Intuition and a butternut squash recipe

I don’t like getting sucked into the social media hole..you know you start scrolling and just get carried away..or even worse you start searching for something and you get carried away at all the search suggestions instead and forget what you were even searching for. In the midst of the search you start looking and you start getting sucked into the lives of people you barely know. By the time you snap back and look at your own surrounding…you may think..man I lead a mundane and boring life…lol.

I’ve had to remind myself lately that NO….what I see is not real but a glimpse of what people want me to see. We get carried away trying to become people that we are not. We start thinking we need to look a certain way in order to fit into what society terms as beautiful. You let other people determine what self-care is for you or what you need to strive for. You let everyone else determine for you what joy should look like, what motherhood should be, what travel goals you should be aiming for. As you soak other people’s lives in, do you ever take the moment to ask yourself what joy should look like for yourself? for your family? what are your thoughts on self care? We have become so accustomed to other people, “experts” telling us the way in which we should live, eat, socialize…there is a book and expert for anything you may be interested in. But do you know that for a vast majority of matters, only you are the master. You determine for yourself what kind of life you want to live and how you want to live. You get to determine how you want to eat. Just because experts tell you a new fad is the way right way to eat, does not mean you have to follow it, because guess what, it may work for them but not for you.

My point is this, its okay to look at other people, admire them , research but ultimately you have to do what is best for you and what works for you. No one is the expert when it comes to you except you. I can suggest as I’m about to, that you go ahead and add butternut squash, but what if you have an aversion to it? will you still eat it? Ultimately when it comes to food, eat what feels good for your body. Make the right decisions based on what works for you and the research that you conduct. Essentially learn yourself and become an expert on you.

I have had to learn to follow my own intuition and listen to my body when it comes to what I eat. For instance when it comes to potatoes I love them, but I don’t eat as much as I used to. I swapped this vegetable with sweet potatoes and butternut squash which at first I hated but now love. Winter squash are richer in nutrients than summer squashes, Winter squash include acorn, butternut, spaghetti. the flowers, fruits and seeds are all edible.

Health benefits of butternut squash

  • Supports healthy vision, bones and cells.
  • Prevents constipation as they are high in insoluble fiber. they are rich in iron, potassium, zinc and other minerals.
  • Helps in lowering cholesterol as it contains insoluble fiber which helps to reduce the bad cholesterol by carrying it out of the body before it can be absorbed into the bloods stream.
  • Aids in maintaining a healthy weight.

Tips for preparing butternut squash

  1. Bake or steam winter squash instead of boiling to retain vitamin C and other nutrients
  2. It can be substituted for pumpkin in pies
  3. Select firm squash with unblemished skin or rind
  4. Buy butternut squash with long necks and smaller bottoms. The neck contains more flesh and is easier to cut that the bottom.
  5. Store for several months in a cool dark place. Do not refrigerate because temperatures below 40*F speed deterioration.

Butternut squash for me is a win all the time> I love baking the, as its quick and easy and also making soup. I made a delicious soup this week for the family. It is such a great meal for fighting inflammation because guess what I included in it…ginger. This is how you can make it.

Ingredients

Butternut Squash

Carrots

Salt for taste

Paprika

Cayenne

Coconut Oil

Leek

Coconut Milk

Directions

Peel the butternut squash and dice them into cubes. Coat the cut up butternut squash with oil, paprika and salt.

Next slice the carrots of the outer layers and slice them lengthwise. Coat the cut the carrots with oil, paprika and salt. Place them in a baking tray and set aside.

Slice the leeks into small pieces and coat them with oil and salt. Drizzle them on top of the carrots and roast them separately from the butter nut squash.Place them in a baking tray and set aside.

Now place both trays in the oven and roast them for about 20-25 minutes or until they are ready at 350*.

Once the food is ready, leave some roasted leeks on the side for garnishing as well as some butternut squash.. Use a food processor to blend the carrots/leeks and remainder of the butternut squash together. Add a dash of coconut milk to give it a creamy consistency. At this point you may also add a dash of salt and cayenne.

Serve and enjoy!

 

butternut squash soup

Delightful Dairy Free Muffins

I love baking….even when I did not love cooking as much as I do now. For this reason I always try my hardest to avoid baking unless I know someone else is going o enjoy it…because I’m weak to pastries of all kinds.

