Vegetable Layered Pie Dish

DSC_4122“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world”,  J.R.R. Tolkien

A vegetable layered pie is sort of like a lasagne, crust-less quiche, casserole sort of dish. Instead of sheets of pasta I used beautiful layers of vitamin pumped vegetables. You can prepare this on a Sunday evening and have the leftovers as a lunch in work or it’s a great dish if you have guests coming around because it’s so simple to prepare. Either ways it is a comforting dish to devour and maybe sneak a glass of pinotage in as a treat (one glass not the bottle). I prepared sweet potato mash to accompany the dish. I boil them up and then pop them in food processor with some coconut oil, black pepper and salt, delicious. Also chop some avocado, squeeze of lime juice and a sprinkle of pink salt; perfect combo. This dish is grain free, gluten-free and contains a good balance of macro and micro nutrients. There is also a good balance of fibre.

Ingredients

Serves 4-6 

Meat Sauce

500 grams Free Range, Lean Beef Mince

2 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped

1 tbsp. Cumin

½-1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper (this will depend how spicey you like your food)

1 tin Tomatoes or make your own tomato sauce using a punnet of tomatoes and blitz them in the food processor.

Black Pepper & Salt to season 

Vegetables Layers

2 large carrots, peeled and chopped

1 Egg Plant, chopped

Handful Basil

5-6 Mushrooms

3-4 Courgettes, use a vegetable peeler to make ribbons

Topping                 

 Ricotta Cheese, sprinkled/scattered over the top

How to:

  • Preheat oven 180 degrees. Grease casserole dish with coconut oil.
  • Vegetable Layers: wash, peel and chop carrots. Chop the eggplant and place on a plate and sprinkle salt over; this will drain the excess water. After 5-10 minutes rinse and pat dry eggplant. Lightly fry medium heat (1 t sp. coconut oil) until soft and golden brown. Wash and chop the mushrooms. Wash, top and tail courgette and peel in ribbons/strips using the vegetable peeler.
  • Meat Sauce: In large saucepan add 1 tsp. coconut oil, finely chopped garlic, mince and spices, allow mince to brown. Add tomato sauce bought or homemade. Season.
  • Layering: place chopped carrots on the bottom, meat sauce, eggplant, meat sauce, basil and mushrooms, meat sauce, courgette ribbons. Drizzle a small drop (1 tbsp.) coconut oil over the top and cracked black pepper. This will keep the courgette from drying out.
  • Pop in the oven for 35-40 minutes. After 20-25 minutes remove from the oven and sprinkle ricotta cheese, over the top, pop back in for 15-20 minutes – golden brown.
  • Allow to cool. Serve with sweet potato mash, mixed green salad, chopped avocado, whatever your darling taste buds desire.

Be sure to keep me posted if you try any recipe by posting on instagram: @makeandbakefromscratch or  twitter:@WhelehanLynne

Real Food Rocks & Cookin’ Rolls x

Coconut Loaf French Toast

DSC_4124“The spirit cannot endure the body when overfed, but, if underfed, the body cannot endure the spirit”, St Frances de Sales

So it’s the weekend and you feel you deserve a treat? Perhaps “Coconut Loaf French Toast” might tickle your fancy? Grilled banana, homemade roasted almond butter made with love and drizzled in a raw cacao sauce, what more could you ask for. You will have to get the dishcloth and wipe the drool from around your mouth. The recipe is gluten-free, grain free and low in sugar. I used coconut milk to soak the bread, however, any nut milk would work or milk of choice. I made my own almond butter but you can use store bought. Always buy sugar and salt free nut butters. I did not make the almond butter the same time as the French toast, it was made a few days prior to this recipe. Some people might feel it is too much effort; therefore, store-bought might be the preferred option. You could use peanut butter, macadamia or cashew butter as an alternative option.

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Some of the health benefits tied to this dish includes:

Coconut Flour – By consuming coconut flour you can increase your fibre intake which will also reduce the absorption of sugar into the blood stream and help lower cholesterol. Two slices per serving, remember to eat in moderation.

Banana – vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber, and manganese.

Almond Butter – Almonds contain vitamin E and manganese. They are a source of magnesium, copper, riboflavin (vitamin B2), phosphorus and heart healthy mono-saturated fats. Eat in moderation.

