Caraway, Sweet Potato & King Prawn Chowder

I love roasted vegetables and I’ll often roast some sweet potato to have as a side dish or as a snack. Sometimes, I’ll cook up a big batch and if there’s any left over, I’ll use it as a base for this soup. Using the roasted version gives a fuller flavour and a distinct aroma that comes from the roasting. But I have to say that it’s not often that I have any roasted sweet potatoes left over for this!

This soup is so simple to make, and quick too, especially if you make plenty of the sweet potato base and keep some already made in the fridge. Then you can just take out the base and cook the soup in less than fifteen minutes. Move over Jamie Oliver, haha!

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

2 tablespoons coconut oil
½ onion, chopped
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into medium-sized chunks
750ml chicken stock
2 x 150g raw king prawns
1 can coconut milk
1 carrot, diced
200g green beans, cut into short lengths
1-2 tsp chilli powder
salt and pepper
Caraway seeds

Method

Heat 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil in a pot and lightly fry the onion until soft. Add the sweet potato and chicken stock, then simmer until cooked. Allow to cool slightly. Puree in a blender and set aside.

Heat the remaining coconut oil over a medium heat and add the chilli powder. Lightly fry until fragrant, taking care not to burn the spice. Return the now pureed sweet potato to the pot. Add the coconut milk and bring to a light boil.

Add the carrot and the green beans and allow to simmer for about a minute. Then add the prawns. Season and simmer for a few minutes until the prawns are just cooked. Do not overcook.

Pour the soup into serving bowls. Garnish with caraway seeds.

Eating Healthy When You’re Crazy Busy

I fell off the wagon. What?!! Yes, my eating and yoga habits have become erratic and it doesn’t feel so good.

Without going into all the detail, our routine was disrupted and what with work and the studying, life got crazy busy. Plus, I discovered that I am sensitive to more than 20 foods and that threw me into the doldrums and I lost interest in cooking. I’m sensitive to my beloved dairy, and also to some of my rely-on staples, like asparagus and broccoli. Who’d have known that you could be sensitive to vegetables. Oh, and onions! And cod!

So although I had been trying to steer clear of those foods, I only managed it for the most part and everytime I ate something that my body is sensitive to, my eyes get a “blodgy” feeling or my fingers swell up and I definitely feel the water retention. I know, weird huh.

Now, 6 months later, I am finally coming to terms with it and I am feeling inspired to cook some delicious meals again and to put my body and my health right at the top of the list.

I didn’t forget about the L.E.R.F. Connection. I ate cleanly 80% of the time. Generally, that would have been perfect, but for those foods to which I’m sensitive, that’s not good enough. 80% doesn’t allow my body to heal. It has to be 100% of the time. Time to get back to “hard core”.

Some people say, “Oh but it’s OK in moderation”. Let me tell you, right up; it’s not. When someone has an allergy, which can be life threatening, people accept that they should steer clear of that food. But food sensitivities are insidious. They’re not immediately life-threatening, but they create ongoing low-level chronic inflammation in your body, which is linked with conditions such as eczema, asthma, dermatitis, or fibromyalgia. It’s no wonder that dis-eases like fibromyalgia are often thought of as having no known cause. To make matters worse, the longer you leave it or continue to eat those foods in moderation, the more likely you are to develop an even wider range of sensitivities and/or an even wider range of dis-ease.

Knowing this, would you still choose to eat those foods in moderation when you know your body is sensitive to it? It’s like saying, “I know arsenic is going to kill me eventually, but it’s OK, I’ll take just a little, in moderation.” That’s crazy, right?

[Tweet “Ditch the moderation! It’s time for hard core!”]

But how do you do that when you’re crazy busy?

Here are my tips on how to eat deliciously, cleanly and healthily all of the time, even when you’re crazy busy.

Plan Ahead

Plan the week ahead. The basis of planning ahead is knowing what meals you are going to have and when. Decide what you’re going to cook, what can be prepped ahead and then do your shopping. This way, you don’t have to rack your brains for what to cook on any particular day and then get lazy and order a take-out (yes, been there, done that!).

Use a meal planning schedule like the one that I use (see Resources). The beauty of it is that once you’ve done this for about six weeks, you can change up each week quite easily, switching some meals around between the weeks or adding in the odd new recipe to give you variety.