My friends really find it hard to believe that I can make dairy free breads, pastries of all kinds, but it’s truly possible. I’ll teach you how starting with this recipe:

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups spelt flour or whole wheat flour  (insert whatever flour you have here)

1/4 cup coconut sugar (or your preferred sugar)

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. all spice

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 cup apple sauce

3/4 cup non dairy milk

1/3 cup maple syrup or honey

1 tsp. vanilla

Fruit of your choice (I put figs…you can do blueberries, dried cranberries or raisins)

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 350*. Have a muffin pan with cupcake liners ready or simply use the muffin pan direct and spray with oil to coat them to ensure they do not stick to the pan.

Next, mix the flour, the spices and salt, baking powder. Sift the mix until well combined in a large bowl.

In a smaller bowl, mix the liquid ingredients; honey, applesauce, milk and vanilla extract. Mix it up.

Now mix up the wet mixture with the dry and combine. Next add the fruits (blueberry or figs or fruit of your choice). The batter will be thick. Spoon the mixture into the cupcake liners or directly to the muffin pan. Bake for about 25 minutes until when a toothpick is inserted in the center comes out clean.

 

Can I eat bread?

This is such a common question I get from my friends who are trying to lose weight. I get it, I understand where they are coming from. I was the same way every time I would start a new diet. Having started eating healthier since last year I promised myself I would not live this way anymore. Instead I listen to my body, I trust my body and its cravings. I pay attention as to whether I’m eating out of emotions or of my body really needs the carbs. Listen and listen well, carbs are not bad.

Truth is bread is not bad, it’s the way in which we consume it that can be detrimental for us. I’ll speak from my own experience, I eat vegetables and grains most of the time. I actually do not like the full feeling I get when I consume too much bread in my diet. So I know to limit it. My body has shown me to take it in moderation and revert back to greens to keep myself balanced. That is what I do. As I mentioned before, we are all created differently, what may be okay for one person may not be the same for you. I have super skinny friends that have no problem with eating bread. I’m sure you do too. But we have to stop with comparing our lives with others, we have to start being accountable for our own bodies and stop looking to others to validate whether what we are putting in our bodies is good for us or not.

It starts by doing our own research. Listening to our bodies. Finding what meals agree with you. Just because someone else is eating raw food and thriving, does not mean you will too. You might be someone who thrives better on some cooked meals. Also there is a reason people focus on transitions, because it takes time to adjust to eating more healthy. Changing your habits and sticking to it will take time and will power. Plus, have you noticed how one day some foods are all the rave and the next people discover it’s the most detrimental food ever. It’s hard to keep up with the fads and the diets.

In my short journey this is what I have learned to do. Trust myself more with the foods that I put in my own body. In turn I have found myself losing weight without feeling guilty and maintaining my weight off too.

So to answer the question, can you eat bread? My question back to you is does your body want it. Are you eating it because you are emotional and want to just numb your feeling with food? If you are…don’t. Can you balance bread with healthier foods as you go about your day, can you walk as a form of excercise? Then by all means eat, because we both know if you don’t , you will cave in tomorrow to the cake your workmate brings in because you never satisfied your craving. As the saying goes….”do you boo!!” Do what works for you.

Now onto the bread recipe that your family will keep asking for more…do not be intimidated honestly if you can make spaghetti, you can make this bread. As long as you have the ingredients, you really cannot go wrong. You will need the following:

Bread Ingredients

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup sweet potato flour or spelt flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup coconut sugar

2 Tbsp. vital wheat gluten

1 Tbsp. instant yeast

I tsp. pink salt

1 cup warm plant-based milk of your choice. (I used brazil nut and hemp milk)

1/4 cup olive oil

Warm water for kneading as needed.

Instructions

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Knead on a flat surface for up to five minutes. You will need more liquid other than the warm plant-based milk. use the warm water until you get the desired dough consistency. It should be elastic.

Take a bowl and grease it with oil. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with a kitchen towel in a warm place for an hour.

After an hour knead again for another 5 minutes until soft and smooth.

Pre-heat the oven to 400*F. (200*c)

Bake this bread in a loaf pan or shape as you desire on a parchment lined cooking sheet. Bake the bread for about 20 minutes.

Take out of the oven, brush the loaf and bake for another  10 minutes or until brown.

Enjoy!!

Bread Recipe

 

 

Fresh Spring Rolls with Avocado Dip

There is no better way to up your intake of vegetables than combining your favorite vegetables and making a delicious spring roll. The best thing about spring rolls is that they are so easy to make. You will love preparing these for road trips, picnics and even for parties. They are also a great alternative to fried spring rolls.

