Detox tips for January plus Smoothie freezer packs.

Let’s get down to business.

If you are anything like me, you couldn’t wait to get back on track and start with nutritious healthy food now that we’ve started the new year.
I feel like I am in desperate need to replenish. How about you?

Although I had a great time during the whole month of December, enough is enough.
The first thing I do, is to clean out the fridge and check very well what you have, write it down if necessary. Plan meals to use up leftovers if you have any, and as far as I’m concerned throw out the fattening stuff. Get rid of chips and salty stuff too. We need to get rid of all that water retention, you may not notice it per se, but you’ve got excess water weight for sure, unless you only ate carrots and cucumbers in December.
Cleaning your fridge helps you to get the right mindset, it gets you in the mood to fill the fridge with vegetables and beautiful crunchy nutritious foods.

Clean the fridge as you normally would and then rinse with warm water and soda to get rid of any smells.
Then what I do is, I get lots of vegetables, wash them, prepare them and put them in containers in the fridge at eye level. So whenever I’m hungry I can pick a healthy snack, Other things I may have are a bowl of hard boiled eggs, fat free yoghurt and low carb fruits. Some nuts are ok too, unless you want to loose a lot of weight then you really need to watch your portions, no more than 1 tablespoon a day.

TIP No. 1:
First thing in the morning drink a glass of warm water with the juice of half a lemon.  It purifies and detoxes the body from toxins and also kick starts your metabolism. And I mean…..it does wonders.Wait for twenty minutes before consuming anything else.
Meanwhile make your detox water for the day.

TIP No. 2:
Make Detox water
Boil 2 liters of water ( about 0.5 gallon / 8 1/3 Cups) and let it sit for two minutes or so.
Pour in a large container or teapot over 2 tablespoons of Dandelion thee, the juice of half a lemon, a few slices of ginger and one bag of green tea. Leave to infuse and drink all of it during the day. If you must,  sweeten with little bit of Stevia.

Now let’s make some smoothie packs;

When you have smoothie packs ready in the freezer you will be less tempted to grab something else, and you might even feel a little guilty if you do because you really don’t have any excuses not to have a smoothie (wink).

The first thing you need to do, a day in advance, is to freeze coconut milk in an ice cube tray. It’s the best thing ever, great for smoothies and also for recipes that require just a bit of coconut milk.

Then we are going to freeze two or three more trays with a mixture of yoghurt, flax and almond butter, like this;

32 oz. of high protein yoghurt (more protein will keep you full the longest, I like Skyr)

3 tablespoons flax seeds

6 tablespoons almond butter.

Mix this in a bowl and divide over the ice cube trays. Freeze. When ready divide over six zip lock bags. This is the base. Now add the remaining ingredients and store the bags in the freezer. I have given you a few examples of what to put in the zip lock bags, but you can add whatever you like.

       

Blueberry Acaï Spinach

1 cup spinach

1 cup blueberries

2 tsp. Acaï  powder or a frozen Acaï  pack

1/2 banana, sliced

Pineapple Goji

1 cup pineapple cut into chunks

1 tbsp. dried goji berries (I love these)

1 whole banana, sliced

5 frozen coconut milk cubes

Mango Passion Baobab

1 cup Mango chunks

pulp from 1 passion fruit

1 banana

1 tsp. Baobab powder (optional)

1 tangerine in segments

Green Detox

1 cup kale

1 apple or pear, peeled and core removed

1 kiwi

1 lemon segment

1/2 banana

Strawberry Fields

1 1/2 cups strawberries

1 orange, peeled and in segments

1/2 banana

Raspberry Delight

1 Cup raspberries

1/2 Cup strawberries

5 frozen coconut milk cubes

1/2 banana

Chocolate Moca Smoothie

1 banana

1/2 cup blueberries

1 tablespoon semi sweet chocolate chips

1/4 avocado

1 tsp. instant expresso powder

(no yogurt cubes in this one, replace with milk of choice)

When ready to use:

Place freezer bag ingredients in a blender and add 1/2 cup almond milk or soy. Blend until smooth. Add a little water if you like it a bit thinner. Enjoy and feel the goodness!

