Super Green Smoothie

Super Green Smoothie

Super Green Smoothie

 

Smoothies are a fantastic way to get a lot of nutrients into you in one go, simply due to the volume of fruits and vegetables you are able to consume this way. Take a green smoothie for example, you can literally pack an entire salad or plate of greens into one glass, yet it’s easy to finish and you don’t feel overly full afterwards. The reason for this is the smoothie ingredients and their nutrients are partially broken down by the blender blades, which means they are more readily digested and absorbed by your body. This in turn means your body doesn’t have to put as much time and energy into digestion and can turn its attention to other important processes such as detoxification and healing.

The other great thing about smoothies is the ingredients are entirely raw so all the nutrients are in their original, unprocessed state. All the antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals remain intact, along with the foods inherent living enzymes which are often killed by heat. These living enzymes assist in the absorption of the nutrients which also helps to take some of the load off your digestive system. So by eating raw food in the form of a smoothie, you can maximise your nutrient intake in a very easy way.

One thing to keep in mind when choosing food that you’ll be eating raw is to consider buying organic, spray-free produce. Or an even better, much more affordable option is to grown your own if you can. The reason for this is produce that is covered in pesticides creates more work for your digestive system and liver, which essentially defeats the purpose of eating raw (easily digestible) food.

Making your own smoothies is much more cost effective than buying them and allows you to control the quality of ingredients and flavour combinations. One important thing to look out for if you are buying a smoothie (especially the pre-packaged type from the supermarket) is to check the label for added sugar. This can often be disguised as “fruit juice” or “juice concentrate” which is essentially fruit that has been stripped of it’s fibre and nutrients leaving a high concentration of fructose and not much else. Fructose can’t be used for energy by the body and can only be metabolised by the liver, which turns it into fat and stores it in the body. Alternatively by using whole fruit in a smoothie, the fibre and nutrients act to slow down the fructose absorption and the benefits of the vitamins, phytonutrients, antioxidants, and minerals far out weigh out any negative effects from fructose. Therefore if you are going to buy a smoothie, the best places to do so are those where you know the smoothie is being made from scratch using whole, raw fruit and vegetables, such as quality cafes, raw food eateries or smoothie bars.

If you are new to green smoothies you may prefer to ease yourself into them by starting off with a fruit base, rather than going straight to an entirely green vegetable smoothie which can be an acquired taste. A good way to start is by adding a little fruit like a pear, a small handful of fresh pineapple or half a banana.

The following minty green smoothie recipe is one of my favourites and is a nice mild option to start with. It’s a mix of greens, tropical fruit and coconut water. It tastes best when chilled, so one of my top tips is to chop up a bunch of fruit and store it in your freezer. That way your smoothies will always come out chilled, even after high speed blending, and you will always have a stash of frozen fruit ready for the next one!

Use this green smoothie recipe as a base, swapping in different fruits and greens to create your own favourite smoothie combinations. Enjoy!

 

Super Green Smoothie
 

Green Smoothie

Makes: 1 large smoothie
Prep time: 10 minutes

1 cup of coconut water or filtered drinking water
1 cup of spinach or kale, washed
1 2inch/6cm piece cucumber
1 cup of pineapple, chopped, preferably frozen
1 kiwifruit, peeled, chopped, preferably frozen
1/2 frozen banana
1 handful of fresh mint
1 handful ice
squeeze of lemon or lime

Place all the ingredients in the blender and slowly work up to maximum speed. You may have to stop the blender and give the ingredients a stir if you’re using frozen fruit, or use the blender stirring stick. Blend until smooth, pour into a tall glass and drink immediately. Alternatively this smoothie can be stored in the fridge in a sealed bottle for up to 2 days.

Note: This makes quite a thick, icy green smoothie. For a more liquid version just add extra coconut water or filtered drinking water, or leave out the ice.

 

Festive Christmas Granola

Festive Christmas Granola

Festive Christmas Granola

 

I regularly make a batch of granola each month, so as it’s December I thought why not make a batch of festive Christmas granola! When I think of Christmas the colours red, green and white come to mind so I tried to incorporate these into my original granola recipe by way of pistachios, cranberries, freeze dried plums and white coconut flakes. I added christmas spices to create that nostalgic Christmas smell and flavour, and while it was baking the house literally smelt like Christmas cookies!

