Category Archives: superfood

Wonderful Walnuts

We have Walnuts in our kitchen all year round, lovely to munch on as a quick snack but at this time of year they really are brought to the forefront in the supermarket aisles in readiness for Christmas, along with all manner of nuts, some of which I will be highlighting over the next few weeks.

Walnuts are considered to be superfoods these days,  as a child my mum would buy them loose in brown paper bags from the greengrocer and we would sit together cracking them open with a nutcracker and picking out the nutty, crunchy, nobbled seeds from the shells.

Walnuts are a high density source of nutrients, including calcium, high in magnesium, B6 and a rich source of  Omega 3 essential fatty acids and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, anti-oxidants plus a valuable source of iron. 

walnuts

Miss ND has teaspoon of ground almonds in her breakfast each morning and lately I have been crushing half a walnut (introducing slowly) too.  It is amazing to see the oil seep out of the walnut seed with even a light crush, so richly abundant it is!   Recommended intake each day is around 8-12 halves, I know I don’t manage that many some days but some is better than none.

Including walnuts in our diets couldn’t be easier, they make a lovely addition to salads, but I also bake a few different cakes with walnuts, this Apple, Cheddar and Walnut Loaf is one of Mary Berry’s recipes from the Great British Bake Off Every Day.  I love it because it is really easy to put together, the little ones can help mix as it is not a finicky batter needing gentle folding and it is completely sugar-free!   The apples do  give some sweetness but it is a lovely savoury, cheesy, nutty loaf that is equally good warm or cool.

 

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Chia Seed Pudding

I first read about Chia seeds a couple of years ago and then about a year or so ago I found  some not really knowing what to do with them but reading about their nutritional benefits I was keen to try them and find out how to incorporate them into my diet.

Chia is a gluten-free wholegrain that comes from a desert plant in Mexico called Salvia hispanica. These tiny black and white seeds were used long ago by Mayan and Aztec cultures to boost energy.  Because they have a mild, nutty flavour, chia seeds are easy to add to a variety of foods and drinks.

There certainly is a nutritional powerhouse within these tiny, versatile seeds, they are said to have twice the protein of any other seed or grain, the protein is a complete protein with all 8 essential amino acids and 5 times the calcium of milk plus boron which is an important mineral that helps transfer calcium into your bones.  With more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon, a wealth of antioxidants – four times higher ORAC value than blueberries and 3 times more iron than spinach, chia’s nutritional benefits are extremely valuable.


The best way to use chia is to soak in water first (although Chia will absorb any liquid), the seeds will rapidly absorb the water to create a gel which can be used almost immediately although more of the nutrients will be released with a longer soak.  Unlike flaxseeds, there is no need to grind Chia first.  The seeds are easily digested and absorbed and the nutrients are quickly assimilated into the body. 


A recommended daily intake is one tablespoon of chia, but make sure you drink plenty of water as chia is very high in fibre.


How to eat:

For breakfast I’ve been adding a tablespoon to coconut milk and leaving to soak for a few minutes and then use the milk to cook oatmeal.  Chia combines well with yoghurt and fruit and can be added to smoothies, juice, puddings, sauces, soup, cereal, etc for an added boost of nutrition. 

Quick Chia Drink

1 tblspn Chia seeds
150-200ml of your favourite juice

Mix the juice and Chia together, pop in the fridge for 15-20 minutes for the seeds to absorb the liquid. Stir and drink!


Chia Seed Pudding – serves 2

This pudding is very reminiscent of the Tapioca pudding we ate as children.

Take:

1 cup of coconut milk or any milk of your choice, we like almond too.
⅓ cup Chia seeds (less if you prefer a less dense pudding)
¼ tsp vanilla extract (or to your own taste)
Sweetener of your choice – maple syrup, honey, stevia, etc

Stir the Chia seeds into the coconut milk, then add the vanilla.  Leave for 20 minutes to allow the seeds to absorb the milk, stirring after about 10 minutes to avoid clumps of seeds.  Add a sweetener of your choice to your own palate.  I don’t use any sweeteners – it tastes great without!  At this stage you can add anything you wish, cocoa nibs, cinnamon, dried fruit, nuts, etc.

For a chocolate variation:  add 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder to the milk and whisk together before adding the Chia seeds (if using raw cacao powder, you will need a touch of sweetness as it can be a little bitter for young tastes).

Enjoy, it’s delicious and nutritious!

Note:
If you are allergic to sesame or mustard seeds you should not be consuming Chia seeds without consulting your health care provider first.

Kale Crisps

Kale… it’s not my favourite green vegetable but knowing what a superfood it is I have been trying to incorporate it into my diet.  Bursting with vitamins and phytonutrients, so far I have got as far as just steaming it and adding a few pieces to a vegetable soup.   I’ve been looking for healthy snacks as I am a seasoned nibbler, I could graze all day, and I came across Kale crisps so decided to try them myself.

Kale is sold in such large quantities there is always too much for one sitting so the rest sits in the fridge patiently waiting and these crisps use up a good quantity.

  • Wash and dry a couple (or so) handfuls of kale – it does shrink in the oven to make allowances for that.
  • Coat lightly in olive oil, mix with your fingers so all the kale gets covered.
  • Spread thinly over a baking sheet and then add salt/pepper/chilli flakes, etc to your taste
  • Put in oven on a low heat for around 15-20 minutes to basically dehydrate, the longer they are in the oven the crisper they get.

    Kale crisps may not look very appetising, but I was pleasantly surprised how tasty they  were, especially with the seasonings I used.  A very enjoyable snack and super healthy too.  

    Nutritional Info:

    Kale Vitamins A, C, K, folate, magnesium, manganese, quercitin, fibre, antioxidants – carotenoids, flavonoids, sulphur, calcium, omega 3 fatty acids, iron.

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