If you try this recipe let me know! Leave a comment below and don’t forget to snap a pic and tag it #thecookingspoonblog on instagram! You’ll make my day.

Spiced Pumpkin Soup with a twist…

 

Spiced Pumpkin Soup with a twist...This soup recipe will become one of your favorites, it's quick and easy to make. Smooth and comfort food at it's best.I thecookingspoon.org

…and with XXL Cheese Croutons and crunchy pumpkin seed topping!

I’ve been making this soup for at least ten years and it’s very very comforting and has a velvet like texture. When it’s raining outside this is the kind of soup you look forward to.

I was about to make it for lunch when I realized I didn’t have a enough onions. Yikes, that ment I had to go outside again and it was pouring with rain.

Thank goodness the supermarket is just across the street so I put on my raincoat and made a run for it! I came back a little soaked but hey, this soup’s worth it.

The soup only takes about 15 minutes to prepare at the most, plus 30 minutes of simmering.  During the simmering you can make the crunchy seed topping and prepare the croutons. It really is a meal in itself, but you could serve it as a first course too, just serve small portions since it is quite filling.

I’ve added a super delicious crunchy topping of spicey pumpkin seeds and some XXL cheesy croutons. YUM!

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Serves 6

Ingredients Soup:

  • 2 tbsp. Butter (use coconut oil for vegans)
  • 2 large onions, peeled and chopped fine
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled and chopped fine
  • 2 tsp. Coriander , ground
  • 1 tsp. Cumin, ground
  • 2 lbs. peeled and cubed pumpkin, fresh or frozen
  • 3 C. chicken stock made with 3 Bouillon Cubes (use vegetable stock for vegans/vegetarians)
  • 3/4 C. Apple Juice without added sugar
  • 1 ripe peeled banana, sliced
  • 3 tbsp. Almond Meal
  • 1 tsp. Sambal Oelek

Method;

In a large pan, melt the butter, add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes on medium low. Add the garlic, stir around and add the spices. Stir a couple of times. Add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to  medium simmer and leave to cook for thirty minutes until everything is very tender. Turn off the heat. Blend with a hand blender until completely smooth.

Ingredients Crispy Pumpkin Seeds:

  • 1/2 C. Pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. cajun seasoning
  • 1 tsp. honey (use coconut sugar for vegans)

Method;

Heat a small frying pan over medium high heat. Add the oil.  Add the seeds and toast tossing constantly for about three minutes. Add the remaining ingredients. Cook for an other minute. Transfer the seeds to a tray lined with baking parchment and let cool until ready to use.

 

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Ingredients for the XXL Croutons;

  • 1 baguette
  • 1 – 2 tbsp. butter softened  (use coconut oil for vegans/vegetarians)
  • 4 – 6  slices thick cheese (use vegan or omit)

Method;

Preheat the grill of your oven.

Slice the baguette as diagonally as you can to get long slim pieces.

Butter the bottom of the slices and place on a lined baking tray. Cover with the cheese and grill in the middle rack of the oven until golden on top for about 5 minutes.

To serve, ladle some soup into a bowl or mug, sprinkle with the crispy pumpkin seeds a place a xxl crouton on top. Yum.

Enjoy!

Myra XO

alt="High fibre whole grain bread"

High Fibre Health Bread

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Here is my go to bread, for daily use. Very high in fibre and super healthy. It’s a small compact loaf,  but one slice is an equivalent to a normal sized slice of bread, only ten times healthier. Pure grains and goodness and very filling.