We have been eating this granola since the beginning of December and there’s nothing like starting your day with a bowl of Christmas cheer to put you in a festive mood. I think we’ll also be eating this granola on Christmas morning (although I suspect I will need to make another batch before then!) as the oats and nuts are nice and filling yet light enough that I know we’ll still have room for all the celebratory food ahead of us.

This Christmas granola would also make a fabulous gift, especially for someone who appreciates handmade gifts. You could seal it in a cellophane bag and tie with a festive ribbon or even better, pile it into a couple of mason jars, tie some ribbons around the tops and attach a hand written label with the recipe on it.

If you do give this recipe a try and post any pictures on Instagram I would love to see them – tag @swoon.food #swoonfood so I can come and admire them! Enjoy x

 

Any questions or comments about this recipe? Leave your comments in the section below, I love to hear from you!

 

Share
Festive Christmas Granola

 

 

Festive Christmas Granola

4 cups oats
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup pistachios (shelled, unsalted)
1 cup walnuts
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1Tbsp ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1tsp cloves
1 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp himalayan pink salt
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup freeze dried plums (or red fruit of choice)
2 cups coconut flakes

Preheat the oven to 160ºC and line two baking trays with silicone mats or baking paper.
Gently melt the coconut oil by placing in a heatproof bowl over a pan of steaming water.
Place the oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pistachios and walnuts into a large bowl. In a smaller bowl mash the banana and combine with the honey, melted coconut oil, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and salt.
Add the banana mix to the oat mix and stir well to combine, then use your hands to rub it all together. Sprinkle the granola mixture evenly over the lined baking trays, then place in the centre of the oven to bake for 20- 30 minutes, stirring halfway.
The granola is ready when it starts to colour, it will still be soft when you removed it from the oven but should crunch up as it cools. If not, return to the oven for another 10 minutes. Place the baking trays on cooling racks and allow the granola to cool. When the granola is cool enough to handle, add the cranberries, freeze dried plums and coconut flakes.
When completely cold, transfer the granola to airtight containers and store at room temperature in the pantry. This granola will last up to 6 months if stored in an airtight container.

 

Festive Christmas Granola

Pumpkin Pie Granola

Pumpkin Pie Granola

Pumpkin Pie Granola

 

I got the brilliant idea for this Pumpkin Pie Granola recipe came from a lovely attendee at one of the food workshops I held earlier this year.

I used my Crunchy Maple Banana Granola as a topping for a chia pudding recipe I demonstrated, and everyone commented on what a great idea it was to use banana as the whole food sweetener for the granola.

At the end of the workshop a lovely lady came up to tell me she used pumpkin to sweeten her granola and it was so good she often ate it straight as a trail mix!

Ever since that fortunate evening I’ve been meaning to try out the idea, but it wasn’t until I saw all the Halloween pumpkins about recently that it occurred to me a pumpkin pie spiced granola would be pretty fabulous!

This granola recipe is reminiscent of a mildly spiced, slightly healthier version of a pumpkin pie. Because it’s sweetened with pumpkin and only a small amount of pure maple syrup, it’s not an overly sweet granola and the sweetness will vary depending on the type of pumpkin you use. I chose to use a butternut squash for this recipe, as it has a slightly sweeter flavour than the other pumpkins that were available, and when pureed it gives a nice smooth texture.

By using pumpkin puree to sweeten this granola you gain the benefits of the inherent antioxidants and vitamins present in this humble vegetable.

Pumpkins contain high amounts of vitamins A and C, which are great for eye health, skin and immunity. They’re rich in carotenoids which gives them their orange colour, and particularly beta-carotene which also converts to vitamin A in the body. They’re also a great source of fibre and potassium.

So when combined with oats, coconut, cashews and pecans, this granola makes for a very nourishing breakfast!

Serve this pumpkin pie granola with your choice of milk (I’m loving Little Islands drinking coconut milk at the moment) and a generous dollop of yoghurt (check out Raglan Coconut Yoghurt for THE best coconut yoghurt I have tasted to date!).

This granola is also great as a topping for fruit or ice cream, or simply eaten by the handful like a trail mix. 

Enjoy!