I chose avocados quite simply because I did not want them to get spoilt..lol. But in all seriousness go ahead and become friends with avocado, they have one of the highest amino acid contents of all fruit, building protein in the body. Also please do not avoid them completely because you think they are simply fat. The raw plant fat in avocado is digested very efficiently and is extremely nutrient dense per calories. In other words avocados are a great beauty food.

They are also full of  compounds that nourish skin health and maintain youthful sin tone. They are also rich in the skin smoothing vitamins: A, C E and K They have antioxidant enzymes and amino acid to help protect the skin from environmental damage.

So here we go:

Ingredients

3 spring roll sheets

1 cup shredded zucchini or spiralized zuchinni

Carrots

Celery

1 red bell pepper

1 avocado

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes

1 lemon

1 tsp. white sesame seeds

1 tsp. black sesame seeds

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp cayenne

salt for tasting

Directions

  1. Cut the celery, carrots, red bell pepper length wise into long strips and set aside. Shred the zucchini or spiralize the zucchini and also set aside.
  2. Next take the avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, paprika, cayenne, lemon and salt. Blend them altogether, adding water if necessary to make it smooth.
  3. Next take some warm water and place it in a large bowl. Take one spring roll, dip it in water for 30 secs. Place the spring roll on a flat surface and place a small handful of the shredded and cut up vegetables. Roll the spring roll over the vegetables making sure to tuck in the sides and place aside. Repeat the process with as many spring rolls as you would like to make until you have enough.
  4. Take the sesame seeds and sprinkle on top of the spring rolls.

Enjoy.

Let me know how you like these spring rolls in the comment box below.

spring roll 2

Eggless Scrambled Eggs

Eating plant based can be fun especially looking at the different ways, you can substitute certain foods to make a plant based meal.

If you would like to find an alternative to eggs and have been craving for scrambled eggs but did not want to have eggs, please try chickpeas scrambled eggs. I know I know…sounds very odd, but you are in for a treat.

When making chickpeas please ensure that you soak them overnight before cooking and that also makes for easier digestion. Hope you enjoy the meal.

  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • ½ brown onion, diced
  • ½ green bell pepper (capsicum), diced
  • ½ cup chickpea flour
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • ¼ tsp tumeric
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 1½ cups cooked chickpeas
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • fresh parsley
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 – 2 tomatoes, halved

Directions

  1. Heat the coconut oil in a pan on medium-high heat.
  2. Add the diced onion and green bell pepper and cook for about 5 minutes
  3. In a small food processor combine the chickpea flour, cayenne, turmeric, paprika and salt. Pulse to combine. Slowly add the water to create a batter. Add the chickpeas and gently pulse to mash, ensuring you keep the texture, you want the chickeas chopped up  Add the crushed garlic and parsley to the mix.
  4. Add the chickpea mix to the pan with the onion and bell pepper and cook as you do regular eggs – mixing, separating and scrambling.  Cook for about 15 minutes. Remove the eggs from the pan into a bowl and set aside, keeping the pan on the heat.Add the halved tomatoes last and serve

I grew up in Kenya and one of the things I learned how to prepare first was of course spaghetti. I was very independent at a young age, I think that is the case with most kids growing up in Kenya, you are expected to know your way around the kitchen.

Learning my way around the kitchen would come in handy when I did not like the food of the day and I would have preferred to eat spaghetti, I would take myself to the kitchen and prepare what I wanted. My Mum’s rules were simple, you eat what has been prepared for the day or you can go hungry or make your own food. I chose the latter on days such as these. It was nothing personal, I loved my Mum’s cooking or my sister’s cooking as might be the case. I think I was just obsessed with how spaghetti looked and tasted. That is how my love for spaghetti began.

With my move to the West one of things I have had to curb is Spaghetti. I can’t eat as abundantly as before. For me it adds too much weight, especially the way I would eat it.

If you are looking for a great alternative to spaghetti, try zucchini instead. It’s such a great alternative to add to eating healthy and I promise you, you will not miss spaghetti as much.

Zucchini is a great alternative as it helps you maintain a healthy weight. Zucchini is extremely low in calories, but it gives you the feeling of being full. Therefore, zucchini is a great way to satisfy your appetite without grabbing calories and starting a crash diet plan. Apart from the low-calorie count, zucchini has a high water content and is rich in fiber. 

