Juicy Wednesdays: Fat-Burning Juice

So this morning I had a kitchen-sink cooking moment when I gathered everything I could find to make a nice juice, and accidentally made a juice that is perfect for anyone trying to shed a few. Please note, this juice has many other benefits aside from being a weight loss aid, it’s excellent for general detoxing, plus it’s refreshing with a nice amount of zing.

fat burning juice

Fat-Burning Juice

serves 2

1 cucumber

1 grapefruit

1 apple

1 lemon

1 thumb of ginger

Peel the cucumber, lemon, and grapefruit. Juice everything. Enjoy!

 

Benefits:

Grapefruit contains an antioxidant called naringenin that can help your liver breakdown fat. Grapefruit also has high levels of Vitamins A & C which are great for your immune system, and can beautify your skin. Lycopene, a phytochemical found in grapefruits, has powerful antioxidant properties which helps fight free-radicals in the body.

Cucumbers are full of skin-friendly minerals (magnesium, potassium, silicon). They also flush out toxins and have a soothing effect on the body.

Apples are a good source of pectin which aids in digestion. Apples are also very high in Vitamins A & C, and many other minerals. Furthermore, Apple juice is an excellent source of fiber and sufficient fiber is one of the keys to weight loss.

Ginger aids digestion and has many anti-inflammatory properties, but it works as a weight loss tool by having thermogenic effect on the body that helps activate your metabolism. Hence… the burn!

Lemon is just an all-arounder. It naturally alkalizes the body, aids in digestion, fights fluid retention, and is another Vitamin C superstar. I rarely exclude lemons from my juices.

 

xo,

Natalia

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¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

cinco de mayo

¡Hola!

It’s no secret I’m a Mexican food FANATIC, there’s just something about the fresh ingredients and the combination of cilantro, cumin, chile, and lime that really gets me excited about sitting down for a meal (well, more than usual, that is). So naturally, Cinco de Mayo is a holiday I fully acknowledge.

Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s independence day (that is the 16th of September), but rather when the Mexican army beat the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862 (thanks Wikipedia!). We learn something new every day 🙂

Here’s a round-up of some delicious Mexican recipes from around the web:

1. Fish Tacos and Buckwheat Tortillas by yours truly! (note: there’s also a recipe for a delicious beetroot slaw and mango salad in there).

2. Restaurant-Style Salsa by the Pioneer Woman, serve with tortilla chips and guacamole for a yummy vegan starter.

3. Roasted Garlic Guacamole by Rick Bayless, this is a fun take on Guac, but a more traditional recipe can be found here by none other than Eva Longoria.

4. Vegan Enchiladas with Cilantro Avocado Cream Sauce by OhSheGlows.

5. Chicken Mole – complicated, but the traditional Cinco de Mayo dish.

6. Carne Asada for the carnivores, by Mexico in my Kitchen.

7. Vegan Mexican Street Corn by a House in the Hills

8. Tres Leches Cake, because… it’s a holiday. Thanks, Alton Brown.

9. Simple Margarita: 1 part tequila, 1 part Grand Marnier, freshly squeezed lime juice, agave to taste, all in a shaker and then poured over ice in a salt rimmed glass.

 

Mexican food is pretty forgiving so have fun today and play in the kitchen. ¡Hasta luego!

 

xo,

Natalia

Homemade Ginger-Turmeric Beer

Hi there, long time no write 😦

2014 proved to be one of the most challenging but also exciting years of my life. There have been many changes, some wonderful, some not so much, but overall, I think 2015 has a lot of good things in-store.

Some changes:

1) I’m engaged! This was obviously super exciting and I am so happy. Exciting times ahead!

2) We moved! We are now living in the beautiful Lowveld, and I am loving the small town vibe, along with the relaxed atmosphere of country living. I think I might be a country girl at heart after all.

3) I am now, very proudly, a contributing writer on greendock.com, a green and healthy living portal that is currently focused on South Africa, but making its way into the world. It is chock-full of interesting articles and information, a calendar of events, a directory, and more. Check it out!

Another change, or rather a discovery: this Ginger-Turmeric Beer. This creation was a light-bulb moment one very hot day, when I was craving something refreshing and fizzy but not water or some sugary soda. This drink is refreshing, healthy, and the perfect thirst quencher when water just won’t do. It can also be made in a pinch!

turmeric beer

Homemade Ginger-Turmeric Beer (side note: beer=ale… this is non-alcoholic)

serves 1

  • sparkling water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1/4 of a lemon
  • pinch of ginger
  • stevia or honey (I add about 6-7 drops of stevia, but sweeten to your liking. When I tried it with honey 1TBSP was nice)

Place turmeric, ginger, juice from 1/4 of a lemon, and stevia (or honey) in a glass. Slowly add sparkling water (it will fizz up very quickly) and carefully stir to incorporate all the ingredients. Add ice and enjoy!

