Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Heavenly vegetarian cheesy tofu wrap!



This is probably my favourite dinner creation so far. Yes, I'm very proud of this one :) The combination of goat cheese and smoked tofu completely exceeded my expectations! I'm actually not the biggest fan of soft creamy goat cheese, but I thought I should give it yet another chance...

Tofu is made of soy beans and therefore a good substitute for meat. The taste of ordinary natural tofu is rather bland (but not bad though!). For that reason I opted for smoked (organic) tofu, just to bring in some more flavour.



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Ingredients:

Baby leaf spinach
Courgette
Semi sundried tomatoes
Goat cheese
Smoked tofu
Coconut oil or olive oil
Salt and pepper
Wraps
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Step 1:
Rinse the spinach well in cold water to get rid of all the dirt and spin it dry in a salad spinner. In a large pot, heat some oil (coconut or olive) and add all the spinach witch some salt and pepper. Cook it for a few minutes until all the spinach is wilted. Try to get as much water as possible from the spinach by pushing with a spoon. Pour all the water away because this will make your dish too wet.

Step 2:
Take a pan and fry the tofu. When the tofu is done, put it aside on a plate.



Step 3:
Then in the same pan, fry the courgette. Season to taste with salt and pepper, add the semi sundried tomatoes and as much goat cheese as you like. Let it all heat through for a moment until the cheese is almost completely melted. Add the drained spinach.



Step 4:
Then also add the tofu and let it all heat through for a few more minutes. Mmmm, look at those colours...



Step 5:
Fill up your wrap! And attack!



Oh please ... do try this at home!

What do you like in your wrap? Have you ever tried smoked tofu?


Love,
Sofie

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

The Oatmeal series: Banana & goji berries



Experimenting with oatmeal is so much fun. You can really add anything! This time I went for a combination of banana and goji berries. Goji what?

The Goji berry is a Chinese berry and is used in a wide variety of traditional Chinese medicine preparations. They are rich in vitamins (vitamin C), minerals (selenium, germanium), amino acids and antioxidants (powerfood alarm!). Goji berries are known as natural anti aging wonders. They improve the immune system and have a supportive effect on body and mind. Sounds good, right?



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Ingredients:

Oatmeal:
1/2 cup of oatmeal
1 cup of almond milk (in fact I used almond-rice milk)
Cinnamon

Topping:
1 Banana
1 tbsp of goji berries
Flax seeds
Shredded coconut
Almonds
Cashews
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Cut the banana into slices. Put the oats, together with the almond milk and a pinch of cinnamon in a pot and set it to medium high heat. Add the goji berries and 1/2 of the banana slices. Let boil for about 5-10 minutes, and stir occasionally. The smell of banana and cinnamon ... yummy! When you are pleased with the consistency of the oatmeal, transfer to a bowl.

Oatmeal is ready ... time for the toppings! Add some flax seeds, nuts, shredded coconut and the other half of the banana slices. You can always add some extra goji berries on top.

Whoop, and that's it!

You can experiment with the amount of milk you add. If you like thicker oatmeal, use less milk and vice-versa.



Have you ever eaten goji berries? Would you ever want to try? (Please do! They really are delicious!)


Love,
Sofie

Friday, 15 November 2013

Couscous, paprika & feta salad



So I've been experimenting with some meat substitutes, and last week I made this delicious couscous salad with feta.

If you don't eat meat, for any reason whatsoever, it's very important that you incorporate an alternative protein source into your menu. The advantage of animal proteins (meat, eggs, milk) is that they contain all the essential amino acids together. There's only one plant product that shares this same property, and that is the soybean. Essential amino acids can not be synthesized by our body and therefore they must be supplied in our diet. Other vegetal protein sources like beans, grains, nuts and seeds, don't contain all the essential amino acids. So to consider them as full protein sources, they should be combined with each other.

In this meal I combined feta cheese with nuts and seeds and a cereal product.



