Comforting Healthy Salad

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What’s for lunch honey?!

It is always a good sign when my fiance asks for a second plate of a vegetarian dish, as he is more of those meat-eater types! It just shows that the combination is a good one that leaves you wanting for more! The ingredients in this salad already get me excited because of the health benefits, but the flavours merged together is truly the best! The subtle hint of the roasted garlic sweet potato lingers in the background while the lemon juice soaks into everything leaving a wonderfully refreshing taste to the mouth. This colourful spinach based salad is fulfilling and rich, yet it is packed with fresh light flavours. ‘Are you bored with the salad recipes you’ve tried and crave for new exciting combinations’?’ Well here you go, this salad will get your inspirations flowing and it can be a spin-off to other fabulous combos!

The garlic roasted sweet potato mush and the protein packed quinoa adds a comforting texture that holds all the other ingredients together.  Some crunch from the sprouts and bitterness from the grated carrot and yellow/ red beets.  All of this is balanced out by the salty capers and creamy feta cheese. It will make the perfect friday lunch or dinner and is fancy enough to serve as a side dish at a dinner party!

Ingredients

  • 2 dl quinoa
  • 1 Medium-sized Sweet Potato
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • Olive Oil
  • 2 Cups Sprouts
  • 1 Large Carrot
  • 2 Yellow Roots
  • 2 Beet Roots
  • 2 Cups Spinach Leaves
  • 1/2 Cup Variety of Toasted Seeds with a pinch of salt
  • 150 g Feta Cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons Capers
  • Maldon Salt/ Ground Black Pepper
  • Lemon Juice

Directions

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Peal and roughly chop the sweet potato and place into an oven dish. Stir in the olive oil and chopped garlic. Sprinkle salt and pepper and place into the oven for about an hour until soft. Once ready, mush some the sweet potato with a fork and leave to the side to cool. Meanwhile cook the quinoa (read instructions on packet) by washing it thoroughly and boiling in some water for about 15 minutes with a bit of salt. In a large bowl, mix together the sweet potato and quinoa.

Prepare salad: Grate the red beet in a bowl to the others prevent it from dying everything red. In another bowl add in the grated carrot and yellow beet, spinach leaves, sprouts, crumbled feta and capers. Mix in the quinoa/sweet potato mush. Add in black pepper, maldon salt, a good squeeze of lemon juice and the toasted seeds.  Mix well. Then Gently stir in the red beet.

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Avocado & fig hunt

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Oia, Santorini

I loved going to the market in the early mornings to find a selection of their fresh fruit and vegetables. That is one thing I’ve noticed when traveling, we love to explore markets discovering all types of local delicacies. Of course, I couldn’t resist the large luscious avocados and overly juicy figs, that really made my mornings perfect! Thus most of the time, breakfast had to start with an avocado toast and a bowl of greek yogurt with fresh sweet figs overlooking this divine sea. Here, I could sit forever observing the peaceful Mediterranean life. Mornings like this are a real blessing and privilege. A moment like this enforces a positive state of mind and really it shows that one small good thought in the morning can change your attitude for the whole day. A blissful breakfast is a remedy for happiness.

avocado hunt2 (1 of 1) kopio

avocado hunt (1 of 1) kopio

Sunday Fruits

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‘Chasing the sunlight’

Today Mr N and I woke up really early, ran a couple of errands and took a long walk on the golf course with Bella. This will be one of the last times walking there as soon the golfers will invade the fairways, which I’m excited about too as we get to start our season! Walking in the midst of the nature gives you the best feeling, a sense of calm and happiness- a sunday treat. After the lovely fresh air we went food shopping and came back home to enjoy some relaxing time. While Mr. N was making himself a hazelnut espresso, (which btw smells divine) I made myself a refreshing fruit plate with mango, plum, coconut, mint, crushed pistachios and a drizzle of rosemary honey. The salty nuts adds a delicious taste to the sweet fruit making this the perfect sunday snack.  I hope everyone has had a wonderful weekend, gathered energy for the upcoming week and rested well in between clean crispy sheets.

