The food we eat affects our mood and in turn our mood directs appetites craving for something sweet or savoury, carb-loaded or deep-fried foods. It would damage your health to just follow your heart and eat whatever you feel like eating, though also unhealthy to suppress your cravings. I’m so fascinated by the relationship between food and mood and health. It seems hard to achieve a total balance between all three though what matters is that we listen to our feelings, try healthy alternatives and feed our body with nutritious and delicious foods. Don’t you agree? I came down with some kind of bugs this week, feeling lethargic, headachey, blocked sinus, sore throat, etc. All I wanted was climb onto the bed and bury myself in there all day. However, it never happened. In fact, I came home after work and spent some time in my kitchen preparing meals and making little treats. Healing time for me 🙂
Who doesn’t like peanut butter? or Cookies? Peanut cookies? When making these neat and nutty little cookies, there is no fragrant aroma of baking cookies in the house you normally expect. Also because of the nature of their making, texture is quite dense and soft unlike the baked crunchy cookies. Though what you will get is incredible peanut butter yumminess, good nutrition and feeling good about treating yourself, thanks to refined sugar-free, gluten-free and low-carbs, I promise it is a pleasingly easy recipe and tastes wonderful. So tuck right in! 🙂 Only one issue is that they just don’t seem to last long in my freezer after I make them. A big mug of tea and a couple of these guys on the side is totally my weakness and a moment of indulgence.
1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup Medijool dates, pitted
1/2 cup organic peanut butter (if peanut butter allergies, use other nut butters)
1 tsp vanilla powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp maca powder
1 tbsp cacao nibs
a pinch of salt
Blend all up in a food processor. Make little balls and press with your favorite cookie stamp. Store in a airtight container in the freezer.
I have a habit of making batches of salads that will last me next few days. I keep telling myself I’ve got to eat more a variety of foods though when I’m addicted to something, then I tend to stick to that for a while. When my main meal is salads, I want it to be interesting, delicious and full of good stuff. So here I am. I cooked like a storm in my little kitchen and put up a few different salads on a plate, which I think is beautiful and vibrant. It is also wholesome, healthy and nutritious. I have to admit it took me an hour plus cleaning up a mess I made in the kitchen. But if you can invest an hour or so on cooking like this, your life gets easier at least next couple of days. Bam! Work lunch and dinner is sorted.
Let’s discuss how this plateful of goodness was made up.
Spicy Chickpea and Pumpkin Salad: I soaked chickpeas in cold water for about 10 hours. Do this before you go to bed or when you leave to work in the morning. Quickly rinse and cover them with water in a pot and boil for 15-20 minutes until cooked. Meanwhile, heat coconut oil in a frying pan over medium heat and add chopped pumpkin. Sprinkle cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, cumin, sea salt and ground pepper. Drain cooked chickpeas and add to a frying pan. Add a bit of more smoked paprika over chickpeas and stir well. Take it off the heat once pumpkin and chickpeas are browned and cooked.
Mediterranean Rice Pasta Salad: Boil rice pasta for 8-10 minutes to al dente and drain. Roughly chop sun-tomato, black olives and parsley and mix with cooked pasta in a large bowl. Simply drizzle e.v.o.o and season with salt and pepper.
Stir-fried Cabbage and Red Onion: Finely chop green cabbage and red onion and cook with coconut oil in a frying pan until browned. Season to taste and sprinkle caraway seeds and sesame seeds.
Tzatziki: Mix thick Greek yogurt, chopped cucumber and chives, lemon juice and sea salt in a bowl.
What kind of tea do you like? I visited T2 shop in Emporium in Melbourne CBD a few times just because I fell in love with a hundred variety of teas there. There is a lot of health benefits of drinking tea including detoxing, preventing cancer, improving your skin and even weight loss, but hey I just like the smell and taste that calms me down. Whatever reason you choose to drink tea, it is good for you 🙂
– If you are caffeine sensitive, it is probably best to avoid black, white and green tea later afternoon.
– Stick to chamomile and red tea (a.k.a rooibos tea from South Africa) which is caffeine free and very soothing for your digestion!
– Try spiced tea with coconut milk or almond milk and a few drops of stevia.
– Miss coffee? Try chicory root and dandelion. It tastes just like coffee without caffeine.
– Make iced tea in hot summer. Brew the tea. Just add sweetener and slices of your favorite fruits in a jug and keep in fridge up to 3 days.
– Use brewed tea and tea bag for baking such as rooibos, earl grey and chai tea.