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Ingredients:

Couscous
Paprika (I used 1/4 of a yellow, orange, green and red paprika)
Feta cheese
Raisins
Pumpkin seeds
Sunflower seeds
Turmeric
Vegetable broth
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Put the couscous in a bowl with some vegetable broth, turmeric and raisins and add boiling water. Leave to soak for about 5 minutes until the couscous is finished. Cut the paprika and feta cheese into cubes. Mix the paprika, feta and seeds with the couscous and ready is Freddy!



Super simple, super quick and very delicious! I loved the sweetness of the soaked raisins and the crunchiness of the seeds in this salad. Looking at these pictures makes me want to eat it again!

What do you think? Do you like couscous?


Love,
Sofie

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

The Oatmeal series: Nutty oatmeal



I broke my breakfast routine! The reason: I rediscovered oatmeal ...

Oatmeal contains lots of calcium and magnesium and is rich in polyphenols (antioxidants). It is high in slow sugars and therefore ensures a long feeling of fullness. Oatmeal is also packed with fiber, which is good for your intestines and for the digestion process. In addition, oatmeal is also good for the heart and blood vessels and blood sugar (diabetes) and it strengthens the immune system. So nothing but good, perfect for breakfast!



So this was my first attempt at making oatmeal after a very - very long time ... and I must admit, I went a little crazy on the toppings. Oh well.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Ingredients:

Oatmeal:
1/2 cup of oatmeal
1 cup of almond milk (in fact I used almond-rice milk)
Cinnamon

Topping:
Raisins
Sunflower seeds
Pumpkin seeds
Flax seeds
Shredded coconut
Almonds
Cashews
1 tsp of peanut butter
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Put the oats, together with the almond milk and a pinch of cinnamon in a pot and set it to medium high heat. Let the oats boil for about 5-10 minutes, and stir occasionally. When you are pleased with the consistency of the oatmeal, transfer to a bowl.

Oatmeal is ready ... time for the fun part: the toppings! Add some flax seeds, raisins, seeds and nuts and finish with some shredded coconut. Yummy! And if that is not enough, go wild with some peanut butter. Heaven!

You can experiment with the amount of milk you add. If you like thicker oatmeal, use less milk and vice-versa.



Oatmeal helps you developing your creative mind because the combinations are endless! There is nothing like eating a cup of hot oatmeal on a cold drizzly morning. A perfect and powerful start of the day!

Do you like oatmeal? What's your favourite topping?


Love,
Sofie

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Update: 5 days without meat; more energy than ever!

My cat would definitely like to exchange her kibbles against my snacks!


Do you ever have that feeling, that you are so strong and energetic, that you could climb mountains, swim oceans and reach the sky? Okay, that might be a little exaggerated. But seriously, if mountains weren't that high, oceans weren't that big and the sky wasn't so unreachable, I think that today (I wrote this on Friday) I definitely could, ehem.

It has been 5 days since I started my almost meatless lifestyle. I say 'almost meatless' because when I'm at home during the weekends, my dad makes dinner, and so that will probably be inevitable meat days (house rule: "Everyone eats the same"). Anyway, during the week I've been trying to replace my meat as dignified as possible. And I must say, I've never felt so light, energetic and powerful in a very long time.

Couscous, feta and pepper salad (recipe will be published!)


The last few weeks university, internship and work were taking all my energy and made me feel very exhausted. But since this week - since I started eating more vegetables (even at lunch!), more fruit (even at breakfast!) and more nuts, seeds and other power foods like goji berries (stay tuned for recipes!) - I'm feeling so clean and healthy ... Yes, I definitely can feel that my body is changing! (That just sounded like a guru.)

And instead of only 3 meals a day (yes, I never ate snacks), I also introduced an afternoon snack, greatest idea ever! My meals are lighter than before (more veggies!), so I have reason to indulge myself with a delicious snack (examples coming soon!).



So today, I thought I should go for a run since the sun made his appearance again. It has been raining the whole week what kept me inside, wrapped up in a blanket, crying ... okay, the crying isn't true ... Normally, if I'm having a good day, I run 5 km, maximum. But today, I just couldn't believe it. After one and a half week of no training, I ran no less than 10 kilometers! Yes, TEN, that's double as usual! It felt like I could go on and on and on, no effort (only a little hunger because it was near lunch time). Unbelievable! Pat pat on my shoulder, yay!