Makes 1 small loaf

Needed : 8 Inch x 4 Inch Loaf Pan

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 C. + 2 tbsp.  milk of choice, warm about at 100 ° F
  • 2 tsp. Yeast
  • 1 tbsp. Organic Coconut Sugar
  • 2 C. Dark Rye Flour
  • 1 C. Plain Spelt Flour
  • 1/4 C. Oat Fiber
  • 1/4 C. Ground Flaxseed
  • 1 tsp. Pink Himalayan Salt
  • 2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 C. Cooked Rye or Organic Spelt Berries

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INSTRUCTIONS:

In a bowl, mix the warm milk with the sugar, add the yeast and stir to dissolve. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes until frothy. Add the olive oil.

In the bowl of your mixer fitted with the hook attachment, place the flours, the fibre and flax. Stir to mix a little.

When the yeast mixture is ready pour is slowly into the bowl with the flour. With the machine running on low. Once the yeast liquid is mixed in add the salt.

Knead for ten minutes on medium. The last minute add the whole cooked grains and mix in gently with the machine on low.

Turn out the dough, Knead a little and form in to a ball. Place in an oiled bowl and cover with oiled cling film. Let rise for at least two hours. Although is doesn’t rise much leave for this amount of time.

After this time, place the dough into the oiled baking tin, sprinkle over some oat fibre if you like. Cover loosely with oiled cling film and leave to rise again for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile pre heat the oven to 375 ° F / 190 C

Place the tin in the middle of the oven on  a rack, bake for about 40 minutes. Tap to see if it sounds hollow after this time. Remove from oven and leave to cool completely before slicing.

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Endive Gratin with Baked Apples, Blue cheese and Thyme

Serves 4 as a side dish

Who disliked Endives as a kid?… raise your hands….

Well I don’t know about you, but I really really disliked Endives when I was a child. Always prepared so very over cooked. Boiled and then rolled in some cheap ham and covered in cheese. It was bitter and the consistency was just aweful.

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Thank goodness we have come a long way since then when it comes to being creative with endive. Really there is more than just Waldorf salad and the typical gratin.

I actually love this dish and some times I eat it with just some steamed new potatoes, it’s that satisfying. But I think it goes particularly well with white meats like  chicken or pork.

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Ingredients;

6 Large heads of Endive, about 1.5 lbs.

3 tbsp butter

2 tbsp. pine nuts

2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thin.

1 tablespoon fresh Thyme leafs

1/4 C. white wine

5 oz. blue cheese, 2 medium apples, peeled, core removed, cut in wedges

2 tbsp. honey

2 – 3 tbsp. pine nuts

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Method;

In a large frying pan, melt one tablespoon of butter and when hot add the apples. Fry for about 5 minutes then add 1 tbsp. of  honey, cook for another 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown. Transfer the apple slices to a plate and reserve.

Cut the endive in half lengthwise and remove bruised outer leafs if necessary. Slice away a small bit from the bottom.

In the same pan, add the remaining two tablespoons of butter. Add the endive cut side down and sprinkle over the thyme, season with salt and pepper.Cook for about  5 minutes before adding the garlic and the remaining honey, and turn them once in a while.  Add the white wine. Depending on how thick they are, cook for about 10 to 15 minutes. Pierce with a knife to check if they are tender but still a little bit firm.

Turn on the grill.

Transfer the endive to a baking dish and gently place the baked apple wedges around the sides.

Cut the blue cheese in slices and divide over the endive. Sprinkle over the pine nuts.

Grill the endives for about 5 minutes until nice and melted and golden. Keep an eye on it!

Enjoy

Myra Xo

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Not quite what you were looking for? How about a  Beet Salad

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Quinoa Tabbouléh with Chickpeas and Pomegranite Seeds

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Serves 4 as a side

Quinoa is such a versatile grain, I love it! It’s cooked in minutes and basically you can do anything you like with it once it’s cooked. Plus point; it freezes really well too. Just put it in a zip lock bag in the freezer and scoop out what you need.

During the Summer, when it’s too warm to eat hot dishes I like making salads like these, where there is some sort of grain involved and you have your veggies and carbs in one dish.