It is also great for your heart health. Zucchini is rich in nutritional value, especially during the summer, when it delivers countless advantages to the body. It has an abundance of manganese and vitamin C that helps to keep your heart strong. The magnesium content notably reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes. In combination with potassium, magnesium also helps in reducing high blood pressure.

Tips for buying Zucchini:

  • When you buy zucchini, ensure that it’s young and sweet in taste. The zucchini squash that has flowers attached are the real fresh and juicy examples.
  • Also, check if the one you are buying is sleek, smooth and firm and has bright-colored skin
  • It is always advisable to store zucchini in perforated plastic bags inside a refrigerator drawer.
  • Try not to keep zucchini stored for more than 3 days, since they can get damaged in overly cold temperatures. If damaged, you will notice hollow pits in the skin surface of the fruit after you take it out of the refrigerator.

How to prepare Zucchini:

  • While you are eating this fruit, do not remove the skin because it comprises the important nutrient beta-carotene, the vitamin component acting as an antioxidant thereby protecting cells from oxidation damage.
  • One of the easiest ways of having zucchini is by sprinkling grated zucchini or other varieties of summer squash on salads and sandwiches. You can also add zucchini to your favorite bread recipe; thereby reducing the amount of liquid in the recipe.
  • You can also make a great zoodles with zucchini. No need for cooking. All you need to prepare this meal is featured below.

Recipe

Ingredients:

Zucchini

1/2 avocado

sun-dried tomato

cherry tomato

Basil

1/2 lemon

Salt to taste

Direction:

You will need a spiralizer to prepare the zucchini for them to look like noodles as pictured. If you do not have one, do not even fret, simply use a grater. (We want you to eat the raw zuchinni, we do not want you to give up on eating healthy because you do not have a gadget, cut them in squares if you have to, but let’s go ahead and eat zucchini :o) )

Now let’s make the sauce, simply put all the ingredients apart from the zucchini and cherry tomatoes. Now mix up them up in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Serve and enjoy!!

 

Pasta

 

How do I Transition to a Plant-Based Diet?

Its a common question that people who want to start a plant based diet ask. How do I get started? Its a great question. Here are a few tips and guides I would suggest and recommend to get you started.

  • Follow your gut. There are many ways to answer this question but the main thing is to just start. Do not over analyze it, or you will end up hang up on getting it right and perfect and you will quit. You have the answer more than anyone else, because you know what your palette enjoys and what taste you like. So start by following your own gut about the vegetables you would like to incorporate into your meals.
  • Eat more of the fruits and vegetables you already eat. I’m pretty sure there are some vegetables and fruits that you already enjoy. Well try dedicating at least eating these vegetables and fruits once or twice a week. Start off that way and see how you feel. Get in tune with your body and see how you felt on the days that you ate vegetables and fruits only. If you like it, then increase the days.
  • Get rid of the animals foods you do not eat much, that will be easier.
  • Find other people who eat plant based, whether it is online or where you live. It makes it a lot easier if you have someone who has been there before you and you can see how they eat. This will give you ideas to your transition. just make sure you do not compare your journey, to where they are now. Some have been eating plant based for a long time and it just comes naturally now. Allow yourself the time to get there too. It is a journey and you will slowly get there.
  • A big big help will be finding cookbooks that are plant based and vegan. These will give you great ideas on what you can prepare. You will be surprised with what you can come up with and how tasty and filling the meals will be.
  • Take the time to explore the grocery store with a different mindset once you decide to eat more plant based. You will want to start spending more time in the produce section and also stocking your pantry with spices and seasonings to get your food tasting good that you will want more. Try a new recipe each week. Do not be afraid to experiment with a new vegetable each week. get out of your comfort zone as you have always known. Be open minded throughout the process.
  • The biggest lesson is to always be prepared and take it one day at a time. If you have some vegetables and fruits in your household that is always ready to be eaten, it will be hard to fall back into your old ways. Also remember to be kind to yourself. If you fall off the bandwagon on the day you decide to eat plant based its okay. It really is not the end of everything. Just get back on track. You will have so many days like that but the more you get back up and learn from it, the easier it will become.

In the next blog post I will share with you how to shop for your plant based foods. I hope you will find it useful as you slowly start changing your diet to incorporate more vegetables. If you have any specific question please feel free to comment below or email me at myafronomadic@gmail.com