I can't believe that changing my diet would have such a big impact on my well-being ... and I've only just begun. I hope this feeling will last forever! Is this wishful thinking?

Have you ever tried to eat less meat? What were your experiences and findings?


Have a lovely weekend!
Love,
Sofie

Friday, 8 November 2013

Takeaway leftovers salad



You should know that I'm a huge salad lover. I can devour a whole lettuce at once (and I often do so, oops!).

On Sunday, we celebrated my sister's 25th birthday at home. For the appetizer we needed some lettuce, but a full crop seemed too much. There were also some cherry tomatoes and parsley left. A good reason for me to reserve all leftovers and save them for the next day to make a colourful lunch.

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Ingredients:

Salad:
Curly lettuce, lamb's lettuce, ...
Parsley
Cherry tomatoes
Olives
Walnut oil

Topping:
Sunflower seeds
Pumpkin seeds
Raisins
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


I mixed the lettuce, parsley, cherry tomatoes and olives in a box and poured some walnut oil (mmm, I love the nutty taste of this oil on salads!). My seeds and raisins I took in a separate pot and I added them right before consumption to keep them crunchy and fresh.

The reason why I added some walnut oil, seeds and olives is that they are - apart from being very tasty - high in omega-3 fatty acids which are tremendously healthy for heart and blood vessels. Eliminating fats from your diet is probably the worst thing you can do. We all need fats, good fats, to function well like this quality omega-3 fats!



With my salad, locked in a box, I went to school. The whole morning I was looking forward to that particular moment when I could eat this simple but delicious leftovers salad!

What do you like in your salad? Have you ever tried walnut oil?


Love,
Sofie

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Standard breakfast: Bread & Green tea



Today, I'll show you what my standard breakfast looks like:

--> 3 slices of bread:     * 1 with coconut oil
                           * 1 with Tahini (sesame paste) + flax seeds
                           * 1 with peanut butter
--> 1 cup of green tea


I'm having my breakfast like this for almost 5 years ... every single day ... except for Sundays. And I'm still not tired of eating!

The bread is homemade by my dad and therefore he always uses spelt flour which I can highly recommend. Why? Well, because spelt - the oldest grain in the world - has nothing but benefits. It is known to be better tolerated than other grains because it is easily digestible. In addition, it is also a source of vitamin E, B, folic acid, and minerals such as iron, magnesium and phosphorus. Still not convinced? Spelt has a beneficial effect in many areas. It is good for rheumatism, cancer, migraine, depression, neuritis, diabetes, obesity, immune diseases and various allergies such as wheat. So this ancient whole grain has nothing but good qualities! So try it if you can!



Since 8 years, we are using coconut oil for cooking and on our bread. The health benefits of this oil should not be underestimated! More on this delicious oil in one of my next posts ...

Tahini is a paste made of sesame. The first time I ate it, I must admit I didn't like the taste that much. But since my parents had bought a big jar right away - and since I have trouble throwing things away - I sacrificed myself to empty the whole jar! Ugh! But after a couple slices of bread, I liked the taste so much that after that first jar immediately a second jar was purchased. And I haven't stopped eating it since! It is also easily digestible and has a lot of health benefits. It is extremely rich in minerals (including calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, zinc and phosphorus), vitamins (A and B), amino acidsessential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6), proteins and dietary fibers. The amount of calcium is even higher than in milk!!
I always like to put some flax seeds on top of my tanini-slice of bread. Good for the digestive system.

And then, last but not least, peanut butter! No breakfast is complete without peanut butter!! But I highly recommend you to go for the peanut butter that contains 100% peanuts and so no other additives. Just peanuts, nothing more. A new jar of 100% peanut butter has an oil layer on top (a natural extraction process from the nuts) so you'll have to give it a stir before consumption.

To drink: green tea! The best! Healthy because of its anti-oxidants.