– Hugs & kisses

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Mango Paksoi Stir Fry

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‘Sweet & Salty Sunday Moment’

Sunday is definitely one of my favourite days of the week, when it is time to slow down, enjoy some free time and collect your thoughts. Today Mr. N and I are going to a golf/ camera fair and for early dinner afterwards, so I wanted to eat something light before leaving the house. This paksoi mango stir fry is the perfect lunch for today becuase the recipe is ‘way too simple‘ and I love the combination of sweet and salty. Eating mango warm is super delicious as it tastes a bit like chutney or a sweet jam. I’ve made a grilled mango salad before, but this Asian twist makes the perfect easy and quick lunch. It has a lovely crunchy texture from the mini paksoi, a mild heat from the chili and the sweetness brings a well-rounded soothing taste to this stir fry. It is incredibly healthy, takes 10 minutes to make and makes your sunday lunch complete.

Ingredients

  • Mini- Paksoi
  • Mango
  • Finely chopped chili
  • soy sauce
  • peanut oil or sesame oil
  • hoi sin sauce
  • spring onions
  • grated garlic

Directions

Heat your wok hot and add some peanut oil to it. Add in the washed mini paksoi, chili, grated garlic and some mango. Drizzle in (about 1 tablespoon) some soy sauce and hoi sin sauce. Mix for a couple of minutes and you are ready to plate. Garnish with finely chopped spring onions.

mango paksoi

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Pineapple Ginger Juice

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Good Morning Juice!

The sun has been shining for a couple of days now and today I woke up in a great mood. I finally have a free day and there was no need to wake up at 5 am! Before we went to bed yesterday, we cleaned the entire house, did tones of laundry so today it was a joy to wake up to a clean house. I feel spring in the air (even though this is probably not true) as the birds are chirping the streets have partially dried up.

Our morning began with a healthy ginger pineapple juice. The only thing I hate about juicing is the terrible noise the blender makes! It really disturbs a peaceful morning and I usually walk away once the ingredients blend away! Today I blended some fresh pineapple, lots of ginger, 1 celery stalk. lemon and water. Yum so sweet and spicy and a hit with Mr. N aswell! I think I’ll be making this tomorrow again!

Have a great day xx

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Oven Roasted Vegetables

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This easy snack makes a fabulous tv dinner date with their beautiful earthy flavours. These roasted vegetables have a hint of smoked paprika and dipped into the citrusy creme freiche, the taste is heavenly. I happen to love vegetables this time of year, so I wanted to share this snack recipe with you guys! These also make a nice side dish, especially for roasted duck leg or lamb shanks.

Directions

Choose a selection of your favourite veges, wash them well and slice into smaller pieces. I love to leave the skin on as it adds a lovely crunch to the end result. I used potatoes, beets, parsnips and carrots. Place them on an oven tray and drizzle some olive oil, rosemary and salt/pepper on top. Roast them for about an hour in 200C (the first 15 minutes) and then decrease the degrees to 160 C. Once ready, sprinkle some smoked paprika on top and serve with creme fraiche that has a bit of lemon juice and chopped chives on top.

/ Nauti rento kotiilta pitkän päivän jälkeen uunikasviksien kera
Paloittele lempi kasvikset siivuiksi ja levitä ne uunipellille. Itse käytin porkkanaa, punajuurta, perunaa, palsternakkaa ja jätin pesty kuoret kasviksiin, sillä se antaa mukavaa rapeutta. Ripottele suolaa/pippuria, oljyä ja rosmariiniä päälle. Paista tunnin: 200 C asteessa ensinmäiset 10 minuuttia ja tiputa asteet 160 C loput 45 minuuttia kunnes niihin tulee rapea pinta. Ripottele savu-paprika maustetta valmiiden kasviksien päälle ja tarjoile creme fraichen kera! Lisäsin vähän sitruunamehua ja ruohosipulia creme fraicheen.

oven roast vege

Ginger & Butternut Squash Dressing

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Everyone ready for the weekend?

Time to breathe it’s Friday evening. I’ve realized as I become older I try to keep my health in check and eat clean produce as much as possible. I’ve always been a healthy eater and I really began taking an interest in what I put in my mouth already as a teenager. I guess my way of thinking has shaped from the nordic ideology of simplistic cooking. Living in Finland, us Nordics tend to eat nutritious pure foods to begin with and our diet has always been well-balanced. Most of us have summer cottages and this pushes us to use our surrounds for food.  For example we get fabulous fish from out lakes and sea, an amazing selection of mushrooms in the fall and berries (blueberries, lingonberry, blackberry etc) from the bushes in our backyards!