Some benefits of Turmeric:

  • Immunity booster
  • Can relieve Arthritis
  • Reduces Cholesterol
  • Good for weight management
  • Supports brain health
  • Improves digestion
  • Has anti-aging benefits

I’m down with all of those benefits, and at the very least, this drink is tasty and refreshing. Let me know if you give a shot!

see you soon, promise 🙂

xo,

Natalia

Vegan Snickerdoodles

I have a treat for you today….

Sundays are for baking in my books, and since I have an inner cookie monster, this Sunday I wanted cookies (surprise!). Initially, I was craving the good ole chocolate chip variety, but venturing to the shops for chocolate didn’t sound very appealing, so I had to improvise with what I had. What resulted were the most wonderful snickerdoodles I have ever had. I can only compare them to the super soft ones you buy at stores like Costco that are full of terrible ingredients but taste oh-so worth it. Fortunately, these are vegan, can be made gluten free, and are super easy. Best of all, they practically melt in your mouth. Utter goodness.

snickerdoodle2

 

Vegan Snickerdoodles

yields about 24 cookies (give or take depending on how much dough you “test”) 

1 1/4 cups of flour (if you’re going gluten-free, I recommend Nature’s Choice or Bob’s Red Mill)

1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp of baking soda

1/2 tsp of salt

1 tsp of ground cinnamon

1/2 cup of coconut oil, softened

1/2 cup of sugar (or granulated sweetener of choice)

1/4 cup of coconut or almond milk

1 tsp of vanilla extract

cinnamon for rolling

1. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and teaspoon of cinnamon together into a medium bowl. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine softened coconut oil, sugar, milk, and vanilla until mixed.

3. Add dry mix to wet mix in batches until a dough is formed. Shake some cinnamon onto a clean surface and roll the dough into 1-1.5 inch balls and then roll them in the cinnamon. Place cookie dough balls on a baking sheet.

4. The trick to soft snickerdoodles is to put them in the oven when they are very cold. So to achieve this, put the baking sheet of cookie dough balls into the freezer for 30 minutes. Once they have been in the freezer for a while, start preheating the oven to 165C (330F). After 30 minutes in the freezer, put the cookies directly into the oven and bake for about 10 minutes.

5. After 10 minutes take the cookies out of the oven, they will look underdone, but just wait. Let them cool on the pan for half an hour, then store in an air-tight container…. but first, take a bite!

snickerdoodle1

Enjoy the rest of your Tuesday fellow cookie monsters 🙂

 

xo,

Natalia

 

Juicy Wednesday: Almond Milk

Good morning!

Sorry for the hiatus, Friday (August 9th) was Women’s Day, a public holiday (yes… another one…wee!) here in South Africa. We went away for the long weekend so I was unable to blog on Friday, but I’m back!

Today I am sharing a recipe for Almond Milk. Not quite “juice” in its assumed form, but still juice in the sense that the pulp of the almonds is removed, leaving behind a lovely creamy “milk” and suitable dairy alternative. This recipe is simple and the only tools you’ll need are a blender, container to store the milk, and a nut milk bag/cheese cloth/or coffee filter.

In the States, almond milk is readily available at most grocery stores and ranges in price. In South Africa, you’ll be hard-pressed to find almond milk in most health food shops, and when you do it is generally around R80 for a liter ($8…. no thanks). Given how easy and significantly cheaper it is to make almond milk (not to mention, ZERO preservatives), I think I’ll keep making it at home.

almondmilk

Almond Milk

makes 4 cups

1 cup of raw plain almonds soaked overnight

4 cups of filtered water

4-6 dates soaked overnight (optional)

1/2 tsp of vanilla (optional)

pinch of salt (optional)

pinch of cinnamon (optional)

1. Soak the almonds and optional dates in water overnight.

2. Rinse almonds and add to blender with water, dates, vanilla, salt and cinnamon.

3. Blend on medium for at least 1 minute or until the mixture is nice and creamy, then increase speed to high for an additional 30-60 seconds.

