn’t even know was there.

3. Stay positive and never lose sight of your initial goal. What made you start this diet? Why do you want to make a change in the first place? Once you’ve started working on a healthier lifestyle, going back to some old bad habits would just be a great shame, wouldn’t it?

4. Be aware of the results once they start to appear. This will make you even more motivated to go on respecting your new direction.

5. Inspire others. You won’t need to work at all on this aspect as people around you will notice changes in your lifestyle/looks/habits and will want to know what you’re up to. After this you will become part of someone else’s support group in no time :)

Detox & Diets

Detox coming soon…

November 9, 2014
DSC_1077

I am busy creating the content for this section.

Detoxing has been an important part of my life concerning migraine healing and I want to share my experience with you.

Please let me know via a comment if you have any wishes/questions regarding this.

Appetizers & Snacks

Taco trays

November 9, 2014
taco trays

(snack for two)

You’ll need:

  • 8 taco trays
  • 20 g sweet corn (a small can)
  • 20 g black beans (a small can)
  • 1 red paprika
  • 100 g chicken breast
  • grated young cheese
  • fresh lettuce
  • olive oil

For the guacamole:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 medium tomato (cut in small pieces)
  • the juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove (cut in very fine pieces)
  • fresh coriander
  • salt and pepper

How to:

First prepare the guacamole.

Remove the avocado from its peal and mash it in a bowl. Squeeze some lemon over it, add salt and a bit of pepper. Add the garlic and the tomato and mix them all together. In the end, add the fresh coriander. The guacamole is ready.

Cut the chicken breast into small pieces and fry it with a teaspoon of olive oil. When it’s nicely done and has a golden colour, add the some grated cheese and mix them together on the fire. You can make the chicken as “cheesy” as you like.

In another pan, bake the paprika with a bit of olive oil, then add the beans and the sweet corn. Mix from time to time, so that they all heat up evenly, but be careful not to mash them.

Place the taco trays on a platter, decorate them with a bed of fresh lettuce and some guacamole.

Add the vegetable mix and then the chicken.

Buen provecho!

 

Dinner

Grilled trout with oven baked potatoes

November 9, 2014

(dinner for two)

You’ll need:

  • 2 medium sized fresh trouts
  • olive oilbaked potatoes with grilled trout
  • sea salt
  • 4 slices of lemon
  • 8 potatoes (or more)
  • a spoon full of olive oil
  • rosemary
  • cayenne pepper
  • salt and black pepper

How to:

Wash the trouts well (outside and inside), then use a sharp knife to carv the surface with not too deep paralel lines (about 1 centimeter space between them).

Sprinkle the trouts with a bit of olive oil on both sides and rub them well with sea salt.

Put two slices of lemon inside each trout. They will taste even better!

Grill them on both sides until well done and crispy.

Clean and peal the potatoes and carv them similarly to the fish. Don’t carv in too deep, or the potato will break.

Place the potatoes in a baking pan.

Sprinkle the potatoes with olive oil. Add salt, pepper, some cayenne pepper and rosemary.

Bake the potatoes in the oven for aproximately 30 minutes. In order for the potatoes not to get too dry, use a spoon to take some of the oil and herbs from the baking pan and sprinkle over the potatoes. (you need to do this 2 or 3 times).

The potatoes are done when golden and crispy.

Eet smakelijk!

 

Lunch

Fresh salad with mozzarella & homemade tapenade

November 9, 2014
fresh mozzarella salad

(lunch for two)

You’ll need:

For the salad:

  • 2 large tomatoes
  • a package of mini mozzarella (usually contains 20 pieces)
  • a large red onion
  • lettuce mix (different sorts: rocket, oak tree lettuce, lamb’s lettuce, baby spinach…)
  • black olives
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vingar
  • salt and pepper

For the tapenade:

  • 100 g black olives
  • 100 g green olives
  • the juice of half a lemon
  • one garlic clove
  • 2 salty anchovy fillets marinated in olive oil
  • 2 tsp capers
  • fresh basil
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • black pepper

How to:

First prepare the tapenade, as it will take a bit longer to make than the salad.

Cut all the tapenade ingredients in tiny pieces and mix them all together.

Then add a bit of lemon juice and olive oil and taste. You have to prepare the tapenade according to your own taste, so if you feel the need to put one ingredient in a slightly bigger quantity, feel free to do it!

Smash everything up with a fork and mix well. Done.

Wash the lettuce and divide it in two salad bowls. Cut the onion in rings, the tomatoes in slices and place them over the lettuce.

Add the mini mozzarellas and the black olives, salt and pepper and season with a bit of vinegar and olive oil.

Serve with foccacia bread and tapenade spread…or any other sort of fresh bread with a crunchy crust.

Enjoy!