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Tabbouleh is a middle eastern dish usually made with Bulgur, a kind of dried cracked wheat, but I like to use Quinoa instead since it has a lot more protein, less carbs and more fibre. Also it’s Gluten free.  Quinoa to me is a super grain, the seeds grow on large feather like branches and can be black, red or white. In Inca quinoa means “mother grain”, and I can see why.

However when you cook Quinoa it is very important that you rinse the seeds very well before cooking since they are covered in saponin, a bitter substance that works like a natural insect repellant for the plant.

Ingredients;

1 1/2 C. Quinoa

3 C. Stock, vegetable or chicken

1 can of chickpeas, drained

1/2 C. Pomegranite seeds

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 cup good olive oil

Himalayan salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts

1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves

1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

1  cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced

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Method;

Cook the Quinoa according to package instructions or;

Wash the Quinoa thoroughly and put in a pan, add the stock. Bring to a gently boil and cook with the lid on the pan for about 10 – 12 minutes , taste and check  to see if the Quinoa is done.

Place the Quinoa in a large bowl and let it cool before adding the chickpeas, pom seeds, scallions, cucumber, herbs, oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Toss and serve either cooled or at room temperature. Great with grilled meats!

Enjoy

Myra Xo

Looking for more great recipes to try?  Be sure to check out this Watermelon Salad

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Rice Paper Rolls with peanut dipping sauce

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Rice paper rolls are really easy to make, they may look a bit intimidating, but the trick is not to soak them too long. Let the rice paper soften without going soggy, they tear apart easily. The vegetable filling is also moist and will give the roll enough pliability once you’re rolling them up. They keep a day in the fridge but really are best when eaten the same day. They are really great for lunch or a summer dinner when it is too hot outside to cook. You can make them in the morning and keep them in the fridge for when you are ready to eat them. I added the beet root which may be a bit unconventional, for the sweetness it gives the rolls and of course the beautiful color.

Serves: 3-4
Ingredients for the rice rolls:
    • 10 rice papers or more
    • 1 cup cooked quinoa
    • 1 cucumber, peeled, deseeded and cut in to strips
    • ½ cup sprouts
    • 2 carrots cut to thin strips
    • some Coriander leafs
    • 1 avocado, peeled and cut in to strips
  • 1 beet root, peeled and grated fine
Ingredients for the peanut sauce:
    • 1/4 C. peanut butter
    • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
    • 1/2 tsp. coriander powder
    • 1/4 tsp. cumin
    • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
    • 1 tsp. Sambal Oelek or Sriracha sauce, or more if you can take it
  • 3/4 – 1 C. coconut milk
Method:
For the peanut sauce, just mix all the ingredients. You can serve it as is, or heat it up a little bit. It will thicken however.
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For the rice rolls, arrange all the ingredients for the stuffing and prepare to make the rolls. Take a shallow bowl with warm water.
Soak the rice paper sheets for about 15 seconds and let it get pliable. Carefully take it out and lay it on a moist kitchen towel (I put them on a plastic cutting board, but then you have to work quit fast), and stuff all the vegetables. Top with Quinoa and roll  tightly. Make sure not to over stuff it. Roll like you would a traditional spring roll or a wrap.After you roll it, put them on a plate that has been rubbed with a little bit of vegetable oil. Cover them loosely  with a wet paper towel or kitchen towel. Cut them in half when you are ready to eat. Serve them with the peanut sauce. If you are going to keep them in the fridge all day until evening , cover them with cling film which has been sprayed with cooking oil.
Enjoy!
Myra Xo

Watermelon Salad

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Serves 4

At home we try to eat what’s in Season,  it feels like the right thing to do. So it’s really exciting when I see a Watermelon for the first time in season. Not only are they delicious but very healthy too. They are full of Lycopene which is a carotenoid  good for heart health and bone health. They also contain Citrulline.