I think my traditional breakfast is not so bad at all and actually quite healthy. But because I'm trying to get more variation into my diet, I will be trying out some new breakfast ideas. You will find out more about them soon ...

Do you also have a standard breakfast? What does that look like?


Love,
Sofie

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Balancing my diet: Questioning meat & Praising power foods

I've never been a big meat eater. It has nothing to do with ethical reasons, I just don't like the taste of meat that much. Also, when I've eaten a piece of meat, I often feel like I've swallowed a brick (ugh!) and my stomach feels blocked. When I was younger, I always preferred cheese instead of meat toppings and when I go to a restaurant, I'll always choose something vegetarian or something with fish (salmon is my favourite). It's always been like that and therefore everyone knows me as being a 'special' eater, oh well ...



Last weeks - I think I can even say last months - I've rather unconsciously been starting to eat less meat, just because I've had enough of it. I just can't seem to convince myself to buy meat in the supermarket. And since I'm in a student house during the week, I have to do my own groceries and so it is me who determines what's on my plate.

But I must admit that last weeks, I've only just removed my piece of meat, and besides that there were no other changes in my menu. This means that I didn't always replace my meat worthy by using other protein sources. And as a dietician, I should know better! Ehem, shame on me ...

Anyway, now that winter is approaching slowly, we all need our strength to get us through those cold days. We need quality food for energy. So I think it is high time to start balancing my diet!



Regarding proteins, they are the most important nutrients to keep our bodies strong. We need them to create new body tissues and strengthening our immune system. The quality of the proteins that we eat are extremely important as well. Proteins with high content of essential amino acids have a high biological value and so are high quality. Overall, animal protein have a higher biological value than vegetable proteins. An exception to this rule is soy protein, which also has a high biological value like meat.


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So what's the plan?

Replacing my meat worthy by making use of other high-quality protein sources.
*
Eating more fruit and vegetables, just because I like them very much and because there's absolutely no reason to eat them only once a day.
*
Building more nuts, seeds, dried fruits, oats and other of those delicious power foods into my diet. They are the love of my life, so why not let them notice?!
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You know, I'm definitely not in favor of temporary crash diets. If I change enrich my diet, it is intended that I hold this. I believe that a healthy body results from a healthy lifestyle - which you aren't able to reach in 2 weeks. The intention is not to lose weight, but to live a healthier life based on quality foods.

I've made a new page called "Good food" on this blog so that you - if you wish - can easily follow my findings, thoughts and dishes concerning my new lifestyle. As long as I can remember, I've always tried to eat as healthy as possible. But now I think I'm on a different - higher - level, let's say that I'm starting a new chapter in my life and I am so ready for it!

What do you think? Is there anyone else dealing with a meat avoidance behaviour like me?

This has been on my mind for quite a long time, and I feel that writing about it, relieves me. Thank you very much for reading this!


Love,
Sofie

Friday, 1 November 2013

Sandwich spread: Nuts & Dried fruit



My dad once made a sandwich spread of nuts and dried fruit. I still remember I found it super tasty, but it's already been several years since he made it. So last week, I decided to try it myself and make my own nutty sandwich spread. I must say, it turned out very well! This spread is super easy to make and requires only nuts and dried fruits (and some nut oil if you wish, for smoothing it up a little).


What you need:



I used:
- Nuts          * 20 g of almonds
                * 20 g cashew nuts
                * 20 g hazelnuts
                * 10 g pumpkin seeds
                * 10 g sunflower seeds
- Dried fruit   * 40 g raisins
                * 40 g dried apricots 
- Optionally: walnut oil (I used 2 teaspoons)

If you would like to make more, the proportion is always 1/2 nuts, 1/2 dried fruit.


Step 1:
Soak the nuts for about 1 hour in water.



Step 2:
After one hour, pat dry the soaked nuts using a paper towel.



Step 3:
Blend the nuts and dried fruit into a paste.



Optionally: add some nut oil for a smoother result (I added 2 teaspoons of walnut oil).



And that's it!!




Super healthy, extremely delicious and super easy to make! Enjoy!


Love,
Sofie