When younger, I loved watching (and still do) the TV programme ‘you are what you eat’ and I always thought the green table full of healthy produce looked amazing. I was really into sports and being active was a part of my life growing up. Sometimes it’s scary looking at young girls who are thirteen or so and they look like young adults more like in their 20’s! Correct me if I’m wrong, I almost feel this childhood innocence is gone and today it is all about growing up as fast as possible and spending time on social media. Do kids even play outside anymore?? I don’t have any children yet, but it is a quite a scary thought to raise a child in today’s socity. If I have some young adults reading this, exercising and eating well is a good choice already from early on and keeps your mind stimulated and active! Sports keeps you on the right path and eating well will make you feel good and gives you energy to push through life! It will also do wonders for your skin and gives you a natural healthy glow.

Being healthy has always been a priority and really it is a way of life. Don’t get me wrong though, I love all things delicious like a big mac once in a while, cooking with butter and eating deserts, but on a regular basis I find it important to emphasize all the good things I eat. I avoid fizzy drinks, candy and unnecessary additives as much as possible.  A clean lifestyle can be a bit more expensive but there are ways to work around it especially if you are on a tight budget. So whether you are younger or older, I think it’s never too late to start taking care of your body and this ultimately leads us to a happier version of ourselves. This also means you are more pleasant to the people you surround yourself with. Generally speaking, easy problems like being tired, head aches, stomach cramps, gass can be solved with what you put in your mouth. My personal goal is not to lose weight, but rather be healthy from within as this is golden in the long run. If you are looking to lose weight, most of my recipes are very good for you (often gluten free, high in protein) and I’m sure they will be useful to you! Eating properly and exsercising is the key weight loss, not dieting. If you are interested, I can post a food diary entry at some point!?

I thought I would share a simple salad recipe today, well because I often eat salads for lunch! I find this salad super functional if you are working at an office or if you have an early morning with little time as this can be made in advance. It holds its course for some time so it still tastes as delicious and crunchy even if it sits for some time before indulging into it. It’s filling because of the starch from the butternut paste and really you can add more ingredients to suit your needs. I’ve noticed when working and going out for lunch, this can become costly to some degree, so putting a little extra effort and making your own lunch is beneficial on many levels. It’s cheaper and often much more nutritious. Today I’m keeping it simple by using haricot beans as a base. However, I’ve eaten this paste with kale leaves, cabbage and carrots and they suit fabulously! This paste keeps in a jar in the fridge for a couple of days and it works as a satisfying snack when spooned over some avocado! I would also imagine kids to love this paste and can be used for dipping vegetables into it.

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Method for Butternut ginger dressing/paste

1. Begin by roasting the butternut squash. I’ve used a small butternut and sliced/ de-seeded it into smaller pieces. On the surface of the squash, I’ve rubbed it with a mixture of oil, grated garlic, ground black pepper, coarse sea salt and some rosemary. I’ve baked the squash in an oven of 200 Celsius for about 30 minutes until it has cooked through out.

2. In a bowl grate some ginger and add a large spoonful of greek yogurt. Squeeze in a bit of lemon juice. Once the squash has cooled, scoop the flesh into a bowl and mush it into a paste. I find it easiest to use my hands for the mushing process as you can really work your way into it.

3. Mix the squash into the yogurt and taste the flavours. It may need a little more salt/pepper/lemon depending on how you like it. There you go, the paste is ready!

To the dressing/paste, I’ve added raw haricot beans, a bunch or oregano and chia seeds. I love this combo and it works nicely as a side dish for dinner as well. You can also cook the beans, but then they lose their lovely crunch so in a salad, I prefer them au naturel! So if you are thinking of making this for work next monday, you can prepare it already on sunday and then you just put it all together in the morning before you go to work. Adding toasted nuts is also a great way to add good fats into your diet as they are bursting with energy!