Coconut Sugar – Low glycemic Index (GI) Sugar. (35 score). Is it a healthier version of refined sugars but should be consumed in moderation, substitute it 1:1.

What you will need:

Serves 2

French Toast

4 Slices Coconut Loaf (2 per person) {recipe here}

165ml Coconut Milk

1 Free Range Egg

1 tsp. Cinnamon Powder

1 tsp. Vanilla Powder

¼ tsp. Pink Rock Salt

Grilled Banana

2 small-medium sized Banana’s (1 per person)

Homemade Roasted Almond Butter

200grams Almonds (I used blanched)

¼ tsp. Pink Rock Salt

*I added 1 tbsp. cinnamon powder to my almond butter but it is not compulsory. You could add coconut sugar (1 tablespoon) or cacao powder (1 tablespoon) as an alternative.

 Raw Cacao Drizzle Sauce

2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Coconut Oil, melted

1 tsp. Raw Cacao Powder

½ -1 tsp. Coconut Blossom Sugar (if you have a sweet tooth you will probably sway more towards the 1 teaspoon of added sugar)

Method

  • French Toast: In a large bowl add coconut milk, egg, cinnamon, vanilla and salt – whisk until combined. Heat pan to a medium temperature add ½ tsp. coconut oil. Soak the slices of coconut loaf in the liquid mixture; make sure they are not too soggy. Next pop them on the pan (I cooked two slices at a time, due to the size of the pan I have). Cook on both sides until golden brown.
  • Grilled Banana: turn on grill to medium heat. Remove skin, slice banana’s the down the middle, lengthways. Place on tray and grill until golden brown.
  • Homemade Roasted Almond Butter: preheat oven 175 degrees, place almonds on flat baking tray. Roast in oven for 25-30minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool. Pop in food processor and blitz. This can take about 20-25 minutes use a spatula to scrape down the mixture from the sides, switching the processor on and off until a creamy texture is formed.  Spoon into (your mouth) glass jar for storage.
  • Raw Cacao Drizzle Sauce: in a small serving bowl mix melted coconut oil, raw cacao, coconut sugar. Set aside until ready to pour over the dish.

DSC_4127As you can see from the photographs I layered the French toast with banana, almond butter, sprinkled coconut chips and poured cacao sauce over the top. Feel free to eat it whatever way you want, whip out the French press and enjoy.

Be sure to keep me posted if you try any recipe by posting on instagram: @makeandbakefromscratch or  twitter:@WhelehanLynne

Real Food Rocks & Cookin’ Rolls x

 

Chocolate Strawberry Treats

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Chocolate strawberries are a delicious weekend treat. For me they were an indulgent treat and a break from study.  You have the option of making your own chocolate coating or using 90% Lindt (sold in Woolworth’s).  Dark chocolate is rich and decadent it really compliments the sweetness of the juicy strawberry. These would be great at a dinner party as they are nice and light. No need to discuss the health benefits here, sometimes it is nice to unwind. This recipe is gluten-free and if you make your own chocolate it will have low sugar content.

Ingredients

Serves 2 people

10 Fresh Strawberries (5 per person)

2 Skewers (Woolworth’s sells skewers)

See Chocolate Options below.

Method

  • Wash and slice the top of the strawberries (see image attached).
  • Grab your skewers and slide those strawberries down the pole (5 per skewer). Place strawberries on grease proof paper. This is to ensure things do not get too messy when pouring the chocolate over them.
  • Chocolate Coating 

Option 1:

5 tbsp. Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

3 tbsp. Cacao Powder

1-2 tbsp. Coconut Sugar

1 tsp. Vanilla Powder

  • In bowl add all ingredients and melt over a saucepan of hot water, stir occasionally and combine mixture. Once melted pour over the strawberries. Pop back in the fridge for 20 minutes to allow to set.

Option 2:

80 grams (40 grams per person) 90% Dark Chocolate

  • Melt in a bowl over a saucepan of hot water and pour over the strawberries. Pop back in the fridge for 20 minutes to allow to set.