 

Pumpkin Pie Granola

Pumpkin Pie Granola

Makes: 1 large jar / approximately 6 cups
Prep time: 30 minutes  Bake time: 1 hour

2 cups cooked pumpkin puree
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp himalayan pink salt
3 cups oats
2 cups coconut thread
1 cup cashews
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

To make the pumpkin puree, preheat your oven to 180ºC fan bake. Cut the pumpkin into quarters (leaving the skin on) and place on a baking sheet. Spread a little coconut oil over the flesh and place in the centre of the oven to cook for approximately 30 minutes.

The pumpkin is cooked when you can easily cut the flesh with a butter knife. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes. Turn the oven down to 150ºC fan bake.  When the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, you should find the pumpkin skin easily peels away from the flesh. Either use a hand masher or food processor to puree the pumpkin flesh.

Measure 2 cups of pumpkin puree and combine it with the maple syrup, spices, salt and melted coconut oil. This can either be done in a bowl by hand or in a food processor. You’re aiming for a smooth spiced pumpkin paste.

In a large bowl combine the oats, coconut, cashews, pecans and pumpkin seeds. Add the spiced pumpkin paste and the best way to combine it all is to roll up your sleeves and use clean hands to rub it all together in the same way you would make a crumble topping or scones. Aim to rub all the pumpkin paste into the oat mix so that the mixture resembles a chunky crumble topping.

Spread the pumpkin pie granola onto lined baking trays and place in the oven for approximately 40 minutes. When opening the oven beware of escaping steam from the pumpkin as it continues to cook. Check occasionally and stir if it looks like the edge areas are cooking faster.

The granola is ready when it has turned a yellow golden brown and started to crunch up. It may still be a little soft when you remove it from the oven but should crunch up on cooling. If not, simply return to the oven for another 10 minutes or so.

Store the pumpkin pie granola in airtight containers in your pantry for up to a month.

 

Pumpkin Pie Granola

Raspberry Passion Smoothie Bowl

Raspberry Passion Smoothie Bowl

Passionfruit & Raspberry Smoothie Bowl

 

I don’t know about you, but when life gets busy I find myself eating the same breakfast day in day out, without any thought to whether it’s something my body actually needs that day or not.

So this year I’ve been making an effort to get more creative with my breakfasts to ensure I have a good rotation of recipes on hand so that I don’t get bored or lazy!

My ideal breakfast is something made from whole foods, that’s nutrient dense and low in sugars, to give me the energy I need to go about my day.

I started the year eating my Maple and Cinnamon Buckwheat Granola alternated with avocado and/or almond butter on paleo seed toast.

As the days got colder I got creative with porridge recipes, and in the weekends we’d cook poached or scrambled eggs or blueberry coconut pancakes.

Now that the weather’s warmed up again, I’ve got back into cold breakfasts like chia puddings, bircher muesli, chia bircher, and smoothie bowls. Which brings me to today’s recipe for this raspberry passionfruit smoothie bowl.

A smoothie bowl can be a much more filling breakfast option that a standard smoothie. By using frozen fruit you can create a thicker spoonable smoothie, and by adding nut butter, protein powders or seeds, you can increase the protein content and create a really satisfying, nourishing breakfast. The other bonus about a smoothie bowl is being able to add toppings and the possibilities really are endless.

This raspberry passionfruit smoothie bowl is one of my favourites, not just for it’s pretty pink colour! Hope you enjoy it and let me know your favourite breakfast in the comments below.

 

Raspberry Passion Smoothie Bowl

Serves: 1
Prep time: 5 minutes

1 cup frozen raspberries
1/2 cup frozen passion fruit
1 frozen banana
1 cup almond milk
1 Tbsp cashew butter
1 Tbsp flaxseed or vanilla protein powder

Topping ideas

Dried coconut
Flaxseed
Sunflower seeds
Freeze dried raspberries
Activated muesli
Edible flowers

Place all the smoothie ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Take care not to over blend as you want the smoothie to remain lovely and thick and spoonable.
Pour the smoothie into a bowl and sprinkle with your favourite toppings.
Eat immediately with a spoon!

Note: The nut butter, seed and protein powders listed above are just suggestions – feel free to get creative with different varieties to find your favourite combination!

