Tag Archives: healthy eating

Pearl Grace Life, Salad

Zesty Salad

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Nat’s Zesty Salad

Pearl Grace Life, saladI know, it’s January and it’s cold outside and the last thing you probably fancy eating is a salad.

But January also provides us with a great opportunity to start the year off right in terms of leading a more healthy and balanced lifestyle.

When it comes to what I eat, I don’t really pay attention to what the weather is like. It could be chucking it down with rain and I’ll rustle up a salad or a bowl of summer berries or it could be hottest day in summer and I’ll choose to make a soup or a fish pie.

It doesn’t really matter in our house and although I try to eat consciously and choose ingredients that are local and as seasonal as much as possible, I often cook and eat dependant on how I feel and dependant on what my body needs most at that time.

Now after an over-indulgent holiday season I know that what my body needs right now are clean ingredients, lots of water and green juices to flush my system out and eliminate as  many toxins and nasty stuff as possible.

So, although a salad may not get you buzzing right now, believe me when I say, after you wolf down a bowl of this goodness your cells will be buzzing with glee and you’ll feel amazing.

If you’re like me and the mundane and repetitive task of washing and chopping veggies is relaxing and therapeutic then great.

However if setting aside 20 minutes to make this bad-boy-bowl-of-colours fills you with dread and a sense of boredom then whack on your favourite tunes and chop away to the music and the time will fly…

like this sweet little number:

Tweet it out peeps: “You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients” – Julia Child via @PearlGraceLife

And the great part of tucking into a cold salad is that all the ingredients by their very nature are raw, which is great for you and the planet.

Eating raw and fresh ingredients ensures that your body gets the optimum level of vitamins, minerals and nutrients so you can function to the max.

Now, guys, at the risk of stating the obvious, its a salad so you can jazz it up or tone it down with whatever ingredients you fancy. My zesty salad just gives you an idea of how creative you can be.

There’s just one little tip that I’d like to share when it comes to making a brilliant salad and that is to find a balance.

You’ll see from the list of ingredients that I love to partner up soft textures with a little bit of crunch, and some sweetness with a dash of sour and as many gorgeous colours that I can find in my fridge.

So, beautiful people, here it is: Nat’s zesty salad:

Pearl Grace Life, SaladIngredients and Method:

Grab a large bowl and begin:
2 large handfuls of mixed salad leaves (a selection of baby spinach, red lettuce and lambs lettuce is what I had in my fridge today) You could add some romaine lettuce as well for extra crunch.
1 small handful of chopped parsley
1 small handful of chopped mint
1/2 a cucumber
8 cherry tomatoes
8 radishes
1 yellow pepper
1 avocado
1 red chilli (optional and deseed if desired)
Seeds of 1 small pomegranate
2 kiwis
A handful of dried cranberries
Sprinkle of mixed seeds
Juice of half a lime
A drizzle of oil (extra virgin olive oil or rapeseed oil are two my favourites on salads)

Grab yourself a large fork and tuck in or if you’re feeling generous, share with friends or family and enjoy as a side dish.

Switch it up!

You could add as many ingredients as you like. Olives, peppery rocket leaves and some salad cress work nicely.

For additional healthy fats scatter over some walnuts and crushed pistachios.

I like to keep my salads as “free from________(fill in the blank)” as much as possible.

But you could up the ante and make this less vegan and more vegetarian by adding a boiled egg or crumbles of feta cheese or stilton for additional natural saltiness.

And for the carnivores out there, cooked prawns, sliced chicken or turkey could work too. In fact this salad could go with just about anything, that’s why it’s so awesome.

You could use it as a filling in a wrap or as part of a quesadilla. I sometimes pour spoonfuls of it on top of slices of crusty bread like a soda crumb, spelt or rye variety. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on top of each little portion to enhance the flavours even more.

I hope Nat’s zesty salad hits all the right notes for you.

To good health,

Nat x

Try Nat’s zesty salad with my baked mushrooms with cumin and paprika

Images courtesy of NatMillie

Pearl Grace Life: baked mushroom dishes

Baked Mushrooms

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Baked Mushrooms

Pearl Grace Life: mushrooms and a walnut saladI love food that is simple and delicious and my baked mushrooms tick both boxes in less than 20 mins.

Not only are mushrooms incredibly good for you.

After all, they’re packed with tons of nutrients such as iron, minerals and vitamins B & D. But they are also known to strengthen your immune system, improve bladder function and metabolise fats and proteins in the body.

In fact mushrooms are a fantastic alternative to meat for those of you looking to integrate more veggies in to your food plan in an easy and in and affordable way.

You can make some wonderful meals using mushrooms, from warm and comforting soups and risottos to light bites like ‘shrooms on toast and mushroom pâté.