 

Be sure to keep me posted if you try any recipe by posting on instagram: @makeandbakefromscratch or  twitter:@WhelehanLynne

Real Food Rocks & Cookin’ Rolls x

Coconut Loaf

DSC_4106This Coconut Loaf is a healthy, nutritious alternative bread. It is gluten-free and contains substantial amounts of fibre. Hence the reason the recipe requires 7 eggs. The recommended daily intake of fibre is between 18-25grams. By consuming coconut flour you can increase your fibre intake which will also reduce the absorption of sugar into the blood stream and help lower cholesterol. Two slices per serving, remember to eat in moderation. You can purchase coconut flour in Dischem, Fresh Earth Store or Fruits & Roots.

I added water to make the mixture moist you can use a nut milk or milk of choice. Add a smashed banana, homemade applesauce (2 tbsp.), pumpkin puree or chopped Medjool dates instead of coconut sugar for sweetness. You can play around with sweet or savoury flavours for the loaf recipe. It tastes delicious slathered with homemade coconut butter.

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What you will need:

3/4 cup Coconut Flour

7 Free Range Eggs (separated)

5 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

1 Tbsp. Blossom Coconut Sugar

1 Tbsp. Cinnamon

½ Tsp. Pink Rock Salt

½ Tsp.  Baking Soda

5-6 Tbsp. Water/Almond/Coconut Milk

Directions

  • Preheat oven 180. Using a hand-held electric beater, beat the 7 egg whites till they form stiff peaks.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the 7 egg yolks, coconut oil, coconut sugar and cinnamon.
  • Next coconut flour, salt and baking soda and mix together (the mixture will appear dry but don’t worry once you add the eggs whites and liquid it will become moist). Fold in the egg whites followed by liquid. I used a hand-held beater to mix the batter once I folded in egg whites, sometimes coconut flour can be hard to mix. If it still looks dry here add 1 tablespoon liquid until moist texture appears.
  • Pour the bread mixture into a greased bread pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown, times and temperatures may vary depending on your oven.
  • Remove from oven allow to cool before slicing.

Be sure to keep me posted if you try any recipe by posting on instagram: @makeandbakefromscratch or  twitter:@WhelehanLynne

Real Food Rocks & Cookin’ Rolls x

Coconut Chicken & Mixed Herbs, topped with Roasted Dates

DSC_4084

This delicious chicken recipe will satisfy your taste buds for lunch, dinner or tea. I added a Raw Zucchini Ribbon Salad to the mix to boost the vegetable content. Sweet potato wedges roasted in coconut oil would work really well with the recipe too.  The recipe is gluten-free, dairy free and spilling with a good range of macronutrients (protein, fats and carbohydrates). The roasted dates paired with the coconut milk will leave you wanting more. Bon Appetit , enjoy this wholesome recipe.

Ingredients

Serves 2 people 

2-3 Chicken Fillets

165ml Coconut Milk

1 Garlic Clove, finely chopped

1 Purple Onion, finely chopped

1 tbsp. Mixed Herbs

Pink Salt & Black Pepper to season

Roasted Dates

2-3 Medjool Dates , remove stones

Raw Zucchini Ribbons

2-3 medium size Zucchini/Courgette

Homemade Pesto

Large handful Basil

Handful Walnuts

4 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Garlic Clove

Sprinkle Chilli Flakes

Pinch of Pink Rock Salt

Black Pepper

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Method

  • Wash and chop garlic and onion.
  • Add 1 tsp. extra virgin coconut oil to a medium-sized saucepan on medium heat. Pop in veggies, chicken and mixed herbs. Allow to sauté. Pour coconut milk over the chicken and simmer on low heat for 10-15minutes.
  • Roasted Dates: pit medjool dates. Pop on a lined baking tray. Throw into the oven 180 degrees for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Remove, allow to cool. Once they cool they will become crispy/chewy (similar texture to toffees), cut into strips (I use a scissors).
  • Zucchini/Courgette Ribbons: wash, top and tail. Grab your potato peeler and proceed to peel the zucchini in ribbons/strips. Pop the ribbons/strips in a glass bowl. For added flavour I added 1 tbsp. homemade pesto, mixed through the ribbons.
  • Homemade Pesto: Pop in food processor and blend until all ingredients are combined. Store in glass jar in the fridge.
  • Serve the dish with chopped roasted dates on top, sprinkle sesame seeds and a side of zucchini ribbons smothered in homemade pesto.

