wholezome

a healthy journey


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CABBAGE & QUINOA SALAD with a minty orange vinaigrette

A filling and fresh salad to serve on its own or as a side dish on a summer day..

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Serves 4
200 g quinoa (more or less depending on how hungry you are)
1/2 of a small cabbage head, thinly sliced
10 cm of a leek, thinly sliced
2 handfuls of rocket leaves
2 oranges
5 menthe leaves
1 tbs Umboshi vinegar
1 tbs honey (if oranges aren’t sweet enough)
1 handful of your favorite nuts (almonds and walnuts in my case)
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

Cook the quinoa as described on the package, I like to use vegetable stock instead of water but that is optional.

Start with segmenting one of the oranges, keep a bowl underneath so you are not wasting any of the juice. Put the orange segments to one side and squeeze the juice out of whats left of your orange. Just squeese the juice out from the other orange.

In the bowl of orange juice ad 1 tbs of Umboshi vinegar (or substitute with white/red wine vinegar or lemon juice).

Finely slice the menthe leaves, this is easily done by placing one leave on top of another and rolling all leaves together and then slice with a sharp knife. Af the menthe to your dressing.

Also ad the thinly sliced leak and season with a little salt and pepper. Here in Spain the oranges are really sweet and juicy and no extra sweetness needs to be added, but have a taste, maybe a little honey needs to be added?

When the quinoa is cooked, drain and then pour it into your bowl of dressing. Have a taste again and season with salt and pepper before adding the finely chopped cabbage and rocket leaves (thinly sliced fennel would also taste fantastic with this).

Plate separately or on a big fancy plate. Garnish with your orange fillets, the roughly chopped nuts and drizzle a fine olive oil on top. Serve as is is or together with.. Hm.. grilled gambas or chicken?

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Although it is cooked and eaten like a grain, quinoa is technically a seed, and is related to spinach, chard and beets. Quinoa is a complete protein, which means that it contains all the amino acids necessary for our nutritional needs. Complete proteins are rare in the plant world, making quinoa an excellent food for vegetarians and vegans, or for anyone looking for healthy protein source. It’s also high in iron and calcium, and is a good source of manganese, magnesium and copper, as well as fiber.
Quinoa is naturally gluten-free, making it an excellent food for celiac patients or other people following a gluten-free diet. Quinoa flour is great for baking cookies, breads and muffins, and quinoa flakes are a perfect substitute for oatmeal.


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SOMETIMES you have to spoil yourself BREAKFAST

Took a long walk this morning around Alaro and its surrounding  almond and olive fields and on my way back i stopped at the local mini market and picked up some gorgeous nectarines. Unfortunately I’m one of those people that don’t really tolerate dairy but sometimes you have to spoil yourself and today I did so with greek yogurt, puffed quinoa, goji berries, almonds and sweet sweet nectarines. It both looked and tasted beautiful.

Except for being delicious this breakfast also is very high in protein since greek yogurt contains 50% more protein than normal yogurt, as I’ve mentioned before quinoa is a complete vegetable protein and almonds are also a good protein source. If you are on a mission to build muscles its extra important to eat a sufficient amount of protein and especially in the mornings when your body is in a catabolic state, your body is burning your muscle for energy since your glycogen store is low (protein intake is also important before and after workouts).


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ENERGIZING MACA BALLS

Feel the need for something sweet once in a while? Instead of buying candy why not make your own. And while you are at it, add something healthy to the mix as well, like vitalizing Maca root powder for example. A perfect treat to eat when your energy levels are getting low.

Makes 20 small balls of goodness

200 g of raw cashews
100 g of raw peeled almonds
9 sun-dried dates
3 sun-dried figs
1 teaspoon raw cacao powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon Maca root powder
1 pinch of salt
Shelled hemp seed

Pit the dates. Cut the figs into quarters and soak together with the dates for 15 minutes in water. Drain but keep some of the water, you might need it at a later stage.

In a food processor mix the nuts until you get a flour. Ad the cacao, Maca, cinnamon and salt, blend again.

Pour the drained fruit into your mixture and blend until you have a dough with the same consistency as ginger bread dough. If your ingredients are to dry to form balls you can add a little of the water you used to soak your fruit in.

Make small bite size balls and coat them with hemp seeds.

Maca root is loaded with vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, good fats, amino acids and plant sterols, making it a very nutritious whole food. It has been called a “potent superfood” and can improve our health in many ways.

Some of it’s many health benefits include increasing physical strength, stamina and energy. In fact, Maca is so good at boosting energy and endurance levels, it’s being taken by many athletes.

Maca root is most notably known for it’s ability to improve sexual function and libido. It has been used to solve infertility conditions and is said to increase the production of sperm and semen volume. It can be used as a treatment for impotency and erectile dysfunction also. Consumption of this root will increase sex hormones, such as testosterone. For these reasons, it’s very popular with men of all ages.