Cook once, eat several times

This means cooking extra portions of the same meal, and doubling up that meal for the next day’s lunch, and/or freezing extra portions for another day’s dinner. For example, when I cook a chilli for dinner, I’ll also have chilli for lunch the next day, and I’ll have some more leftover that I’ll freeze for next week. That way, I don’t have to think about tomorrow’s lunch, which is often a packed lunch for work, and next week, I’ll have a night off from cooking on chilli night. Yay!

KISSSAS – Keep It Simple, with Smoothies, Soups And Salads

No, no, not Kiss Ass but Kiss Sas ☺

Keep It Simple – Smoothies, soups and salads are simple, quick and easy. They all have one thing in common – throw a bunch of things together and you’re done! Here’s how.

Smoothies – Just pour some coconut water, almond milk, rice milk or hemp milk into the blender, together with some low-glycaemic fruits, and some veggies (spinach, cucumber, romaine lettuce, just to name a few), add some protein you like (chia seed, a scoop of protein powder) and some healthy fats (avocado, coconut milk) and blend. For extra flavour, add some vanilla extract or dash of cinnamon.

Soups – Learn how to make some simple pureed soups and then bulk make and freeze them so you save time and effort. Put some chicken broth in with some veggies – for example, cauliflower, season with salt, pepper and spices (I like cumin or caraway), boil until the veggies are tender, then put into a blender and blend. When ready to eat, heat up the soup, add some protein (cooked and sliced organic chicken breast is good) and a dash of milk, garnish with a dollop of cream and some chopped parsley and yum, delicious comfort food.

Salads – Chop up a bunch of lettuce, add some spinach, pile on some other veggies – tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, radishes, sliced beets, bell peppers, beetroot – then add some protein (cooked organic chicken breast, grilled salmon, hard-boiled eggs, tuna), followed by some pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds for texture, maybe a few raisins or some orange segments or some pomegranate, then top off with a dressing.

The simplest dressing going which I love, is olive oil plus generous splashes of Tabasco (spicy), or olive oil with some cider vinegar and a dash of mustard with a sprinkle of salt and pepper shaken up in a jar. You can even make the dressing ahead of time or several servings of dressing and store in the fridge for a few days.

If you chop the veggies in bulk you can make a couple salads at a time, don’t add the dressing to them yet, and they usually last a couple days.

Know where you can get healthy take-out

Check out what’s available. Look at the menu ahead of time and decide which meals are aligned with your bio-individuality of what is healthy for you. Then, when you come to ordering, you already know what will work for you. For me with my extensive food sensitivities, there are not even a handful of meals that work, but I am still able to order take-out, woo hoo!

With the growing awareness of food and the shift towards eating healthy, there are now also companies that do healthy ready-cooked meals that they will deliver to your home (Artisan Bistro Pro (US) and Eat Evolve (UK)). All you have to do is heat them up.

No, it’s not quite as cheap as buying and preparing it yourself, but on those extra busy days, I find that this can come in useful.

It’s always the small habits that add up. Don’t let yourself fall back into old habits that cause you to not feel so great! Are you going to go hard core too? The first step is taking the decision! I’d love to hear from you. Let me know!

Much love to you.

xx

Bliss Filled Chocolate Banana Smoothie

To me, there’s nothing like starting the day with a delicious filling tasty smoothie, apart from those days when I fancy a full cooked breakfast, lol! Do give a go and let me know how you like it. You could also add a teaspoon of macs powder to it. Maca comes from the root of the maca plant and has a toffee-like smell that is subtle but full of superfood goodness.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk or coconut water
1 scoop whey protein powder or egg white protein powder
½ ripe banana (or frozen banana)
handful of kale
 or spinach
2 tbsp almond butter or cashew butter
1-2 tsp xylitol, to taste (or stevia)
2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder or raw cacao
3-5 ice cubes (optional – omit if using frozen banana)

Method

Blend them all up until smooth and enjoy! Feel weird about the egg white? It’s an ingredient in many cocktails too, you don’t taste it and it gives you the protein you need, not just to fill you up, but also as building blocks for a healthy body.