 Be sure to keep me posted if you try any recipe by posting on instagram: @makeandbakefromscratch or  twitter:@WhelehanLynne

Real Food Rocks & Cookin’ Rolls x

Tame Your Wild Gut

Belly BloatImage Source

Eating certain foods can trigger gas, distension, bloating, cramping, diarrhoea or constipation. Mahan et al[1] describe these reactions as Irritable Bowel Symptoms (IBS). This can be very uncomfortable for the individual, embarrassing and frustrating.

What is causing the problem?

Fear not, there is an explanation as to what is causing your stomach such grief and having an impact on your quality of life. The answer is FODMAPs. FODMAP is an acronym that stands for Fermentable, Oligo-Di-Mono-saccharides and Polyols. These can be classed as carbohydrates (sugars) and are categorised based on the length of their chains[2]. FODMAPs are short chains. It is important to note that not all carbohydrates are FODMAPs. It is suggested that food that contains the FODMAP chains will have an impact on IBS.

These short chain carbohydrates are not absorbed adequately in the small intestine and cause fermentation in the gut – giving you IBS symptoms. Therefore, it is recommended to reduce consumption of foods that trigger these nasty effects. Keeping a food diary will help allow you to monitor that wild digestive system and how it responds to different foods.

 FODMAP Foods

  • Fructose (mono- simple sugars): fruits (apples) , honey, high fructose corn syrup
  • Lactose (disaccharide): dairy ( lactose intolerance: insufficient “lactase enzyme” to break down the lactose)
  • Frutans (oligosaccharides): wheat, onion, garlic.
  • Galactans: beans, lentils, legumes.
  • Polyols: these are your alcohol sweeteners (xylitol) and some stone fruits like avocado’s, apricots, peaches and plums.

Foods that are recommended include: meats (no processed), if diagnosed as lactose intolerant – lactose free dairy, almond milk, nut butters, nuts, seeds. Fruits include bananas, berries, oranges, kiwi’s. Vegetables include bell peppers, bak choy, tomatoes and zucchini. Please click here to read a more extensive list of foods: Low FODMAP Food Choices.

It is also recommended reducing gluten (wheat based products) as this may hinder gut function. One study found that participant’s gastrointestinal symptoms improved significantly when FODMAP consumption was reduced. This could mean that gluten may not be a specific trigger in some cases[3].Gluten free grains include: quinoa (keen-wah), basmati rice, sweet potato.

Helpful Tips

As an individual who suffers from gut function issues, I believe, that certain food can have a negative impact. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Keep a food diary. This will allow you track responses to food intake.
  • Learn how to read food labels e.g. avoid products containing High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).
  • Learn correct portion sizes. I like to use cup measurements.
  • Stay away from foods that increase gas/bloating.
  • Prepare home cooked meals.
  • Aim to consume between 1.5 – 2 litres water per day.
  • Reduce alcohol consumption
  • Probiotics and Prebiotics can help with symptoms – kefir or natural unsweetened yogurt.
  • Exercise

It is important to note that this not a cure but a suggested nutritional regime that could have the potential to alleviate digestive disorders and improve gut function. To date the safety of long term FODMAP restriction has not been documented and like all restrictive dietary approaches may have a potential risk of macro/micro nutrient deficiencies.


[1] Mahan LK, Escott-Stump S, Raymond JL. Krause’s Food and the Nutrition Care Process. 12th Edition. St, Louis, MO: Elsevier/Saunders; 2012.

[2] Barrett JS, Gibson PR. Fermentable Oligosacchardies, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols (FODMAPs) and Non-Allergic Food Intolerance: FODMAPs or Food Chemicals? Therap Asv Gastroenteral. 2012;5(4):261-268.

[3] Biesiekierski JR, Peters SL, Newnham ED, Rosella O, Muir JG, Gibson PR. No Effects of Gluten in Patients With Self-Reported Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity After Dietary Reduction of Fermentable Poorly Absorbed Short Chain Carbohydrates. Department of Gastroenterology 2013; 145:320-328.