Maca is also a natural hormone balancing agent, which is helpful to men and women alike. Women use it to alleviate the symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, mood swings and sleeping problems. Too much or too little estrogen is a problem that plagues many women. Maca dramatically fixes these problems.

It works as a hormone regulator that can bring balance back to your body. This will help get rid of troublesome and painful menstrual and menopausal symptoms. Many naturopaths recommend women take maca root as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy. It can also be helpful to women going through pre-menopause and post-menopause.

It’s also reported to support endocrine health, help reduce stress, relieve depression, failing memory and impart a general sense of wellbeing.

Maca calms the nerves because of it’s fatty acid, phosphorus, calcium and B1 and B12 vitamin content. These are all very beneficial to the nervous system.

It can also be used as an aid to digestion and to improve healthy appetite. It’s vitamin C, calcium and sterol content help build muscle and it’s starch content enhances physical endurance. And best of all, these healthy compounds are easily assimilated by the body due to maca’s beneficial alkaloids.

Important information – Every person handles substances differently, however, so be cautious when taking maca or any herb. Don’t ignore any symptoms that you may have. Maca is believed to increase the production of testosterone in the body for both men and women. While men may benefit from this, too much testosterone can cause problematic hormonal changes in women. Cycling on maca root supplements is recommended to reduce the incidence of side effects. A typical recommended cycle is two weeks on followed by two or three days off. Never take more than the recommended dosage of maca root and when adding Maca root to your diet start with half the recommended dosage and increase slowly.


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THE POWER OF FIBER – Carrot rolls

Fiber is commonly know to promote good digestive health and regularity. But there are more benefits of increasing the amount of fiber to your daily diet.

When it comes to heart health, you can’t overstate the importance of a fibrous diet. Several studies has proved that a fiber rich diet reduce the risk of heart disease.
Fiber is undigested starch and traps bad cholesterol and drags it out of the body through the digestive tract. Soluble fibers, that you find in carrots, oats, barley, fruit and dried beans to name a few sources, turns into a gel during the digestive process and and prevents cholesterol, fat and sugars from being completely absorbed by the body.

Except for the fat and sugar binding properties of fiber it will also help you loose weight since it expands in your stomach and intestines, making you feel full faster and for longer.

Fabulous and fibrous carrot rolls
Makes 24 rolls

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500 ml water
25 g fresh yeast
1 tbsp honey
3 tsp salt
300 ml grated carrots
100 ml crushed oats
200 ml crushed wheat
50 ml crushed flaxseeds
1000 ml whole grain spelt flour
5 tbsp canola oil

Turn your oven on 225 degrees Celsius.

Resolve the fresh yeast into the water which should be warm but not hot. Ad the honey, salt, carrots, oats, wheat, flaxseeds and mix well.

Ad the flour and oil bit by bit to the mixture, you are looking for a dough with a loose and sticky consistency. Cover and leave for 30 minutes until your dough is twice the size.

Get your dough on on your working surface that is covered with flour. Quarter the dough and knead for a minute or two. Roll on piece at a time and make 6 smaller buns. Place each piece on a baking sheet, let them rice again for 30 minutes.

Bake in the middle of your oven for 12 minutes.

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WHEN PASTA MET SAUCE

What pasta goes with what sauce – a quick guide on how the Italians do it: 20120628-093525.jpg Angel Hair (Capellini) Pesto, Seafood, Tomato, Vegetable Conchiglie Meat, Pasta Salad, Pesto, Tomato, Vegetable Farfalle Meat, Pasta Salad, Pesto, Seafood, Soup, Tomato, Vegetable Fettuccine Meat, Seafood, Tomato, Vegetable Fusilli Baked, Meat, Pasta Salad, Pesto, Soup, Tomato, Vegetable Jumbo Shells Baked, Meat, Tomato, Vegetable Linguine Meat, Pesto, Seafood, Tomato, Vegetable MacaroniBaked, Meat, Pasta Salad, Tomato, Vegetable Orecchiette Meat, Pasta Salad, Pesto, Tomato, Vegetable Orzo Baked, Pasta Salad, Soup Pappardelle Meat Penne Rigate Baked, Pasta Salad, Tomato, Vegetable Rigatoni Baked, Meat, Tomato, Vegetable Rotini/Spirelli Baked, Meat, Pasta Salad, Tomato, Vegetable Spaghetti Baked, Meat, Seafood, Tomato, Vegetable Trofie Pesto 20120628-093612.jpg Traditional pasta or the whole wheat kind? Here is where me and the Italians start to disagree. I absolutely love pasta but with a very high ranking on the glycemic index chart and a shockingly low nutritional content I opt for the darker kind. Whole wheat pasta is made from flour that contains the entire grain kernel which means that it’s rich in fiber and hasn’t been ripped off from all its healthy nutrients.
I do confess that when the first few whole grain pastas tiptoed out to the grocery stores I wasn’t jumping with joy due to taste explosions. BUT these days there are so many brands on the shelves and I even dare to say that a few of them tastes better than the plain boring white spaghetti, firm textured, nutty and with a slightly sweeter flavor.