Maple and Cinnamon Buckwheat Granola (Oat free)

Maple and Cinnamon Buckwheat Granola (Oat free)

Maple and Cinnamon Buckwheat Granola (Oat free) by swoonfood.com

 

 

This maple and cinnamon buckwheat granola is what I eat for breakfast most mornings and is essentially the oat and banana free version of the crunchy maple banana granola (what Nick eats most mornings!). I couldn’t find a really delicious muesli or granola that was completely gluten free or not full of weird corn flakey things or added sugar, so I started making my own.

Buckwheat groats are a great oat substitute, especially for a granola style muesli. They’re completely gluten free and are packed full of plant protein and dietary fibre. From there I’ll usually add whatever nuts I have in the pantry, such as almonds, brazils and pecans. Pumpkin seeds and whole flaxseed are great protein and fibre sources, and add to the granola crunch. For flavour I use ground cinnamon, ginger, coconut and vanilla powder, with a little pure maple syrup for sweetness although this can be left out. After baking I’ll throw in some dried fruits like cherries, blueberries and cranberries (ideally sugar free if you can find them).

This granola is super easy to make, the hardest part is waiting for it to come out of the oven as it smells so good! When stored in an airtight container this granola will last for weeks, however, you’ll probably eat it way before then! It’s also great as a snack eaten straight from the jar or sprinkled over the top of a smoothie bowl or chia pudding. Enjoy!

 

Maple and Cinnamon Buckwheat Granola (Oat free) by swoonfood.com

 

Maple and Cinnamon Buckwheat Granola (Oat free)

Makes: 1 large jar

2 cups of buckwheat groats, soaked 2-4 hours
1 cup raw almonds (dried & activated if you have time – see note below)
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup whole flaxseed
1 cup desiccated coconut
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground ginger
1 tsp vanilla powder
pinch himalayan pink salt
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (see note below)
100g dried super fruits such as cherries, cranberries & blueberries

Soak the buckwheat for 2-4 hours. This part isn’t optional as the buckwheat groats need to absorb some water so that they don’t go crazy hard after cooking and break your teeth! The soaking also makes them easier to digest so it’s win win. After soaking the groats wash them very thoroughly as they let off a mucilaginous substance which you want to remove completely.

Next combine the well drained buckwheat groats in a large mixing bowl with everything except the pure maple syrup and dried fruit. Stir well to combine and then add the maple syrup, again stirring well to ensure it’s evenly mixed.

Spoon the granola mix onto two lined oven trays and fan bake at 100ºC for approximately 30-45 minutes. You are aiming for enough moisture to evaporate from the buckwheat groats so that they just become crunchy and will be able to be stored in the cupboard. They will still be a little soft when they come out of the oven but you will know they are ready when they harden up on standing. If they are still a bit chewy, return the granola to the oven for a bit longer. Once out of the oven, add the dried super fruits to the granola and leave to cool on the trays.

Store this maple and cinnamon buckwheat granola in a large air-tight jar or container in your pantry.

 

Activating almonds: Simply place the almonds in a bowl and cover with filtered tap water. Leave to soak for 10-12 hours. Drain the water off and rinse well. This removes the natural enzyme inhibitors on the outside of the almonds that make them difficult for our bodies to breakdown and digest. Place the drained nuts on a lined oven tray and place in oven at the lowest fan bake temperature possible with the door slightly ajar – I use a wooden spoon shut in the door as this allows just enough gap for moisture to escape (or use a dehydrator if you have one). Dry the nuts this way for until they are dry to touch and easy to crack apart. The rest of the drying will happen with the granola. Again, this part is optional. The granola will still taste just as good without activating and drying the nuts.

Pure maple syrup: Make sure you get the real deal. There are quite a few maple syrups out there that are actually just maple flavoured sugar syrup, full of additives and often high fructose corn syrup. The real deal only lists “pure maple syrup” under ingredients and is made by a natural process of extracting the sap from maple trees, evaporating off excess water then filtering to remove impurities. While it is still a form of sugar it has a lower glycemic index than refined sugar and contains some minerals and antioxidants unlike refined sugar. Pure maple syrup is therefore a better choice of sweetener, alongside honey and coconut sugar, if you need to use a sweetener. However, it is still best used in moderation.

Share

Maple and Cinnamon Buckwheat Granola (Oat free) by swoonfood.com

 

 

Pin It on Pinterest