4. Carefully strain liquid through a nut milk bag, cheese cloth or coffee filter into a jug or container. You may have to do this step in stages and be sure to try and squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible. Reserve pulp.

5. Enjoy!

This is not like your typical store-bought almond milk. The milk will eventually separate when left alone, so just give it a good shake before every use, store it in the fridge and consume within 5 days.

The pulp can be used for SO many things, so don’t toss it! If you made plain almond milk (no extras like dates or vanilla, etc) then you can spread the pulp out over a baking sheet and dehydrate it in your oven (on its lowest setting) for several hours until the pulp becomes dry almond flour. Alternatively add a tablespoon or two to smoothies, oats, etc. The pulp is loaded with fiber and still maintains many of the nutritional benefits associated with almonds (vitamin E, manganese, copper, riboflavin, calcium, iron, and more).

Drink up.

 

xo,

Natalia

Juicy Wednesdays: The Celery Refresher

Happy Juicy Wednesday 🙂

There’s nothing like an indulgent weekend to get your body craving something healthy and refreshing like a green juice. We hosted a lunch on Sunday for a few family birthdays and while I tried to keep the menu (mostly) healthy, naughty things like red velvet cheesecake made their way onto my plate, and a gin and tonic made its way into my glass (no idea how that happened)… but on the bright side we kept it gluten free (winning)!

celery juice

Below is one of my favorite combinations because it is so refreshing and loaded with nutrients. Plus it adds a nice change from my usual green staple. I think the combination of mint and pear really makes this an interesting elixir and the health benefits (especially from the celery) make it a great addition to any routine.

Celery:

  • not just a bunch of water, celery is a natural source of sodium, potassium and other minerals, making this a great post-workout drink because it will help replace lost electrolytes.
  • celery can help reduce blood pressure and improve blood flow and circulation.
  • celery contains anti-cancer compounds and can help prevent tumors.
  • celery is an anti-inflammatory and EXCELLENT for joint health. If you’re suffering from arthritis discomfort, give it a try.
  • celery has a natural calming affect on the body.
  • celery can lower bad cholesterol.

Mint

  • mint cleanses the blood.
  • mint can alleviate digestive problems.
  • mint is great for the skin.
  • mint has several antibacterial properties, which especially aid oral and digestive health.

Pear

  • pears contain pectin which naturally helps keep things moving.
  • pears provide your body with a natural source of energy from the glucose/fructose levels.
  • pears contain Boron which helps the body retain Calcium, therefore it aids bone health.
  • pears are high in Vitamin C.

Lime

  • lime juice can help prevent kidney stones.
  • limes, like all citrus fruits, are high in Vitamin C.
  • limes have high levels of Folate and Calcium.

Not convinced??? Fine, then just trust me. This juice is SO refreshing and if you decide to drink it after a workout, you will definitely be riding on Cloud 9. I promise.

The Celery Refresher

serves 2

1 bunch of celery

2 pears

1 lime

a large handful of mint leaves

Clean everything thoroughly, juice, sip, say “ah”, and enjoy! 🙂

 

Have a beautiful week!

 

xo,

Natalia

 

Juicy Wednesdays: Ginger Shooters

Time for another Juicy Wednesday! Today I’m sharing a shooter rather than a juice. You’ve probably heard of people taking ginger or wheat grass shots? Well, they’re basically a blast of power. A ginger shot can reduce arthritis pain almost instantly, as well as ease morning sickness in pregnant women. They are strong, but in a good way, and are best taken on an empty stomach. Because the flavor of ginger is so intense, it’s nice to compliment it with other flavors, and fennel and apple are a lovely addition. Below is a recipe for a Ginger Shooter with apple and fennel to soften the blow. Some of the health benefits include:

Ginger:

  • Reduces inflammation
  • Natural anti-histamine
  • Anti-viral
  • Immune system booster
  • Relieves nausea and motion sickness

Fennel

  • Calms the digestive system
  • Reduces intestinal cramps and gas
  • Good for the gut
  • Anti-inflammatory

Apple

  • Vitamins A, B1, B2, C and E
  • Pectin, ellagic, malic acid and more

ginger shot (source)

Natalia’s Ginger Shooters

serves 2

1 large chunk of ginger

1-2 apples

2 fennel bulbs with stalks and stems

Clean everything and juice. If you’re struggling to fill two shot glasses, add more ginger. Feeling fancy? Sprinkle some cinnamon on top, and enjoy!

 

Bottoms up!

 

xo,

Natalia