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/Hei ihanat lukijat! Viikonloppu on taas täällä ja ajattelin vähän puhua teille terveellisistä ruokavaliosta. Ajattelin jakaa tämän helpon inkivääri butternut squash- kurpitsa tahna reseptin, mikä sopii erinomaisesti salaatteihin tai dipiksi. Se sopii myös täydellisesti avokaadon päälle, siitä saa helpon ja nopean välipalan. Butternut squash on maukas juures syksy- talvi aikaan, sillä se on täyteläinen ja terveellinen lohtu ruoka! Se on erittäin herkullinen ja monikäyttöinen vihannes ja siitä tulee super ihanaa keittoa, reseptin löydät täältä.

Olen huomannut mitä enemmän tulee ikää, terveellisellä ruualla on suurempi vaikutus elämässäni. Jo teini ikäisenä söin aika terveellisesti, paljon vihreitä ja aika paljon proteiini-pitoista ruokaa. Kävin salilla varmaan viisi kertaa viikossa. Olen melkein aina vältellyt hiilihydraatteja, vaihdan perunan/riisin kasviksiin. Mutta, aamuisin minun on pakko saada puuroa tai rapeaksi paahdettua jälkiuunileipää. Ja tässä kun kirjoittelen tätä niin samalla napostelin omatekoisia maalaisranskalaisia, eli en noudata ajatusta 100 %. Sanotaan näin, että yleensä pidän aika puhtaan linjan ruuan suhteen, mutta kaikessa on kuitenkin se kultainen keskilinja.  Minusta se on erittäin tärkeää syödä oikein niin mieli, iho ja ajatukset pysyvät parempana. Tavoitteena ei ole laihtua, vaan sisäisesti voida hyvin ja teidän että ruoka vaikuttaa siihen. Luulen että ajatustapa puhtaasta ruuasta on muodostunut siitä kun asun suomessa, missä hyviä yksinkertaisia raaka-aineita arvostetaan, kuten myös muualla Skandinaviassa. Meillä on mökki ja pienestä asti olen oppinut miten herkkuja (kalaa, marjoja, sieniä) saa luonnosta. Arvostan Suomen puhdasta luontoa, sillä sielu lepää ja rakastan pitkiä metsä lenkkejä koirani/mieheni kanssa! Pienenä periaatteessa asuttiin espanjassa ja sieltä oma kokkaaminen saa paljon vivahteita ja rakastan niitä välimeren makuja. Haluisin kannustamaan teitä kaikkia syömään oikein ja urheilemaan paljon, sillä se muokkaa kroppaa ja antaa lisää potkua jaksaa eteenpäin! Ikinä ei ole liian myöhästä tehdä muutos elämään ja pienet vaivat (väsymys, vatsa/pää särky, ilmavaivoja) saa helposti kontrollille kun syö oikein. Eli jos luet tätä tällä hetkellä ja ajattelit lähtee ostaa sipsipussia tai karkkia, osta jotain parempaa! Tee kasviksia ja tätä dippiä tai itse tehtyjä kasvis sipsejä ( Löydät reseptin täältä) tai pehmeää banaani jäädykettä (täältä), mikä on maailman helpoin tehdä!

Anyways, tämä tahna säilyy purkissa paripäivää ja siitä saa maukkaan salaatin lounaaksi. Itse söin salaattia tosi paljon, varsinkin lounaaksi. Se on helppo ottaa töihin mukaan ja salaatin voi tehdä etukäteen ja se silti pysyy rapeana ja raikkaana.

Inkivääri Butternut squash kurpitsa tahnan teko

1) Aloita paahtamalla kurpitsa. Leikkaa pieni kurpitsa neljään osaan ja poista siitä siemenet. Levitä palat uunipelille ja hiero pinnalle seos, mihin tulee raastettua valkosipulia, öljyä, mustaa pippuria, rosmariinia ja suolaa. Laita pelti 200 C uuniin ja paista noin 30 minuuttia kunnes liha pehmenee. Anna jäähtyä.

2) Raasta inkivääriä kulhoon ja lisää sinne iso lusikallinen kreikkalaista jogurttia. Purista vähän sitruuna mehua.

3) Kaavi kurpitsan lihan lautaselle ja hiero (helpoin käsin) se tahnaksi. Lisää tämä jogurttiin. Maista makua, siihen pitää ehkä lisää suolaa/pippuria tai sitruunaa. Voilá tahna on valmis! Eikö ole helppoa?!