I made this tea cake vegan and gluten-free with no refined sugar. So it is not too sweet and quite dense in texture. Having a big dollop of thick vanilla yogurt or whipped coconut cream would be nice. Of course, freshly brewed chai tea on the side, too.
1 tbsp flaxmeal
1 cup of strongly brewed chai tea
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup of coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cardamom
100g brown rice flour
50g coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 pear sliced
a pinch of salt
Combine flaxmeal, brewed tea, melted coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Add other ingredients, except pear, into a bowl and mix well with a spatula. Pour the mixture into a prepared baking tin. Arrange sliced pear on top and gently press. Bake in the preheated oven (180) for 30 minutes or until cooked. Allow to cool in a tin for 10 minutes before slicing.
Slaw is a raw crunchy salad where all the vegetables, mostly variations of cabbage, are julienned and dressed with either creamy or vinegar based sauce. Although I am a veggie lover, I don’t even go near coleslaw at a house party or picnic because the soggy vegetables lathered in creamy mayo just don’t appeal to me. This slaw, on the other hand, is crunchy, healthy, vibrant, colourful and delicious. A big bowl of raw cabbage slaw with a simple dressing plus a sprinkle of hemp seeds is a perfect go-to green salad.
Hemp is a new ingredient for me that I just started experimenting. Knowing it comes from cannabis plant family and is not for human consumption kind of has put me off, though I wanted to find out what all the fusses are about. From what I have read on the internet, hemp has amazing health benefits. Hemp seeds contain all of the essential amino acids making them an excellent source of vegan protein. The essential fatty acids are abundant in hemp seeds and come in a healthy anti-inflammatory 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fat, that is highly beneficial to humans. It is also a rich source of disease-fighting, plant-based phytonutrients and anti-aging antioxidants, such as vitamin E, which help protect your immunity, bloodstream, tissues, cells, skin, and organs. It surprisingly has a beautiful nutty and creamy flavour, great for salad toppings, adding in your cereal or smoothie and in raw desserts. Sprinkling on salads is by far my favorite way of using them.
Ingredients (serves 2-4)
1 cup of shredded savoy cabbage
1 cup of shredded purple cabbage
1 bunch of parsley
1 tbsp olive oil
lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp whole grain mustard
1 tbsp maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp hemp seeds
Prepare dressing by whisking all dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Mix the shredded cabbage, carrot and chopped parsley in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over salad and gently massage with clean hands. Transfer to a salad bowl and sprinkle hemp seeds.
Besan or gram or chickpea flour is basically made from ground chickpeas and available at health food shops and Asian groceries. It is gluten-free and high in protein compared to other types of flour. I usually use it to make socca and also falafels without a process of soaking, cooking and blending chickpeas. It is super quick and easy to make with a little ingredients and so yummy. Good thing about this recipe is that you can make different variations such as adding pumpkin or sweet potato mash for more veggie intake or mixing with tuna or salmon for protein boost.
You can eat it just by itself or smear this wasabi tzatziki sauce which will give you a bit of kick in your nose 🙂 I’m sure most of you have tried green wasabi peas as beer snack, right? Spicy and salty, perfect to munch on. I got to admit I’m not that good with spicy food though I do love it! Wasabi is one of those that I know I shouldn’t go overdose when eating sushi, but I always do. Did you know wasabi belongs to a brassicaceae family like horseradish and cabbage? Wasabi not only has a unique and powerful taste but also provides health benefits like reducing a risk of cancer, inflammation, infection, allergies and respiratory problems. The antioxidants in wasabi also are great for detoxing and boosting the immune system. It is rich in vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin A and vitamin B6. Yes, it is an awesome ingredient to include in your healthy balanced diet. If you don’t like it spicy, then feel free to leave out the wasabi powder. Easy flavoursome vegan dish served x
Ingredients (makes 6 little patties)
100g of chickpea flour
1/4 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp coriander
1/4 baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
100g hot water
coconut oil for cooking
a pinch of wasabi powder
2 tbsp of cottage cheese
finely chopped cucumber
a pinch of salt
lemon juice from half lemon
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, make a well in the middle and add water into a well. Stir to combine with a spatula until it becomes thick mixture. Cover and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add coconut oil. Spoon the patty mixture into the pan and press the middle to shape into little discs. Cook 3-4 minutes each side or until golden brown. For wasabi tzatziki sauce, mix all ingredients in a bowl. To serve, place chickpea patties on a serving plate and top with the sauce. Drizzle balsamic glaze and serve with greens on the side.