I have to admit that mushrooms have become a fridge food essential in our house for the past few weeks and at the moment this recipe is one of my favourite things to whip up when my belly is rumbling and time is short.

For this recipe I use chestnut mushrooms because of their meaty texture and because they hold their shape so well after cooking.
Pearl Grace Life: mushroom dishes

My oven baked mushrooms however make a fabulous dish on their own with a side bowl of hummus for some dunkage action.

But it’s also very versatile dish because you could choose to serve it as a side dish with some protein, or mixed in with rice or tossed in a salad or on a bed of steamed green veg.

The ideas are endless and it’s entirely up to you!

I love to eat them with roasted sweet red peppers or wrapped in romaine lettuce leaves with avocado for a snack or a light lunch.

Pearl Grace Life: baked mushroom dishesAs a more substantial meal or for dinner, I like to serve them on a bed of curly kale and sweet potato. Mmm.

I have to confess, I make this meal at least twice a week because they are a massive hit in our house.

It couldn’t be easier to rustle up so here goes:

Ingredients:

250g Organic chestnut Mushrooms (or white button mushrooms work well too). I keep them whole but you can cut them if you like.  Hey, if you can dispense with using extra utensils the why bother!)
Olive oil (regular olive oil works perfectly well… save your precious extra virgin stuff for something else!)
Black pepper (and salt if desired)
1 tsp cumin (roughly – add to taste)
1 tsp smoked paprika (roughly – add to taste)
1 tsp mixed herbs (or herbs de provence)
1 tsp chilli flakes (roughly – add to taste)

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Wash or wipe mushrooms to remove dirt. Pour into a non-stick baking tray.

2. Pour on the olive oil, pepper, herbs and spices. Using a spatula or wooden spoon toss the Pearl Grace Life: mushroom dishesmushrooms so they are evenly coated and spaced out.

3. Put the mushrooms in the oven on the top shelf for 15-20 mins, taking them out for a quick stir and toss at the half way point.

4. Take them out when soft and roasted but still firm to the touch. Grab a fork and tuck in, baby.

Switch it up!

I love using chestnut or button mushroom for this recipe because of their meaty texture but feel free to experiment with other mushrooms.

Also my choice of seasonings are simply what I like to use but you could throw on ground coriander or use chilli powder instead of chilli flakes for a more intense heat.

Or if you wish, you could strip it back to just some light herbs if you’re feeding little mouths or people with milder palettes.

Pearl Grace Life: mushroom dishesMy measurements are approximates so add the amounts that work for you.

For example, increase the amount of mushrooms according to the number of mouths you’re feeding.

Where possible use organic and locally grown produce.

Title and content images courtesy of Nat Millie

Pearl Grace Life Benefits of eating Wild Rice

Wild Rice

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The benefits of wild rice

Pearl Grace Life The benefits of eating wild riceI love rice. As the kid of parents that hailed from the Caribbean it will come as no surprise when I say rice was often the backbone of the meals served up at home when I was younger.

Over the years I’ve experimented with different types of rice from brown to white and long grain to short grain.

Japanese Jasmine rice played a prominent role in our kitchen for a while till I discovered wild rice.

And when I began to realise I was hooked on this nutty stuff I thought it would be a good idea to find out if it was in fact good for me.

Not only was I thrilled to learn that it was but I was even more amazed to discover that they boasted some incredible health benefits as well.

So here goes, for your culinary pleasure, here are 10 Wonderful health benefits to eating Wild Rice

1. It’s gluten free.

2. Is sodium free: great news for your heart and for your blood pressure.

3. It has a warm nutty flavour which is very unique and makes it a tasty dish in it’s own right.

4. It contains twice as much protein as brown rice.

5. It’s a healthy option for diabetics because it’s not polished or refined like other types of rice.

6. It’s very rich in antioxidants—containing up to 30 times more antioxidants than it’s white counterpart! Which means regular consumption of wild rice protects you from disease and ageing.

7. Is high in fibre. This means wild rice keeps your digestion smooth and helps lower cholesterol.

8. Wild rice is a good source of essential minerals such as phosphorus, zinc and folate, which give you energy and nurtures your bones.

9. It’s a natural source of vitamins A, C and E, which are essential for overall health and strengthening your immune system.

10. And for the weight watchers out there, a serving of wild rice is lower in calories than other rice varieties. So, you can enjoy it to your hearts content without worrying about your waistline.

So, go grab yourself a bag of this awesome stuff and get cooking, baby.

Not sure what to cook first… Why not try my Garlic Chilli Prawns with wild rice and black beans.  It’s dee-lish!

If you have a tasty recipe containing wild rice that you’d like to share with the world then please post it in the comments below.

As always, you’re a star for reading,

Lots of love,
Nat x

Title image courtesy of ww.itimes.com and content image by www.kitchendaily.com