Tahnan sekoitin raakojen papujen, oreganon ja chia siemenien kanssa. Tällä kertaa salaatista tuli hyvin yksinkertainen ja pelkistetty ja se nimenomaan sopii mainiosti pääruuan lisukkeeksi. Pavut voi myös keittää tai paistaa voissa, mutta halusin säilyttää sen raikkauden ja rapeuden. Olen myös syönyt salaatin silleen että lisään siihen lehtikaalia, kaalia, porkkanaa ja paahdettuja pähkinöitä niin saan siitä täyteläisemmän. Sopii hyvin!

Toivottavasti kokeilette tätä reseptiä, mielestäni maut ovat kohdallaan ja se sopii myös gluteeniton/vegaani diettiin. Ihanaa viikonloppua kaikille, tästä se perjantai lähtee käyntiin. Meillä on ihan rento koti ilta, ajattelin mennä salille huomenna aamupäivällä ystäväni kanssa. Nyt lähden sohvalle katsomaan jotain ohjelmaa, voisin keittää vihreätä teetä ja ylipuhua poikaystävääni katsomaan jotain rakkaus chick-flick leffaa! heheh ei varman onnistu, taitaa tulla vastaehdotuksena joku vankila leffa!

Nauttikaa viikonlopusta xxx

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Roasted Beetroot Salad

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A Creamy Winter Salad

This time of year you crave for something oven roasted, a more comforting type of food that helps you get through the dark colder days. This wintery salad is made from oven roasted red beets that are in season and so delicious at the moment. You could also use turnips, swedes, carrots and a mixture of cabbages. I’ve roasted the beets with a bit of water on the base to of the oven dish to steam the roots and drizzled olive oil on top of them.  Once cooked I’ve peeled and chopped them on a plate with a bit of salt on top. To this I’ve added cottage cheese that is creamy and thick in texture. It also has avocado, zucchini and a bit of paprika. I’ve drizzled some olive oil on top along with black pepper, sesame seeds and thyme. I’ve also given a good squeeze of lemon and lime to add a bit of freshness to the otherwise quite creamy texture. This simple salad only has a few ingredients but they all support each other just the right way.

beetroot salad

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Candy Stripe beets & Crispy Cod

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Whats for dinner honey?

Our dinner consisted of a colourful bed of raw vegetables with a crispy piece of cod fish on top. We were in a bit of a hurry, so this dish is light and healthy and literally takes no time to make. However, you can spruce this dish in so many ways to make it more spectacular, this is just a basis for a good foundation waiting to happen! Candy stripe beets looks spectacular for its bright pink and white stripes and I often garnish a salad with these colourful delights. I love beets roasted or steamed but when raw, they keep their colour and vitamins better than when cooked. When raw, they are crunchy and have a radish like flavour to them.  They also have a high nutrition and vitamin content containing magnesium, potassium, iron, vitamins A, B6 and C. I’ve sliced the beets thinly and mixed them with chopped kale. On this vegetable bed, I’ve fried some cod fish and garnished it with finely sliced yellow paprika and spring onion. To make the fish, fry each side on a hot pan with butter on it for about 4 minutes on each side. Sprinkle some salt and black pepper and squeeze some lime for acidity. This dish also suits different dressings from a creamy avocado one to a light spicy asian dressing. If you think the bed of vegetables is too bland, you can spruce it up by adding other raw vegetables like harricot beans, carrots, spinach, toasted nuts and maybe even mixing in a bit of couscous.

Dressing Tip: This dish is quite natural and mild in flavour, so if your craving for something a bit more, I would suggest this wonderful asian dressing that I sometimes make for salads. You mix together grated garlic and ginger, olive oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, a bit of water and honey. You shake this in a jar with a lid on it and microwave the dressing for a minute to dissolve the honey. Let it cool down and shake before mixing it on the bed of vegetables. For this dressing, I woud suggest adding vegtables such as cabbage, carrots, radish, candy stripe beets, sugar peas and kale. Slice all the raw vegetables thinly and coat them in the dressing for a while before placing the fish on top.

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