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PESTO DUE

Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa, northern Italy. Maybe you have heard about pesto Genovese, yep, now you understand why. In the traditional kind you will find basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese and a really good quality olive oil.

The best thing about pesto is that there are hundreds of different ways of combining ingredients into this lush sauce. This is what was mixed and matched today.

Sweet stem broccoli pesto
(makes one large jar of pesto)

200g sweet stem broccoli
30g pine nuts
extra virgin olive oil
1 handful basil leaves
2 garlic cloves
1 handful of grated parmesan
1 heaped tbsp ricotta
Pinch of salt

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Pesto Trapanese
(makes one large jar of pesto)

120g sun-dried tomatoes (soak in warm water for 20 min before using)
extra virgin olive oil
100g almonds
2 garlic cloves
1 handful of basil leaves
1 handful of parmesan
1 heaped tbsp ricotta

The traditional way to make pesto is to use a pestle and mortar but to save time the food processor is a great tool. After roughly chopping all the ingredients let the processor do the work as you add a little olive oil at a time. You just want your pesto to bind, not swim around in oil so keep a close eye on your mixture.

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The pesto keeps in the fridge for about a week but also freezes well if you leave out the cheese. A clever person told me about the trick of using an ice cube tray, this way you have little portions ready to go.


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CORIANDER AND HEAVY METALS – the dressing

If you’ve been following this blog for a while you’ll know that I spent 8 days juice fasting on Koh Samui, Thailand, this spring. The whole week was an amazing experience, fasting is such a great way of cleaning your body and clearing your mind, and to be able to do so at a beautiful retreat in Thailand is such a treat.

But if I’m going to be honest, the best thing about the whole cleansing week was when I got to taste the beautiful buffet after my fasting was over. Oh my, the flavors of those crunchy vegetables and the joy of chewing your food again, I couldn’t stop smiling.

The head chef gave me a few recipes from his repertoire and this lush dressing is one of my favorites. I’ve added the avocado to the original recipe to make the dressing even creamier.

Coriander root dressing
~ THE dressing

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You will need
1 big bunch of coriander with roots
1 small ripe avocado
1 large juicy lime
1 tbsp light soya sauce
3 tbsp sesame oil
water

In the Thai cuisine nothing is thrown away, to take the coriander as an example the seeds are used for seasoning, the leaves in salads and the roots (where the most flavor is) in pastes and sauces.
For this recipe to be a proper success you need to buy coriander in a pot. The roots are very fragile so be careful when you pull them out of the soil and clean the dirt of them.

Use the handle of your knife to bruise the coriander roots before chopping them up roughly. Mix all the ingredients in a blender. Ad water until you have the wanted consistency. Pour over your favorite salad, in my case a roasted sweet potato salad with feta cheese and lots of red onion.

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Coriander and heavy metals

Cilantro is commonly used in many detoxification programs and has been found to remove heavy metals from the body. And I’m not talking about Metallica or Iron Maiden here, no real heavy metals find their way into your body through deodorants (many contain aluminum), fruits and vegetables (sprayed with pesticides and fertilizers), cigarettes (yup, metals in them too) and ‘silver’ fillings in your teeth – just to name a few.

Heavy metals have been connected with many serious health problems including cancer, heart disease, brain deterioration, emotional problems, kidney disease, lung disease and weak bones.

Source Natural News


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VIETNAMESE SPRING ROLLS

A while ago I promised you guys a recipe for fresh and crunchy Vietnamese spring rolls, and time has come to fulfill my promise. These little goodies was our evening meal the other day served with a plum dipping sauce.

It took me a long time before I got the courage to give these rolls a go, they’ve always scared me a bit with the whole soaking and rolling little tight vegetable packages. It must be so difficult right!? WRONG. And it’s fun as well.

Wa wa we wa Vietnamese spring rolls
This is what you need to make 12 spring rolls (and when you cut them in half they magically turns into 24 pieces!)

12 sheets of Rice paper
100 g rice noodles
5 large leaves of romaine lettuce
4 carrots
1 avocado
1 mango
1 zucchini
1 handful menthe leaves
Warm water

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First of all you need to soak your rice noodles in cold water for about an hour. On the package it might say to boil them for a few minutes – don’t do this, they will go sticky and soggy. Soaking is the way to go. When your noodles are soft (but al dente) pour out the water and cut your noodles into 3-4 cm pieces.

Grate your carrots. Finely slice your lettuce leaves.

Cut the rest of the vegetables and mango into sticks (julienne).

Set up a working station with all your ingredients within reach. You will need a bowl with warm water and a wet tea towel to make your rolls on, a good way i found is to fold the wet tea towel around a chopping board.

Now to the rolling business. Dip a rice sheet in the warm water for about 4 seconds and then place it on your working surface. Pile a little of each ingredient in the middle of your rice paper, fold the bottom half over the filling and make it tight by pulling the filling towards you. Fold in the sides. And roll again. Easy huh!?

For a visual on the folding technique, have a look here.

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