Citrulline is an amino acid that is converted by our kidneys into arginine.

Watermelon contains about 250 milligrams of citrulline per cup.  Arginine improves blood flow and there’s also some preliminary evidence arginine may help prevent excess accumulation of fat in fat cells. Hello?

Ingredients;

  • 2 bags of Arugula
  • 1 small watermelon, peeled and diced
  • 4 oz. Feta cheese
  • 1  onion, peeled and sliced as thin as you can

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  • a bunch of fresh Mint. Pick of the leafs, thow the stems away.
  • 1/2 C. Pomegranate Seeds
  • 1/4 C. toasted Pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp. Chia seeds
  • 1/4 C. extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of one lemon

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Instructions;

Star of by putting the onion in a bowl with the juice of half a lemon and leave for about 15 minutes. This will take away the sharpness of the onion.

Arrange the Arugula on a platter. Scatter over the Watermelon. Then the drained onions.

Crumble over the Feta. Then tear the Mint leafs up a bit and sprinkle over the salad tucking the leafs in between the pieces of Watermelon.

Then scatter over the Pomegranate seeds, the Chia seeds and the Pine nuts. Serve drizzled with the olive oil and the remaining juice of the lemon.

Enjoy!

Myra XO

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Bagels

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When I think of Bagels, I think of New York.
During my catering years in New York, I worked in a clothing store as well, to earn some extra cash. The girl I worked with introduced me to Bagels and Lox. We had a deli just across the street from where we were working, so I ran back and forth all the time discovering all sorts of American delicacies, new to me. I had never even heard of Lox. For those like me, Lox is a fillet of brined Salmon. A thick layer of cream cheese and then the salty Lox. So good. I bought them all the time. I had never seen Bagels in europe before. I was always a bit reluctant to make them because I knew you had to boil them first, and it just looked very complicated. Well it really isn’t as scary as it looks. Actually easier than some simple breads. The boiling in the sugary/salty water gives Bagels that unique shiny chewiness, that you just can’t achieve any other way. So for those who are thinking of skipping the boiling part….. you’re just going to end up with plain buns with a hole in them, so no. If you have never made these before, try it on a Sunday when you have plenty of time, you will see how good they turn out. Just like from a New York Bakery.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole grain spelt flour
  • 3 cups white spelt flour
  • 2 tsp dried yeast
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 C. + 2 tbsp. lukewarm water
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. Coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp potato starch/flour
  • 1 tbsp rice or date syrup, or coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • Garnish to sprinkle on top. See comment below.

Method;

To make the dough combine the first 6 ingredients, and mix a little bit, then sprinkle in the salt and knead for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Divide the dough into 10 equal portions and form into small balls.

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Form the bagels by pressing your thumb in the middle and create a hole.

Place the bagels on a baking tray covered with baking paper and cover with cling film. Allow them to rise for one hour at a warm room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 425° F / 220° C.

Mix the potato starch into a cup of cold water, then add to  a large pot of water and add the remaining 1 tbsp.  of syrup (or sugar) and salt . Bring to a rolling boil and then lower the heat so the water is just simmering. Drop the bagels, two or three at a time into the water.

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After about one minute, turn them over and cook for another minute. Take them out using a slotted spoon and place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle with the topping of your choice*. Place the tray of bagels in the oven, lower the temperature to 400° F / 210° C degrees Celsius and bake for 25 minutes, until they start to brown. Take the out of the oven and let them cool on a rack. They freeze very well.

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Fresh from the oven.

  • Toppings can be anything like Sesame seeds, Sunflower seeds, Pumpkin seeds, Poppy seeds and the typical “Everything” Bagel, for which I have written the ingredients below.

Everything seasoning;

Makes about half a cup. 

2 tbsp. Poppy seeds

2 tbsp.Sesame seeds

1 tbsp. dried onion powder

2 tsp. dried garlic powder

1 tsp. dried oregano (optional)

1 tsp. coarse sea salt